Press Room

The National Communication Association Presents “The Future of Education: Identifying Challenges and Opportunities in Pandemic Learning,” A Virtual Public Program

April 29, 2021

(Washington, DC) — The National Communication Association recently released a special public program episode of Communication Matters: The NCA Podcast featuring a panel of education experts and moderated by NCA Executive Director Trevor Parry-Giles. The panelists focused on how COVID-19 has changed higher education and how these changes relate to best practices in teaching and learning, including issues of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in higher education.  

You can watch the virtual public program on NCA’s YouTube page, or listen to the special episode of the Communication Matters podcast.


  • Vinita Agarwal, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Communication, Salisbury University 

Dr. Agarwal teaches courses in health, digital, and international communication and is the author of Medical Humanism, Chronic Illness, and the Body in Pain: An Ecology of Wholeness

  • Mindy Fenske, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of South Carolina 

Dr. Fenske’s research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of performance and rhetoric. Fenske is the former Director of the Speech Communication and Rhetoric Program at the University of South Carolina. 

  • Alanna Gillis, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology, St. Lawrence University 

Dr. Gillis’ research explores race, class, and gender inequality in higher education. Gillis is currently working on projects investigating the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on higher education. 

  • Chris Gurrie, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Communication and Speech Studies and Director of the Master of Arts in Professional Communication, University of Tampa

Dr. Gurrie studies immediacy, audiences, and communication education and is currently working on the efficacy of fitness communication.

  • Matthew Hubbs, Ed.D., Dean of Academics, Westcliff University

Dr. Hubbs was initially trained as a counseling psychologist and has spent more than a decade championing student achievement as an educator and administrator in higher education. 

  • Shannon Borke VanHorn, Professor, Valley City State University

Dr. VanHorn’s research interests include instructional communication and instructional technology. VanHorn has presented faculty development workshops and conference sessions on effective course design and teaching in the online environment.

Learn more about the panelists and NCA here.


To arrange an interview with one or all of the panelists, contact Grace Hébert at 202-534-1104 or

About the National Communication Association

The National Communication Association (NCA) advances Communication as the discipline that studies all forms, modes, media, and consequences of communication through humanistic, social scientific, and aesthetic inquiry. NCA serves the scholars, teachers, and practitioners who are its members by enabling and supporting their professional interests in research and teaching. Dedicated to fostering and promoting free and ethical communication, NCA promotes the widespread appreciation of the importance of communication in public and private life, the application of competent communication to improve the quality of human life and relationships, and the use of knowledge about communication to solve human problems. NCA supports inclusiveness and diversity among our faculties, within our membership, in the workplace, and in the classroom; NCA supports and promotes policies that fairly encourage this diversity and inclusion.

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