2015 NCA Award Winners


TEACHING AWARDS 

Donald H. Ecroyd Award for Outstanding Teaching in Higher Education 

Katherine Grace Hendrix, University of Memphis 

Marcella E. Oberle Award for Outstanding Teaching in Grades K-12 

Steve Meadows, Danville High School 

Michael and Suzanne Osborn Community College Outstanding Educator Award 

David Bodary, Sinclair Community College 

Wallace A. Bacon Lifetime Teaching Excellence Award 

James W. Chesebro, retired, Ball State University 

William J. Seiler, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
 

SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS 

Bernard J. Brommel Award for Outstanding Scholarship or Distinguished Service in Family Communication 

Michelle Miller-Day, Chapman University 

Charles H. Woolbert Research Award 

Erika L. Kirby, Creighton University, and Kathleen J. Krone, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
For their article, “’The policy exists but you can’t really use it’: Communication and the structuration of work-family policies,” published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research, 30 (2002): 50-77.

Diamond Anniversary Book Award 

Michael J. Lee, College of Charleston
For his book, Creating Conservatism: Postwar Words that Made an American Movement (Michigan State University Press)

Donald P. Cushman Memorial Award 

Melissa Meade, Temple University
For her essay, “In the Shadow of the Coal Breaker: Place and Landscape in the Anthracite Coal Mining Region”

Douglas W. Ehninger Distinguished Rhetorical Scholar Award 

David Zarefsky, Northwestern University 

Franklyn S. Haiman Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Freedom of Expression 

Susan Balter-Reitz, Montana State University, Billings; and M. Lane Bruner, Georgia State University
For their article, “Snyder v. Phelps: The U.S. Supreme Court’s Spectacular Erasure of the Tragic Spectacle,” published in Rhetoric and Public Affairs, 16 (2013): 651-683.

Gerald M. Phillips Award for Distinguished Applied Communication Scholarship

Timothy L. Sellnow, University of Central Florida 

Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award 

Melissa Brough, University of California, Irvine
For her dissertation completed at University of Southern California, “Participatory Public Culture and Youth Citizenship in the Digital Age: The Medellín Model”
Advisor: Sarah Banet-Weiser and Manuel Castells

Nick Joyce, University of Maryland
For his dissertation completed at University of Arizona, “Intergroup Media Selection: Media Features and Audience’s Social Identity Motivations and Gratifications”
Advisor: Jake Harwood

Jessica Kuperavage, Pennsylvania State University
For her dissertation completed at Pennsylvania State University, “From Public Tragedy to Public Health: Public Health and the Rhetorics of Responsibility”
Advisor: Jeremy Engels

Golden Anniversary Monograph Award 

Jakob D. Jensen, University of Utah; Andy J. King, Texas Tech University; Nick Carcioppolo, University of Miami; Melinda Krakow, University of Utah; N. Jewell Samadder, University of Utah; and Susan Morgan, University of Miami
For their article, “Comparing tailored and narrative worksite interventions at increasing colonoscopy adherence in adults 50-75: a randomized controlled trial,” published in Social Science & Medicine, 104 (2014): 31-40.

James A. Winans and Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address 

Michael J. Lee, College of Charleston
For his book, Creating Conservatism: Postwar Words that Made an American Movement (Michigan State University Press)

James L. Golden Outstanding Student Essay in Rhetoric Award 

Kiah Bennett, University of Minnesota
For her essay, “The Poehler-Fey Phenomenon”

Karl R. Wallace Memorial Award 

Robin E. Jensen, University of Utah 

Kohrs-Campbell Prize in Rhetorical Criticism 

Michael J. Lee, College of Charleston
For his book entitled Creating Conservatism: Postwar Words That Made an American Movement (Michigan State University Press)

Leslie Irene Coger Award for Distinguished Performance 

Tracy Stephenson Shaffer, Louisiana State University 

Lilla A. Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies 

Joanne Gilbert, Alma College 

Heidi M. Rose, Villanova University 

Mark L. Knapp Award in Interpersonal Communication 

Alan L. Sillars, University of Montana 

Stephen E. Lucas Debut Publication Award 

Lee M. Pierce, University of Georgia
For her article, “Rhetoric of Traumatic Nationalism in the Ground Zero Mosque Controversy,” published in Quarterly Journal of Speech, 100 (2014): 53-80.

