The following section of frequently asked questions addresses general convention information attendees should familiarize themselves with before planning to attend the NCA Annual Convention.
Q. When and where is NCA’s annual convention this year?
NCA will celebrate its 107th Annual Convention this year in Seattle, WA from Thursday, November 18 through Sunday, November 21, 2021. Preconferences and some business meetings will take place on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.
Q. What properties are hosting the NCA Convention?
The NCA 107th Annual Convention will be held at the Washington State Convention Center and the Sheraton Seattle. Hotel rooms will also be available at the Westin Seattle and Hotel Theodore in addition to the Sheraton Seattle. Westin Seattle and Hotel Theodore will not host any convention sessions.
Q. What do I need to do before the convention?
Please visit the Hotel and Travel Information webpage for information on travel and making your hotel reservation. When considering your registration options, check out the Registration Information webpage. Take advantage of substantial discounts by registering early! Hotel reservations will open and online registration will open in July 2021.
Q. Can my partner, child, or family member accompany me at convention?
Your family members or friends do not need to pay the registration fee if they are only planning to attend a single session to see/hear you present. Friends and family who are planning to attend other programs, convention receptions or visit the exhibit area are required to register. For a $50 registration fee, they are welcome at all general sessions and events of general interest as well as receptions. All friends and family registrations must be purchased onsite in Seattle.
Q. Where can I find information on the convention program?
The convention program will be available online in July 2021 on NCA Convention Central. Sessions can be searched by title, keyword, presenter/participant name, or by NCA Interest Group/affiliate. You may also browse a daily grid of sessions.
Q. How can I get a copy of the 2021 Annual Convention program?
Registered attendees may elect to receive a printed program book, or opt to utilize the online program or program app. Printed program books are distributed when you check-in in Seattle. The convention program is available on NCA Convention Central beginning in July. NCA Convention Central is accessible on mobile devices by using your internet browser. Beginning in October, you can download a PDF copy of the program from the NCA website.
Q. What’s the difference between a Short Course and a Preconference?
A Short Course session is two hours and forty-five minutes long. It is an educational or “how-to” course designed to give attendees skills or knowledge to take back and implement at their institutions. Short Courses are conducted throughout the convention schedule and there is an additional fee to attend a Short Course.
Preconferences are half-day or full-day sessions held on Wednesday, November 17. At Preconferences, attendees explore an applied research theme, topic, or methodological approach; a particular theoretical topic, perspective, question, controversy, and/or scholarly contribution; or an applied pedagogical issue related to teaching, classroom management, and/or course construction. Starting in 2019 the Preconferences series and Seminars series were conbined into one series titled Preconferences. Preconferences will not have an additional fee to participate but Preconferences organizers may opt to issue a separate/additional call for participation.
The following section of frequently asked questions pertains to submitting proposals to the NCA Annual Convention. This section also provides a summary of professional convention standards and expectations. Please review the Professional Standards for Convention Participants.
Q: By submitting a paper, paper session, or panel discussion, am I committing to attend the NCA convention if the submission is accepted?
Yes. If you make a submission, you are making a commitment to register and attend the convention if your work is accepted. There are is limited number of programming slots for submissions so it’s important that you attend if your work is accepted. If you do not register or attend the convention, you are leaving a vacant programming slot and a potential opportunity for someone else to present that will have been lost.
Q: Do I need to be an NCA member to submit or participate on a convention program (e.g., serve as chair, presenter, respondent, and author)?
No. Any interested individual may submit to the NCA Annual Convention. However, NCA members receive discounted registration rates, allowing for a financial benefit to membership. Non-member registration rates are also offered.
Q: Do I need to secure permission from all participants on a paper session and/or panel discussion before submitting a proposal?
Yes. You must secure participant permission (as well as their agreement that they will register and attend upon acceptance) prior to making your submission. If the submission is accepted for presentation, all convention attendees on the program must register for the convention.
Q: I’ve never submitted to NCA before. Besides following the guidelines of the specific call for submissions issued by the NCA units and affiliate organizations, what are some tips to help me prepare for submitting a proposal?
After carefully reviewing the call(s) for submissions from the NCA Interest groups/affiliate organizations, it may be helpful to look at previous NCA convention programs to review the session formats, paper titles, and topics that have been presented. Past NCA programs are available online from the Past and Future Conventions webpage. You may also want to visit with an NCA member who has attended previous NCA conventions to identify the types of program ideas and formats that have been programmed in the past. For more information, please visit the Convention Resource Library.
