NCA Inside & Out

NCA Member News

NCA Member News

May 19, 2015


Kerk Kee, Chapman University, recently received a five-year National Science Foundation CAREER grant in the amount of $519,753 for his project, “Organizational Capacity and Capacity Building for Cyberinfrastructure Diffusion.”

Kate Magsamen-Conrad, Bowling Green State University, has received the university’s 2015 President’s Award for Collaborative Research and Creative Work. This award recognizes innovative research conducted by faculty members in collaboration with graduate students.

E. Michele Ramsey, Pennsylvania State University, has been awarded the Rosemary Schraer Mentoring Award. This award recognizes a Pennsylvania State University employee for mentoring by advising, facilitating, encouraging and/or paving the way for others to recognize and realize their potential in both personal and professional endeavors.

In the Media 

Adam Earnheardt, Youngstown State University (YSU), was featured in a YSU student paper article about the future of the popular social networking app, Yik Yak.

Mark Glantz, Norbert College, was quoted in a Fox News article about the influence of social media on political campaigns.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, University of Pennsylvania, was quoted in a USA Today article about how political advertisements can overwhelm local TV.

Susan Jasko, California University in Pennsylvania, was quoted in a Washington Post article about the effectiveness of a Weather Service graphic designed to communicate severe weather risks.

Kate Magsamen-Conrad, Bowling Green State University, was quoted in a Washington Post article about age and internet usage.

Paul Stob, Vanderbilt University, was quoted in a Christian Science Monitor article about Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

S. Shyam Sundar, Pennsylvania State University, was featured in a DZone article for his research on the effect of avatars on virtual collaboration.

In Transition 

J. Michael Hogan has been appointed the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Rhetoric at Pennsylvania State University.

New Books 

Lee ArtzGlobal Entertainment Media: A Critical Introduction, Wiley Blackwell, 978-1-118-95544-4.

Michael Waltman,Hate on the Right: Right Wing Political Groups and Hate Speech, Peter Lang 978-1-4331-1947-7.

In Memoriam 

Jane Blankenship, University of Massachusetts Amherst, passed away on April 24.

Known simply as Jane or JB, and to only a few as Dr. Blankenship, Jane devoted her life to being a teacher-scholar, impacting students and faculty alike for more than 40 years. She was born in West Virginia in 1934, an only child in a family of teachers and politicians. Over the years, Jane would fondly recall the teachers who had guided her in her youth, influential high school debate coaches with whom she had worked, and most importantly, scholars at the University of Illinois, preeminent teachers of the Cornell tradition of rhetoric. She credited professors such as Marie Hochmuth Nichols and Karl Wallace as having been transformative in her understanding of the rhetorical tradition and how one should devote their life as a teacher-scholar.

Jane's early academic career centered on the understanding of language and form, with a focus on literary theorists such as I.A. Richards and Samuel Coleridge. As Jane's career developed, she gravitated to the work of Kenneth Burke, finding a kindred soul in discussions of piety, tropes, the pentad and "what goes with what." In her later years, reflective of the cultural milieu of the time, Jane developed a keen interest in the role of women in politics. She was thrilled by the likes of Geraldine Ferraro, and she sought to give voice to women such as Helen Gahagan Douglas and Shirley Chisholm. She was pleased with the brilliant career of Hillary Clinton and firmly believed Hillary would be excellent as the first woman President of the United States. 

In 1996, the University of Massachusetts System honored Jane with its highest award, the Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Faculty Teaching.  At the time, only one of these gold medallions and framed awards were distributed each year.

Jane will be best remembered for her work with many students. Whether through collaborative writing or classroom mentoring, she inspired a cadre of rhetoricians who continue to reflect her perspectives in their own work.  Even in her final days, she was comforted and loved by the many graduate students and friends whose lives she impacted throughout her academic life. 

Jane Blankenship's work and the contributions she made to the discipline are evident in her final volume, Coming to Terms: the Collected Works of Jane Blankenship (Lexington Studies in Political Communication, 2012). This collection of essays and papers, many written with former graduate students and reconsidered in present day, provides a wonderful perspective on life in the Communication discipline and the early years of our speech associations. Most importantly, it provides great insight into one woman's journey in creating a brilliant academic life and, in turn, teaching us all how to "pay it forward" in our own interactions with students.

Jane is survived by her life partner of 28 years, Dr. Maureen Williams. A life celebration will be held on May 23rd at Memorial Hall on the UMASS-Amherst campus. Donations in Dr. Blankenship’s name may be made to the Traumatic Brain Injury Association of America.


Franklyn S. Haiman, Northwestern University, passed away on March 10, at the age of 93. 

Dr. Haiman joined the faculty of Northwestern University in 1948, immediately upon completion of his Ph.D. degree, and remained there, rising through the ranks, until his retirement as John Evans Professor Emeritus in 1991.  He served as Chair of the Department of Communication Studies from 1964 to 1975.

