Smaller communities within NCA's large membership provide a range of resources including networking opportunities, Annual Convention programming, leadership opportunities, awards, and specialized information dissemination channels, among others.
Divisions are made up of colleagues who share an interest in an area of substantive inquiry. NCA sponsors 49 divisions.
Sections include colleagues who share common professional settings. NCA sponsors 7 sections.
Caucuses represent the interests of a specific demographic or socially defined segment of the NCA membership. NCA sponsors 6 caucuses.
Click on the links below to learn about individual interest groups
The Activism and Social Justice Division promotes scholarship (research and teaching) that explores relationships among communication, activism, and social justice. Activism and social justice scholarship ranges from explorations of researcher-activists and teacher-activists employing their communication resources (e.g., theories, methods, pedagogies, and other practices) in collaboration with community members whose lives are affected by oppression, domination, discrimination, and other sociopolitical struggles due to differences in race, gender, class, sexual orientation, age, ability, religion, and other identity markers, and/or with justice-oriented groups, organizations, and social movements to intervene into and reconstruct unjust discourses in more just ways, to analyses of communication enacted by activist individuals, groups, and/or organizations to promote social justice. The division welcomes conceptual, theoretical, methodological, empirical, and exploratory/experimental work about, and encourages dialogue, discussion, debate, and performance of, communication, activism, and social justice.
The African American Communication and Culture Division’s purpose is to promote substantive scholarship, creative and innovative teaching, and improved practice of communication about the peoples of Africa and the African Diaspora. We work in conjunction with the Black Caucus from which the division stemmed. Members of the division are usually members of the caucus and are from various ethnic backgrounds that have a genuine interest in attending to issues that impact the people of the African Diaspora.
The American Studies Division promotes interdisciplinary research and teaching that focuses on the connections between communication texts and practices and American cultures. Inherently interdisciplinary, the Division embraces diverse theoretical and methodological approaches to research and theory-building relevant to American Studies.
Applied Communication Division members study how communication theory, research, and/or best practices help inform knowledge and theory about communication for practical issues. Members build and test communication theories, often in naturalistic settings, to better examine a wide range of diverse issues, including the communication needs of organizations, effective social interaction, improvement of health care understandings or delivery, implementation of behavioral interventions, training to improve communication, and activist efforts to achieve social change. Members employ a variety of methodological and theoretical approaches to address applied communication issues. The division sponsors panel discussions, roundtables, and paper presentations at NCA’s Annual Convention. Also, the division is supportive of the efforts of the Journal of Applied Communication Research's editorial board and readership.
The Argumentation and Forensics Division (A&F) promotes the work of scholars engaged in research, inquiry, activity, and teaching that enhances understanding of argumentation theory, argumentation criticism, and forensic pedagogy. The A&F division encourages scholarly work that addresses topics in argumentation and forensics in a broad range of contexts and a variety of methodologies. The division invites submission of thematic panels, discussion panels, and individual papers for competitive review. Programs featuring innovative formats, as well as papers relating to a given year's convention theme are encouraged.
The purpose of the Asian/Pacific American Communication Studies Division is to explore various cultural issues, politics, and strategies of engagement within Asian/Pacific American culture and examine power relationships among cultural communities. It encourages scholarship that explores ways to create dialogue on diasporic/transnational challenges and how diverse cultural identities intersect in the context of inter-Asia/Americas. The division works with the Asian/Pacific American Caucus to cultivate connections among these scholars and sponsor a business meeting, panels, and paper presentations at the NCA’s Annual Convention.
The Basic Course Division of NCA promotes the teaching, study, research, assessment, and administration of communication in basic course settings. Focusing on teaching fundamental communication skills and theory to undergraduate students, the division is concerned with a broad spectrum of issues relevant to the maintenance and development of quality basic courses to benefit students, scholars, and the discipline. The division emphasizes both qualitative and quantitative approaches to scholarly work in basic course teaching and administration. To subscribe to the Basic Course Division listserv, send an email to Sam Wallace at email@example.com and ask to be placed on the basic course list-serv.
Members of the Communication and Aging Division are interested in communication with, by, and about older adults, and how such communication relates to healthy and successful outcomes as we age across the life span. The ways in which messages (e.g., in the media, in interpersonal communication in the family, in health organizations) describe, represent, and affect older adults and the aging process are a central focus of the division. Researchers in this area often draw on theories of life span development, communication accommodation, social identity, and intergroup behavior (to name a few) to conduct research and practice that can improve the aging process and older adults’ well-being. As such, much of this research is situated in a wide range of relational contexts, including intergenerational relationships, middle-aged and later-life adult relationships (including marital, sibling, grandparent-grandchild, and friendships), caregiver-care receiver bonds, family networks, provider-patient relationships, superior-subordinate relationships, and intercultural relationships, as well as relationships within various health care organizations (e.g., geriatric care, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living). As aging and communication are complex and multilayered, scholarship and practice in communication and aging merges with related disciplines (e.g., medicine, nursing, psychology, gerontology, health policy and administration), communication subdisciplines (e.g., family, health, organizational, cultural, etc.), and encompasses interpretive, critical, and empirical research paradigms and diverse research methods to collect cross-sectional and longitudinal data on older adults’ experiences.