 

 SERVICE AWARDS 

Samuel L. Becker Distinguished Service Award 

Kathleen Galvin, Northwestern University 

 

  DISTINGUISHED SCHOLAR AWARDS 

Stephen Browne, Penn State University
Carolyn S. Ellis, University of South Florida
 

 


  Teaching Awards   

Donald H. Ecroyd Award for Outstanding Teaching in Higher Education 

Katherine Grace Hendrix, University of Memphis 

Professor Katherine G. Hendrix, University of Memphis, is the recipient of the 2105 Ecroyd Teaching Award.  Selection of Professor Hendrix was based on her broad spectrum of teaching excellence evidenced by a record of superb classroom teaching and a devotion to student populations who might otherwise be overlooked. Professor Hendrix demonstrates extensive commitment to responsibly training the next generation of teachers, supported by a distinguished scholarly record on issues related to classroom teaching and learning.  She is also widely acknowledged for leadership in institutional, regional, and national initiatives related to teaching and learning.  The award recognizes both the depth and breadth of Professor Hendrix’s professional record and her commitment to the advancement of pedagogy in Communication.

 

Marcella E. Oberle Award for Outstanding Teaching in Grades K-12 

Steve Meadows, Danville High School 

Described as a “born teacher,” Steve Meadows has taught for 24 years in Kentucky, 21 at Danville High School in Danville, Kentucky.  Mr. Meadows also is a part-time instructor at the University of Kentucky, where he teaches one three-hour undergraduate course in the Division of Instructional Communication and Research.  At Danville, he teaches the newly required half-credit class in speech communication, Speech 1, to all ninth graders, as well as Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition. Speech 2, 3 and 4, and Drama 1.   His accomplishments as the Forensics coach are outstanding; the school has been Kentucky team state champions for five years.  For 18 years, Mr. Meadows has served as the District Chair, Kentucky, of the National Speech and Debate Association.  As the founder of SPEAK, Speech Professional Education Alliance of Kentucky, he organizes an annual professional development conference for Kentucky’s speech educators. In 2006, he served as one of ten speech educators who wrote the PRAXIS exam for speech teachers.

 

Michael and Suzanne Osborn Community College Outstanding Educator Award 

David Bodary, Sinclair Community College 

David Bodary is the distinguished recipient of the Michael and Suzanne Osborn Community College Teaching Award. Dr. Bodary has demonstrated a commitment to his students both as professor of Speech and as honors program coordinator. His excellence in the classroom has won him much-deserved recognition and awards. His scholarship is exemplary; he is active as a researcher and presenter in the field of Communication. Finally, Dr. Bodary has served his colleagues both on campus and in Communication associations. This award recognizes his exceptional performance as educator, scholar, and leader.

 

Wallace A. Bacon Lifetime Teaching Excellence Award 

James W. Chesebro, Ball State University 

Dr. James Chesebro devoted more than 40 years to teaching students at universities across the United States and in Puerto Rico prior to his retirement from Ball State University (BSU) in 2012.  Throughout his career, Dr. Chesebro taught 20 distinct undergraduate courses and 41 distinct graduate courses, and his innovative vision resulted in the development of the M.A. in Digital Storytelling at BSU.  In addition to his service as President of NCA (1996) and the Eastern Communication Association (ECA; 1983), Dr. Chesebro’s commitment to teaching was evident when he served as NCA’s Director of Educational Services from 1989 to 1992.  Dr. Chesebro’s dedication to teaching has earned him numerous accolades including NCA’s Ecroyd Teaching Award (2009), ECA’s Ecroyd Teaching Award (2008), and the ECA’s Teaching Fellow designation (1998). 

 

William J. Seiler, University of Nebraska-Lincoln  

Dr. William Seiler’s academic home is the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he joined the faculty in 1972 and served as department chair for 21 years.  During that time, Dr. Seiler mentored many of the top instructional students in our discipline, and his dedication to the basic course and innovative vision for the Personalized System of Instruction (PSI) have inspired Communication education on college campuses across the country.  Dr. Seiler’s commitment to teaching excellence has earned him the distinction of NCA’s Basic Course Distinguished Faculty Award (2013) and induction into the Central States Communication Association’s Hall of Fame (2013).  
 

