From the Executive Director - Gathering, Leading, and Amplifying  

March 2, 2023

Welcoming NCA Leaders 

On February 23, about 30 NCA Leaders joined the NCA staff for a welcome reception at the National Office. For most Leaders, it was their first time visiting our National Office in the nation’s capital. And we had a blast! We gave tours, from the third floor to the basement, the spaces where we do business, across the courtyard, and into the carriage house where our consultant Marjorie Lightman regaled Leaders with stories about the history of carriage houses in Washington, DC.  

Your Leaders told us that they wanted to work on five goals when we surveyed them last year: Connect with others and network; advance the goals of our new NCA Strategic Plan; advance our new IDEA Strategic Plan; develop goals and objectives for the standing and governance committees; and learn how decisions on a leadership level are made and how member feedback is received and implemented. The National Office worked closely with President Walid Afifi and the retreat facilitators to plan a gathering to address these goals. I look forward to sharing our outcomes in my next column. 

NCA Selected for National Pilot Project 

We are leading: To raise NCA’s visibility in the nonprofit governance space and improve our governance practices; I applied for NCA to participate in an innovative pilot project sponsored by the Center for Social Sector Leadership at the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business, in partnership with BoardSource, a leader in nonprofit board leadership research and support. I am delighted to share that we were selected! Executive Committee (EC) member Jimmie Manning is our representative. As we implement recommendations and learn about other innovative programs that can add value, I will share them with the EC, other NCA leaders, and all of you as appropriate.  

Amplifying Your Work 

We are amplifying: We piloted a redesigned NCA session at the Southern States Communication Association (SSCA) convention in 2022. That new design focused on highlighting a grantee’s project to demonstrate the impact of NCA funding rather than rely solely on our officers to tell audience members about this and other important member-only benefits. We invited Roy Schwartzman and his colleagues at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to discuss the National Communication Association Center for Communication, Community Collaboration, and Change project. Providing a venue to amplify their work was successful. The re-designed session was so well-received that we’ve adopted the format for this year’s four regionals. When WSCA (Western States Communication Association) met Feb. 17-20, in Phoenix, AZ, Jimmie Manning, University of Nevada-Reno, presented about the Hope Conference, and Rachel Alicia Griffin discussed NCA’s IDEA Strategic Plan and shared its evolution. You can find the IDEA Task Force report and strategic plan on our website.  

Recipients of the 2021 and 2022 Advancing the Discipline Grants (ATG) and Research Cultivation Grants (RCG) will join Past President Roseann Mandziuk and First Vice President Marnel Niles Goins at the Eastern Communication Association (ECA) meeting in Baltimore, MD, March 29-April 2. Kami Silk and Ashley Paintsil will present on their ATG-funded project, “Improving Access and Support for Underrepresented Students: A Pipeline Strategy for Increasing Diversity in Communication Graduate Programs” (K. Silk, Emily Pfender, and A. Paintsil, University of Delaware). On her project teams’ behalf, Kim Hannah-Prater will present “The Story Project: Sharing Diverse Voices” (Trevor Setvin, Steven Zwier, Robin Zwier, K. Hannah-Prater, Sheri Trivane, Brooke Bognanni, Evan Balkan, Community College of Baltimore County (MD). And finally, Comfort Tosin Adebayo, from Towson University, will present her RCG-funded project, “Sexual Violence in Nigeria.” 

Joshua Westwick will join Second Vice President Jeanetta Sims at the Central States Communication Association (CSCA), March 29-April 2, in St. Louis, MO to share an update on the ATD-funded project, “Developing Best-Practices for Accommodations in the Introductory Course and Beyond” (J. Westwick, Jillian Kaufman, Cheri Simonds, South Dakota State University and Illinois State University).  

And Michael Strawser will present on his ATG-funded effort, “Supporting Communication Teaching and Learning in K-12 Contexts,” during the SSCA convention, April 12-16, in St. Petersburg, FL.  

If you are attending a regional association meeting this year, please look for the NCA sessions in your program books and plan to attend to learn more about these outstanding projects.  These are just a few examples of projects that are advancing Communication scholarship. Many of you are also engaged in exciting projects at your institutions and in your communities. We want to hear from you! Let us know what you are doing so we can share your excellent work in a future Spectra issue, feature it on the NCA website, or in one of our social media posts.