A preconference is either a half- or full-day session held on Wednesday, November 17, 2021. Preconferences are intended as an opportunity for scholars to take a “deep dive” into a particular topic of significance to a community of scholars within and across interest groups, offering an enhanced exploration of a topic that may not otherwise garner significant attention during the main convention. To view more information about the offered preconferences, please visit NCA Convention Central.

Preconference 01: A Transformational Journey Toward Indigenizing Community-Based Participatory Scholarship
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Washington State Convention Center

Chair: Karla M. Hunter, South Dakota State University

Description: Despite growing interest in Indigenous methodologies, resources discussing best practices for this work remain scarce, as do forums for dialogue about these understandings and experiences. Optimizing ethical, culturally-responsive approaches to scholarship involves a transformational journey of continual renewal. Each presenter in this pre-conference workshop chronicles experiences and resources that have fortified our understandings of historical background, Indigenous ways of knowing, and tools for Indigenizing methods of communication scholarship. The day will be filled with opportunities for scholars to connect with one another by sharing and reflecting on their own experiences. Through these discussions and activities, we hope to lay the groundwork for ongoing dialogue among this community of scholars.

Therefore, this pre-conference aims to accomplish the following three interrelated participant learning objectives:
(1) By examining research ethics in the past, present, and future of Indigenous research, this course aims to inspire communication scholars to explore pathways toward the healing of relationships between Indigenous communities and the broader body of academic researchers,
(2) By applying culturally-responsive research practices that incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing to transform harmful Western research practices, this course aims to equip scholars with experience and evidence-based tools, frameworks, myth-busting, best practices, strengths and limitations, and outcomes of various Indigenous research methodologies, and
(3) By creating a forum for scholarly "talking circles" and a gathering place for honoring the importance of actionable, symbiotically beneficial research processes and outcomes, this course aims to build and fortify NCA's community of scholars interested in these methodologies.

Requirements: This preconference will not be issuing a call for participants. If you wish to attend, please register for this preconference with your NCA Annual Convention registration.

Preconference 02: Renewing and Transforming Perceptions of Communication Degrees: College, Career, and the Case for Communication Majors in the High-Tech, Global Modern and Future Economies 
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Washington State Convention Center

Chair: E. Michele Ramsey, Penn State University, Berks
Co-Chairs: Kara Laskowski, Shippensburg University; Cheryl L. Nicholas, Penn State University, Berks

Description: This preconference will focus on ways faculty can challenge the “STEM crisis” rhetoric that has dominated higher education in the last decade and discouraged students from joining communication courses, minors, and majors. Attendees will engage with academic and popular press research that challenges the notion of a “STEM crisis” and points to the utility of communication degrees for undergraduates. With that information in hand, attendees will work together to craft counter narratives, persuasive strategies, and succinct messages aimed at all university stakeholders and designed to help raise the status of communication departments on campus and encourage students to major in our discipline, including ideas about new courses designed to help change the narratives around the communication programs and courses to help undergraduates market themselves as communication majors.  

Together, we can replace the dominant negative narratives that have led to declining student enrollments and declining support for communication programs with accurate, positive narratives that demonstrate how choosing a major in communication is a worthwhile investment in a global economy that is shifting dramatically, quickly, and in the direction of college graduates who think broadly, critically, and ethically. Indeed, the core skills and knowledge imparted by an education in communication--including, for example, facility with written and verbal communication, collaboration, problem-solving, technological literacy, ethics, leadership, and an understanding of the human impacts of globalization—are immensely useful to employers across a variety of sectors. 

Requirements: This preconference will not be issuing a call for participants. If you wish to attend, please register for this preconference with your NCA Annual Convention registration.

