Symposium panelists consider nature, impact of social networks

Dr. Andrew Ledbetter of Texas Christian University (left), Dr. Tamara Mix of Oklahoma State University (center) and Dr. Shelley Riggs (right) of the University of North Texas bring expertise from a variety of academic fields to a panel discussion on social networks. The panel, which includes keynote speaker Dr. James Fowler (not pictured), is part of the Emerson-Wier Liberal Arts Symposium and is scheduled for 2 p.m. on March 14 in Te Ata Memorial Auditorium.

Symposium panelists consider nature, impact of social networks



A collection of respected researchers and authors are scheduled to convene on the campus of the University of Science and Arts to discuss the nature and impact of social networks during the Emerson-Wier Liberal Arts Symposium on March 14.

The panel discussion is scheduled from 2-4 p.m. in Te Ata Memorial Auditorium on the USAO campus.


In addition to the panel discussion, the symposium will feature an evening presentation by Guggenheim Fellow recipient and Foreign Policy “Top 100 Thinker” Dr. James Fowler at 7:30 p.m.


The symposium is open to the public and free.


Scheduled to join Fowler for the panel discussion are Dr. Andrew Ledbetter, an assistant professor of communication of Texas Christian University, Dr. Tamara Mix, an associate professor of sociology at Oklahoma State University and Dr. Shelley Riggs, an associate professor of psychology at the University of North Texas.


Riggs’ presentation will be on “The Family as our First Social Network,” drawn from her extensive research and writing on marriage and the family as a vital component of psychological health.


With specialties in counseling psychology and attachment relationships, Riggs regularly publishes in respected journals in her field including the Journal of Counseling Psychology, the Journal of Family Psychology and the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.


Riggs earned her doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin and has been a member of the faculty at UNT since 2002.


Ledbetter’s presentation is titled, “Social Networking on the Web.” His research focuses on how people use communication technology to maintain their interpersonal relationships.


Ledbetter is a member of the National Communication Association and the Central States Communication Association and has published more than 20 articles in journals such as Human Communication Research, New Media and Society and the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.


Ledbetter earned his doctorate from the University of Kansas in 2007 and has been a member of the faculty at TCU since 2010.


Mix’s presentation is titled “Social Movements: Networking in Action.” Her primary research interests are in the areas of environmental sociology, environmental justice, race, class and gender inequality, and social movements.


Mix is currently involved in several projects addressing environmental and social justice themes and this research has appeared in a variety of scholarly journals including the American Sociological Review, Gender & Society and Human Ecology Review among others.


Mix earned her doctorate from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 2002 and has been a member of the faculty at OSU since 2005.


Serving as moderator for the panel discussion is Rob Vollmar, news bureau manager at USAO. Vollmar is the co-author of three graphic novels and has written hundreds of journal articles on comics, film and literature.


Dr. Jeanette Loutsch, assistant professor of biology and Leah Oxenford, USAO lab coordinator and adjunct instructor, are scheduled to host an Emerson-Wier symposium “pep rally” at 6 p.m. on March 12 in the Davis Hall amphitheater.


These pep rallies are designed to give students more context about the upcoming speaker and the fields of study under consideration.


USAO’s Emerson-Wier Liberal Arts Symposium series is sponsored annually by the USAO Foundation and was inspired by endowment funds created by Oklahoma College for Women alumni Gladys Anderson Emerson and Nance Foules Wier.


More information can be obtained by calling 574-1362.