The Communication and the Future Division is dedicated to exploring any aspect of communication and the future, particularly the influence of continuing developments in networking and social technologies. Topics explore novel methodologies, new theoretical perspectives, and the intersection of communication and technology, as well as applications within technologies and related consequences. In addition, the division entertains studies focused on emergent communication networks, communication and its role in strategic social change, pedagogy, and ethics. The division is committed to excellence in research on both practical and theoretical issues and offers a lively forum for discussion.
The Communication and Law Division membership reflects the diversity of study in communication and the law. Its chief goal is to advance the understanding of communication within legal contexts. Areas of membership interest include, but are not limited to, jury decision-making, pre-trial processes, interaction within the courtroom and/or the law office, mass communication, interviewing, alternative dispute resolution, negotiation, and legal rhetoric. We recognize the diversity of methods used in research and embrace study from a variety of areas of communication (e.g., argumentation, interpersonal, organizational, health, small group, etc.). It welcomes membership from academics, attorneys, trainers, consultants, and others with interest in the communication processes underlying law and litigation philosophy and practices.
The Communication and Military Division promotes scholarly, pedagogical, and community-engaged work that highlights and critiques communication, messages, and discourses within and about the military. Topics include (but are not limited to) media framings of military-connected experiences; policy debates about military-related services/benefits; family communication during military transitions; critical analyses of war rhetoric; examination of the military as a colonizing institution; health communication and self-advocacy in the Veterans Affairs Health system; narratives by veterans living with Gulf War syndrome; and organizing practices that empower student veterans. The division welcomes work from all epistemological, theoretical, and methodological perspectives that addresses these aims. Collectively, we do not take a “for” or “against” stance on the military as an institution; rather, we recognize macro and micro implications of the military and work to enhance understanding between military and civilian communities, critique policies/practices, and contribute to positive social/cultural changes concerning military/veteran-related topics.
The Communication and Sport Division welcomes all scholarly, pedagogical, and service-related endeavors pertaining to connections between communication practices and their relationship to sport and all it encompasses. Topics include (but are not limited to) relationships between communication and the discourses surrounding sport, the mediation of sport, the traditions unfolding within sport, the organization of sport, the production of sport, the identity-oriented relationships facilitated and/or impeded by sport, the construction of community in sport, and the power relationships within the practice of sport. Work from all epistemological, theoretical, and methodological traditions fit within the parameters of the divisional aims and scope.
The Communication Assessment Division (CAD) provides resources to members in the vital area of assessment. The term “assessment” has multiple meanings, but whatever its definition, assessment impacts every communication department though state assessment requirements, program review, or regional accreditation requirements. CAD coordinates the development and dissemination of assessment materials. These include print and online resources in areas of learning objective development, development of site-specific assessment tools, standardized assessment instruments, program review support, and materials for accreditation review. In addition, CAD offers convention programs devoted to these issues. NCA members who are interested in assessment are encouraged to become involved in CAD.
Members of the Communication as Social Construction (CASC) Division are committed to promoting conversation and community among scholars whose work advances the idea that communication creates and recreates social worlds through interaction. CASC scholars acknowledge communication processes as central to academic inquiry and practice with recognition of the transformative potential of communication teaching and research. The division is interested in topics related to social constructions of identity and relationships, discord and transformative conflict, and social constructions of the contexts we live in today. Examples of socially constructed contexts to examine may include relationships, media, technology, health, and organizations, the classroom, and culture. We welcome a variety of methodological approaches and submission types such as individual papers or panel discussions. We also acknowledge achievements in excellence by awarding top paper awards in our division. For more information please visit our Facebook page at Communication as Social Construction (NCA).
The purpose of the Division is to promote research and teaching relating to ethical issues and standards in all aspects of human communication and to encourage educational programs that examine communication ethics. General membership in the Communication Ethics Division is open to any member of NCA who is interested in promoting the Division’s purpose.
The Communication Ethics Division exists by authority of the Constitution and By-laws of the National Communication Association (NCA) ratified by the membership in 2003, and formerly by the Legislative Council of the Speech Communication Association (SCA) in 1984.
The Communication and Social Cognition Division is dedicated to the study of the social cognitive aspects of message production, reception, and processing. Because the role of social cognition in communication crosses traditional contextual boundaries, the context of study (e.g., face-to-face, mediated, communibiological, etc.) is secondary. Relevant topics might include, but are not limited to, cognition, emotion, social influence, social perception, listening, information processing, affective processes, message effects, brain function, and personality and individual differences in communication. In particular, we are interested in research with a focus on the role of social cognition within any aspect of human communication (e.g., interpersonal, intrapersonal, language and social interaction, instructional, health, group, organizational, intercultural, political, mass communication).
The Critical and Cultural Studies Division views communication and culture as mutually constitutive, and we are dedicated to fostering critical and interdisciplinary approaches to a broad range of topics. The division regards critical and cultural work as both organic and emergent. As such, we embrace diverse methodologies and heterogeneous theoretical perspectives. Our members privilege studying languages of knowledge, power. and disciplinarity, questioning how these components shape cultural and social practices across historical contexts, in “everyday life,” and in the classroom. We champion work that scrutinizes how discourses and practices impact individuals and communities, embodies insightful interpretation, and generates productive theorizing. Moreover, we are committed to the premise that teaching and scholarship are powerful tools for fostering social justice and promoting social change, in the academy and beyond.