Scholarship Awards 

Bernard J. Brommel Award for Outstanding Scholarship or  Distinguished Service in Family Communication 

 Michelle Miller-Day, Chapman University 

Dr. Michelle Miller-Day earned her Ph.D. in Communication in 1995 from Arizona State University. Since her dissertation (“Daughters, Mothers, and Grandmothers: Maternal Communication and Suicidality”) more than two decades ago, Dr. Miller-Day has consistently contributed original family communication research and service. Most notably, her 2005 book, a sole-authored research monograph entitled Communication among Grandmothers, Mothers, and Adult Daughters: A Qualitative Study of Maternal Relationships, received two national book awards in the Communication discipline. One of these was NCA’s 2010 Family Communication Division Top Book Award. She also received the 2010 Top Scholarly Article Award for her article published on family communication surrounding meals in families addressing diabetes, published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. In addition, Dr. Miller-Day recently co-wrote and produced a live performance of “Call This Number,” a play that was adapted from focus group interviews with family members of homicide victims. Held last year at Chapman University in Orange, CA, the performance drew more than 1,200 people from the surrounding community during one weekend of performances. This award recognizes Dr. Miller-Day’s outstanding scholarship and distinguished service contributions to both the Family Communication Division of NCA and the field of Family Communication.

  

Charles H. Woolbert Research Award 

  Erika L. Kirby, Creighton University, and Kathleen J. Krone, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
For their article, “’The policy exists but you can’t really use it’: Communication and the structuration of work-family policies,” published in the Journal of Applied Communication Research, 30 (2002): 50-77. 

Dr. Kirby and Dr. Krone address the impact of the Family and Medical Leave Act, passed by the Federal Government in 1993, on communication and work within organizations.  The article addresses how co-workers discuss work-family policies and whether and how such discussions empower employees to take advantage of such policies.  By applying a structurational lens to the problem, the article “with its emphasis on work-life issues in the workplace, sits at the intersection of organizational communication, interpersonal/family communication, and gender and communication issues. It is a model of cross-disciplinary inquiry in communication studies.” Furthermore, the article is among the first to employ a structuration account to address the influence of power on communication and decision making, and how power is negotiated.

A main consideration for selecting the Woolbert winner is the influence of the article or chapter on the discipline over time. To that end, Dr. Kirby and Dr. Krone’s article has seen a substantial increase in the number of citations over the past four years, indicating that both the problem and the authors’ approach to understanding it are reaching and influencing scholars who are interested in similar phenomena.

 

Diamond Anniversary Book Award  

Michael J. Lee, College of Charleston
For his book, Creating Conservatism: Postwar Words that Made an American Movement (Michigan State University Press)

Dr. Michael J. Lee’s Creating Conservatism: Postwar Words that Made an American Movement is an exemplary work of rhetorical history that is directly relevant to contemporary politics. With a remarkably deep and detailed knowledge of historical context, it examines the post-World War II formation of the conservative canon through a nuanced assessment of the handful of writers who generally are credited with sparking the modern American conservative movement, and whose authority is invoked repeatedly by contemporary conservatives. With an acute critical eye, it also identifies the rhetorical strategies that contributed to these authors’ canonization. Dr. Lee asks a vital question: What techniques made their writings so persuasive? Read in the context of contemporary American politics, Dr. Lee’s superb analysis of the postwar era sheds important light on the topoi that continue to dominate conservative rhetoric even now, and illuminates the processes by which conservatives are socialized to this day. It is a generative work in the best sense, whose method and argument should be useful to scholars of Communication, culture, and politics for years to come.

  

Donald P. Cushman Memorial Award 

Melissa Meade, Temple University
For her essay, “In the Shadow of the Coal Breaker: Place and Landscape in the Anthracite Coal Mining Region” 

The author provides a skillful ethnographic analysis of place and landscape through the use of vivid exemplars that fully capture the intersections of class, trauma, and social reproduction in the only U.S. coalfield containing anthracite coal and holding the most concentrated reserve of this coal in the world. Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork material and long-term engagement with the studied communities as a member of a family who labored in anthracite coal-mines for generations, the daughter of a “coal patch” resident, and a physical body who confronted the environmental and geographical realities of the region, the author is uniquely positioned to provide a narrative that is distinct from the dominant and official narratives about this region and this time period. Ultimately, this is a formidable cultural inquiry through the lens of an arriving scholar who has a wonderful ethnographic eye/I, is a skillful writer, and offers a solid piece of Communication scholarship.

