2020 NCA Award Winners

NCA Award Winners by Year

NCA’s annual awards will be bestowed on several distinguished members at the virtual convention. Below is the list of those who will be honored at the awards presentation.

Teaching Awards

Donald H. Ecroyd Award for Outstanding Teaching in Higher Education

ManningDr. Jimmie Manning is a Life Member of the National Communication Association and in the 15th year of full-time academic teaching; the selection committee felt that Dr. Manning is highly qualified for this award and embodies and enacts all that it seeks to recognize. Manning has chaired 20 master’s theses in the past 15 years and has been a member of 43 other master’s or doctoral committees. Manning has supervised over 40 different independent studies at the undergraduate or graduate level and is regularly available to students out of the classroom; the number of students that have worked with Manning suggest that this exemplary teacher’s popularity as a teacher and mentor is considerable. Manning has served as faculty advisor to four different student organizations, often involving students in service projects, research, and preparation for future careers. It is not uncommon to see Manning’s students presenting at conferences including, of course, NCA. Notably, the students Manning mentors do good research and are well-prepared for presenting; many of these students have won top student paper awards. Dr. Jimmie Manning has been a remarkable teacher and mentor, an innovative and productive scholar, a true servant to the discipline, and has used knowledge about communication to create positive change.

Michael and Suzanne Osborn Community College Outstanding Educator Award

Kerry Byrnes-LoinetteDr. Kerry Byrnes-Loinette, a professor at Collin County Community College, exemplifies excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service to the Communication discipline. Dr. Byrnes-Loinette has spent the last ten years contributing to the Collin County Community College community in remarkable ways. As would be expected from a nominee of Dr. Byrnes-Loinette’s caliber, a deep commitment to students is reflected both inside the classroom and outside of the classroom. Inside the classroom, Byrnes-Loinette’s focus on creating meaningful learning experiences for students is grounded in sound pedagogical theory and reflective of what meets the needs of a diverse body of students. A common thread ties together the qualitative feedback from these students: Byrnes-Loinette blends theory and practice in a way that provides students with the resources necessary to learn and to encourage them to take risks during the learning process. Byrnes-Loinette’s dedication as a teacher has been rewarded in numerous ways including being named as an ECA Distinguished Teaching Fellow as well as being the recipient of West Virginia University’s Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant award and its Pat Kearney Teaching Award. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Byrnes-Loinette has invested a significant amount of time helping to define processes that enhance the student learning experiences such as by undertaking various roles on the College’s Core Objective Assessment Team and participating in NCA’s Learning Outcomes in Communication project.

Wallace A. Bacon Lifetime Teaching Excellence Award

Dr. Richard Cherwitz, the Ernest A. Sharpe Centennial Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas-Austin is the 2020 recipient of NCA’s Wallace A. Bacon Lifetime Teaching Excellence Award. Over the past 40 years, Dr. Cherwitz has profoundly  affected cross-disciplinary undergraduates and graduate students through the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Consortium (IEC) at the UT, which Cherwitz founded and directed. The IEC brings Cherwitz’s “ethic of mentorship” to serving and developing students from educationally underrepresented populations to become “citizen-scholars.” Across a long career, Cherwitz maintained curiosity as a learner and encouraged students to pursue their interests and passions in ways that were novel and innovative.


Scholarship Awards

Bernard J. Brommel Award for Outstanding Scholarship or Distinguished Service in Family Communication

Dr. Goldsmith’s research lies at the intersection of family and health communication, with particular interest in family interactions surrounding chronically- and terminally- ill patients. Particularly meaningful is the COMFORT model, developed with Dr. Wittenberg, which locates the family as central to end-of-life care. Moreover, their work contributes not only to theory, but also to practice, as they actively apply their work in teaching and training health practitioners.

Dr. Wittenberg’s research advances understanding of family communication processes in the context of patient-provider communication, particularly regarding palliative care. With Dr. Goldsmith, Wittenberg extended the classic typology of family communication patterns to health communication, linking each of the family types to specific forms of caregiving. As one nominator observed, “Drs. Wittenberg and Goldsmith have successfully and consistently proven to be both rigorous in research and translation to the greater community by advancing family communication in order to change clinician communication behavior.”

