NCA Inside & Out

NCA Award Winners

Announcing the 2017 NCA Distinguished Scholars

July 14, 2017

The NCA Distinguished Scholar Award recognizes and rewards a lifetime of scholarly achievement in the study of communication. The winners will receive their awards during NCA’s 103rd Annual Convention, to be held November 16-19 in Dallas, Texas. Learn more about the NCA awards program on our website.

Congratulations to the following 2017 NCA Distinguished Scholars!

Ronald C. Arnett
Ronald C. Arnett is Chair and Professor of the Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies at Duquesne University, where he holds The Patricia Doherty Yoder and Ronald Wolfe Endowed Chair in Communication Ethics, and previously held the Henry Koren, C.S.Sp. Endowed Chair for Scholarly Excellence (2010–2015). Dr. Arnett’s scholarly work has been foundational to three areas of communication scholarship: (1) Philosophy of Communication; (2) Communication Ethics; and (3) Communication and Religion. He is widely recognized as a leading voice in each of these areas. He is the author/coauthor of 11 books and co‐editor of four books. He is the sole author of five university press books, three of which have won book awards. His most recent books is Levinas’s Rhetorical Demand: The Unending Obligation of Communication Ethics (Southern Illinois University Press). Over his long and continuously productive career, Dr. Arnett has been the recipient of six book awards. These include the 2013 Top Book Award for Communication Ethics in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt’s Rhetoric of Warning and Hope from the Communication Ethics Division of the National Communication Association; the 2013 Everett Lee Hunt Award for Outstanding Scholarship for his book An Overture to Philosophy of Communication: The Carrier of Meaning; and the 2013 Top Book Award from the Philosophy of Communication Division of the National Communication Association for An Overture to Philosophy of Communication: The Carrier of Meaning (with Annette Holba). He was also the recipient of the 2013 Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarship from Duquesne University, and he received the 2005 Scholar of the Year Award from the Religious Communication Association. Dr. Arnett was named both Centennial Scholar of Communication and Centennial Scholar of Philosophy of Communication by the Eastern Communication Association in 2009. He is currently serving his third editorship for the Journal of Communication and Religion and is a former editor of the Review of Communication.

François Cooren
François Cooren is one of the chief proponents of the Montreal School of Organizational Communication, which focuses on Communication as Constitutive of Organization (CCO). In this approach, communication is seen as the central building block of organizing and organization; it is more than mere conduit or epiphenomenon. In his first book, The Organizing Property of Communication, published in 2000, Dr. Cooren showed how communicative acts constitute the key building blocks of organizational processes. He has been among the first in the field to call into question the traditional divide between materiality and discourse, a position he defends through the meticulous analysis of organizational life. The CCO approach is now an official sub-theme of the European Group of Organization Studies (EGOS), which is the most respected European academic association devoted to organizational studies. Given Dr. Cooren’s expertise in discourse analysis, especially narratology, speech act theory, semiotics, and conversation analysis, his work has also become influential in communication theory, language and social interaction, and pragmatics. In the past 20 years, Dr. Cooren has become a prodigious and decorated scholar. He has written or edited eight books, 57 refereed articles, and 40 book chapters or invited papers. He is an ICA Fellow who has received six distinguished awards for his research, articles, and books, four from the National Communication Association Organizational Communication Division. These awards include: Outstanding Textbook, Best Edited book, Best Book, and Best Article. Management Communication Quarterly awarded him Best Article, and he received ICA’s Young Scholar Award in 2002, and the Frederic M. Jablin Memorial Award. In addition to being a regular participant at NCA conferences in two of its divisions (Organizational Communication and Language and Social Interaction), Dr. Cooren is a past president of the International Communication Association, president of the International Association for Dialogue Analysis, and former editor of Communication Theory.

