Assessing and Advancing the Discipline
David T. McMahan
Missouri Western State University
Saturday, November 20, 2021
Emerging from one of the most tumultuous periods ever experienced by the academic world provides an opportune time to assess the state of the discipline and consider its future. Compared with other disciplines, degree completion rates, job reports, graduate student placement, along with other measures indicate a favorable position for the Communication discipline. The discipline's expansiveness, strength of scholarship, and quality of instruction further indicate its significance and its impact on academic and societal realms. At the same time, we must be mindful of areas in need of development and must be prepared to adapt to fluctuating academic environments, if we are to continue advancing the discipline. These areas and issues will be examined along with ways in which they might be addressed through personal efforts and through broader disciplinary endeavors.
Civic Activism and Social Justice: Leading NCA As/Through Change
Kent A. Ono
University of Utah
Saturday, November 21, 2020
Being NCA's President is both a tremendous honor, as well as a serious obligation. It is an honor, because members entrust a President with the power to lead by way of a unique role. It is an obligation, because, as a person of color, one strives to do their best for all members, as well as to honor the legacy of other NCA members of color who struggled historically and struggle contemporarily to make it a better Association. This talk will address the need for "civic activism," activism on behalf of people, as well as leading itself as change, meaning that one's very presence is both a sign of and an active part of change, as well as leading during tremendous and challenging historical circumstances.
The Coming Dark Age and the Future of Scholarly Associations
Star A. Muir
George Mason University
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Politically, socially, environmentally, even academically, we live in times of strife, with institutional foundations shifting, traditions crumbling, and an informational scene that betrays many of our core values as citizens. The specter of a democratic society that is plagued by chaos, division, and unwillingness to reason through tough choices goes beyond any single political leader, and poses special challenges to scholarly associations as they nurture their disciplinary areas and educate students and faculty to help solve the problems of their time. This address explores three areas of concern-distraction, discourse, and the professoriate-and then offers suggestions about how scholarly associations might reconsider the "value proposition" of their membership. First, Greenfield's analysis of the impacts of technology suggests that the rising "mind change" is as important to the future of humanity as climate change. Indeed, Gazzaley and Rosen's scientific work on distraction yields relatively clear conclusions about the impact of our new media ecology on attention and executive functioning, and journalists Carr and Jackson offer investigative support about the erosion of attention and the implications for cultural memory and problem -solving. Second, new media have fostered patterns of political interaction that balkanize citizens into their own echo chambers, impoverishing discourse, and weaponizing external and radical influence on campaigns and U.S. democratic processes. Finally, there are significant changes on the horizon for how young scholars interact, collaborate, and envision their academic careers, and what they value in a scholarly association may not reflect the values of the previous generation. How well scholarly associations address these challenges may influence how well we as a society can manage our social and political chaos in the long run.
Markers, Monuments, and Metaphors: Charting NCA's Legacies
Ronald L. Jackson II
University of Cincinnati
Saturday, November 10, 2018
The presence of commemorative plaques and historical markers facilitate at least three functions of our public memory: (1) reminding us of important moments, people, and events, (2) establishing our heroes, and (3) erecting our legacies. Every academic field metaphorically leaves traces of its history and sense of public memory through its institutional priorities and intellectual production. In this presidential address Jackson takes us on a journey through NCA's past challenging us to think about new possibilities and where we must go from here.
Communication, Globalization, and the Prospects for Solidarity
Stephen J. Hartnett, Ph.D.
University of Colorado, Denver
Saturday, November 18, 2017
In his 2017 NCA Presidential Address, Dr. Stephen J. Hartnett will situate the key dilemmas and opportunities of communication in our age of globalization. Arguing that the local is global, and that we are all inescapably interconnected via new media, economic, transportation, and cultural technologies, Hartnett will advocate for a new mode of cosmopolitan solidarity, one that is rooted in an ethic of civic engagement and social justice. Building upon the experiences of NCA's Task Force on Fostering International Collaborations in the Age of Globalization, Hartnett will focus in particular on building pathways of connectivity via international education programs, intercultural research collaborations, and transnational service commitments.
The Tipping Point: The Higher Education Establishment as a Public Good
Christina S. Beck, Ph.D.
Saturday, November 11, 2016
Over the past few years, we have remembered and celebrated important moments in NCA's journey as an association. During our Centennial Celebration, we reflected on scholarship that has shaped how and what we have learned thus far and legacies of service that have touched lives across the discipline. During last year's convention, the first of our second century, we embraced opportunities to consider what awaits for NCA and the Communication discipline.