Charles H. Woolbert Research Award

For the article “Communicating about Culture and Health: Theorizing Culture-Centered and Cultural Sensitivity Approaches,” published in Communication Theory in 2007.

The winner of the 2020 Charles H. Woolbert Research Award is Dr. Mohan Dutta for the article “Communicating about Culture and Health: Theorizing Culture-Centered and Cultural Sensitivity Approaches,” published in 2007 in the journal Communication Theory. Professor Dutta’s paradigm-shifting critical-theoretical and applied intervention into health communication contexts and practices, addresses structural inequalities and centers the voices of those struggling on global margins. In bold resistance to previous scholarship, “Communicating about Culture and Health” changed the discipline, expanded cross-disciplinary and cross-methodological collaboration, and influenced curricula in medical schools as well as clinical practice. Cited more than 600 times, in more than a dozen languages, on every continent, this article has also directly shaped projects benefitting “marginalized communities around the world, ranging from immigrant, African American, and First Nations communities in the United States and Canada, to migrant workers communities throughout South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, to minoritized communities in South Africa, South America, and more.”

Diamond Anniversary Book Award

For the book Terrorizing Gender: Transgender Visibility and the Surveillance Practices of the U.S. Security State, published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2019.

Terrorizing Gender is a timely and important exploration of increasing state-sanctioned violence and surveillance of trans people in the United States. This book mixes intersectionally-anchored critical cultural and sexuality studies in communication to examine framing for trans people in American popular culture. Essentially, Fischer’s question is this: How does the exponential increase in trans visibility—perhaps notoriety— coexist with increased documented violence against trans communities? The author presents three case studies which invite readers to consider the limits of social citizenship for persons who might be visible in popular culture but remain invisible in political and public spheres. Terrorizing Gender exemplifies rigorous explication of the communication of identity. The book is necessary in this moment of rescinding federal protections for transgender students and workers. Also, the book’s heuristic value includes potential contributions to broader discourse about authentic citizenship and social identity in the U.S.

Donald P. Cushman Memorial Award

For the essay “Race, Social Media News Use, and Political Participation.”

Luxuan Wang’s “Race, Social Media News Use, and Political Participation” stood out among a group of very fine papers nominated for the Donald P. Cushman Memorial Award. Given the current political and racial tensions in our country, the selection committee found this paper timely and useful as it has heuristic value for the role that social media platforms play in the political arena among racial backgrounds. This study’s ambitious statistical analysis offers results that both supports existing literature and offers direction for continued research in this important area.

Douglas W. Ehninger Distinguished Rhetorical Scholar Award

As one of the first decolonial scholars in the discipline, Dr. Raka Shome has produced an important body of work that untangles colonial rhetorical and media practices. Beginning with the landmark 1996 essay, “Postcolonial Interventions in the Rhetorical Canon: An ‘Other’ View” in Communication Theory, Dr. Shome has modeled an innovative attention to reading coloniality not only for its oppressive capacity, but also the often overlooked opportunities created by marginalized communities to claim space and voice. Shome’s work has offered critical and political perspectives with which to engage neocolonialism and racism in the U.S. and abroad. Resourcefully bridging critical scholarship to creatively theorize race as an idea that is both rhetorically constructed and experienced materially, Dr. Shome has published dozens of articles and book chapters. And Shome’s 2014 book, Diana and Beyond: White Femininity, National Identity, and Contemporary Media Culture (University of Illinois Press), offers readings of the complex intersection of Princess Diana’s iconic white femininity and the nation, with particular attention to how Diana traveled as an image nationally and globally to consolidate notions of empire.

As one of the foundational scholars in Black rhetorical studies, Dr. Kirt Wilson’s work has deeply shaped the field of rhetorical studies. Wilson is the author of Reconstruction’s Desegregation Debate: The Politics of Equality and the Rhetoric of Place, 1870-1875 (Michigan State University Press, 2002) and dozens of articles, book chapters, and keynote addresses on Black public address and politics in America. For decades, Dr. Wilson’s work on public memory, abolitionism, Reconstruction-era public address, civil rights rhetoric, rhetorical space and place, and cosmopolitanism has advanced the field of rhetoric by modeling historical rhetorical methods. Within the field of rhetoric, Wilson’s eloquent and theoretically rich work has expanded Black public address studies and Black rhetorical criticism by offering readings that elevate and amplify important orators and artifacts across the history of Black America.