Preconference 03: Transformative communication pedagogy: Renewal and reimagination of cross-disciplinary communication instruction
8:00 a.m. – 1300 p.m.
Washington State Convention Center

Chair: Joanna Burchfield, University of South Florida

Co-Chairs: April Kedrowicz, North Carolina State University; Stephanie Norander, University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Juliane Mora, Gonzaga University; Kelly Norris Martin, Rochester Institute of Technology

Description: Whether medical professionals or engineers, accountants or veterinarians, when people outside of communication find out that they're talking to someone who teaches communication across disciplines, they frequently respond with a passionate and determined variation of "Communication is everything!" But teaching within the scope of employer demands does not meet the reality of necessity within the exclamation "Communication is everything!" At the time of this writing, the US is embroiled in social unrest and injustice, pandemic, economic collapse, and, with the rest of the world, is barreling into an inevitable future of drastic environmental change. We foresee strong future demand for communication across disciplines as we navigate these crises and their aftermath. 
The necessity of communication as a core competency for recent college graduates has become more apparent, more important, and more urgent to employers, accrediting bodies, and university leaders in non-communication fields (such as STEM). Over the last two decades, changes in accreditation and licensing requirements to include communication competencies in fields such as medicine (LCME/ACGME/AVMA) and engineering (ABET) has shifted how communication is perceived and taught within these fields, giving rise to increasingly cross-disciplinary collaboration and instruction. The goal of these collaborations is typically the development of communication competence for professional success. 

We contend, though, that the goals and impacts of cross-disciplinary communication instruction extend beyond professional preparation. A cross-disciplinary approach can provide an avenue for the integration of a broad education that prepares students for global citizenship and civic engagement. Positioning communication as a theoretically rich process of social interaction and meaning with attention to rhetorical sensitivity can expand the vision of communication across the disciplines as merely skills-based to also encompass discourses of participation and engagement. The increased demand for communication expertise across disciplines coupled with the challenges and turmoil of the past year+ and the immediate and existential threats of the future demands a transformation in the ways communication and non-communication fields are coupled, and opens up opportunities for the broad renewal, reimagining, and revitalization, of what communication is, can be, and does.

Requirements: This preconference will not be issuing a call for participants. If you wish to attend, please register for this preconference with your NCA Annual Convention registration.

Preconference 04: Reassessing Foreign Policy Rhetorics in the Global Era
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Washington State Convention Center

Chair: Sara L. McKinnon, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Co-Chair: Allison M. Prasch, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Description: Globalization has dramatically altered the scope and structure of foreign policy agendas around the world. However, much of the scholarship addressing rhetorics of foreign policy only briefly acknowledges this shift. Instead, scholars of foreign policy rhetoric most often focus on U.S. foreign policy and, even more specifically, the U.S. president as a foreign policy actor. Moreover, the bulk of this scholarship concentrates on the 20th century. These aspects are valuable and should continue to be examined in developing our understanding about relations between states. However, by focusing so unilaterally on one nation, a small group of rhetors, and this limited time period, we develop an uneven, lopsided sense of what foreign policy rhetoric is, who does it, and where it happens.

We live in a global era where relations between states are more integrated, involved, and diffuse across a range of political and economic actors. The seeds for the global era were germinated in the aftermath of World War II as global leaders of that period and through the Cold War constructed a global architecture of international political and economic institutions. Technological advances in transportation and communication further facilitated connection and movement across a range of issues including those commonly associated with foreign policy (defense, development, and diplomacy decisions), but also in monetary, financial, mediated, and human migration realms. By the millennium shift, globalization was absolutely a phenomenon happening and in full force, yet our theorizing of foreign policy rhetorics never caught up.

This preconference invites rhetorical scholars to reexamine how we conceptualize, define, research, and write about foreign policy rhetorics in the global era. Relations between nation-states are now more integrated, involved, and diffuse across a range of political and economic actors, and yet critical study of foreign policy relations in the field largely focus on U.S. political actors’ discourse and relations with other nation-states. We redress this gap by opening space to consider the range of actors, discursive venues, and contexts that shape relations between states in an era of globalization. We ask how economic, media, corporate, and activist actors might be significant to foreign policy relations. The preconference will also consider foreign policy rhetorics beyond the predominant focus on U.S. presidential discourse and relations with other countries. Finally, we foreground power and inequity as central to what it means to understand foreign policy relations in the contemporary era, questioning how dynamics of racialization, imperialism, neocolonialism, settler colonialism, biopolitics/necropolitics, global asymmetries of power, and political economy play into relations between states.