The Economics, Communication, and Society Division promotes scholarship on the communicative dimensions of economic theory and practice as well as the economy of communication. In particular, the division aims to support four major areas research: the rhetoric of economics, the cultural studies of the economy, the political economy of communication, and critical organizational communication. When engaging these areas of scholarship, we welcome research utilizing quantitative or qualitative methods. We also welcome a wide range of case studies and critical perspectives that engage philosophical themes such as the history of economic thought, the rhetoric of economic theory and policy, the political economy of media institutions, the affective or biopolitical aspects of economic power, and the historical transformation of economic forms of life. When submitting discussion panels, panel sessions, and individual papers, we encourage the proposal of interdisciplinary projects that work collaboratively with other divisions both within and beyond NCA.
The Environmental Communication Division is a multidisciplinary effort to support a broad audience of academics, professionals, and practitioners in the sharing and building of theoretical, critical, and applied scholarship addressing environmental communication in a variety of contexts. We believe all communication involves an environmental dimension, because symbolic and natural systems are mutually constituted. Humans are one part of the broader ecosystems and cultures we inhabit, both shaping and shaped by our corporeal, intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and physical alienation from and proximity to those spaces and communities.To explore these rich and significant connections, we encourage both qualitative and quantitative scholarship and pedagogy that showcases and advances our understanding of the production, reception, contexts, or processes of human communication regarding environmental issues. Many members of the division also belong to the International Environmental Communication Association (http://theieca.org/) in order to participate in an international cadre of researchers and practitioners.
The Ethnography Division promotes research and teaching associated with the ethnographic study of communication. We seek to foster a distinctive community of communication scholars in and through which we work to understand and depict the human experience of communicating in a cultural context. We are interested in how people use symbol systems that organize their collective knowledge, beliefs, and values. We focus on how people meaningfully express their experience and interpret the expressions of others. In this process, we believe, people create, maintain, and transform their identities, their relationships, and their communities. We endorse the research methods of participant observation, qualitative interviewing, and artifact analysis as appropriate means for achieving this type of knowledge. We embrace both traditional and experimental means of representing ethnographic research. Finally, we promote effective pedagogy that exposes undergraduate and graduate students to the opportunities and challenges of conducting ethnographic research.
Experiential learning, service learning, and social justice education enhance the classroom experience through a partnership with our communities. The Experiential Learning Division promotes teaching innovation through theoretical application and community engagement. Our interconnectedness within our local, national, and global communities reinforces the scholarship with active citizenship.
The purpose of the division is to explore applications of the communication process in classroom and off-campus locations. The term “experiential learning” refers to the innovative use of communication concepts and theories in internships, service projects and community/corporate-connected communication courses, and technological connections.
Experiential learning complements the learning objectives within all NCA specializations. We strive to:
- Use technology to interact with division members and to serve as consultants for NCA members wishing to implement experiential learning into courses.
- Disseminate information on best practices in experiential learning.
- Promote programs in state, regional, and national conventions on the subject of experiential learning.
- Maintain a central database of experiential learning conferences, research opportunities, and interactive dialogue.
The members of this division view their collective vision as sharing the “cutting edge” of innovative experiments and practices that make accessible the best and fullest use of the oral and written traditions of communication. This division was first conceived at the 1978 Summer Workshop on Experiential Learning, sponsored by SCA, now known as NCA. David Natharius and Melissa Beall submitted that group’s proposal to the SCA Legislative Counsel in October 1980. It was approved and the first full program was presented in the fall of 1981 in Anaheim, Cal.
Visit us on Facebook; look for the NCA Experiential Learning Division.
The Family Communication Division exists to stimulate research on family communication; develop and disseminate pedagogical materials for instruction about family communication; facilitate dialogues among those interested in the study of family interaction, both within and outside of the Association; and plan convention programs dealing with family communication. The Division upholds the belief that “family” is constituted in and through our human abilities to communicate and to co-construct meaning. Members examine a variety of family forms, as well as a variety of family communication issues and constructs, including issues of identity, attachment, dialectical tensions, family violence, conflict, divorce, (grand)parenting, storytelling, health, and affection, to name a few.
This division is vitally interested in themes related to feminist studies in communication. We encourage and support research, action, and understandings of the profession that address intersections of power, such as race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, technology, nationality, and transnationalism, and challenge existing theoretical paradigms that have excluded the voices of marginalized groups, especially women.
Feminist perspectives on masculinities and comparative research on gender across all communication contexts are also of interest in this division. We are not only interested in the intersectional study of women's lives, but also in varied and intersectional approaches to gender as well. Our Division is open to diverse women and men who share an interest in the empowerment of all women and other marginalized groups. We seek collaboration with other NCA divisions and caucuses, particularly those dedicated to the study of issues of power and social justice, and to the creation and maintenance of equality within the profession. These collaborations are aimed both to encourage research that spans axes of power and identity and build alliances that span these axes as well. Each year at the Annual Convention, the division gives an award to the top paper and top student paper submitted to the division. We also give the Bonnie Ritter Book Award, an annual award honoring research in the field of communication that interrogates questions related to feminism, women studies, and gender. Authors working within all methodological perspectives are encouraged to apply. Bonnie Ritter did most of the groundwork and was primary organizer for the group of women scholars who formed the National Communication Association Women's Caucus in 1971. Caucus success led, more than a decade later, to establishing NCA's Feminist and Women Studies Division so that feminist scholarship would have a formal and recognized home within the association. This award is a testament to the courage, tenacity, and intellectual imagination of Professor Ritter and her colleagues.