 

Douglas W. Ehninger Distinguished Rhetorical Scholar Award 

David Zarefsky, Northwestern University    

Dr. David Zarefsky has published dozens of articles and important books focused on American public address and argumentation.  His works have been published in the top journals and book series in the field and have won numerous awards.  As an acknowledgment of his academic accomplishment, he has directed important conferences and presented the keynote address at too many conferences to mention.  His research has made important contributions on topics as wide-ranging as social movement theory, the power of definition, presidential rhetoric, rhetorical methodologies, and the relationship of theory and textual analysis in public address and rhetorical criticism.  

One way of reflecting on Dr. Zarefsky’s accomplishments is to consider what they have meant to the fields of rhetoric and argumentation.  At least as notable as what his work has told us about theory and practice in rhetorical and argumentation studies, is what it has told us about the practice of criticism itself.  His research is typified by careful analysis of contextual factors, cogent development of relevant theoretical principles, and nuanced analysis of rhetoric and argumentation.  All of this is done in a style that is both rigorous and highly accessible.  He has become a model for the field about how to write and also about the art of the public lecture.  In the case of most, being chosen for the Ehninger award is a mark of enormous distinction. That certainly is the case here, but in this instance something else is also true.  The selection of this year’s winner of the Ehninger Award also is a mark of distinction for the award itself, something that perhaps could be true only with the selection of Dr. David Zarefsky.

 

Franklyn S. Haiman Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Freedom of Expression 

Susan Balter-Reitz, Montana State University, Billings
M. Lane Bruner, Georgia State University  

For their article, “Snyder v. Phelps: The U.S. Supreme Court’s Spectacular Erasure of the Tragic Spectacle,” published in Rhetoric and Public Affairs, 16 (2013): 651-683. 

The work of Dr. Bruner and Dr. Balter-Reitz offered keen insight into where boundaries involving free speech might be placed.  This excellent manuscript centers on the problematic conflation of important public issues with issues that are public simply because their extensive media coverage was particularly impactful.  The treatment of public issues and public concern in tandem is precise. The authors identify the many “at stakes” in their argument’s implications. The essay is not “just” about public spectacles, but implicates the public-private distinction, the relationship between “real” and simulated media experiences, and several other important issues. It offers readers a cogent interpretation of the SCOTUS political tendencies in this historical moment. And it flags nicely issues of special interest for rhetorical scholars where those might diverge from legal matters. The artful use of rhetorical theory in analysis of the Supreme Court decision brings such court decisions under the umbrella of “public address” and underscores the importance of these texts for scholars of the journal of publication.

 

 

Gerald M. Phillips Award for Distinguished Applied Communication Scholarship 

Timothy L. Sellnow, University of Kentucky 

The Gerald M. Phillips Award recognizes NCA members responsible for generating excellent bodies of published research and creative scholarship in applied communication.
This year’s recipient, Dr. Timothy L. Sellnow, has served as editor of the Journal of Applied Communication Research. His research program on risk perception and crisis communication employs several theoretic frameworks including message convergence and organizational renewal.  His supporters describe his work as prolific, of high quality, cutting edge, relevant, and useful in solving complex problems.

In the classroom, Dr. Sellnow serves as a gifted mentor and teacher who includes his students in research projects and assists them in the publication process and in obtaining employment in agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, National Institutes of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  A former student observes that Dr. Sellnow “genuinely cares that his students grasp the importance of the courses he teaches, and students perceive that he genuinely cares for them.”

Dr. Sellnow’s work is characterized by his selflessness, moral conviction, and strong sense of ethical responsibility to his students, colleagues, discipline, and community. 