Franklyn S. Haiman Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Freedom of Expression

For the book Thanks for Watching: An Anthropological Study of Video Sharing on YouTube, published by the University Press of Colorado in 2019.

Lange’s work highlights the value of self-expression and freedom of expression on the world’s largest video hosting site, You Tube. This 12-year participant-observation ethnography poignantly uncovers the journey of YouTubers as they negotiate their mediated sociality through the making and sharing of videos. The themes presented in this work include the establishment of a community of vloggers, who sought respite from the barriers and oversight of corporate media. The early users of the site harnessed the emancipatory potential of the digital sphere until the site was purchased itself and became yet another corporate entity with all of the requisite regulations, monetization and subscription policies along with content censorship, which serve as a threat to free speech on this social networking site platform.

Gerald M. Phillips Award for Distinguished Applied Communication Scholarship

The 2020 Gerald M. Phillips Award for Distinguished Applied Communication Scholarship is presented to Srividya Ramasubramanian. Dr. Ramasubramanian’s revolutionary approach exemplifies the essence of the award. It shows how applied communication scholars can simultaneously and collaboratively infuse pressing social issues in communication research, while bringing communication research to bear on our local and global communities. Ramasubramanian’s scholarly and public achievements tremendously influence the discipline of Communication and the communities served by this research. Dr. Ramasubramanian’s innovative research involving media literacy initiatives including Media Rise, Muslims and Media, and work fostering difficult dialogues, are particularly noteworthy.

Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Awards

For the dissertation completed at the University of Denver, “Julia de Burgos, Embodied Excess, and (un)Silenced Memory: A Decolonial Feminist Analysis of Performances of Resistance.”

Advisor: Bernadette Marie Calafell

This dissertation makes an argument for a decolonial move in rhetorical memory studies to more ethically account for the ways in which colonized women in the Global South, like Puerto Rican poet and revolutionary Julia de Burgos, have resisted the trauma colonization has systemically wrought against gendered, raced, and classed bodies. Building from a decolonization methodology, and theoretically situating arguments in Chicana, Latina, and decolonial feminisms, the author argues Burgos’s poetry both bears faithful witness to the violence of U.S. imperial rule and articulates the dangers of a Puerto Rican nationalist movement built on a Spanish colonial foundation.

For the dissertation completed at the University of Utah, “The Impacts of Visual Message Features in Cancer Risk Communication.”

Advisor: Jakob D. Jensen

This dissertation focuses on visuals as a means of communicating health information. Visuals are often used to communicate health information, including information about cancer risk. Although messages about cancer often include visuals, corresponding research explicating visual features and effects remains relatively scarce. This dissertation launched three studies employing multiple methodological perspectives to initiate a research program that investigated the persuasive impact of visual message features in the context of cancer prevention and control.

For the dissertation completed at Purdue University, “‘Dando Las Gracias A Mis Papás’: A Discursive Analysis of Perceptions of Policy and ‘Callings’ Across Generations of Latinx Immigrants.”

Advisor: Patrice M. Buzzanell

U.S. rhetoric that embraces immigration is juxtaposed with the lived experiences of Latinx immigrants, the country’s largest immigrant group. Immigration policies portray immigrants negatively, contrasting deserving/good with undeserving/bad. This study uses d/Discourse (i.e., everyday talk/societal understandings) to investigate how immigrants from different generations make sense of policy, immigrant portrayals, and their lives through the lens of “calling.” Semi-structured interviews were conducted with different generations of immigrants (N=36). The main theoretical contribution of this study suggests that callings can be enacted and fulfilled intergenerationally.

Golden Anniversary Monograph Award

For the article “The Strong Black Woman Collective Theory: Determining the Prosocial Functions of Strength Regulation in Groups of Black Women Friends,” published in Journal of Communication in 2019.