The Freedom of Expression division of NCA promotes the research and study of the understanding of free expression and the First Amendment. The division provides an academic home for legal, ethical, rhetorical, historical, and other approaches to the study and application of free expression in society. The division welcomes investigation, analysis and dialogue among communication scholars concerned with issues pertaining to free expression.
The division acknowledges achievements in scholarly excellence by awarding the Robert M. O’Neill top paper award as well as the top student paper. The division collaborates with and advocates for the Journal of First Amendment Studies, a peer-reviewed, NCA journal that publishes original essays which make a significant contribution to theory and/or policy on all aspects of free speech. If you would like to join the Freedom of Expression listserv for announcements, discussion and collaboration, please contact any of our division officers below.
The Game Studies (GS) Division promotes the scholarly examination of all aspects of gaming in relation to contemporary communication and culture. Although the division's core focus is digital games, its membership comprises a broad spectrum of related research topics and methodologies. GS supports the synthesis of social, psychological, cultural, aesthetic, ludic, narrative, philosophical, practical, logical, technological, and industrial dimensions of games and gaming. The division's mission is to foster this study through communication lenses, to provide a forum for presenting and discussing this work, and to catalyze collaboration among games scholars within NCA and beyond.
This division addresses gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues from a communication perspective, including issues from the past or present, on a local or global scale, and from across various disciplines. Through members’ research and discussions, this division also looks at the unique characteristics of GLBTQ communication in interpersonal relationships, groups, and across cultures. Research within this division pulls from multiple communication methods and theories. Division members also research the multiple and numerous approaches to sexuality.
The Group Communication Division welcomes studies in a wide variety of group contexts, including work teams and family, religious, educational, and recreational activities; in activist and social movement contexts; and in virtual environments, public meetings, or laboratory settings. The division is interested in processes related to decision making, deliberation, coordination, face and identity, collaboration, conflict, and leadership, as well as the functions, effects, technologies, and structures of groups, and is open to both laboratory and field research methodologies. The division is also interested in the pedagogy, training, and practical applications of group communication theories. Our Division annually gives awards to top papers and top student papers, as well as special awards for published books, articles, and dissertations/theses that promote work in group communication.
Health Communication, added as a focus area to Healthy People 2010 and 2020, is one of the most visible and grant-funded areas of scholarship within and outside NCA. The centrality and influence of health communication is evidenced by Institute of Medicine reports that highlight its importance, the Health Communication and Informatics Research branch of the National Cancer Institute, the proliferation of graduate programs and positions in the area, and the increase in specialized conferences for health communication research and practice. Major professional organizations outside communication (e.g., American Public Health Association) offer forums for sharing health-communication scholarship. The APHA, the ICA, and the NCA jointly run the Coalition for Health Communication. Given this recognition, NCA’s Health Communication Division plays a significant role in representing the discipline as it works to advance theory, research, teaching, and practical applications of human and mediated communication to health care and health promotion. The division sponsors an Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award, Top Dissertation/Thesis Awards (with ICA’s Health Communication Division), and a Distinguished Book and Article/Chapter Award to recognize exceptional health communication scholarship. The division also holds a “doctoral and early career” pre-conference every two years to enhance the academic work, research, and network of doctoral students and recent Ph.D.s working to establish their career and research agenda.
The Human Communication and Technology division (HCTD) of NCA promotes the research and study of the intersection between human communication and technology. The division is concerned with the broad spectrum of issues relevant to the field of human communication and technology. Membership is open to all NCA members in good standing who express interest in technology and communication and register affiliation with the NCA national office. HCTD welcomes both quantitative and qualitative work that focuses on different areas of connection to, interaction with, and development of technology as a phenomena of human communication.
Members of the Instructional Developmental Division specialize in exploring how practices of communication intersect with practices of teaching and learning at various stages in learners’ lives. Using multiple methods and theories, scholars in our division seek to use instructional settings, defined broadly, as a vehicle for understanding communication processes, behaviors, and outcomes. Simultaneously, scholars in our division seek to use scholarly dialogue about communication to better understand fundamental processes involved in teaching and learning. Conference panels sponsored by the division tend to emphasize dialogue over original research exploring instructional communication topical discussions of interest to its members. The division highlights excellence in scholarship through awards for the top paper, top panel, and top student paper.
The International and Intercultural Communication Division (IICD) promotes research and teaching in intercultural, international, and intergroup (including interracial/interethnic) communication. The scholarship featured by the division focuses on these forms of communication as they unfold in multiple settings and contexts, including organizational, political, interpersonal, or mediated. Essential questions investigated by scholars tend to focus on the dynamics of culture and communication and the impact on identity, contact, adaptation, representation, inequality and empowerment, transition, competence, and other factors. The division presents research representing many perspectives and conducted by qualitative, quantitative, and rhetorical methods. The IICD accepts for review individual papers and panels. Every year, the division recognizes outstanding scholarship in the form of article, book, and dissertation awards. The top division paper receives the Ralph Cooley award, and other top papers and top student papers are recognized at NCA’s Annual Convention.
