Leadership and Governance

NCA is led by dedicated professionals who volunteer their time to advance the goals and objectives of the association. 

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee of the Legislative Assembly (LA) administers the policies of the Assembly and, between annual meetings of the LA, serves as the chief administrative authority of the Association.

Ronald Jackson II

Ronald Jackson II

University of Cincinnati


Ron Jackson is Professor in the Department of Communication at University of Cincinnati. He is CEO and Founding Principal Consultant of Cinspire Consulting and Coaching, a management consulting firm specializing in communication, team building, strategic transformation, as well as diversity and inclusion. Dr. Jackson has been engaged in training, research, and education for over 20 years.

He is one of the leading communication and identity scholars in the nation, and is author of fourteen books including Scripting the Black Masculine Body in Popular Media, Interpreting Tyler Perry (with Jamel Bell; Routledge), the 2014 Comic-Con Eisner Award winning book Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation (with Sheena Howard; Bloomsbury), and the forthcoming anthology Gladiators in Suits: Race, gender, and politics of representation in Scandal (with Kimberly Moffit and Simone Puff). His research has won numerous awards including the National Communication Association’s Franklyn Haiman Award and the Eastern Communication Association’s Everett Lee Hunt Award.

Star Muir

Star Muir

George Mason University


Star Muir is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at George Mason University, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in Rhetoric and Communication, and his most recent service to NCA was as Newsletter Editor, Programmer and Chair of the Human Communication and Technology Division.
Star’s research on language and the symbolic in environmental and scientific communication resulted in a co-edited book on Earthtalk: Communication Empowerment for Environmental Action, and articles in Philosophy and Rhetoric, Critical Studies in Mass Communication, Etc.:  A Review of General Semantics, and Speech Communication Teacher, among others.  Star has focused his research most recently on millennials and the challenges of teaching, learning and labeling for “digital natives,” exploring critical themes of attention, distractability, and evolving habits of mind in today’s students with a special emphasis on flipped classroom pedagogy and teaching mindfulness through micro-practices.  Star’s innovative educational media won both Telly and Communicator awards of distinction.
A debate coach for almost 20 years, Star’s record shows a commitment to novice and public debate as well as excellence and competitive success at the national level.  For his efforts he received Distinguished Service awards from both programs at the University of Massachusetts and George Mason University, and a University Teaching Excellence award from Mason. Working for eight years as the Director of Learning Support Services in the Information Technology Unit at Mason, he supervised a half million dollar budget with twenty-two staff and assisted faculty, students and staff in building critical IT skills for the twenty-first century.  
In his work for the federal government, Star has presented workshops on plain language, scientific writing and information graphics to the Centers for Disease Control, and on professional writing to the Office on Women’s Health and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. 

Stephen J. Hartnett

Kent Ono

University of Utah


Kent A. Ono is Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Utah. His research focuses on media representations of race, gender, sexuality, class, and nation. Professor Ono has made significant contributions to rhetoric and communication theory in three primary areas: critical rhetoric, race and colonialism, and rhetoric and media. His groundbreaking work with John Sloop (Vanderbilt University) in the highly popular area of critical rhetoric has helped change the field of rhetorical studies. Additionally, he has been a scholarly leader of research on race and colonialism in the field of communication, with the best example of this being his book, Contemporary Media Culture and the Remnants of a Colonial Past (2009, Peter Lang), which studies the rhetoric of colonialism in the United States and has been translated into Chinese (Tsinghua University Press). Professor Ono has also contributed to research in rhetoric and media, where his work on television shows such as Mad Men, Star Trek, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, for example, and his work on films such as Pocahontas, Avatar, and Come See the Paradise, have had a significant impact on critical media research. He is past editor of Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies and Critical Studies in Media Communication (with Ron Jackson). He is also the founding editor of the book series, Critical Cultural Communication, at New York University Press (which he edited with Sarah Banet-Weiser).

Stephen J. Hartnett

Stephen J. Hartnett

University of Colorado Denver


Stephen John Hartnett is a Professor in the Department of Communication at The University of Colorado Denver, where he is the editor of Captured Words/Free Thoughts, an annual magazine of poems and stories crafted by imprisoned writers. For the past 27 years, he has been teaching in, writing about, and working for change at America's prisons. He has taught college classes and poetry workshops in prisons and jails in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, California and Colorado, and has facilitated workshops, participated on panels, and given lectures against the death penalty in 28 states. His commentary on these subjects has appeared in Salon, AlterNet, In These Times, and others, and on MSNBC and over 100 radio stations. 

He is one of the co-founders of PCARE, a national group of scholars who work on Prison Communication Activism Research and Education. In recognition of this work, he has received numerous awards, including the Northwest Communication Association's 2008 Human Rights Award, the University of Colorado's 2010 Thomas Jefferson Award, and the University of Colorado Denver’s 2014 Service Excellence Award. 