Shardé M. Davis

Tamara D. Afifi

Davis and Afifi examine Black women’s communication patterns in ways that call into question decades of assumptions of interpersonal communication research, which has largely been generated from White, middle class college students in rural parts of the United States. For example, much of the research on Burleson’s research on person-centered communication argues that “low person centered” messages that are more direct and challenging tend to be ineffective forms of social support. But, in Black women’s friendship circles, low person-centered messages are often used to reaffirm strength within the friendship group and denigrate an outgroup member who poses as a threat.

For the article “‘Communication sovereignty’ as Resistance: Strategies Adopted by Women Farmers Amid the Agrarian Crisis in India,” published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research in 2019.

Mohan Dutta

Dutta and Thaker’s article is based on five years of participatory research with women farmers in southern India. Against a backdrop of neoliberal agricultural transformation, gender- and caste-based disenfranchisement, the article highlights how women from oppressed caste communities in southern India come together to organize for increased economic and political power. The intervention that this article develops and emerges from addresses one of the most pressing issues of our time: food. Based upon the culture-centered approach, which illuminates the intersecting influences of culture, structure, and agency, the article situates the voices of Dalit (outcaste) women farmers against a backdrop of neoliberal agricultural policies.

James A. Winans-Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address

For the book Homeland Maternity: U.S. Security Culture and the New Reproductive Regime published by the University of Illinois Press in 2019.

Working from a reproductive justice framework that is necessarily attuned to race and class and myriad forms of consequential difference, Fixmer-Oraiz keenly demonstrates how topics and practices of maternal “choice” are shaped by discourses of nationalism, racial difference, and poverty. In this finely historicized account of maternity, often understood as salient to cis-sexed humans, Fixmer-Oraiz keeps the reader aware of how trans and gender non-binary people are implicated by or exiled from what is conceptually innovated as homeland maternity. Further still, Homeland Maternity explains why all of the reasoned, rational, and evidenced arguments in the world are not enough; institutional, legal, and rhetorical constructions circumscribe women, pregnant people, those who parent, and mothers and, in so doing, define what evidence is admissible, which authorities are recognized, and what policies can be considered.

James L. Golden Outstanding Student Essay in Rhetoric Award

For the essay “Uncanny Demonstration: Holographic Cyborg Politics in Hologramas Por La Libertad.”

When in 2015 the Spanish Senate passed a controversial law that would impose costly fines for gathering to protest in front of government buildings, a coalition of dissenters responded by projecting holographic images of protestors as stand ins for the people who were banned from being physically present. From that experience, Kate Rich’s impressive essay interrogates the line between the human and non-human rhetorical body, raising important questions about the immediacy and mediation of collective action. Rich finds that an uncanny form of cyborg rhetoric can displace traditional notions of rights and rhetoricity as a last resort for resistance in authoritarian times. Rich’s paper challenges us to consider the dystopian political alternatives ushered in by digital projections of the social body.

Karl R. Wallace Memorial Award

The committee found Kennerly’s proposed project, Automatic Athens, which seeks to complicate appeals to Athens as a model democracy, both influential and innovative. This project will undoubtedly expand on Dr. Kennerly’s impressive existing body of work, which continues to build important linkages between contemporary technologies and ancient rhetorics. The committee believes that this book will make important interventions into some of the field’s most sacred, taken-for-granted assumptions about democracy, progress, and the future.

Leslie Irene Coger Award for Distinguished Performance

Dr. Patricia Suchy, professor of performance studies at Louisiana State University, has been instrumental over the last three decades, almost beyond compare, in furthering the practice and study of live performance. Reviewers of Suchy’s work have described it as: “pioneering, generative, magnificent, boundary-expanding, exemplary, and without peer.” This work takes a variety of forms, from a chamber theatre adaptation of Marilynne Robinson’s novel Housekeeping, to a multi-media performance Persistence of Vision: Antarctica, a large installation project, which juxtaposes historic photographs with contemporary video portraits of life in Antarctica. Few scholars in the history of our discipline can match the sheer abundance, interdisciplinary originality, and wide-ranging impact of Dr. Suchy’s achievements in live performance.