The Interpersonal Communication Division exists to (a) stimulate research and scholarship on interpersonal communication; (b) develop and disseminate methods and materials for instruction about interpersonal communication; (c) facilitate communication among those interested in the study of interpersonal communication, both within the association and with other parties; and (d) plan convention programs and preconference workshops dealing with interpersonal communication. The division also honors outstanding scholarship in the form of the Gerald R. Miller book award, the Franklin H. Knower article award, and the Early Career Award, as well as a top dissertation award. In addition, awards are offered for top paper in the division and the top student paper. The top four papers and top student papers are recognized at the division's annual meeting. Finally, each year at the NCA Annual Convention the division hosts a panel in honor of the Mark L. Knapp Award in Interpersonal Communication, which recognizes individuals who have made significant scholarly contributions to the study of interpersonal communication, interaction, and/or relational processes throughout their career.
The Language and Social Interaction Division (LSI) provides a home to those who study how social life is produced and organized through situated conversation, language use, and embodied interaction. Members of LSI investigate the collaborative practices that shape our social worlds in a wide range of interactional settings, including, for example, classrooms, doctors’ offices, public meetings, work, and home, as well as interactions between and across cultural borderlines. The LSI tradition, though well established in the communication field, is interdisciplinary and draws on the related fields of anthropology, applied linguistics, sociology, sociolinguistics, and others. Language and social interaction scholarship is informed by a variety of research methods, including discourse analysis, conversation analysis, ethnography and micro-ethnography, pragmatics, narrative analysis, and other approaches to studying the subtle features of human interaction that constitute everyday life.
The Latina/o Communication Studies Division, in conjunction with La Raza Caucus, fosters the study of communication issues and their attendant intersections with matters of concern for Latina/o communities throughout the Americas. The division embraces an intersectional approach to identity that considers the ways race, ethnicity, class, gender, nation, and sexuality converge to shape Latina/o experiences. Members of the division and caucus embrace a variety of methodological perspectives, including critical, qualitative, and quantitative. The goals of the division are educational advocacy, networking, recruitment and retention, and cultural promotion.
The Mass Communication Division is one of the largest divisions of NCA. Its members are engaged in research on and teaching of a wide range of topics relating to traditional and new media content, form, structures, effects, and processes using various methodologies (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, critical/interpretative). Members represent various strands of traditional mass communication theory, political economy, and critical/cultural studies. They also study (mass) media history, regulation, and industry. They represent the diversity in intellectual and scholarly traditions that make up the rich disciplinary history of the field of communication. Our mission is to provide a forum in which scholars and teachers with diverse interests and approaches can come together to contribute to the study of communication media in ways that draw from the strengths of the established traditions in order to address emerging issues relating to both traditional and new media.
The Nonverbal Communication (NVC) Division recognizes excellence in the scholarship and study of nonverbal communication across NCA. We promote the study of nonverbal communication in interpersonal, computer-mediated, political, and health communication, among other contexts. The division also encourages research of nonverbal communication related to mass media, persuasion, emotion, cognitive processing, and music. The division is unique in that it currently does not accept competitive individual papers but, rather, only competitive panels and organizes its own panels, featuring, in part, local nonverbal scholars from other disciplines. Overall, it aims to organize, advertise, and recognize the study of NVC within and across existing divisions. Specifically, the division promotes integrated NVC sessions, organizes an NVC website with NCA support, helps out with reviewing NVC-relevant papers sent to other divisions, as needed, selects top papers in NVC at the NCA Annual Convention, encourages interdisciplinary cooperation regarding NVC, and invites speakers on NVC from other disciplines.
The purpose of the Organizational Communication Unit is to promote research and teaching that highlights communicative behavior in organizational settings. Members are concerned with the creation of meaning, the production of messages, and the processing of information that makes organizing possible. Members are engaged in developing, explicating, and applying theories and concepts that speak to the diverse array of issues facing organizations and members of all types, including both the paid and nonpaid labor force, profit and nonprofit organizations, managers and employees, and the intersection of work, home, and society at large. The unit embraces diverse theoretical and methodological approaches to research and theory relevant to organizational communication including postmodern and humanistic inquiries, and social scientific and social constructionist frameworks. The goals of the unit’s activities are to acknowledge, debate, and reformulate understandings of organizational communication in an effort to forward new knowledge, prepare students to participate in their communities and workplaces in more informed ways, prepare the next generation of scholars and teachers, and provide expert advice to organizations interested in improving communication and the workplace more generally. Members of the Organizational Communication Unit support these activities by participating in scholarly discussions at national meetings and by publishing relevant books, monographs, and technical reports. They also provide expert commentary for media outlets, teach and mentor both graduate and undergraduate students, as well as practicing professionals, and consult with both corporate and nonprofit groups in a variety of training, development, and assessment activities. Members of the unit also support community engagement that promotes open dialogue and participative, ethical, and inclusive practices.