Requirements: Those interested in globalization and foreign policy rhetoric are invited to submit 500-word abstracts describing an original work that examines foreign policy rhetoric in the context of globalization. Those interested, may for example, take one of the questions posed in the preconference abstract & rationale as the basis to develop a position paper that articulates their thoughts about the proper scope of foreign affairs rhetoric. They may also propose a case study, or a theoretical or methodological intervention. These abstracts should be submitted as a Word document to Allison Prasch via email ( by August 15, 2021. Those who are accepted to the seminar will be asked to elaborate their initial abstract into a 2000-3000 word essay, due October 15, 2021, which will be circulated to the rest of the group in preparation for the paper workshop portion of the preconference. Seminar participants will also be asked to read and reflect on the following selections before the seminar (pdfs will be provided):

Ó Tuathail, Gearóid , and John Agnew. "Geopolitics and Discourse: Practical Geopolitical Reasoning in American Foreign Policy." Political Geography 11, no. 2 (1992): 190-204.
Shome, Raka. "Space Matters: The Power and Practice of Space." Communication Theory 13, no. 1 (2003): 39-56.
Shome, Raka, and Radha Hegde. "Culture, Communication, and the Challenge of Globalization." Critical Studies in Media Communication 19, no. 2 (2002): 172-89.
Shome, Raka. "Interdisciplinary Research and Globalization." Communication Review, vol. 9, no. 1, 2006, pp. 1-36.
Stuckey, Mary E. "Competing Foreign Policy Visions: Rhetorical Hybrids after the Cold War." Western Journal of Communication 59, no. 3 (1995): 214-27.
Wander, Philip. "The Rhetoric of American Foreign Policy." Quarterly Journal of Speech 70, no. 4 (1984): 339-61.

Preconference 05: Dynamic Dyadic Systems Analysis: Analytic Approach & Step-by-Step Tutorials
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Washington State Convention Center

Chair: Denise Solomon

Description: How do dyadic partners' behaviors unfold and influence each other during an interaction? Many communication theories advance hypotheses about how what transpires during dyadic interaction is consequential, and this workshop offers tools for testing those hypotheses. Specifically, this workshop articulates conceptual and methodological strategies from the dynamic dyadic systems perspective for studying the dynamic structure of dyadic interaction revealed by the turn-to-turn exchange of messages or behaviors between partners. The dynamic dyadic system approach recognizes that behaviors between individuals are interdependent and are often organized and move in nonlinear ways. Thus, the goal of this workshop is to introduce a conceptual framework that guides the analysis of studying the dynamics of dyadic interaction and to teach and demonstrate several analytic tools to quantify these dynamics for categorical data. Specifically, this workshop will (a) provide a conceptual overview of the dynamic dyadic systems approach and how it can be applied to address questions about dyadic interaction dynamics, (b) provide lectures and accompanying coding demonstration sessions in R that cover how to visualize categorical dyadic interaction data, how to examine turn-to-turn transitions within the interaction, and how to identify temporal sequences of interaction behaviors, and (c) conclude with a discussion of how the dynamic dyadic systems approach can be applied to a wide range of interpersonal communication phenomena and extended in future research. For the workshop to be most impactful, we recommend participants have a base level knowledge of R and familiarity with multilevel modeling.

Requirements: This preconference will not be issuing a call for participants. If you wish to attend, please register for this preconference with your NCA Annual Convention registration.

