For those of you who know me best, you would say that there are three things that make me tick:

Family and friends:

My son is a proud member of the United States Marine Corps. He is the light of my iife. I am so honored to have a son who puts his values on the line every day.  Semper Fi, son.  My partner John is my constant companion and greatest asset.  We have fun, we argue every day about politics, and we embrace the opportunities God has placed before us.  My sister Nita and "the boys" -- David, John , Andrew (and his new wife Vesta) -- are a kick.  They make life fun.  My friends are golden -- I love my spirit sisters, old high school friends, travel companions, and colleagues.  And, I love a fluffy white Bichon named  Sir Emerson.  Life is good.

Teaching and Research:

Teaching at SMU is a dream come true -- literally.  I first walked on the campus in 1977 at a debate tournament.  I remember thinking that the people who worked here must be the luckiest people ever.  They are.  And today, I am proud to be a Mustang.  This is my 23rd year at SMU.  I am grateful that the opportunities are never-ending.  SMU has a terrific student body.  I enjoy teaching courses in the area of political communication, serving as the Director of the Ethics Center,  and running the SMU-in-London program each summer.  And, I am blessed to have a dynamic research agenda.  My colleague Dan Schill and I have been researching Presidential primaries and general election debates since 2007.  We continue to work with CNN on the 2012 elections as well as Presidential State of the Union addresses as their dial test resources (those squiggly lines or EKG lines that tell the audience how viewers are reacting to key messages). Additionally, my research in the implementation of new campaign technologies continues to be fruitful.  Life is never dull. 

A Spiritual Commitment to Ethics Education:

We are lucky when our faith and our careers move in sync.  In January, 2011, I was appointed the Director of SMU's Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility.  What a ride!  My task is to help drive the discussion of ethics on campus.  With the advice and counsel of Cary Maguire, Bobby Lyle, our advisory boards, Assistant Director Candy Crespo, I have enjoyed working in such an engaging environment.  I invite you to keep up with our work on our website as well as our blog.  If you have ideas or wish to join us, let me know.  We can always use a few more hands.

Dr. Rita Kirk

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