The Peace and Conflict Communication Division promotes the teaching, scholarship, and practice of conflict management and peace communication at all levels, such as interpersonal, intergroup organizational, community, national, and international contexts. Our members include academics and practitioners in fields including, but not limited to, negotiation, mediation, dispute system design, peace and conflict instruction, peace communication, and peace and conflict communication criticism. The division embraces all methodological approaches, and members operate from a wide variety of perspectives, including social science, cultural interpretive, media criticism, rhetorical criticism, and more. We welcome new members interested in the examination and discussion of conflict communication.
The Performance Studies Division of NCA promotes study, criticism, research, teaching, public awareness, and application of the artistic, humanistic, and cultural principles of performance. Scholars and artists associated with the Division pursue performance as an object of inquiry (looking at varieties of performance in everyday life as well as on stage), a heuristic metaphor for analysis (looking at modes of communication that “common sense” might not view as performative but that may nonetheless yield knowledge if viewed as such), a method of research (using performance to investigate social phenomena), and a medium of artistry (creating performance in traditions ranging from reader’s theatre to performance art for public presentation). The Division’s activity at the annual NCA convention typically includes traditional paper sessions and panels, roundtables devoted to theoretical, critical, aesthetic, and pedagogical issues concerning performance, and both debut and contributed paper presentations. In addition to these forms of research presentation, the Division’s offerings include presentations of members’ performance work that may involve full-length solo performances, productions originally staged at local campuses, and performance hours comprised of shorter performances, from members around the nation, on a given theme.
The Philosophy of Communication Interest Group interrogates the relationship between philosophical frameworks and our understanding of communication. The Interest Group explores the overlaps, intersections, and complements between philosophy and communication. We provide an academic home for work that addresses communication from a philosophical orientation and/or philosophy from a communication perspective, both broadly defined. The Interest Group is open to all traditions of philosophical inquiry (ancient, medieval, modern, contemporary, postmodern, western, eastern, analytic, continental) and is supportive of semiotic, phenomenological, hermeneutic, critical, psychoanalytic, communicological, narrative, dialogical, and other methodologies that examine communicative experience.
The purpose of the Political Communication Division (PCD) is to support the work of scholars and practitioners engaged in the research, teaching, and practice of political communication. The scope of the PCD is broad, as the study of communication and politics may encompass the communicative activity of citizens, individual political figures, public and governmental institutions, the media, political campaigns, advocacy groups, and social movements. The PCD recognizes and encourages research that addresses political communication topics in all contexts and levels of analysis, employing a variety of methodologies. Research presented by PCD members at NCA’s Annual Convention regularly addresses such topics as political campaigns, media and politics, presidential rhetoric, social movements, political advertising, campaign debates, civic engagement, the public sphere, women and politics, international and comparative politics, and new media and politics.
The Public Address Division takes as its mission the practice and the promotion of the study of a wide variety of rhetoric that addresses publics. Although the term "public address" evokes a rich history of the study of political and religious oratory, we welcome and include not only traditional studies of "great speakers and speeches," but also work that focuses on rhetorical acts and artifacts from various cultures, nations, and media. The Public Address Division is one of NCA’S oldest and largest divisions. Its members employ various analytical methods, including historical, descriptive, rhetorical, textual, and institutional critiques, as they examine the symbols that serve both to express and to shape public cultures. Scholarship in the division often leads to theoretical insight about the nature of public discourse at the same time as it enhances our understanding of particular discourses, rhetors, or social movements. Despite the variety of critical perspectives, members of the division share a concern for the relationship between "text" and "context," the object of study and its scene.
This division brings together scholars and practitioners who focus on public dialogue and deliberation, the forces that constrain or enable such talk, and the consequences of their presence (or absence) in democratic society. The study of these subjects dates back to ancient Greek theories of rhetoric, which gave us forms of speech that endure to the present day, such as Socratic dialogue and deliberative assemblies. Current conceptions of these terms stress their potential to ameliorate social problems. Public dialogue may help address alienation and transform divisive conflicts by fostering genuine connection and intersubjective understanding, particularly across lines of difference. Democratic deliberation fuses respectful discourse and rigorous analysis to render well-reasoned collective judgments. This division of NCA aims to advance the theory and practice of dialogue and deliberation by encouraging critical and collaborative exchanges among those who have new ideas, experiences, and research findings on these subjects.
The Public Relations Division provides an environment for public relations scholars and practitioners to explore how communication influences the organization–stakeholder relationship. This division welcomes research from diverse communication-based disciplinary areas and embraces a range of research methodologies, theoretical foundations, and topic areas. The Public Relations Division promotes research, teaching, service, and ethical practice of public relations as public relations seeks to build and maintain beneficial relationships among organizations and stakeholders. These organizations may include corporations, nonprofit organizations, nongovernmental organizations, transnational entities, governmental agencies on several levels, nation states, industry associations, and public relations firms and agencies. The range of stakeholders includes both internal and external publics, such as organizational members (employees, managers, etc.), community members, activists, customers, investors, donors, the media, governmental agencies, and others. Public relations best practices that are grounded in theory are essential in a 21st century in which communication technology has created a globalized world that is bringing people and organizations closer to one another while paradoxically creating tensions resulting from this increasing proximity.
Members of the Rhetorical and Communication Theory (RCT) Division study theoretical, critical, and empirical questions related to the field of rhetorical studies and communication theory. This division sponsors panels and presentations at the Annual Convention and presents awards to the authors of top papers. The RCT Division provides a space wherein scholars and teachers with diverse interests can come together to contribute to theorizing the field.