Preconference 06: Organizing for Renewal and Transformation
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Washington State Convention Center

Chair: Shawna Malvini Redden, California State University Sacramento
Co-Chair: Amy K. Way, Villanova University

Description: Scholars are regularly challenged to reflect on their field of study-to articulate value, redefine or refocus, and account for the past while imagining the future. But in ongoing efforts to articulate "organizational communication," we may inadvertently cling to assumptions that no longer serve us or capture the current spirit of the discipline.

For instance, recent societal and disciplinary events have shown a deep need to focus on social justice and inclusion. Such work requires us to broaden the scope of "what counts" as well as which voices should be included in disciplinary scholarship, conversations, leadership, and honors. Furthermore, limited conceptions of organizational communication by gatekeepers, especially those that evidence biases toward managerialism, heteronormativity, whiteness, and western forms of organizing, keep misconceptions alive.

However, the events of the COVID-19 pandemic and the upheaval of social and professional practices worldwide offer a unique time for reflection and, hopefully, transformation. To that end, this preconference will enable panelists and participants to discuss how to organize for transformation, and recraft structures and processes that limit our ability to engage in richer and more ethical communication.

This preconference convenes organizational communication scholars who represent the diversity of institutions, ranks, approaches, and topics of study that characterize our discipline. The format offers sustained opportunities for panelists and participants to consider how to transform the ways organizational scholars teach, research, engage with our communities, share scholarship, and inform practice to be more creative, ethical, and inclusive.

Broadly, our goals are to have panelists and participants leave feeling renewed-in our commitments to collegiality, conversation, and creating scholarship-and to focus on transformation. The preconference emphasizes connection and collaboration, shifting from more traditional discussion/presentations to action-oriented group work. Participants will leave with action plans for transformation whether that be starting groundwork for a new collaboration, outlining a new research project, sharing innovative ideas for teaching, or crafting proposals for advocacy or policy change.

Requirements: To participate in the preconference, we request that interested parties craft short position statements (300 words or fewer) that address the preconference goals and key questions above. Specifically, please discuss why you want to participate in this preconference and your current thinking about opportunities to organize for renewal and transformation. Submissions should be sent as an attachment to Dr. Shawna Malvini Redden ( and Dr. Amy K. Way ( by October 1, 2021. Please use “Organizational for Renewal & Transformation Preconference Submission” as your emailsubject, and provide preferred contact information, including your current affiliation, in the email.


Preconference 07: Re-Affirming, Re-Imagining, and Re-Igniting the Black Caucus: Renewal and Transformation for the 21rst Century
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Washington State Convention Center

Chair: Nickesia S-A Gordon, Rochester Institute of Technology
Co-Chair: Creshema R. Murray, University of Houston, Downtown; Kandace Harris, California State University Northridge

Description: Guided by the trailblazing work begun and rigorously pursued by NCA BC/AACCD pioneers,the Black Caucus seeks to chart a renewed path forward that will strengthen the mission of the Caucus and prepare our members to boldly meet the issues of our time through scholarship and conscientious activism.

The preconference schedule complements the convention theme of renewal and transformation. In that spirit, we propose the following three break-out panels and recap session to reflect on the day's discussions.

  • Panel 1: Re-Affirming: Adding more Players Continuing to Change the Game. This panel will explore the current mission of BC, review initial ideas/goals set by BC founders, suggest ways to move the agenda forward to meet contemporary issues. This panel will also discuss ways of growing the BC membership.
  • Panel 2: Re-Imagining: Community Engagement and Scholarship. This panel examines strategies for re-engaging the BC with social justice/social change issues and deeper civic/community activism.
  • Panel 3: Re-Igniting: Connecting the Past to the Present and Future. This panel will engage with the vision captured in Changing the Players and the Game, and consider a second edition of this document that charts a contemporary vision.
  • Recap Session: Participants and audience members will reconvene to share highlights

Requirements: This preconference will not be issuing a call for participants. If you wish to attend, please register for this preconference with your NCA Annual Convention registration.