 

Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award 

Melissa Brough, University of California – Irvine
For her dissertation completed at University of Southern California, “Participatory Public Culture and Youth Citizenship in the Digital Age: The Medellín Model”
Advisor: Sarah Banet-Weiser and Manuel Castells

As Melissa Brough’s advisor wrote, “This dissertation is a detailed, field-research based analysis on youth civic participation and engagement, focusing on youth media activism in Medellín, Colombia. While the work focuses primarily on Colombia, it also pays close attention to the ways youth are using digital communications to forge social and cultural change across the globe. Importantly, this scholar is breaking new ground in thinking about participatory culture and youth. She adds to a growing body of critical analyses of what civic engagement means in the digital era as well as to work on critical pedagogy and youth media.” The advisor goes on to note, “This scholar’s cross-cultural study will clearly make a meaningful contribution to conversations within the field of communication and beyond, given its focus on questions of participation, citizenship, and power in the digital age. She offers specific, clearly defined ways to avoid technological determinism in the analysis and practice of using new media technologies to promote not only meaningful youth engagement, but social justice more broadly.”

As one of the reviewers observed in selecting her work as the winner wrote, “The candidate employed multiple methods over more than one year of research, including more than 100 interviews. The use of photographs and visual data, in addition to the clear and supported interpretations of textual data, contribute to a compelling story that is clearly linked to the field of communication and contributes to communication theory/practice.” Another noted specifically that “this dissertation is a compelling engaged scholarship project. It produces unique findings about an area that has struggled with violence for decades and in ways that seamlessly interconnect work from different communication contexts.”

 

Nick Joyce, University of Maryland
For his dissertation completed at University of Arizona, “Intergroup Media Selection: Media Features and Audience’s Social Identity Motivations and Gratifications”
Advisor: Jake Harwood

As Nicholas Joyce’s dissertation advisor noted in nominating this work, “The candidate’s dissertation research is innovative and exciting. It blends traditions of media selection and media effects with intergroup communication theory, and cleverly combines those theoretical concerns with a clear applied agenda. Put simply, the candidate was attempting to figure out what might encourage people to consume media that are “good for them” but are not particularly attractive. More specifically, what makes people (and particularly prejudiced people) interested in consuming media featuring positive portrayals of intergroup contact? …Among the dissertations I have been involved with as an advisor or committee member, this is one of the very few that truly integrates theoretical complexity and insight, methodological creativity, statistical skill, and quality writing to produce a coherent and meaningful result.”

One of the reviewers remarked, “The dissertation has both applied and theoretical contributions.  The work demonstrates how media can facilitate and be a means of preventing further intergroup communication between individuals.  The dissertation is well written, employs sound methodological and statistical procedures, and has a clear impact at the intersection of mediated/mass and interpersonal communication.  It is a superb dissertation. I support it fully for the award.” Another reviewer noted, “This dissertation is significant for the field because it combines two large bodies of literature on media effects and interpersonal intergroup theories to explain how and why individuals of certain groups value specific types of media.  These bodies of literature are typically examined in isolation from one another. Together, however, they provide incredible depth and novelty as to why people might select particular types of media.  In addition to providing considerable theoretical richness, this dissertation is also methodologically sophisticated and beautifully written.”

 

Jessica Kuperavage, Pennsylvania State University
For her dissertation completed at Pennsylvania State University, “From Public Tragedy to Public Health: Public Health and the Rhetorics of Responsibility”
Advisor: Jeremy Engels

As Jessica Kuperavage’s advisor wrote in his nomination, this dissertation “is an exemplary model of rhetorical criticism in its finest sense. Indeed, by tracking public controversy over the meaning of ‘public health’ in the early twentieth century, this dissertation provides us with a guidebook for how to understand such controversy today. To achieve this goal, this dissertation does not solely draw upon the theories and methodologies of rhetorical criticism, but also makes use of theories from communication science addressing questions of health and human behavior, and from complex continental philosophy, including especially the work of Michel Foucault. This dissertation mobilizes theory to produce brilliant and often quite beautiful criticism.”

One of the reviewers stated, "The dissertation blends together an array of important perspectives in communication theory and visual rhetoric in an elegant analysis, but the real payoff is how that analysis illuminates an historical arc in social policy thought that begins in the nineteenth century excitement over statistics as a foundation for a science of society, and then morphs into an administrative dynamic that exemplifies the oxymoron of benign surveillance." Another reviewer noted, “The study is rigorously researched and carefully written.  It is a mature work of scholarship that is both ambitious but tempered, making careful use of political theory to provide an illuminating contribution to the history of rhetoric regarding public health.”

