NCA Chairs' Summer Institute

NCA Chairs' Summer Institute


NCA will host the virtual Chairs’ Summer Institute June 25-26, 2021. Held biennially, the Chairs’ Summer Institute is a workshop designed to help department chairs better understand and address a variety of issues within their departments and larger university communities. This year’s theme, “Leadership Challenges in a Changing World” will explore topics such as cultivating respect and inclusive cultures, managing challenges associated with digital learning and socially distanced department communities, and motivating and mentoring faculty, among others. 

Seminar leaders for the 2021 Chairs’ Summer Institute will be Tim Brown (Queens University of Charlotte), Ann Bainbridge Frymier (Ohio University), Ralph Gigliotti (Rutgers University), Wendy Howard (University of Central Florida), Christina McDowell (Cornell University), Charles E. Morris, III, (Syracuse University), and Sarah Stone Watt (Pepperdine University). The keynote address will be given by Helen Sterk (Western Kentucky University). In addition to seminars, all participants will have access to bonus “tips” sessions led by Elizabeth Goering (IUPUI), Devin Scott (University of Tennessee Health Science Center ), and Ashley Noel Mack (Louisiana State University).  

The cost for this year's institute is $75 for NCA members and $150 for non-members. Registration is closed.

For more information, please contact LaKesha Anderson, Director for Academic and Professionals Affairs.


Helen Sterk
SterkHelen Sterk is Professor and Head of the Department of Communication at Western Kentucky University. Her research focuses on the intersections of rhetoric, religion, culture, and gender. Dr. Sterk’s collaborative interests include teaching across disciplines, coaching people internationally in presentation skills, and sharing her expertise with various colleges and universities. Dr. Sterk is past president and an active member of the Association for Communication Administration and the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender; former Executive Director of the Kentucky Communication Association; and has been a member of the Legislative Assembly of the National Communication Association. A productive researcher, Dr. Sterk's books include: Mothers and Daughters: Complicated Connections Across Cultures (co-edited with Alice Deakins and Rebecca Lockridge) and Gender, Culture and Physicality: Paradoxes and Taboos (co-authored with Annelies Knoppers). 

Ann Bainbridge Frymier 
FrymierAnn Bainbridge Frymier is the Director and a Professor in the School of Communication Studies at Ohio University.  Prior to her arrival at Ohio University in 2019 she was a Professor at Miami University in the Department of Media, Journalism and Film (formerly the Department of Communication). During her 27-year tenure at Miami University, she served as graduate director for the MA in speech communication, as Associate Dean of the Graduate School, as Chair of the Institutional Research Board, and as a certified Lean Leader. Her work has appeared in a variety of outlets including journals such as Communication Education, Communication Quarterly, and the Journal of Applied Communication. She also has several book chapters and is the author of Persuasion: Integrating Theory, Research and Practice. Dr. Frymier served as President of the Eastern Communication Association and currently serves on the Editorial Boards of Communication Education, Communication Quarterly, Communication Research Reports, Communication Teacher, and Communication Pedagogy.  

Christina McDowell 
McDowellChristina McDowell is a senior lecturer of marketing and management communication at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. She has professional experience teaching business/corporate communication and marketing related courses, serving in academic administration roles, delivering workshops in industry, and working in an integrated communication agency setting. Her research interests start with communicative engagement and emphasizes actively investigating social, civic, economic, and moral problems in the areas of corporate communication, integrated marketing communication as well as communication ethics by people and organizations. McDowell is the current President of the Association for Communication Administration. 

Charles E. Morris, III
MorrisCharles E. Morris, III is Professor and Chairperson in the Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies, and Affiliated Faculty in LGBT Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies, at Syracuse University. Dr. Morris’s research and teaching interests are focused on rhetorical criticism, archives and public memory, and LGBTQ histories, cultures, and politics. Dr. Morris is Co-Founding-Editor-in-Chief of QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking (Michigan State University Press). His edited and co-edited books include An Archive of Hope: Harvey Milk's Speeches and Writings, Queering Public Address: Sexualities in American Historical Discourse, Remembering the AIDS Quilt, and Readings on the Rhetoric of Social Protest. His essays and guest edited special issues and forums have appeared in the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Communication & Critical/Cultural Studies, Text & Performance Quarterly, and Women’s Studies in Communication among others. In 2016, Dr. Morris was named a Distinguished Scholar by the Rhetorical and Communication Theory Division of the National Communication Association.

