NCA Inside & Out

Paaige Turner

Letter from the Executive Director

July 14, 2017

Each year in October, Communication colleagues ask the question, “Are you going to NCA this year?” But since I joined the NCA staff in April, I have come to realize that the question ought to be, “Are you going to the NCA Annual Convention?”

At the Annual Convention, we gather to welcome new scholars; renew ourselves; test our teaching, research, and service ideas against the minds of our colleagues; reestablish the intellectual and personal bonds we formed in graduate school; and breathe in new knowledge that shapes the article or teaching idea we brought with us into something bolder and more compelling.  Indeed, the convention is perhaps our flagship member service. 

When I first joined NCA more than 25 years ago, I didn’t fully realize what it meant to belong to a learned society; I purchased my membership to receive a discounted rate for the convention. Later, as a professor, I renewed my membership for access to teaching resources, lists of graduate and doctoral programs to recommend to my students, opportunities for professional development, and NCA’s collection of journals. When I became an administrator, I turned to the association’s C-Briefs, the Chairs’ Corner, assessment resources, and other membership offerings for discipline-related data and information I could use to justify promotions, new faculty lines, new programs, or additional funds. I envied the individuals who attended the Chairs’ Summer Institute. 

As the Executive Director, I have come to more fully appreciate the array of services NCA offers to its members and our discipline. I now see first-hand the work the National Office staff does to produce all the above. I also work with them in promoting awareness of our discipline to ACLS, AAAS, COSSA, NSF, NEH, and other scholarly organizations that may look past our members even while lamenting the need for a richer understanding of Communication, or when discussing issues of healthcare, social justice, education, or numerous other topics without recognizing the role of Communication. 

At their heart, learned societies are dedicated to publishing scholarship; to providing conferences for the sharing of current research; to disseminating information about new discipline developments; and to helping ensure excellence in research, writing, and education. But just as important, they serve as places for scholars to work together and support one another in the production and promotion of knowledge, and in the advancement of their respective disciplines. NCA’s many offerings are aimed at supporting these functions. 

I look forward to joining you at NCA’s 103rd Annual Convention in Dallas this November to pursue all the above.  I also recognize that this year, you may be struggling to balance your professional goals and desire to support your NCA colleagues with your reactions to the legislative landscape of Texas. Regardless, NCA will strive to meet your needs. NCA also will continue to work externally to advance and promote the Communication discipline. And, we welcome your thoughts about how we can continue to enrich your member experience.