Lilla A. Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies

The 2020 recipient of the Lilla A. Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies is Professor Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Scott-Pollock’s book Embodied Performance as Applied Research, Art, and Pedagogy is a profoundly personal and emotional account of and handbook for those who would do the kind of community-based work Scott-Pollock has done with performance ensembles. Scott-Pollock’s rigorous empathy deftly moves between important ideas drawn from critical-cultural studies to performance-as-scholarship to research and performance ethics. This book is essential for performance scholars and students alike with social justice and mortality at the center of the writing.

Mark L. Knapp Award in Interpersonal Communication

Dr. Kory Floyd has shaped the field of interpersonal communication through both theory and research on affectionate communication, including pioneering work in the biosocial realm. Dr. Floyd’s high-quality scholarship and ground-breaking methods have resulted in over 100 articles and book chapters. Floyd has served the discipline in myriad ways, from editorships to serving as an NCA division chair. Dr. Floyd is a generous collaborator and mentor to students and faculty alike, and a role model for public intellectualism. For all these reasons and more, the selection committee considers it an honor to name Dr. Kory Floyd as the recipient of the 2020 Mark L. Knapp Award in Interpersonal Communication.

Orlando L. Taylor Distinguished Scholarship Award in Africana Communication

Dr. Kehbuma Langmia is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Strategic, Legal and Management Communications at Howard University. Dr. Langmia’s scholarly accomplishments are evidenced through a record of prolific scholarship in Africana Communication studies. Langmia’s extensive work is highlighted both nationally and internationally. The groundbreaking book Black/Africana Communication Theory led to Langmia being selected by the U.S. Department of State for a Fulbright Award. In addition, the originality and timeliness of Langmia’s body of work creates a significant and enduring contribution to the study of African American and/or the African Diaspora communication and culture.

Stephen E. Lucas Debut Publication Award

For the article “Intersectional Rhetoric: Where Intersectionality as Analytic Sensibility and Embodied Rhetorical Praxis Converge,” published in the Quarterly Journal of Speech in 2019.

The selection committee praised this article as being timely, progressive, thoughtful, and creative. Otis’s article is both culturally and theoretically significant. The article shows great depth and complexity, showcasing both theory development and application, while conveying the ideas in an accessible and relevant way. It expands our understanding of critical and feminist rhetoric and broadens current approaches intersectionality. The selection committee felt that this article has the potential to become a “go-to” article for emerging and established scholars alike.


Service Awards

Robert J. Kibler Memorial Award

Dr. Vincent R. Waldron, Professor of Communication and Lincoln Professor of Relational Ethics at Arizona State University, is this year’s recipient of the Robert J. Kibler Memorial Award. Dr. Waldron’s career-long service activities embody a dedication to excellence to the Communication discipline. Waldron’s commitment to the profession is evidenced by his past membership on both NCA’s Leadership Development Committee and Legislative Assembly, chairing the 2014-2015 NCA Presidential Task Force on Disciplinary Advocacy, serving as either an invited reviewer or editorial board member for numerous scholarly journals, and acting as the Faculty Coordinator of the Family Communication Consortium at ASU. Through these activities, Dr. Waldron strives to build positive, healthy communities and relationships, and models ways to do so by communicating with others in a candid, caring, and forthright manner.

Samuel L. Becker Distinguished Service Award

Dr. Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, Professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University, is this year’s recipient of the Samuel L. Becker Distinguished Service Award. One of the most widely-recognized leaders in the Communication discipline, Dr. Calloway-Thomas is a former president of both the Central States Communication Association and the World Communication Association, a former chair of NCA’s Finance Board, a former member of NCA’s Educational Policies Board, and a member of several NCA association-wide committees and presidential task forces; Calloway-Thomas also received the Robert J. Kibler Memorial Award in 1999. In 2019, the Central States Communication Association honored with Calloway-Thomas with a named Inclusivity Speakers series at its annual convention. Over the course of a long career, Dr. Calloway-Thomas has promoted the Communication discipline with, among other entities, the National Council for Black Studies, the nation-wide Educational Testing Services, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Furthermore, Dr. Calloway-Thomas is world-renowned for a devotion to promoting and exploring the link between communication and diversity in the Baltics, Asia, and Africa as well as across North America.