Dr. Haiman’s scholarship followed two different trajectories.  In his early career, he emphasized the study of group dynamics and leadership, especially the sharing of leadership in democratically-oriented groups. His publications in this area include Group Leadership and Democratic Action and (with Dean Barnlund) The Dynamics of Discussion

Beginning in the early 1960s, his scholarship and teaching focused on contemporary problems in the freedom of speech.  Dr. Haiman pioneered the study of freedom of expression within the Communication discipline and was instrumental in launching what is now NCA's Freedom of Expression Division.  His many publications in this area include Speech and Law in a Free Society, which received numerous awards from NCA and other national organizations.  More recently, he published "Speech Acts" and the First Amendment.  A collection of his essays was published under the title Freedom, Democracy, and Responsibility: Selected Essays of Franklyn S. Haiman.

At Northwestern University, Dr. Haiman was regarded as an outstanding teacher of both graduate and undergraduate students.  His classes in freedom of speech always drew a large enrollment.  He also taught small group communication, group leadership, and ethical issues in communication, and was a vigorous advocate of shared governance within the university.

Following his retirement, Dr. Haiman held visiting appointments at the University of New Mexico and the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

Throughout his career, Dr. Haiman also was active in the American Civil Liberties Union, serving for several years on its national board of directors.

NCA's research award in the area of freedom of expression is named in honor of Franklyn S. Haiman, and he is, himself, a recipient of that award.  He was also among the inaugural class of NCA Distinguished Scholars, named to that honor in 1992.


Reverend Robert Dean Kendall, St. Cloud State University (SCSU), passed away on March 26.

After serving as a Methodist minister in New York, Iowa, and Minnesota, Dr. Kendall completed his Ph.D. in the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Minnesota in 1973. He joined the SCSU Department of Speech Communication in 1971. After 21 years of teaching, Dr. Kendall retired as an Emeritus Professor in 1992.

In retirement, Dr. Kendall remained active in a wide variety of activities, including spending time in 2005 as a Guest Professor at BinHai College, Nankai University in China.

Dr. Kendall developed several courses during his career, including Communication Ethics and Freedom of Speech. He also taught a unique course in Impersonation Speaking. This course combined public speaking, rhetorical biography, and history. Dr. Kendall and his wife, LuBell, established the annual Kendall Award for the best student paper in Communication Ethics.


John LeBret, Louisiana State University (LSU), passed away on March 11.  Dr. Lebret taught in the Communication Studies Department at Louisiana State University, where he also managed the HopKins Black Box Theatre.

Dr. LeBret was born in Yuma, Arizona, and spent his early years in Oregon and Washington. He attended East Washington University and lived in Seattle before moving to Albany, NY, to complete his B.A. and earn his M.A. from SUNY Albany. He spent many years in upstate New York before moving to Louisiana to begin his career as a Performance Studies scholar. Dr. LeBret earned his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in 2011.

Dr. LeBret directed, performed in, and collaborated on many performances in the HopKins Black Box Theatre. Recently, he developed a popular course called "Puppets and Props," designed to teach communication theories and philosophies via puppet manipulation. The course was featured on NBC33. Dr. LeBret worked with many of his students to create what would be his final performance, On a Snowy Evening, which celebrated the winter/holiday season. He was an inspiring teacher and creative force whose legacy will endure in the hearts and minds of the LSU community.


Richard L. Stromgren, University of Massachusetts, passed away on March 27. Mr. Stromgren taught at the University of Massachusetts for 48 years and retired as a Professor Emeritus in 1995. He continued to teach part-time until 2004.

After serving in the U.S. Army where he was stationed in Hawaii as a tank platoon leader, 1st Lieutenant Stromgren attended Northwestern University (NU) where he earned his M.F.A. in 1958.  At NU, he directed the film, A Better Beginning, which was produced by the Northwestern Film Department and focused on the organization and operations of the Premature Babies' Milk Bank at Evanston Hospital. 

Mr. Stromgren joined the University of Massachusetts in 1958, teaching the university’s first classes in film and working closely with other faculty to expand the size and focus of the department, contributing to what is now the Department of Communication.  His influential book, Light and Shadows: A History of Motion Pictures, co-authored with Thomas W. Bohn, was published in 1975.  A second co-authored book (with Martin Norden) calledMovies: A Language in Light, was published in 1984.

Mr. Stromgren was passionate about film, photography, theater, and music, and contributed to many productions at both the Commonwealth Opera and the Valley Light Opera, for which he served two terms as president. 

Mr. Stromgren is survived by his wife of 53 years, Philippa "Pip" Stromgren of Amherst; sons, Lindsay and Chel, and their spouses and children.