NCA Inside & Out

Globe

NCA Second Vice President Issues Call for Task Force on Facilitating International Collaborations

March 11, 2015

Call for participation in an NCA Task Force, released by NCA 2nd Vice President Stephen J. Hartnett

Contexts: Expanding from National to Global Concerns 

It has become a truism that the world is more interconnected than ever before, with consumer goods, natural resources, media technologies, weapons, germs, and both revolutions and dreams weaving their way around the planet. In our age of globalization, everything circulates, everything is connected. Because of these developments, the need to generate meaningful responses to and engagements with the challenges and opportunities of globalization has never been greater.  

Yet even as scholars and pundits speak and write about an age of globalization, the fact remains that the vast bulk of global wealth accumulates among the traditional, post-World War II powers (the United States, much of Europe, and Japan), while billions of our neighbors in Africa and Latin America, to say nothing of abandoned segments of the United States, continue to languish in stunning poverty. Amidst these ongoing patterns of inequality, China, India, and Brazil are now rising as global powers, complete with their own promises, contradictions, and dilemmas, while the advances of ISIS foreshadow new modes of governance and communication. Within these contexts, the ennobling promises of enlightened, cosmopolitan collaborations that transcend old national boundaries have never been more real, yet at the same time, the threats of border-hopping terrorism, cyber-war, pandemics, and environmental catastrophe have also never been more tangible.

The title of the NCA implies that we are a national organization, and indeed we have traditionally been concerned with supporting U.S.-based scholars and teachers whose work has historically been largely U.S.-centric in focus. Yet if we are to remain intellectually alive to scholarly developments abroad, politically attuned to international issues that will surely impact the United States, and culturally familiar with emerging trends in music, film, food, clothes, and health—that is, if we are to honor some of the core commitments of interdisciplinary communication studies—then surely we must continue to expand our commitments beyond studying what is national to considering texts, images, institutions, and movements that are international, even trans-national or post-national.

In 2012, NCA President Steve Beebe empanelled a Task Force on Internationalization; the work of that Task Force can be found here: https://www.natcom.org/international/. As readers will see on that webpage, the previous Task Force did a remarkable job of gathering resources to help us think about how internationalization impacts, or could impact, our teaching, research, and service. As detailed below, this new Task Force is charged with picking up the work of President Beebe’s Task Force and advancing us toward a series of actionable efforts meant to empower NCA members to become more cognizant of, embedded in, and conversant with the dilemmas and opportunities of our hyper-mediated, global era.

The Charge: To Facilitate International Collaborations 

The purpose of this task force is to lead the NCA’s efforts in supporting our members’ pursuits of international collaborations in research, teaching, and service. Within this broad charge, the Task Force’s three mandates include:

  1. Survey Existing Research: The Task Force is asked to survey the best research regarding communication in an age of globalization and then to create an accessible, themed, critical bibliography of that work, thus creating a definitive road-map of leading communication scholarship in this area of work. Beginning its efforts on May 1, 2015, the first goal of the Task Force is to present its preliminary findings in panel format at the NCA convention in November 2015. Then, following conversation and feedback at the 2015 convention, the Task Force will engage in additional investigation, eventually seeking a suitable outlet to publish its research findings, thus making sub-genre-defining and agenda-setting intellectual contributions.
  2. Summarize Best Pedagogical Practices: In parallel with the critical survey noted above, the second step of the Task Force’s charge is to prepare documents summarizing and categorizing best practices regarding communication pedagogies in an age of globalization. This aspect of the Task Force’s work will include examining how our colleagues are including more international materials in existing classes (including Communication’s basic courses), designing new classes on globalization issues, implementing travel study classes, expanding opportunities for international scholars to study in the U.S. and for NCA members to serve abroad, and others. This aspect of the Task Force’s work will culminate in workshop-style presentations at the 2016 and 2017 NCA conventions and then, following additional work, in the production of a handbook summarizing best pedagogical practices.
  3. Organize International Communication Conferences: While the Task Force works on its research and pedagogy trajectories, it is also charged with a third key task: Working with allied colleagues and institutions abroad, the Task Force is empowered to organize a series of international conferences to support the study of communication and globalization. One such conference is already being planned for Beijing in June 2016, with that work being led by NCA 2nd Vice President Stephen Hartnett, faculty at the International College Beijing, and colleagues at the Chinese University of Communication. Following this collaborative and international model, the Task Force is charged with locating partners and organizing conferences in other international venues in the summers of 2017 and 2018.

Processes 

While the bulk of the Task Force’s work will be conducted electronically, all members will be expected to participate in working sessions at the NCA conventions in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

To gather additional feedback on the Task Force’s work, members of the Task Force will be asked to attend either one regional communication association (Western States, Southern States, Central States, or Eastern) conference during both the 2016 and 2017 calendar years or allied international conferences in 2016 and 2017, where the Task Force member is charged with hosting open, information gathering sessions where colleagues will be invited to dialogue on the Task Force’s preliminary findings and evolving recommendations.

To support the work of the Task Force, Hartnett pledges partnership on organizing and hosting the various NCA and regional conference sessions noted above; support on organizing the international conferences noted above; and work on the editing and other publication-based labor noted herein.

Personnel 

The Task Force on Fostering International Collaborations in the Age of Globalization will be co-chaired by Dr. Qingwen Dong (University of the Pacific) and Dr. Carolyn Calloway-Thomas (Indiana University). Colleagues who wish to serve should submit their materials to Hartnett, via email (Stephen.Hartnett@ucdenver.edu) by April 11, 2015. Please note that special consideration will be given during the selection process to colleagues immersed in international settings or working on international collaborations. Complete application packets will arrive as one PDF file that includes these materials:

  1. A cover letter indicating the nominee’s qualifications for the Task Force and proposed areas of work within the Task Force;
  2. An up-to-date CV;
  3. A sample syllabus OR publication demonstrating excellence in this area of work; and
  4. 1 letter of reference.