August 2016: M-Passioned Member Steve Schappaugh

2015-05-29 Steve Schappaugh_bw1) What do you do?
I am the Director of Community Engagement for the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA).  We are a membership organization that provides a robust honor society as well as competitive speech and debate opportunities to hundreds of thousands of students across the country.  Our culminating event, the National Tournament, is the largest academic competition in the world.  In my day-to-day role I examine ways to create value for our student and educator members.  Through management of social media, our publications, systems of recognition, and more – I’m constantly looking at ways that we can engage our members in meaningful ways.  Outside of work I’m a proud husband and father and enjoy volunteering at my alma mater, Des Moines North High School.  I’m also a proud Iowa Hawkeye, Chicago Cub, and Chicago Bears sports enthusiast.

2) Tell me about your latest work or project in media literacy.
I have been working with NAMLE on a couple interesting projects.  First, we did some joint collaboration on creating a curriculum guide for teachers to use across all disciplines to infuse speaking/listening and media literacy skills into their classrooms.  Our focus was on the 2016 elections.  The beauty of the work is that it could be extended to any election moving forward.  Additionally, we are also partnering with the National Writing Project to support Letters to the Next President.  We did a week-long exploration of how to make an argument using media literacy and debate skills, as well as participated in a webinar on discussing these issues in our current political climate.

3) Why is media literacy important to you?
Media literacy is critical to being an engaged, thoughtful, and contributing member of discourse.  Individuals need to understand how to examine media in order to develop cohesive arguments.  I believe there are many overlaps between speech and debate education and media literacy.  I believe speech and debate transforms lives – that’s why I do what I do.  I also recognize that media literacy has been a skill that I’ve developed through debate.  Understanding the interconnectedness and working with experts in this field can be mutually beneficial.

4) What are you most excited about in the media literacy field?
The constant changes with social media make media literacy an ever-changing field.  Keeping up with the trends and understanding how social media is impacting our society’s discourse is personally engaging for me.  I’m excited to see how the 2016 election will differ from the 2012 election with social media.  I’m intrigued by the role that social media will play in addressing a range of societal issues during and after the elections.  I’m also interested in how news has evolved with social media and learning more about how people’s perceptions of journalism have changed.

5) Why did you become a NAMLE member, what benefits do you see to membership, and how will it support your work?
As an educational non-profit, I think partnering with other educational non-profits that share similar visions for discourse in our society is important.  Personally, I enjoy having access to numerous resources at my fingertips.  Being connected to experts in the field helps keep me current on trends and issues that are important to me.  I feel more aware and connected as a result of membership with NAMLE, both personally and professionally.

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