 

Golden Anniversary Monograph Award 

Jakob D. Jensen, University of Utah; Andy J. King, Texas Tech University; Nick Carcioppolo, University of Miami; Melinda Krakow, University of Utah; N. Jewell Samadder, University of Utah; and Susan Morgan, University of Miami
For their article, “Comparing tailored and narrative worksite interventions at increasing colonoscopy adherence in adults 50-75: a randomized controlled trial,” published in Social Science & Medicine, 104 (2014): 31-40.

This outstanding essay is a rigorous analysis of tailored-narrative health messages designed to encourage colorectal cancer screening. This multi-site study, developed and implemented over four years, revealed the effectiveness of a narrative-based approach to health messages. Individuals who received narrative-based information about colorectal cancer screening were four times more likely to undergo screening, and individuals with high cancer information overload were eight times more likely to pursue screening if they received a tailored message. These are important findings for scholars committed to improving cancer communication and prevention. As one committee member noted, the “Jensen et al article is a superior work that… will be cited by academics and inform professionals.”

 

James A. Winans and Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address 

Michael J. Lee, College of Charleston
For his book, Creating Conservatism: Postwar Words that Made an American Movement (Michigan State University Press)

In Creating Conservatism, Dr. Michael J. Lee presents a compelling and often witty account of the power of conservative discourse to bolster a political movement that has significantly shaped the United States. Lee considers how key conservative texts written in the post-World War II era—a “conservative canon”—provided a unifying voice for a disparate movement of traditionalists, libertarians, social conservatives, and more. Through fine-grained analysis and exceptional writing, Dr. Lee demonstrates the inextricable link of language and ideas. Not only is this project topically relevant in today's contemporary political climate, it also delineates broad theoretical findings about the rhetorical processes of invention undergirding widespread ideological development.

  

James L. Golden Outstanding Student Essay in Rhetoric Award 

Kiah Bennett, University of Minnesota
For her essay, “The Poehler-Fey Phenomenon”

Kiah Bennett’s paper addresses the increasingly important intersection between television comedy and American politics by analyzing a satirical sketch performed by comedians Amy Poehler and Tina Fey called “A Nonpartisan Message from Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Hillary Clinton.” The sketch highlighted the role of sexism in the 2008 presidential election. Bennett argues that the informative benefits of satire amplified the feminist message that was at the heart of the comic sketch, while reducing audience fear and apprehension.

This paper demonstrates exemplary undergraduate research due to the complexity of the author’s subject matter, the sophistication of her analysis, and the insight provided by her critique.

 

Karl R. Wallace Memorial Award 

Robin E. Jensen, University of Utah  

Dr. Jensen’s book-length study, Infertility: A Rhetorical History, undertakes a significant and innovative investigation into the historical, critical, theoretical, and social importance of narratives associated with fertility and infertility in the United States. In interrogating narratives regarding women’s reproductive capacity, Dr. Jensen’s study engages a key site of historical and contemporary contestation. As theoretically sophisticated as it is unique in its approach, the study, which relies on archival research, combines rhetorical historical-critical methods with qualitative social scientific methodologies.  As a result, Dr. Jensen’s scholarly efforts promise to advance our theoretical understanding of important health issues.  Dr. Jensen's previous and current work, including her proposed manuscript, have been instrumental in pushing the boundaries of qualitative and especially rhetorical work in health. Dr. Jensen will use the support from the Wallace Award to conduct archival research at the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America in Cambridge, MA.

 

Kohrs-Campbell Prize in Rhetorical Criticism 

Michael J. Lee, College of Charleston
For his book, Creating Conservatism: Postwar Words That Made an American Movement (Michigan State University Press)

The winner of the 2015 Kohrs-Campbell Prize in Rhetorical Criticism is Michael J. Lee of the University of Charleston for his book Creating Conservatism: Postwar Words That Made an American Movement, published by Michigan State University Press.  Reviewers characterize this book as “an impressive work describing the postwar evolution of the debate about the meaning of conservatism.”  “Amidst the screech and howl that characterizes so much of public discourse these days,” writes another reviewer, “it is a welcome relief to have a calm, careful, and critical analysis of conservative authors.”   This is a book that “should be appealing to audiences well beyond the discipline of communication . . . because it is well researched, written in an accessible and dispassionate style, and deals with issues still highly relevant today.” 
 