Sandra Petronio
Sandra Petronio is an important scholar and theorist of substance, with wide influence in the Communication discipline and beyond. She is best known for Communication Privacy Management theory (CPM), a scientifically grounded theory to understand the central motivations, goals, rules, and outcomes of privacy management. CPM is robust, with 5,076 citations since 2012 on Google Scholar, and more than 740 articles engaging the theory. Dr. Petronio and her colleagues continue to develop evidence of consistencies and distinct patterns of privacy management emerging across cultures and contexts, suggesting the opportunity to develop a general theory. Dr. Petronio has won a number of significant awards for her research career and her 2002 book, Boundaries of Privacy. CPM has a global reach, with the engagement of scholars from Belgium, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Kenya, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom. CPM has been applied in a wide variety of contexts including health, education, family, business, social media, religion, security, and interpersonal relationships. Dr. Petronio is frequently invited to speak for organizations and conferences including: Security and Human Behavior, Washington, DC; Workshop on Security and Human Behavior, Google Headquarters in New York City; International Summit on the Future of Health Privacy, Washington, DC, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences-Grand Rounds, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York; Eli Lilly Human Resources Privacy Summit, Indianapolis; Congressional Briefing, Consortium of Social Science Associations, Washington, DC; and Academy of Prosthodontics, Austin, TX. Dr. Petronio has been an important voice in the Communication discipline, arguing for the importance of translational scholarship and modeling that work. In 2007, she spearheaded the Translating Research into Practice (TRIP) Center at IUPUI. Her work and career embody the value of generating knowledge and taking that knowledge where it can be applied to make lives better.

Mary E. Stuckey
Although trained as a political scientist, Mary Stuckey fully embraces her “adopted” discipline of Communication, and is one of the field’s most highly regarded scholars of presidential rhetoric. She has published ten single-authored books, with the eleventh in press. Several of Dr. Stuckey’s books were published by major university presses in the area of rhetoric and public affairs. Her books range from a general account of how interpreting reality is a source of presidential power, to a longitudinal study of American identity as reflected in presidential discourse, to studies of the rhetoric of individual presidents, to analysis of specific presidential speeches. Perhaps Dr. Stuckey’s most substantial individual work is her book, Defining Americans: The Presidency and National Identity, which examines how presidents use rhetorics of inclusion and exclusion to establish what counts as essential to American identity. Among this book’s strengths are that it examines a wide range of presidents, both historical and contemporary, and that it considers a large enough sample of speeches to permit meaningful generalizations. The same qualities that characterize Dr. Stuckey’s single-authored books – thorough grounding in the primary sources, care in the selection and use of evidence, and clarity, strength, and insightfulness of argument – are also evident in her three edited books and her nearly 40 peer-reviewed articles. Additionally, she has a number of invited essays, briefing papers, and encyclopedia entries. Dr. Stuckey takes great care to instill standards of rigorous scholarship and vigorous argument in the students she mentors.  Some indication of the high regard in which her scholarly judgment is held within the discipline is her selection first to edit the Southern Communication Journal and now the Quarterly Journal of Speech, NCA’s flagship journal in rhetorical studies. Her books have received awards from the Public Address and Political Communication Divisions of NCA.

Joseph B. Walther
Joseph B. Walther pioneered the field of the social dynamics of computer-mediated communication. Prior to his work, researchers in other disciplines focused on static channel effects on interpersonal and group processes. He articulated dynamic, communication-based explanations and predictions for how users develop impressions and interpersonal relations through extended message exchanges via the Internet. Dr. Walther’s work laid the foundation for the contemporary study of social media and social interaction online. With a more than 25-year distinguished career, he has become known as an important theorist, having articulated no fewer than four original theories. These include social information processing theory, the hyperpersonal model, warranting theory (with Parks), and the efficiency framework of mediated communication (with Watt & Nowak). The hallmark of Dr. Walther’s work throughout his career is the combination of novel theoretical ideas and innovative mainstream empirical research methods applied to the study of computer-mediated communication. The influence of his prodigious research is international. Within the Communication discipline, he was the first to receive NCA’s Woolbert Research Award on two separate occasions, each one marking an article published 10+ years prior that had stood the test of time and reconceptualized communication phenomena. In addition to receiving numerous awards from several NCA and ICA divisions, Dr. Walther was a Fulbright senior scholar in 2013, holds fellowships at universities in Germany and the Netherlands, and is the Wee Kim Wee Professor in Communication Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He has provided keynote addresses in Europe, the United States, the Middle East, and Asia, and has developed innovative courses involving online collaborations among students from several countries. He in an ambassador of the field among countries and disciplines the world over. The corpus of Dr. Walther’s work has provided the intellectual space for an enormous variety of researchers to explore what social, technological, and behavioral factors influence the way we relate online, in a variety of settings, applications, and populations. It does so by exemplifying theoretically driven, imaginative, rigorous, solidly communication-focused research.