Women's Leadership Project

Women's Leadership Project main image

During the 20th century, hundreds of people provided leadership to the National Communication Association. Of the 80 20th-century journal editors, 13 were women; of the 78 presidents, 11 were women. The first woman president was Henrietta Prentiss in 1932; Maud May Babcock in 1936 was the second.

In the late 1990s, we became painfully aware that little was known about NCA’s early women leaders. Because they are now deceased, memories of their work are fading all too quickly into the many untold stories of our past. What recorded history of the association we do have resembles that of other mainstream institutions in that it primarily consists of the records of the men who founded and led the organization. The then-surviving women who served as presidents decided to change that situation. What follows in this section is part of that effort.

We agreed to begin with essays, collecting what we could find about the women no longer alive, to tell our own stories, and to invite similar narratives from women who have been editors or who were nominated to enter the presidential offices, but were not elected. We hope this will become a living, growing archive. We solicit readers’ feedback on useful additions or modifications. For now, these narratives offer to expand collective memories.

*University affiliations when president

  • Marcela Oberle, 1973, California State University, Los Angeles
  • Lucy Keele, 1982, California State University Fullerton
  • Carolyn Calloway Thomas, 1986, 1996, Indiana University
  • Judy Pearson, 1989, University of Ohio; renominated in 2001 and elected.
  • Judith Trent, 1988, University of Cinncinati; renominated in 1993 and elected.
  • Martha Watson, 1993, University of Maryland; renominated in 2001 and elected.
  • Linda Lederman, 1997, Rutgers University
  • Pamela Cooper, 2005, Northwestern University
  • Lynda Lee Kaid, 2006, University of Florida
  • Diana Carlin, 2007, University of Kansas
  • Sherry Morreale, 2008, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
  • Mary Lee Hummert, 2009, University of Kansas
  • Deanna Sellnow, 2010, University of Kentucky
  • Roseann Mandziuk, 2013, Texas State University

Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies

  • Robin Boylorn, University of Alabama (2022-2024)

Communication Education

  • Gladys Borchers, University of Wisconsin, (Speech Teacher), 1961-63
  • Mary Margaret Roberts, Kansas State College, (Speech Teacher), 1973-1975
  • Ruth Anne Clark, University of Illinois, 1997-1999
  • Patricia Kearney, California State University-Long Beach, 2006-2008
  • Melanie Booth-Butterfield, West Virginia University, 2009-2011
  • Deanna Dannels, NC State University, 2018-2020

Communication Monographs

  • Margaret McLaughlin, University of Southern California, 1987-1989
  • Judee Burgoon, University of Arizona, 1990-1992
  • Katherine Miller, Texas A&M University, 2011-2013
  • Tamara D. Afifi, University of California Santa Barbara, 2017-2019

Communication Teacher

  • Mary Bozik, University of Northern Iowa, 1989-1992
  • Joan Gorham, West Virginia University, 1992-1995
  • Joan E. Aitken, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1995-1998
  • Deanna Sellnow, University of Kentucky, 2008-2010
  • Cheri J. Simonds, Illinois State University, 2011-2013
  • Marian Houser, Texas State University, 2014-2016
  • Deanna Fassett, San Jose State University, 2017-2019

Critical Studies in Mass Communication

  • Sari Thomas, Temple University, 1990-1992
  • Celeste Michelle Condit, University of Georgia, 2002-2004
  • Bonnie Dow, University of Georgia, 2002-2004
  • Linda Steiner, University of Maryland, 2005-2007
  • Katherine Sender, University of Auckland, 2014-2016
  • Mia Consalvo, Concordia University, 2020-2022

First Amendment Studies/Free Speech Yearbook

  • Susan J. Drucker, Hofstra University, 2001-2004
  • Juliet Dee, University of Delaware, 2010-2012

Journal of International and Intercultural Communication

  • Rona Halualani, San Jose State University, 2014-2016
  • Bernadette Calafell, Gonzaga University, 2021-2023

Journal of Applied Communication Research

  • Julia T. Wood, University of North Carolina, 1994-1996
  • Joann Keyton, University of Kansas, 2003-2005
  • Laura Stafford, University of Kentucky, 2009-2011
  • Michele H. Jackson, University of Colorado, 2012-2014
  • Katherine Miller, Arizona State University, 2015-2017
  • Debbie S. Dougherty, University of Missouri, 2018-2020

Quarterly Journal of Speech

  • Marie Hochmuch Nichols, University of Illinois, 1963-65
  • Martha M. Watson, University of Maryland, 1990-1992
  • Barbara Warnick, University of Washington, 1996-1998
  • Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, University of Minnesota, 2002-2004
  • Barbara Biesecker, University of Georgia, 2014-2016
  • Mary Stuckey, The Pennsylvania State University, 2017-2019
  • Karrin Anderson, Colorado State University, 2020-2022

Review of Communication

  • Kathleen McConnell, San Jose State University, 2020-2022

Text and Performance Quarterly

  • Beverly W. Long, Louisiana State University, 1980-1983
  • Mary Frances HopKins, Louisiana State University, 1983-1986
  • Kristin M. Langellier, University of Maine, 1992-1994
  • Judith Hamera, California State University-Los Angeles, 1998-2000
  • Heidi Rose, Villanova University, 2010-2012
  • Mindy Fenske, University of South Carolina, 2016-2018