Ralph A. Gigliotti
GigliottiRalph A. Gigliotti is director of the Center for Organizational Leadership at Rutgers University. He also has part-time faculty appointments in the Department of Communication, Ph.D. Program in Higher Education, and Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. He is author and co-author of numerous books and articles exploring the intersection of communication, leadership, and crisis in higher education, including Crisis Leadership in Higher Education: Theory and Practice (Rutgers University Press, 2019), Leadership in Academic Health Centers: Core Concepts and Critical Cases (Kendall Hunt, 2021), and A Guide for Leaders in Higher Education: Core Concepts, Competencies, and Tools (Stylus, 2016).

Elizabeth Goering
GoeringElizabeth Goering is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies at IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis). Dr. Goering was part of the 30-member team that developed NCA’s Learning Outcomes in Communication (LOCs) and currently focuses on ePortfolios as a tool for tracking learner attainment of the LOCs.  She has presented on this topic at various conferences, including the Assessment Institute. She is an 8-time IU Trustees’ Teaching Award awardee, the 2020 recipient of the IUPUI Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and in 2021 she was awarded Indiana University’s Herman Frederic Lieber Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Timothy J. Brown 
BrownTimothy J. Brown is the Dean of the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte. Prior to Queens University, he was a Professor of Communication at West Chester University, where he chaired his department for 10 years.  In addition, he served in other leadership positions at West Chester University such as Special Assistant to the Provost and Chair of the Council of Chairs.  Brown is a rhetorical scholar whose research, teaching and consulting focus on the intersection of culture, communication, and identity.  Among his many honors includes being named a Distinguished Teaching Fellow and a Distinguished Research Fellow by the Eastern Communication Association.

Wendy Howard
HowardWendy Howard is Program Director for UCF’s Pegasus Innovation Lab (iLab). She joined UCF’s Center for Distributed Learning in 2011 with a diverse background in both corporate training and higher education. She also continues to teach as an adjunct instructor in the Nicholson School of Communication and Media. As the program director of UCF’s iLab, Howard’s primary focus is to strategically align, promote, and provide project management support for initiatives that contribute to the lab’s mission to serve as an incubator for the next generation of digital learning by supporting faculty and staff in piloting, refining, and evaluating innovations that positively impact student success at scale.

Sarah Stone Watt
Stone WattSarah Stone Watt is Divisional Dean of Communication at Pepperdine University and Past President of the Association for Communication Administration. She served as Director of Forensics at Pepperdine from 2007-2017. Her research focuses primarily on rhetoric related to race and gender in public controversy. Her courses contribute to curriculum across university programs, including communication, women’s studies, sustainability, and social action and justice. 

Ashley Noel Mack
MackAshley Noel Mack is Assistant Professor of Rhetoric & Cultural Studies at Louisiana State University. They also serve as an affiliate faculty member in African & African American Studies, Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, and Screen Arts. Their research explores how differences and disparities are communicated and naturalized through rhetoric in contemporary U.S. culture, and also how rhetoric is wielded by historically marginalized bodies and communities as a resource for creating a more just and equitable world. Their work is informed by decolonial, Black, and trans feminisms and queer of color theories. Their writing has been published in Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, Journal of Communication Inquiry, Women’s Studies in Communication, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, and Journal of Homosexuality. Their current book project, Just Vengeance: The Cultural Politics of Punishing Rapists is under contract with Ohio State University Press and explores mediated responses to and of sexual violence in the post #MeToo era.  

Devin Scott
ScottDevin Scott is an Instructional Consultant for the Teaching and Learning Center at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN. In this role, he supports health sciences faculty across the state of Tennessee. Devin’s areas of expertise include curriculum development, course design, implementing sound teaching strategies, and assessment. Devin’s education experience is varied, having served as a lead instructor and curriculum and teaching development coordinator at the University of Maryland, College Park. He previously served as a classroom educator with Teach for America in Memphis.