Preconference 08: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) in Action:  Renewal and Transformation of Policy, Pedagogy, & Research
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Washington State Convention Center

Chair: Elizabeth A. Suter, University of Denver
Co-Chair: Veronica Anne Droser, State Uniersity of New York, Brockport; Sharde Marie Davis, University of Connecticut; Erin Sahlstein Parcell, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Nivea Castaneda, Boise State University; Maria K. Venetis, Rutgers University; Rachel McLaren, University of Iowa

Description: The "Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) in Action: Renewal and Transformation of Policy, Pedagogy, & Research" preconference was developed by the Interpersonal Communication Division's IDEA task force. Its central purpose is to deepen connection and interdependence among teachers, scholars, and administrators centering IDEA in their work to more fully realize transformation and renewal. The preconference expands recent efforts to redress inattention to issues of IDEA as a field, broadly, and across divisions, more specifically. It extends recent previous conversations, workshops, and practical changes (e.g., inclusion efforts in awards, paper review rubrics, by-laws) fostered by the Interpersonal Communication Division's IDEA task force in 2019 and 2020. Organized around the conference theme, Renewal and Transformation, the preconference goals include: (1) facilitating an integrative conversation around policy, pedagogy, and research; (2) equipping attendees with a co-created list of practical next steps to take back to their classrooms, research teams, and/or departments; (3) creating a process to continue the conversation in the future; (4) articulating ourselves to one another to identify unique specific contributions; and (5) creating an open-access repository of IDEA-related resources to support policy, pedagogy, and research. Created with the whole person in mind, the pre-conference begins with reflection and concludes with integration and collectivity. 

Requirements: This preconference will not be issuing a call for participants. If you wish to attend, please register for this preconference with your NCA Annual Convention registration.

Preconference 09: Using Creative and Arts-Based Research Approaches to Expand Equity and Impact of Health and Disability Communication Research 
Unfortunately, this Preconference has been canceled. Preconference organizers will be contacting those who responded to the call for participants with additional follow-up.

Chair: Angela Palmer-Wackerly, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Co-Chair: Renca Dunn, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Description: For scholars dedicated to addressing social inequities related to health and disability, one of the fundamental questions is how to produce scholarship and translate research in a manner that centers individuals' voices and agency in a manner that is engaging and persuasive to various non-academic audiences. Unfortunately, traditional academic training focuses on historical and normative ways of designing, implementing, analyzing, and presenting academic research. Therefore, regardless of intent, scholars are not often equipped with knowledge, insight, and/or the practice of producing more engaging and creative modes of scholarship. The purpose of this pre-conference is to provide a forum for learning about, discussing, and workshopping ideas reflecting creative and art-based research that can better address inequities related to health and disability. The format and structure of the pre-conference will include two panels, small-group discussion breakout sessions, as well as a creative brainstorming session to discuss ideas and perspectives on advancing ABR in communication research and potential collaborations. Confirmed panelists include esteemed scholars, such as Drs. Angela Cooke-Jackson, Nicole Defenbaugh, Laura Ellingson, Lynn Harter, Erin Willer, and talented graduate students, Renca Dunn and Jacqueline Gunning-all of whom center identities and voices in various art forms to co-create transformative communication artifacts (films, podcasts, plays, art, videos) to increase empathy, expand our possibilities, and advocate for equity. Reflecting the conference theme, the goal is to "renew" and "transform" traditional modes of scholarship.

Preconference 10: Burial, green burial, aquamation, or human composting? Exploring the communicative means of post-life choices in human and more-than-human worlds: Environmental Communication field day excursion
9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Chair: Curtis J. Sullivan, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
Co-Chair: Joanne C. Marras Tate, University of Colorado, Boulder

Description: The end of our lives does not have to be the end of our eco-ethics, and with more than 2.8 million US deaths annually, the environmental impact of post-life choices can be significant. From large carbon footprints to leaking toxic chemicals into the soil, our post-life choices continue to reflect our ecological philosophies. This Environmental Communication Division pre-conference field day trip will bring a limited number of participants to a face-to-face encounter with people and facilities in Seattle, WA, that are trailblazing new opportunities for human and more-than-human bodies' disposition after the spark of life expires–but our ecological choices remain. While designed to appeal especially to members of the Environmental Communication Division, the pre-conference's focus on alternative post-life choices, and how Washington state is leading the way in this endeavor, is likely to appeal to a wide number of NCA registrants.