Q: If my paper or paper session has been presented at another conference, may I also submit it to NCA?
No. It is in keeping with expected professional standards to present a paper or paper session at only one professional conference. Papers submitted should be original work for that conference. The exception is presenting a paper for the first time at a small, student-only conference. Although it’s not appropriate to present the same paper you’ve presented elsewhere, you may, however, present different aspects of a larger project.
Q: If I submitted a paper or paper session to another conference, and it was accepted, but the conference was cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, can I submit that acccepted paper to NCA for consideration?
Yes. If you did not present the paper virtually, circulate the paper online through a conference supported forum, or publish the paper elsewhere, you can submit that paper for consideration to the NCA Annual Convention. If a paper is accepted to the NCA Annual Convention that was previously slated for presentation at another convention, it should be listed on a CV as presented at the NCA Annual Convention, rather than the previously accepted convention. Conversely, those who had papers accepted for submission at a cancelled conference or who will be presenting their papers in altered formats can click here for information from APA on how to cite those presentations on a CV.
Q: If my paper has been published or has been accepted for publication, may I submit it to be presented at an NCA convention?
No. You should not submit a paper for presentation at an NCA convention after it has been published or accepted for publication at the time you submit your work to be presented. You may present the paper at an NCA convention only if your paper was accepted for publication after it was submitted to the NCA convention.
Q: After submitting my paper, will I have the opportunity to upload a final version of my work for my session’s Respondent?
Yes. In order to give a quality response, respondents like to have plenty of time to read a paper to which he or she will respond. You will be asked to upload a revised/final copy of your paper in August/September to NCA Convention Central. Respondents will access your revised/final copy directly from NCA Convention Central. If you miss the deadline to upload a revised/final copy to NCA Convention Central, please plan to email a copy of your revised paper to the respondent directly.
Q: When can I submit?
NCA Convention Central will open for submissions on January 11. The submission deadline is March 31, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. pacific time.
Q. Do I have to be an NCA member to attend the convention?
No. You do not have to become a member of NCA to attend the convention; however, we hope you decide that an NCA membership is valuable to you. NCA is the largest and most active national association for people in the communication discipline. Members of NCA pay considerably less to attend the convention than non-members. Please visit the NCA Membership web page for information about membership options.
Q. I am presenting a paper and/or participating in a panel at the convention. Do I still have to register to attend the convention?
All individuals planning to present or attend the NCA Annual Convention must register.
Q. How do I register for the convention?
You can register online beginning in July 2021.
Q. I want to attend the Career Center and/or Graduate School Open House. Do I still need to register for the convention?
Yes. To enter the Career Center or the Graduate School Open House you must register for the convention. These events are benefits of a convention registration.
Q. I am a Life Member/Retired Member. Do I still have to register for the Convention?
Yes. Retired and Life members must still register for the convention by registering online. While these membership types do not pay a convention registration fee, you must still let us know you are attending by registering.
Q. My school has a departmental membership. Do I qualify to register for the convention at a discounted rate?
Rates for convention are based on individual membership. Departmental membership is not related to individuals or their individual membership. Please visit the NCA Membership web page for information about individual NCA membership.
Q. Are there any discounted registrations available?
Yes, for select groups. For K-12 educators there is the "K-12 Educators Pass" which is free registration, with a valid K-12 school ID. Membership must be current through December 1, 2021 and registration must be done onsite at the NCA Registration Area, please note that Registration is not open on Sunday.
Q. Can my spouse, partner, family, or friend attend the convention with me?
Yes. Friends and family are welcome at the convention and may register for a flat rate of $50. The Friends and Family registration grants access to all areas, sessions and events at the convention. Friends and Family registration is only for individuals who are not in the discipline, and who have never been members of NCA. Friends and family must register onsite at the NCA Registration Area.
Q. How do I register for Short Courses or Preconferences?
Many convention attendees take advantage of the expertise of their peers by participating in Short Courses and Preconferences. To register, select the Short Courses and/or Preconferences you are interested in during online registration. There is an additional fee to register for a Short Course. There is not an additional fee to register for a Preconference, however the chair may opt to issue a call for participants.
Q. What is your refund policy?
Refunds are available until October 25, 2021 (less a $25 handling fee.). No refunds will be given after this date.
Q. Does NCA accept purchase orders?
No. A purchase order is not considered payment for registration or membership. Please be sure that actual payment is received by NCA before published deadlines especially if you are depending on your institution to submit payment for you.
