Institute for Faculty Development

Institute for Faculty Development

The 2021 NCA Institute for Faculty Development, also known as the “Hope Conference,” will be held virtually July 19 –23, 2021. Held annually, the Institute is designed for undergraduate Communication faculty who want to build collaborative research and pedagogical relationships, learn about new directions in theory and pedagogy, and develop new course area expertise.

The University of Nevada, Reno will host the 2021 Institute. Participants may choose to participate in one or two seminars. Seminars will address topics including intergroup communication, work-life balance, online teaching, critical pedagogy, rhetoric, and intercultural communication. To ensure optimal access to this virtual event, each seminar will be limited to 20 participants. Note that all seminars will be held using the Zoom platform. 

Seminar leaders will include Ahmet Atay (The College of Wooster), Ragan Fox (California State University, Long Beach), Ashley Hall (Illinois State University), Alison Lietzenmayer (Old Dominion University), Sarah Riforgiate (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee), and Jordan Soliz (University of Nebraska). The scholar-in-residence will be Tina Harris (Louisiana State University).

The cost for this year's event is $50 for both NCA members and non-members. Please reach out to Jimmie Manning, Chair and Professor, University of Nevada, Reno, with any questions. 


Sessions run Monday through Thursday. Participants can choose up to 2 sections, but only 1 section per session. Each section is limited to 20 participants. Registration deadline is July 5, 2021.

Morning Session
8:00-10:00 Pacific time

Postcoloniality, Decoloniality, and Critical Intercultural Communication
Ahmet Atay, The College of Wooster

Join Dr. Atay for a robust discussion of important readings related to postcoloniality, decoloniality, and critical intercultural communication.

Ahmet AtayAhmet Atay (Ph.D. Southern Illinois University- Carbondale) is Associate Professor of Communication at the College of Wooster. His research focuses on diasporic experiences and cultural identity formations; political and social complexities of city life, such as immigrant and queer experiences; serial narratives and soap operas; the usage of new media technologies in different settings; and representations of immigration and queer identities in media and film. He is the author of Globalization’s Impact on Identity Formation: Queer Diasporic Males in Cyberspace (2015) and the co-editor of several books. His scholarship appeared in a number of journals and edited books. 

Work/Life Intersections, Communication, and Teaching: Imagining and Creating Possibilities for a “New Normal”
Sarah E. Riforgiate, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

The idea of work/life balance has burgeoned as a research area, self-help book topic, and a “hot” workplace concern. Indeed, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, normal work practices were disrupted to make ways for new challenges and affordances in the public and private sphere. In this seminar we will explore how communication creates, frames, perpetuates, and challenges conceptualizations of the public (paid work) and private (life) spheres while engaging in activities to bring this research into our teaching and personal practices.

Sarah E. RiforgiateSarah E. Riforgiate (M.A. and Ph.D., Arizona State University, Tempe) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her teaching and research concentrate on the intersections of organizational and interpersonal communication, particularly regarding public paid work and private life to increase understanding and develop practical solutions to improve interactions. Research projects include communication pertaining to work-life concerns, emotions in organizations, conflict negotiation, organizational leadership, and policy communication. Her work has been published in numerous book chapters and a variety of journals including Communication Monographs, Journal of Family Communication, Management and Communication Quarterly, Journal of Communication Pedagogy, Communication Teacher, Western Journal of Communication, and The Electronic Journal of Communication.

Afternoon Session
11:00-1:00 Pacific time

Towards a Rhetoric of Black Feminist Fugitivity
Ashley R. Hall, Illinois State University

This course considers what it means to be both Black while womxn claiming agentive power in an antiblack world. Drawing largely from Black feminist traditions, we will consider the ways that Black feminist philosophies, practices, and politics allow us to (re)imagine Black agentive power in generative ways. We will do this through a combination of readings, discussion, and group activities. Topics include: politics of breath/breathing, Black queer worldmaking, voice & agency, spatio-temporality & memory, Black feminist metaphysics & mysticism, spirituality, love & care, magic & fantasy, and arts & entertainment.

