NCA 100th Annual Convention

More Great Programming at the Centennial Convention, Sponsored by the NCA First Vice President

The NCA Centennial Convention has so much to offer, even in addition to our annual array of fine scholarship. I have the honor as First Vice President to sponsor panels that have no obvious home but are of interest to many. There’s something here for everyone—that’s why this is such a long newsletter piece.  Even then, I’m not going to get to everything—so please make it a treasure hunt through the convention program on NCA Convention Central to find them all. Your efforts will be rewarded!   

Two programs invite us outside the hotels to cultural spaces nearby. “The City Speaks,” at the Art Institute of Chicago, features a panel focusing on Chicago as a complex communication system. The panel is followed by a reception sponsored by the Urban Communication Foundation. This event is by subscription—the convention program offers instructions to make a reservation. The other “off-campus” event is “Communicating Emotion and the Blues: Interviews with Chicago Blues Musicians,” at Buddy Guy’s Legends around the corner from the Hilton (see program for details). It’s whispered that it might be followed by a jam session for additional enticement.    

I’m so pleased to sponsor two panels on “The Status of International Argument Studies”—one on programmatic developments and the other on trajectories of inquiry. Argumentation, which spans most if not all our units, has seen an amazing growth curve over the past twenty years globally. Come and hear from our international colleagues about these developments.   

It’s a sobering responsibility but a privilege for every first vice president to sponsor panels honoring the career achievements of colleagues we have lost. This year, there will be panels celebrating the careers of Carole Barbato, Bruce Gronbeck, Stuart Hall, and Ernesto Laclau. They will be missed sorely.  

In November 1914, the National Association of Academic Teachers of Public Speaking, NCA’s progenitor organization, was formed in Chicago. It seems a different world now, perhaps especially in that the fledgling organization had a journal up and running by the next year!  Previewing what’s to come in QJS’s own centennial celebration in 2015 are five panels packed with prominent scholars interacting on important scholarly issues being addressed in the journal now. If you attend “NCA Publications: Accomplishments, Challenges, and the Future,” you’ll hear five recent NCA Publication Board directors speaking frankly to the changes and challenges in publishing academic journals.  

As the face of higher education changes in the U.S., professional development falls increasingly to academic associations. Several important panels address these needs. Among them are: “On Becoming Professional: A Job Market Primer”; “Effectively Directing Graduate Work: A Roundtable Discussion”; “How Can NCA Help Me With . . . ? A Workshop on Resources on the NCA Website”; and “Reflections and Projections: The ‘Evolution of Communication Textbooks.” The first is a must-attend panel for graduate students especially, and the second seems requisite for new (but maybe also veteran) graduate advisers. The third tours the vast labyrinths of NCA’s proffered professional resources for all members. The fourth offers strategies for textbook authors to adapt to ever-changing market demands.  

It is such a privilege to sponsor a panel honoring the distinguished career of one of NCA’s finest scholars, educators, mentors and leaders—Professor Karlyn Kohrs Campbell. Karlyn’s former students and colleagues gather to discuss what they describe, in what I take to be understatement, her “monumental influence” on many facets of scholarship in the field.  

One of the products of the long, hard work of the Centennial Planning Committee, co-chaired ably by Rich West and Dawn Braithwaite, is a panel (offered twice), “NCA 100: Past, Present, and Future,” with a video about NCA history and responses by NCA leaders. Another such product is the centennial volume, edited by Pat Gehrke and Bill Keith. Some of that volume’s authors gather for a panel to discuss the future of the field.  

In a special, double panel for the Centennial Convention, thanks to some gifted scholar-performers, there will be a full reading of “Dialogues in Limbo,” by George Santayana, one of the twentieth century’s most overlooked philosophers and most elegant writers. It will be a tour-de-force!   

And finally, no birthday celebration would be complete without a little fun, right?  Some of our notoriously droll colleagues will be convening a “business meeting,” one perhaps a bit reminiscent of that infamous coffee house meeting in 1914 when the formation of the NAATPS was plotted. Anything could happen …. On your treasure hunt, just search for “repetition” and by far the longest session title in the program.  

Please be sure to check out these and all the rest of the NCA First Vice President offerings on NCA Convention Central. Choose Convention Program, Search Program and then select NCA First Vice President as sponsor. 

2014 Convention: Carole BlairCarole Blair
NCA First Vice President
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


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