The following section of frequently asked questions addresses the professional etiquette for individuals presenting and/or participating at the NCA Annual Convention.
Q. I am presenting my first paper. Do you have any advice?
Prepare a presentation that follows all of the rules of good public speaking. Be sure you have an introduction and conclusion. Organize the body of your talk and provide internal organizing mechanisms so people can easily follow along. Do not speak beyond the allotted time and do not read your paper or outline—speak extemporaneously. Summarize your study or report, but do so briefly. In this instance, less is clearly more! Visit the Convention Resource Library for more helpful tips.
Q. Should I bring multiple copies of my paper?
If you individually submitted your paper, you will have the opportunity to upload a copy for your session co-presenters, chair and respondent to access. You do not need to bring copies for them. Bring extra copies of your paper to give to those in the audience who request them at the presentation. If you do not bring extra copies, or run out of the extra copies you brought, it is acceptable to send someone a copy via mail or through e-mail.
Q. How can I best secure copies of others’ papers?
If you are attending a panel and would like a copy of a paper, ask the presenter directly.
Q. I am doing a Scholar to Scholar presentation. How can I make my presentation most effective?
Scholar to Scholar presentations create a unique opportunity for questions and exchanges not available in more formal sessions. Presenters should take advantage of the opportunity to have an exchange with those who choose to come to the session. Presenters have a 4’ by 8’ bulletin board on which they can pin their presentation (presenters should bring their own push pins or velcro). While audio-visual equipment will not be available, a table and will be provided for presenters to use their laptops. Laptop batteries should be fully charged. Presenters should make their posters as visually appealing and easy to read as possible. Visit the Convention Resource Library for more helpful tips.
The following section of frequently asked questions addresses the common concerns attendees have about being on-site at the NCA Annual Convention.
Q. What should I wear?
In addition to your professional materials, you might want to know that the dress at the convention is business casual for presenters. If you are not presenting, you can be more casual. Depending on your evening plans, you might want to pack jeans or a more formal outfit. Also, be sure to check the weather forecast before you leave.
Q. This is my first NCA Convention. Does NCA offer any special events for newcomers?
Yes. You are central to the growth and development of NCA, and we extend ourselves to you. There is a special Newcomer’s Welcome and Orientation just for you. You will meet leaders in the discipline, learn about the structure of the organization, and have time to network with others who are new to NCA. Schedule information will be available in the online program on NCA Convention Central. Just search "Newcomer."
Q. Should I attend the division/caucus/section business meetings that are listed in the program?
Yes. Business Meetings are optional, but offer many advantages. One advantage is the input you will have in disciplinary issues and directions. You will have the opportunity to elect leaders and discuss new directions in your research area. Business meetings offer both leadership and networking opportunities. If you would like to become active in NCA, volunteering to serve your unit can help you in that direction. You will be able to meet other scholars and teachers who share your research interests and gain opportunities to work with them. Finally, these meetings offer you the chance to meet people on a social level.
Q. How should I organize my time at the convention?
With more than 1,000 scheduled sessions, you have many choices. Veterans of the NCA convention maximize their convention experience by using a personal schedule which can be created online on NCA Convention Central and on the mobile program. By using keywords, interest group names, and individual’s names, you can find presentations and business meetings you would like to attend and save them to “My Itinerary.” It’s that simple!
Here are some other helpful hints.
- First priority: Know when you are scheduled to present. You should find out this event as soon as possible, as your trip planning may be scheduled around your presentation.
- Review the Events of General Interest. These are spotlighted or convention-wide programs that will appeal to a large cross-section of convention attendees. These are great networking and educational opportunities.
- Choose the presentations you would like to attend. These choices can be based on topics of interest to you, friends or faculty who are presenting, or even presenters you would like to meet (a presentation provides a great opportunity to begin a conversation with them). Many presenters will also have papers you might like to receive.
- Choose the business meetings you would like to attend. Meetings of the commissions, divisions, sections, caucuses and other units are open for any NCA member to attend. If you are registered for these units or caucuses, you can become an active participant in these meetings, which is a perfect way to experience NCA membership, as well as a valuable opportunity to meet people and create professional relationships.
- Don’t forget to save some time for fun! NCA offers several social events as part of the overall convention experience. A large all-convention Welcome Reception will be held on Thursday, making it a good place to meet with friends or to make new ones.
- Have fun outside the convention as well! Set aside some time to explore this year's convention location. Many attractions, historical tours, shopping, and other events will compete for your time.
Q. Are meals provided at the convention?
Meals are not provided.