Moving forward, we will co-author our discipline's emergent narrative(s) within the context of tough economic constraints, difficult societal problems, and the fragmented, hyper-mediated nature of contemporary life. We live in a world with fractured and divisive relationships on a host of levels, complicated by the ease of interacting with millions by merely clicking a key. As we look to the future, how can we share what we know about communication to foster civility, respect, and understanding within and beyond the academy? How can we equip our students and others in our communities to participate productively in interactions about complicated, multi-faceted, and sensitive issues? How can members of the Communication discipline more effectively help the teen-ager who suffers from brutal taunts from bullies… the twenty-something who feels lonely in spite of hundreds of Facebook "friends"… the person recently diagnosed with cancer and now juggling interactions with her health care providers, insurance company, employer, and well-meaning friends and co-workers who don't quite know what to say… the mayor who must somehow try to unify a shattered community amid yet another tragedy? How can we do even more to make our scholarship accessible and available to those who need it the most?
Together, as a discipline and as an association, we hold so much great potential for making even more of a difference in our second century. With optimism, determination, and creativity, we should pursue possibilities for positively, purposefully, and proactively impacting our students, communities, and world.
The Tipping Point: The Higher Education Establishment as a Public Good
Carole Blair, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Saturday, November 21, 2015
It hardly needs to be said, right? Everyone knows, don't they, that the research, teaching, and service missions of our colleges and universities contribute immeasurably to the well-being of the society, the economy, the culture, and the polity? Apparently everyone does not seem to know it. And it does need to be said and explained-repeatedly and persuasively-in the present moment. This will not be an address that preaches to "the choir." Instead, it will be about how we can possibly contribute to the effort-already declared by some to be lost-to save higher education and its missions.
Back to Our Future: The Presence of Our Past(s), the Echoes of Our Future
Kathleen J. Turner, Ph.D.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
One hundred years ago, in Chicago, Illinois, the first incarnation of what would become the National Communication Association appeared/organized. As we continue our celebration of NCA's centennial, what can we in 2014 learn from looking back at 1914 and ahead to 2114? How can a sense of where we've been help us understand where we are and where we could be? We have an opportunity for commemoration and reflections as we make connections among our past, present, and future.
It's a Wonderful Discipline
Steven A. Beebe, Ph.D.
Texas State University
Saturday, November 23, 2013
In his popular parody of survivalist culture, The Zombie Survival Guide, Max Brooks indexed a persistent challenge to communication studies. Brooks warned that while hunkered down in one’s fortress during a zombie apocalypse, one should use earplugs to muffle the zombie wail penetrating the walls because the zombie sound is “deadly.” Eric King Watts, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill argued the ideals of communication studies compel us to instead amplify the “incessant moan” and endow “zombie voice.”
“Difficult Dialogues, Difficult Choices": Re-envisioning NCA in an Era of Academic Backlash, Dwindling Financial Support, and a Whole Lot of Frustration
Rich West, Ph.D.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
NCA is at a crossroads. This challenging intersection requires us to reframe and retool many of our past practices and recast our association in a different light. The Presidential Address, ““'Difficult Dialogues, Difficult Choices': Re-envisioning NCA in an Era of Academic Backlash, Dwindling Financial Support, and a Whole Lot of Frustration,” delivered by NCA President Rich West, identifies several of the difficult conversations that lie ahead for both NCA, in particular and the communication field, in general, as our membership and academic institutions evolve. Always candid, usually humorous, and sometimes an agitator, Rich West shares his perspectives and positions on how NCA must "adapt to become adept" during these changing times.
Finding Our Way and Finding Our Voice
Lynn H. Turner, Ph.D.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
In the NCA Presidential Address, “Finding Our Way and Finding Our Voice,” Lynn H. Turner, Marquette University, explores the challenges and limits of voice and how voice is dependent upon many things, including authority to speak, willing listeners, and civil intent. She applies these ideas to our association and raises several questions including: 1) can an association of 8000+ members have a "voice"? 2) how can voice be exercised on an association level? 3) what do we have to do in order to have our voice be heard?
The 2011 Presidential Address and Award were sponsored by SAGE Publications.
Moving Toward NCA’s 100th: What Ties Carry and Keep Us Together?
Dawn O. Braithwaite, Ph.D.
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
As we reflect on the history of NCA and plan to celebrate our upcoming centennial in 2014, we find ourselves part of a discipline of vitality and breadth. A study of our association’s history helps us understand our diversity as scholars and teachers. At the same time we must also ask, what are the ties that carry and keep us together? Around what do we cohere as an association, discipline, programs, and as individual members of NCA? Dawn O. Braithwaite will reflect on these questions in her Presidential Address.