The primary purpose of the Spirituality Communication Division is to promote an understanding of spirituality from a communication perspective. Within this division, spirituality is grounded in three basic understandings: First, communication is the spiritual pathway through which individuals and groups make sense of the uncertainties and mysteries of everyday life. Second, spiritual communication has the capacity to unite diverse communities through the recognition of our interconnectedness. Third, spirituality, broadly defined, provides a template for examining and attempting to live a meaningful life through myriad experiences, practices, beliefs, and traditions. The division encourages a diverse range of theories, methodologies, pedagogies, and pracitces, and when relevant, the division encourages submitters to consider the applied implications of their work.
The Theatre, Film, and New Multi-Media Division promotes and supports the scholarship, teaching, and service activities of faculty who spend some or all of their time teaching, supervising, or creating theatrical performances. Speech and Theatre departments appeared in American universities and colleges, often together, in the early part of the 20th century. Many smaller schools still have "Communication Arts & Theatre" departments whose faculties often straddle many divisions within NCA. Members of the Theatre, Film, and New Multi-Media Division, therefore, often hold dual membership in other divisions. NCA Theatre, Film, and New Multi-Media Division is an affiliate organization with the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), established in 1999. This affiliation affords our members access to ATHE services, connections to 19 other affiliate organizations, and two slots at ATHE’s annual convention to promote NCA and share our scholarship and artistry. NCA’s Theatre, Film, and New Multi-Media Division welcomes scholarship on all aspects of theatre and performance and has demonstrated particular strengths in pedagogy and interdisciplinary case studies. Recognitions are offered for top papers, debut and contributed, at the NCA’s Annual Convention.
This division is unique to NCA as we focus our attention on how to facilitate adult learners through organizational training and development and consulting. The division is committed to the growth and quality of communication training. We demonstrate this commitment by promoting the teaching, study, research, and application of communication theory in training seminars, as well as the teaching of training and development theory and skills in undergraduate and graduate communication courses. Our commitment to scholarship is the foundation we use to educate students within the discipline. This commitment also allows us to provide training and development to organizations that is theoretically grounded in communication research. This bridge between engaged scholarship and practice sets us apart in the training delivery arena. We are interested in well-grounded reports of lessons learned, unique and complete training activities, and scholarly papers and panels. Our calls for submissions continually reflect this diversity. Please consider sharing your research and activities with our division when the next call for submissions is announced. You are also invited to attend one of our many panels and presentations at the NCA Annual Convention to learn more about our dynamic division.
The Visual Communication Division is concerned with inquiry into the visual from a number of perspectives, including rhetoric, media studies, intercultural communication, political communication, cultural studies, gender, and nonverbal communication. The objective of the unit is to advance theory, pedagogy, and understanding of visual meaning and form in texts and the communication process. Our programs seek to provide an arena for intersected concerns with visual aspects of communication among diverse areas of scholarship. Submissions to the unit must engage with theoretical aspects of the visual in some manner. We sponsor annual awards for published research in addition to top conference paper and top student paper awards.
The Communication Centers Section encourages and facilitates the exchange of scholarly and professional knowledge about issues related to communication centers. Communication centers may serve students, faculty, staff, and members of the local community. Staffed by undergraduates, graduate students, and/or faculty, centers deliver workshops, tutoring, and self-paced instruction through face-to-face and online methods. Trained consultants or peer tutors may assist students preparing for oral solo or group presentations, interviews, discussions, or debates, for example.
Communication centers aid faculty by providing guidance in the design, preparation, and assessment of speaking assignments. Centers are a valuable resource for individual instructors who want to develop oral communication components. In many cases, the centers are an imperative support system for Communication Across the Curriculum courses and communication department offerings.
Since the NCA 2001 Summer Conference, "Engaging 21st Century Communication Students" established a Communication Lab/Center Strand, annual conferences have offered a collaborative site for a growing number of scholars and administrators to share research and best practices. Anyone is welcome to join this lively and engaging section to further the mission of our communication field.
The Community College section promotes dialogue and research about the transformative role of communication education within community college settings. Our section and advocacy work addresses topics unique to the intersection of two-year institutions and community, as well as the broader contexts of the communication discipline and higher education. We sponsor conference programs, engage in relevant research, and share practical advice about a variety of topics including program & course development, student-centered pedagogical approaches, student demographics, administrative challenges, the influence of community colleges within higher education, and special programming on community.
The Elementary and Secondary Section welcomes membership from all academic levels. We seek to be in the forefront of curricular change and development in the areas of speaking, listening. and media literacy on the elementary and secondary levels. As such, the elementary and secondary teachers in the section work with university and college professors to evaluate the latest trends and ideas that will affect our classroom practice. To us, it is important that elementary and secondary students receive the best preparation possible in speaking, listening, and media literacy. While we strongly prefer that these subjects be taught by communication specialists, we realize that many universities and colleges no longer offer certification in communication, but place it all within language arts. Consequently, we also see part of our mission as reaching out to those teaching our subject areas, but without our backgrounds in order to strengthen their expertise in these areas. We seek to prepare our students for positive communication experiences in whatever path their lives may take. Therefore, we actively seek to incorporate the latest research and knowledge from areas of communication theory, instructional practices, technology, argumentation and debate, interpersonal, listening, and other specialties within our discipline to inform and improve our work. Thus, we encourage the membership of colleagues from all areas of our discipline.