Distinguished Scholar Awards

Dr. Dawn O. Braithwaite is the Willa Cather Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. A past president for both the National Communication Association and the Western States Communication Association, Dr. Braithwaite has been awarded NCA's Samuel L. Becker Award for Distinguished Service, The Bernard J. Brommel Award for Family Communication, and WSCA's Distinguished Scholar Award. Professor Braithwaite also boasts an extraordinary record of scholarship. In addition to trailblazing a path for interpretive qualitative research in interpersonal and family communication studies, Braithwaite has exhibited exemplary intellectual leadership in building and promoting theory in the discipline. Indeed, the co-edited collections Engaging Theories in Family Communication and Engaging Theories in Interpersonal Communication serve as both extensive overviews of the theoretical terrains of interpersonal and family communication, but also as a space where cutting edge theories and perspectives are explored and developed. Of course, Braithwaite’s contributions to research about abilities and disabilities as well as the extensive work exploring positive stepfamily relationships has made palpable contributions to interdisciplinary studies of relationships and family. Professor Braithwaite has a deep record of research, with over 125 publications, including a number of peer-reviewed articles in top disciplinary and interdisciplinary journals as well as six books, including the co-edited Handbook of Communication and People with Disabilities. Dr. Braithwaite truly has and continues to pave bold new paths for the possibilities of communication research.

Dr. James Chesebro was truly one of the intellectual leaders of our discipline, and it is fitting that this work be recognized by the Distinguished Scholar Award. Chesebro’s record of publication, first and foremost, is more than deserving of this award. During Chesebro’s career, this prolific scholar published eight books, and over 75 journal articles and book chapters, several of which have been reprinted. Collectively, Chesebro’s work has received well over 2,000 citations. Just as important, however, are the many ways in which Dr. Chesebro expanded the discipline. Chesebro was an award-winning pioneer in the study of LGBTQ communication issues and a key figure in establishing the study of gay and lesbian communication as a legitimate area of inquiry—an achievement which became even more critical as the HIV/AIDS epidemic emerged. In fact, the acclaimed 1981 book, Gayspeak: Gay Male and Lesbian Communication was not only recognized within academic settings but was also sold in many gay bookstores. Chesebro was one of the leading figures in the establishment of the Caucus on Gay and Lesbian Concerns, which established a critical space for connecting scholars working in this area. In addition, Dr. Chesebro was a pioneer in the study of Computer Mediated Communication and a leading voice in Burkean rhetorical theory and criticism, authoring works still considered touchstones by those in the discipline. Taken together, it is clear that Dr. Chesebro was a leader in expanding the intellectual boundaries of our discipline, while remaining grounded in the established modes of theory and inquiry that lie at its foundation.

Dr. Dana Cloud has, over the past twenty-five years, generated an influential, discipline-shaping research agenda in the areas of rhetorical theory, rhetorical criticism, and social movement rhetorics. Cloud’s outstanding record of publications, invited lectures, awards from across multiple divisions of NCA, and intellectual leadership all testify to the quality and impact of this work in our discipline. Indeed, as all those in rhetorical studies know, Cloud’s published scholarship has prompted some of the most intriguing ongoing debates in the field, making her a perfect candidate for the Distinguished Scholar Award. Perhaps most notably, Dr. Cloud’s scholarship has sparked important discussions concerning the relationship between communication, materiality, and knowledge claims. Cloud’s work on these epistemological issues began with the 1994 article, “Materiality of Discourse as Oxymoron” (cited over 250 times) and is routinely cited as representative of an historical material perspective in Communication. Not only have these provided a needed theoretical counterbalance to the poststructuralist/postmodernist tendency in much communication scholarship, but Cloud has influenced generations of students through publications, award-winning teaching and mentoring, and service to the discipline. Further, in addition to the accolades from those in rhetorical studies and critical/cultural studies, Dr. Cloud’s recognition by the Feminist and Women’s Studies Division and the Caucus on LGBT Concerns indicate the ways in which this scholarship and service to NCA have also helped lead the discipline in directions of inclusivity and justice. In all these ways, Dr. Cloud is one of the foremost scholars in our field, and justly deserving of a 2020 Distinguished Scholar Award.