 

Leslie Irene Coger Award for Distinguished Performance 

 Tracy Stephenson Shaffer, Louisiana State University 

Dr. Tracy Stephenson Shaffer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Louisiana State University, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in performance and film. Her research interests are performance methodologies, popular culture, performing/theorizing icons, the horror genre, performance art/solo performance, gender studies, and ethnography/oral history. She received her BA and MA in Speech Communication from LSU and her Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University.

Some of Dr. Shaffer’s recent publications are her co-authored book with Ronald J. Pelias, the second edition of Performance Studies: The Interpretation of Aesthetic Texts (2007); “Mapping Mediatization in The Life and Times of King Kong,” Limialities: A Journal of Performance Studies 4:3 (2008): http://liminalities.net/4-3/; (with Joshua Gunn) "’A Change is Gonna Come’: On the Haunting of Music and Whiteness in Performances Studies,” Theatre Annual 59 (2006): 39-62.; “Busted Flat in Baton Rouge,” Text and Performance Quarterly 25 (January 2005): 57-69; and “The Indeterminate Third-Person in Busted Flat in Baton Rouge,” Text and Performance Quarterly 25 (January 2005): 70-74. Dr. Shaffer’s honors and awards include the Southern States Communication Association Performance Studies Scholar of the Year, 2009; the College of Arts and Sciences Tiger Athletic Foundation Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching, 2009; and the Outstanding Teacher Award given by the Department of Academic Affairs and the LSU Student Government Association, 2004.

Among her many notable activities, Dr. Shaffer served as Producing Director, The HopKins Black Box, LSU, 2008-2009; Producing Director (with Michael Bowman), The HopKins Black Box, LSU, 2007-2008; Creator and Director of the ensemble performance “The Life and Times of King Kong” in the HopKins Black Box on October 31 - November 4, 2007, and at the Patricia Pace Performance Festival in January 2008; and Chair of the Performance Studies Division, Southern States Communication Association, 2007-2008

 

  

Lilla A. Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies 

 Joanne Gilbert, Alma College 

According to one letter of nomination, Dr. Joanne Gilbert’s “…research investigates gendered identity in theatre and artistic experiences, [and] this work has become an important part of her creation of successful learning communities. She truly engages in social justice research that is integral to our field.” Indeed, Dr. Gilbert’s book, Performing Marginality: Humor, Gender, and Cultural Critique (Wayne State University Press, 2004), and subsequent journal articles and chapters have made her the “go to person in communication and performance on the subject of women and comedy,” according to her nominator. Her work continues to inspire the study of how women tell the stories of their lives, (in her own words) “a direct naming of our experience,” whether it is regarding Motherhood, “the political implications inherent in [lesbian stand-up comics’] performance of marginality,” or the rhetorical community of female fans of female comics. For these reasons and more, her nominator extolled Dr. Gilbert’s scholarship as “integral to the field” of Performance Studies. Undoubtedly, Dr. Gilbert’s scholarship on gender, humor, and cultural critique has contributed to our discipline in profound ways.

 

 Heidi M. Rose, Villanova University 

Dr. Heidi M. Rose’s investigation of the intersections of performance, American Sign Language, and Deaf culture has expanded our definitions of performance and communication. Her recent work, centered around notions of presence and connection—with online Others, with literature performed in Greek ruins, and face-to-face with differently abled performers and audience members—exhibits (as she herself writes) a “shared commitment to engaged citizenry, embodied discourse, and ethical praxis.” As a researcher, writer, and teacher, Dr. Rose bridges the spaces between generations of Performance Studies scholars, having taken, in her own words, “the last undergraduate class offered by Lilla Heston at Northwestern University… [being the] last master’s thesis advisee of Kenneth C. Crannell at Emerson College and the first doctoral advisee of Kristin B. Valentine at Arizona State University.” She was also instrumental in organizing the Performance Studies conference for NCA and like-minded scholars, “Economies and Ethics of Performance: Performance In and As Communication” at her home institution of Villanova University. Her scholarship enlivens and illuminates what her colleagues all strive to accomplish as Performance Studies scholars.