The Emeritus/Retired Members Section (E/RMS) promotes research and other activities related to the common interests of emeritus/retired members and all other members of the NCA. We serve as an advocate for the concerns of emeritus/retired members and all others who are nearing retirement. We seek avenues of communication between our section and other NCA units in order to gather and disseminate information bearing upon shared concerns and interests. E/RMS has established interdisciplinary research exchanges with a host of other NCA units and invites the submission of thematic and/or discussion panels as well as research presentations for competitive review. We publish a bi-annual newsletter titled The Reminder. We also focus upon building a section membership base that deals with important, ongoing issues of "retirement," which are becoming increasingly complex and often confusing for many. Hence, E/RMS seeks to enlist NCA members and especially those over the age of 50, particularly those presently nearing or contemplating retirement. If our research interests and/or retirement issues are of concern to you, please select the Emeritus/Retired Members Section as one of your interest groups when renewing your NCA membership.
The Master’s Education Section works to promote dialogue and scholarship engaging issues of master’s level education in the communication disciplines. To fulfill this purpose, the section creates panels and programs at NCA’s Annual Convention that examine and improve master’s level education. In addition, we sponsor a Top Papers by Master’s Education Students contest, the winners of which receive a modest award and present their work at the NCA Annual convention.
The NCA Student Section comprises mostly graduate students and some recent Ph.D. graduates. This group is designed to meet the needs of graduate students, answer questions about the discipline, facilitate ideas, and make sure their voice is represented in this national organization. Like other divisions and sections of NCA, we have sponsored panels and a business meeting at the annual convention. Your membership in this group means you have a chance to participate in how this organization is run, whether you are elected to one of many leadership positions or you choose to review papers or chair/respond to a panel. This opportunity will prepare you for future tasks such as being a reviewer for a journal article. The NCA Student Section sponsors competitively selected papers, panels, and other programs at the annual convention. We emphasize methodological plurality and encourage people from different epistemological foundations to submit their papers to this section. The top paper winner is recognized during the business meeting and receives a cash prize for his or her excellent work.
The Undergraduate College and University Section addresses the interests of faculty and administrators in small to mid-sized undergraduate colleges and universities. It offers a forum for exploring teaching, research, and administration, and particularly for exploring the ways in which these areas are related. One of its most important functions is to build a scholarly, professional community for academics in smaller departments who want to exchange ideas and collaborate with other communication professionals.
The Asian/Pacific American Caucus comprises scholars who research and study the Asian/Pacific American culture. Members of this caucus work with the association to ensure that the interests of Asian/Pacific American members are taken into account for any policies or procedures. They also work to shed light on research pertaining to Asian/Pacific American cultures, and integrate that research with other units and divisions. They sponsor meetings and sessions at the annual convention and work with other NCA caucuses to create opportunities for scholars and strengthen the association as a whole.
Founded in 1968, the National Communication Association Black Caucus adopts the mission of supporting the research, service, teaching, professional development, and advocacy of its members.
The Caucus on Gay and Lesbian Concerns is the advocacy and political action arm for LGBT identified individuals in the National Communication Association. The caucus works to ensure that the policies and actions of the larger association are equitable and considerate of LGBT members. Specific duties of the caucus include annually bestowing the Randy Majors and Lambda Awards, sponsoring an annual forum or panel on a political or advocacy issue at the NCA convention, providing mentoring to faculty and students in the discipline, and building/maintaining relations with other minority caucuses within NCA.
The Disability Issues Caucus serves NCA members in multiple ways. First, the caucus supports NCA’s commitment to inclusiveness and diversity by promoting accessibility to all NCA activities for all interested parties, especially through coordinating efforts with NCA leadership to meet both the letter and spirit of ADA laws. Second, in addition to its dedication to accessibility for all NCA members, the caucus also provides a forum for scholarship on disability and communication that includes the critical area of Disability Studies. Third, the caucus is dedicated to the integration of disability issues into communication pedagogy and curriculum. The caucus also strives to make connections with local, national, and international organizations, and scholars and activists of disability rights as we strive for equity and unity among all people.
La Raza Caucus, in conjunction with the Latino/Latina Communication Studies Division, fosters the study of communication issues and their attendant intersections with matters of concern for Latino/Latina communities throughout the Americas. The caucus embraces an intersectional approach to identity that considers the ways race, ethnicity, class, gender, nation, and sexuality converge to shape Latino/Latina experiences. Members of the division and caucus embrace a variety of methodological perspectives, including critical, qualitative, and quantitative. The goals of the caucus are educational advocacy, networking, recruitment and retention, and cultural promotion.
The Women's Caucus mission is to advocate for women's improved status, voice, and opportunities in the discipline. In doing so, we are committed to exploring the diversity and complexities of women's lives in terms of their academic and professional experiences. In keeping with the spirit of this mission, the caucus encourages innovative and alternative ways of understanding and investigating women's experiences. We are committed to building alliances with other NCA divisions and caucuses that are interested in creating opportunities for students, recent graduates, and/or scholars who have not previously participated in NCA programming.
Interest Group Forms