Dr. Ron Jackson is a Professor in the Communication Department at the University of Cincinnati and is past co-editor of Critical Studies in Media Communication; Jackson has had a profound impact on the Communication discipline through exceptional and extensive mentoring, publishing, and service. Whether it has been as NCA President, Co-Editor of Critical Studies in Media Communication, ECA President, Chair of NCA Finance Board, Dean of a College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Cincinnati or in any of the other many leadership capacities, Professor Jackson has been a considerable force throughout a long career. Author of more than 75 peer-reviewed publications and 15 books, Jackson is as well-respected in African American Studies and sociology as in Communication. Unquestionably, Jackson’s extensive and valuable work on communication and black masculinity, identity negotiation, Whiteness, and Afrocentricity more than qualifies Jackson as a fitting representative of the best scholarship in our discipline. As one of the most consequential intellectuals of our discipline, Jackson is in the very top ranks of Communication scholars by virtue of the theoretical work in pushing our thinking toward new interpretations of communication and gender, and intercultural and interpersonal nuances and behaviors in various intersections; Jackson has brought the discipline closer to the issues of equity and social equality than any other scholar in our discipline. Dr. Jackson has created an entirely new school of thinking about African American communication and identities that crosses the disciplines of Communication, African American Studies and sociology.

Dr. Brian H. Spitzberg is the Senate Distinguished Professor of Communication at San Diego State University. A professor for 40 years, his research has been essential in establishing the “dark side” of interpersonal relationships. As the author or coauthor of over 100 articles and book chapters and the author of several scholarly books—including both the Gerald R. Miller Book Award winner The Dark Side of Relationship Pursuit: From Attraction to Obsession and Stalking and the area-defining Handbook of Communication Competence—Professor Spitzberg has helped to nudge relationships away from a “positivity bias” and into a scholarly space where conflict and aggression can be studied and understood both in positive and negative terms. This robust line of research has garnered Spitzberg interdisciplinary acclaim, including recognition from fields including psychology, sociology, social work, and women’s studies. With over 16,000 scholarly citations, Spitzberg is established as one of the world’s foremost authorities in both research about stalking as well as studies of communication competence. Already an honoree by the Western States Communication Association with their lifetime Distinguished Scholar Award, Dr. Spitzberg is honored now for a remarkable record of national and international influence on interpersonal communication studies, the continued development of advanced research designs across the field, and for a number of other areas of study—ranging from online memes to the geo-spatial diffusion of political discourses—to which Spitzberg has contributed.

Over the last 26 years, Dr. Sarah J. Tracy has developed a significant program of study in the area of emotions and well-being in organizational communication. Tracy is one of the best-known qualitative methodologists in the field, with the model for qualitative quality and phronetic iterative approach to qualitative research influencing scholars throughout the subdisciplines and used by a number of other disciplines such as education, management, and sociology. Tracy’s research—which includes ethnographies on cruise ships, 911call centers, correctional facilities and in-depth case analyses of workplace bullying targets and hospice workers—is regularly featured in courses and books related to organizational communication and qualitative research methods. Furthermore, it has garnered a number of top articles, papers, and disciplinary awards (including the Charles Woolbert Award). Tracy’s research has broken ground, bringing to the discipline the study of topics like emotion management and workplace bullying and is continuing to evolve, with recent essays related to inclusion, conversation, experiential learning, and the whiteness of merit. Together, this scholarship has resulted in theoretical development of communication as it relates to identity, emotion, organizational well-being, burnout, communicative craft practice, and compassion. As of April 16, 2020, Google Scholar reports that Tracy’s scholarship has amassed 12,354 total citations, with 8,665 citations in the last five years, and an h-index of 27. This includes a total of over 90 scholarly publications which breaks down into two books (one in its second edition), almost 50 journal articles, a little more than 30 book chapters or encyclopedia entries, another 15 essays or creative endeavors such as white papers, scholarly performances, and book reviews, and a number of funded grants.