Ashley HallAshley R. Hall, Ph.D. (PhD, University of Pittsburgh), is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at Illinois State University. She also serves as affiliate faculty for the African American Studies and the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. Her current research focuses on developing an Afrafuturist feminist (AFF) rhetorical framework equipped to interrogate the complex and nuanced relationship between rhetoric, Blackness, and agentive power as it relates explicitly to Black women's communicative lives in an anti-black world. Her scholarship has been published in the Contemporary Journal of Rhetoric, Communication Education, and the Quarterly Journal of Speech. She teaches undergraduate courses in communication theory, rhetorical criticism, African American rhetoric, and Black feminist theory in Communication Studies.

Communication, Identity, and Difference in Personal and Family Relationships
Jordan Soliz, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Our social identity (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, age, culture, vocation) is central to our self-concept, our connection and sense of belonging, and our orientations toward others. Recognizing that social identities pervade all aspects of our lives, the seminar will focus on a social identity and intergroup communication perspective on personal and family relationships. In addition to reviewing foundational theories that inform our understanding of communication and social identity, we will review empirical articles that investigate how we navigate identity-based differences in personal and family relationships (e.g., multiethnic-racial families, interfaith relationship, political differences in friendships) including the manner in which these shaped and our shaped by our biases and worldviews. Further, readings and discussion will highlight how inquiries into communication, identity, and difference in these personal relational spheres can inform constructive ways of engaging difference in professional and public contexts.

Jordan SolizDr. Soliz studies communication and intergroup processes in family, personal, and community relationships. His current projects focus on (a) communication in multiethnic-racial families and interfaith families with a goal toward understanding communicative dynamics associated with individual well-being and relational-family solidarity, (b) socialization processes that lead to secure self-concept and/or buffer effects of discrimination for individuals from marginalized groups, and (c) outcomes and processes of intergroup contact and intergroup dialogue that address bias and/or polarizing social issues. Dr. Soliz is the past editor of the Journal of Family Communication and past Chair of the Intergroup Communication Interest Group of the International Communication Association. At his institution Dr. Soliz is involved with the Minority Health Disparities Initiative and the Honors program as well as directing the Communication and Identity Lab and the Intergroup Dialogue Project.

Late Afternoon Session
2:00-4:00 Pacific time

Queer Theory and Communication Research
Ragan Fox, California State University, Long Beach

Join Dr. Fox for a robust discussion of important readings related to queer theory and communication studies.

Ragan FoxRagan Fox is a Professor of Communication Studies at California State University, Long Beach. He is the author of three books: Heterophobia, Exile in Gayville, and Inside Reality TV: Producing Race, Gender and Sexuality on “Big Brother.”


Teaching for the New World: Meaningful Online Instruction in Communication
Alison McCrowell Lietzenmayer, Old Dominion University

In response to the pandemic or leaning into remote student needs, Communication departments have expanded their programming online. Digital classrooms come with their own unique rewards...and plenty of challenges. This course will explore online instruction through a deep dive into online course design, and a review of methods for increasing meaningful engagement while prioritizing accessibility and learner-centered Communication pedagogy. We will do this through ‘hands-on’ activities and a critical review of established ‘best practices.’

Alison McCrowell LietzenmayerProfessor McCrowell Lietzenmayer is Master Lecturer and University Distinguished Teacher at Old Dominion University.


Scholar in Residence
Tina M. Harris, Douglas L. Manship Sr.-Dori Maynard Race, Media, and Cultural Literacy Endowed Chair
Louisiana State University

The NCA Institute for Faculty Development features one-on-one mentoring time with our Scholar-in-Residence, Dr. Tina Harris.

Tina HarrisDr. Tina M. Harris is an internationally renowned interracial communication scholar with particular interests in race, media representations, and racial social justice. Her pedagogy, research, and service at LSU are driven by her desire to empower others with the communication and critical thinking skills necessary for becoming global citizens. The end goal of these efforts is to equip students to use an applied approach where theory leads to practice in a world where racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity are a welcome inevitably.