Hartnett is the author or editor of 9 books and dozens of publications related to democracy, social justice, prisons, globalization and empire, and the death penalty, including his latest work, the co-edited Imagining China: Rhetorics of Nationalism in the Age of Globalization, forthcoming from the Michigan State University Press in 2017. His publications appear in venues such as the Quarterly Journal of SpeechRhetoric & Public Affairs, the Journal of Applied Communication Research, and Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies. He is the recipient of numerous research awards, including the Winans and Wichelns Award for Distinguished Research in Public Address, the National Communication Association’s Golden Monograph Award, the Karlyn Kohrs Campbell Prize in Rhetorical Criticism, and a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Justin Boren

Justin Boren

Santa Clara University


Justin P. Boren is an associate professor in the department of communication at Santa Clara University, where he teaches courses in organizational and interpersonal communication, quantitative research methods, and communibiology. He received his PhD from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. He also holds an M.A. and a B.A. from California State University, Long Beach. Boren's scholarship focuses on the way that social support networks impact the experience of co-worker stress. He studies work/life balance, organizational culture, psychological and physiological stress, and employee relationships. His work on social support networks led him to the development of a unique construct called "communicatively restricted organizational stress" (CROS), which is defined as an employee's perceived inability to communicate about particular stressors. His work has linked CROS to specific health-related outcomes and he is currently working with colleagues to develop intervention techniques to reduce employee stress in high CROS organizations. His work has also explored the impact of co-rumination (or excessive problem talk between individuals) on psychological and physiological outcomes. Boren is a commissioner with the Santa Clara County Human Relations Commission, which works to advise the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on human rights-related issues within the county. He is also the Second Vice President of the Western States Communication Association.

Shannon VanHorn

Shannon VanHorn

Valley City State University


Shannon VanHorn is a Professor of Education and Graduate Studies at Valley City State University. She holds both an M.S. and a Ph. D. in Communication Studies from North Dakota State University.  She has served NCA on the nominating committee, through the leadership rotation of the Human Communication and Technology Division and the Communication and the Future Division, chaired The Donald P. Cushman Award, and as a member of the Educational Policies Board.

In addition, VanHorn is active in the Central States Communication Association, having served through the leadership rotation of the Instructional Resource Interest Group and currently as a member of the Presidential Economic Initiative of Higher Education. She has been the President of the Communication, Speech, and Theatre Association of North Dakota, as well as edited the Journal of Communication, Speech, and Theatre of North Dakota.

VanHorn’s research interests include communication pedagogy, instructional technology, faculty development, and online learning, and has published in such venues as Argumentation and Advocacy, Communication Quarterly, Journal of Advertising Education, and Qualitative Research Reports. 


Legislative Assembly

The Legislative Assembly (LA) is the principal policy-making body of the association and is responsible for managing its resources and affairs.

Councils and Committees

Teaching and Learning Council
The Teaching and Learning Council supports and promotes disciplinary pedagogy through facilitation of professional development opportunities for Communication educators and through dissemination efforts beyond the discipline. The board works jointly with the director of academic & professional affairs.
Council Chair: Shannon VanHorn, Valley City State University
Council Members:
  • Kyle Rudick, University of Northern Iowa
  • Cheri Simonds, Illinois State University
  • Vinita Agarwal, Salisbury University
  • Nelle Bedner, University of Central Arkansas
  • Joseph P. Mazer, Clemson University
  • Susan Ward, Delaware County Community College

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee oversees the financial well-being of the association. It is responsible for routinely reviewing the association’s investments and operating budget and develops financial policies.The board works jointly with chief financial officer.
Committee Chair: Ronald Shields, Sam Houston State University
Committee Members:
  • Marnel Niles Goins, California State University, Fresno
  • Raymie McKerrow, Ohio University

Publications Council

The Publications Council oversees the association’s publications program including, among many other things, the development of relevant policy and the recommendation of new journal editors to the Legislative Assembly.The board works jointly with the director of external affairs and publications.
Council Chair: Bonnie Dow, Vanderbilt University
Council Members:
  • Graham Bodie, University of Mississippi
  • Patrice M. Buzzanell, University of South Florida
  • Bryant Keith Alexander, Loyola Marymount University
  • Erina L. MacGeorge, Penn State University
  • Cara Anne Finnegan, University of Illinois
  • Thomas Nakayama, Northeastern University

Research Council

The Research Council supports and promotes disciplinary research through facilitation of professional development opportunities for communication scholars and through external advocacy efforts. The board works jointly with the director of academic & professional affairs.
Council Chair: Mindy Fenske, University of South Carolina
Council Members: 
  • Dustin Goltz, DePaul University
  • Eric King Watts, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Robin M. Boylorn, University of Alabama
  • John P. Caughlin, University of Illinois
  • Norah Dunbar, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Tina Harris, University of Georgia

Diversity Council

The Diversity Council is responsible for monitoring and making recommendations to enhance the diversity of the Association.
Council Chair: Justin Boren, Santa Clara University
Council Members:
  • Richie Hao, Antelope Valley College
  • Kami Anderson, Kennesaw State University
  • Alice Veksler, Christopher Newport University
  • Brian Grewe, University of Denver
  • Michael Lechuga, University of Texas, El Paso
  • Roseann Mandziuk, Texas State University


Governance Committees

Nominating Committee
The Nominating Committee prepares a slate for the election of the second vice president and the at-large members of the Legislative Assembly and Leadership Development Committee.
Leadership Development Committee
The Leadership Development Committee makes recommendations to fill member vacancies on boards, award committees, and standing committees.
Resolutions Committee
The Resolutions Committee considers resolutions that may be included in the association’s Policy Platform.


To submit a proposal regarding administrative policy for the association, please include a rationale for the policy, relevant historical information about the issue under consideration, and a clear description of the full range of implications of the decision for the organization. It is incumbent upon submitters of administrative policy proposals to study the relevant issues before making a submission. Proposals should be sent to the NCA Executive Director. The Executive Director will send the proposal to the NCA committee with the most relevant expertise for review and recommendation. That recommendation will then go to the Executive Committee for consideration and recommendation and to the Legislative Assembly for a final vote.