June 13-15, 2019, College Park, MD 

NCA hosted its Chairs’ Summer Institute June 13–15, 2019 at The Hotel at the University of Maryland. This year’s theme, “Chairperson Leadership: Advocating, Mentoring, and Managing,” attracted more than 20 department chairs to the DC area for a workshop designed to help department chairs better understand and address a variety of issues within their departments and larger university communities. Session topics included the role of administrator, negotiating identity as a chair and administrator, and balancing research, teaching, and administrative responsibilities; managing issues of faculty mentoring and advocating for the department and faculty; identifying a departmental vision, goal-setting, generating faculty buy-in, and strategic planning; recruiting, hiring, and evaluating faculty; and managing departmental and campus crises.

Seminar leaders included John Caughlin (University of Illinois), Thomas Endres (University of Northern Colorado), Maurice Hall (The College of New Jersey), Kent Ono (University of Utah), and Helen Sterk (Western Kentucky University).

2019 CSI Participants

For more information, please contact LaKesha Anderson, Director for Academic and Professionals Affairs.

June 23-25, 2017, Washington, DC 

Department chairs from around the country participated in NCA’s fourth Chairs’ Summer Institute in Washington, DC, June 23-25. The institute’s theme was “Communication that Matters: Creating Inclusive Environments.” Discussions focused on perspectives and practices of inclusive leadership, administrative strategies for inclusivity, and the role of diversity in relationship building and department processes. Dawn Michele Whitehead, Senior Director for Global Learning and Curricular Change at the Association of American Colleges and Universities, served as the keynote speaker. The NCA Chairs’ Summer Institute provides department chairs with an opportunity to participate in dialogue about the various challenges they face in administering their departments, and to share successful approaches. NCA has hosted nearly 150 department chairs at this biannual event. Seminar leaders in 2017 included Brenda Allen (University of Colorado Denver), Jon Hess (University of Dayton), Shawn Long (University of North Carolina Charlotte), and Helen Sterk (Western Kentucky University).

2017 CSI Participants

For more information, please contact LaKesha Anderson, Director for Academic and Professionals Affairs. 

June 26-28, 2015, Washington, DC

Department chairs from around the country participated in NCA’s third Chairs’ Summer Institute in Washington, DC, June 26-28. The institute’s theme was Assessment and Accountability and the 21st Century Communication Department. In the context of the theme, discussions focused on demonstrating the value of communication research, learning outcomes in communication, and assessing the role of service in the university. Keynoter Kate McConnell, the Director of Assessment at Virginia Tech, for example, highlighted the value of a culture of “academic hospitality” as the foundation for fruitful discussions about assessment. Now a biennial event, the NCA Chairs’ Summer Institute has hosted nearly 100 department chairs since 2012 for discussions regarding successful department and disciplinary leadership.

June 28-30, 2013, Washington, DC

NCA's Second Annual Chairs' Summer Institute was held at the St. Gregory Hotel in Washington, D.C., June 28-30, 2013. Our theme was Building Connections, Creating Community: Best Practices for the Communication Department Chair, and the institute featured presentations by a number of speakers, including Illinois State's Cheri Simonds on the Basic Course, Loyola Marymount Dean Bryant Keith Alexander with the keynote for the conference, and Maryland's Linda Aldoory along with National Humanities Alliance's Stephen Kidd on the benefits of interdisciplinary inquiry. 

June 22-24, 2012, Washington, DC

Approximately 30 department chairs and heads from around the United States and Canada gathered in Washington, DC, June 22-24, for the first NCA Chairs’ Summer Institute to discuss new and creative ways of “Raising a Program Profile.”  

In discussions and presentations, the chairs considered both the rationale for raising a program’s profile as well as specific strategies and tactics to employ at their home departments and universities to bring about an increased program profile. 

Highlights from the CSI include:  

  • A panel of speakers that included Bill Hooke from the American Meteorological Society, Barbara Kline Pope from the National Academies, and Monique Mitchell Turner from the Department of Preventive and Community Health at George Washington University discussed reaching “Beyond COMM” in pursuit of interdisciplinary connections and partnerships. You can read Dr. Hooke’s reflections about the role and power of communication based on his experience at CSI at his blog
  • A presentation from Chancellor Charles R. Bantz of Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis that reflected on the unique and important dimensions of the Communication discipline relevant to departmental promotion efforts. 
  • Panels on specific strategies for departmental promotion that featured speakers from the National Office, NCA Chairs’ Advisory Council member Carl Cates & Jon A. Hess, and a university relations specialist.