Requirements: This preconference will not be issuing a call for participants. If you wish to attend, please register for this preconference with your NCA Annual Convention registration. Please note, attendees will be required to pay an entrance fee for the National Aquarium the day of the preconference

Preconference 11: Gaming for Transformation: Game to Grow and Renewing Scholarly Collaboration
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Off-Site, Antioch University Seattle

Chair: Sky LaRell Anderson, University of St. Thomas
Co-Chair: Emory S. Daniel, Appalachian State University

Description: This preconference has two primary goals which will divide the day into two interconnected activities:

  1. Bring the nationally renowned charity organization Game to Grow to NCA to offer their much-sought-after training on how to apply games to personal, interpersonal, and organizational transformation. Game to Grow has partnered with the NCA Game Studies Division to offer their training at no cost.
  2. Renewal of collaboration in a time when many communication scholars have been isolated, both professionally and physically. The format of the research panels will be rapid-fire, five-minute presentations followed by "breakout chatter" to invite collaboration among scholars of diverse methodological training.

Game to Grow has agreed to offer their exclusive training on the transformative power of games in the proposed preconference. Game to Grow is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the use of games for transformation. Game to Grow's weekly therapeutic social skills groups help over 120 participants each week around the world become more confident, creative, and socially capable using games of all kinds. Through its comprehensive training program, Game to Grow trains mental health professionals, educators, and community advocates around the world to use innovative game-based strategies to enrich their own communities.

Morning: Renewal

A keynote presentation will precede two rapid-fire panels of presentations which will be selected and organized from the extended abstract submissions. Each panel will consist of approximately 8 to 11 presentations, and they will last approximately 60 minutes each. After each panel, the floor will be open to collaboration and conversation wherein both panel participants and viewers may break out into small group chatter. Attendees may not only ask questions, but they also undoubtedly seek out opportunities to collaborate with scholars from across disciplinary boundaries. After the two panels and collaboration sessions, the pre-conference will break for lunch.

Afternoon: Transformation

After the lunch break, Game to Grow will bring their invited experts to host game-focused workshop sessions wherein preconference participants may play games with the contextualizing training of Game to Grow. Game to Grow will offer their training on the Critical Core Capacities and explore opportunities for how the participants may apply this training in their classrooms, scholarship, or community outreach. The founders of Game to Grow will also address the participants throughout the workshop sessions, opening additional opportunities to renew collaboration between researchers and community advocates.

Requirements: Potential presenters should e-mail two documents as attachments to Sky LaRell Anderson ( no later than 11:59pm Pacific Daylight Time on September 10, 2021:

  1. A PDF of the extended abstract. The submission should not be longer than approximately 1,000 words (not including abstracts, references, etc.). The document should be completely anonymized with no identifying information in the text or file name. 
  2. A PDF of a cover page including presenters’ name(s), department/organization(s), and e-mail address(es). 

Abstracts will be reviewed by a committee within the Games Studies Division. Notification of acceptance will be sent by October 1, 2021. The extended abstracts submitted for the pre-conference should not have been accepted to any other competitions in the NCA's main conference or any other venue, nor should they be materially similar to any paper accepted by any such venue.

Submission/acceptance is not required for attendance and participation in the preconference. The GSD encourages anyone interested in renewing collaboration on games research, the transformative power of gaming, or gaming research more generally to attend by registering directly via All inquiries may be directed to the preconference organizer, Sky LaRell Anderson ( or