Making the Case for and Advancing the Discipline

Advocacy Resources for Department Chairs

Chairs are sometimes put in the position of defending their departments, particularly in this time of budget upheaval in higher education. In this section, you will find articles written by NCA members on department advocacy and the centrality of Communication as a discipline. In addition, you can read comments by people external to the discipline, most notably the former Harvard University President Derek Bok and economist D. McCloskey, who write about the importance of oral communication.

  • Eadie, W. F. (2011). Stories we tell: Fragmentation and convergence in communication disciplinary history.Review of Communication, 11, 161-176. 
  • Emanuel, R. (2005). A rationale for the basic course: Fundamentals of oral communication vs. public speaking. Excerpt from “The Case for Fundamentals of Oral Communication, Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 29, 153-162. 
  • Korn, C., Morreale, S. P., & Boileau, D. (2000). Defining the field: Revisiting the ACA 1995 definition of communication studies. Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 29, 40-52.  
  • Morreale, S. P., & Pearson, J. C. (2008). Why communication education is important: The centrality of the discipline in the 21st century. Communication Education, 57, 224-240.    
  • Morreale, S. P., Osborn, M. M., & Pearson, J. C. (2000). Why communication is important: A Rationale for the centrality of the study of communication. Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 29, 1-25.   
  • Seiler, W. J. (1995). The Nebraska department of communication studies story: There are happy endings that go beyond football and a good crop year. Makay, J. J. (1999). Establishing the department’s credibility with central administration. Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 3, 190-203.   
  • Stone, G. (1995). Demise of the college of communications and fine arts at SIUC. Makay, J. J. (1999). Establishing the department’s credibility with central administration. Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 3, 158-168.  

See also: The 2009 Brigance Colloquy on Public Speaking as a Liberal Art 

In 1999, a special issue of the Journal of the Association for Communication Administration was devoted to advancing the discipline. Listed below are several articles that describe the authors’ experiences at their various institutions.

  • Becker, S. L. (1999). Advancing the discipline: Guidelines from the experience of colleagues. Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 28, 111-112. 
  • Delia, J. G. (1999). Building excellence in communication studies: Illinois 1975-1995 as an exemplar. Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 28, 124-131.  
  • Kekke, R. (1999). Advancing the discipline in the community college environment. Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 28, 151-155.  
  • Lee, R., & Siler, W. (1999). Protecting communication departments: Reflections on the Nebraska experience.Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 28, 137-144.    
  • MacDoniels, J. W. (1999). Report of the subcommittee on advancing the discipline in the small undergraduate college department. Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 28, 145-150.  
  • Makay, J. J. (1999). Establishing the department’s credibility with central administration. Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 28, 132-136.  
  • Schmidt, J. J. (1999). John Carroll’s department of communication: Growth at a small university. Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 28, 113-123.

Resources developed by NCA’s Learning Outcomes in Communication Project can be used on campus and beyond to help promote the discipline of Communication.

Learn More

  • Bok, D. (2006). Our underachieving colleges: A candid look at how much students learn and why they should be learning more (pp. 82-108). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • McCloskey, D. (1993). The neglected economics of talk: Planning for Higher Education, 22, 11-16.