The University of Delaware's Center for Political Communication officially opened its doors in January 2010, just as online platforms and technologies began dominating the media. Ralph Begleiter founded the CPC to examine the impact of new technologies on political discourse. With more than 30 years of broadcast journalism experience and two decades as CNN's world affairs correspondent, Begleiter was at the forefront of identifying this emerging field of study. At the inaugural Delaware Debates event in October 2010, Begleiter said, "We think we're among the first to recognize political communication, especially involving new technologies and an electorate increasingly using them, as a distinct field worthy of study by students, faculty researchers and practitioners."
Today, tracking social media feeds is as common as checking news headlines. The CPC remains at the forefront of understanding the intersection of political communication methods and influence, and continues to inform and engage University of Delaware students and the broader community.
The CPC celebrates its accomplishments, made possible by generous supporters over the past 10 years who have upheld the CPC's mission as a nonpartisan, interdisciplinary center that fosters public engagement and academic research:
- More than 16,000 people have participated in CPC-sponsored public programs, such as National Agenda, featuring prominent thought leaders in political communication and civic engagement, and now hosted by Lindsay Hoffman.
- The CPC has sponsored $200,000 in support of students and graduate students through a variety of programs, scholarships, awards and internships.
- CPC-affiliated faculty have published four books and almost 70 scholarly articles, many of which are recognized nationally in academic journals and media publications.
- The CPC has conducted and published 18 national and statewide high-quality public opinion polls, with some receiving national media attention.
- The CPC began hosting formal public political debates for Delaware's congressional and gubernatorial candidates in 2010. That year, journalists from around the world came to campus to cover the historic U.S. Senate debate and UD was called "the epicenter of politics." CNN and CSPAN broadcast some of those debates through the years because they were such an important part of the national political scene.
- Thousands of UD students have participated in civic-engagement events such as "Road to the Presidency," "Election Central," and speaking and writing competitions sponsored by the CPC. Hundreds of students have participated in a civic engagement game platform constructed by CPC affiliated faculty member Danna Young. And those programs helped UD win national recognition for voter engagement.