 

 

Mark L. Knapp Award in Interpersonal Communication 

 Alan L. Sillars, University of Montana 

For more than 30 years, Dr. Alan L. Sillars has made substantial and important contributions to the literature on interpersonal communication. He is internationally known and respected for his scholarship. His work has long shaped how researchers conceptualize and investigate any number of important interpersonal communication processes.  One of the hallmarks of Dr. Sillars’ work is that it has consistently challenged assumptions held by both researchers and practitioners. One clear testimony to the quality of his work is that it has been generative – numerous researchers have borrowed his ideas and expanded on them in their own studies. Dr. Sillars’ record of service and teaching is exemplary. He is an excellent scholar, a top notch professional citizen, and a remarkable teacher.

 

Stephen E. Lucas Debut Publication Award 

 Lee M. Pierce, University of Georgia 

For her article, “Rhetoric of Traumatic Nationalism in the Ground Zero Mosque Controversy,” published in Quarterly Journal of Speech 100 (2014): 53-80.

Lee M. Pierce’s “Rhetoric of Traumatic Nationalism” addresses a controversy that is central to an understanding of a post-9/11 US—the "Ground Zero mosque"--and provides valuable insight into the immediate responses as well as the lingering effects of the "rhetoric of traumatic nationalism."  As an exemplar of rigorous rhetorical scholarship, Pierce draws on a variety of sources in textured, careful ways, building and extending on existing work. The essay is well-deserving of the Lucas Debut Publication Award as it provides a compelling argument regarding an important topic, accomplishing a multifaceted analytical task with insight, rigor and scholarly eloquence.

 

Service Awards 

Samuel L. Becker Distinguished Service Award 

 Kathleen Galvin, Northwestern University 

It is especially fitting for Dr. Kathleen Galvin to win an award named for Sam Becker. Like Dr. Becker, she has been a longstanding, dedicated, and entrepreneurial scholar, leader, and contributor in the profession and to NCA. 
Dr. Galvin was an academic pioneer, bringing the study of family communication to our discipline. She was an early figure in founding the Family Communication Division.
Her concept of “discourse dependent families” highlights communication’s central role in diverse family forms. She has brought our discipline into the larger interdisciplinary conversation about family.
Dr. Galvin began NCA service on the Legislative Council in 1971. She served on several important committees and task forces on teaching and instruction, chaired two NCA divisions, was Director of NCA’s Educational Policies Board, and was a member of NCA’s Executive Committee.
Like Sam Becker, Dr. Galvin thrives on asking “interesting questions, and like Dr. Becker, she works quietly, effectively, and generously, always promoting others.

 

Distinguished Scholar Awards 

Stephen Browne, Penn State University  

Stephen Browne is widely regarded as one of the foremost textual critics in rhetorical studies. He is also an astute student of American history, particularly of the Revolutionary period, and is a scholar who closely reads rhetorical texts in historical context in order to uncover their internal dynamics and external influences. He is especially adept at explicating the work done by particular figures and tropes to create movement and progression within a message. Browne typically trains his critical lenses on canonical texts such as Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address; his book on that speech was very well received. He also focuses on particular topics, such as the Enlightenment preoccupation with virtue as epitomized in the discourse of Edmund Burke. By studying multiple texts, he has developed a uniquely rhetorical approach to biography, as exemplified in his book on Angelina Grimkè, winner of the NCA Diamond Anniversary Award. His newest book, forthcoming in 2015, explores an under-studied rhetorical moment, George Washington’s farewell to the troops at the end of the Revolutionary War. The value of Browne’s method is demonstrated by the rich and insightful body of literature he has produced – four university press books all in prestigious series in rhetorical studies, and more than fifty articles also appearing in top venues, including the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Philosophy and Rhetoric, and Rhetoric & Public Affairs. In short, the range of Browne’s scholarly concerns speaks to his intellectual curiosity; the depth of each of Browne’s studies, to the rigor and value of his scholarship.

 

Carolyn S. Ellis, University of South Florida 

Carolyn Ellis has established a national and international reputation for distinguished and continuous contributions to communication research and narrative inquiry in the spaces where the humanities and social sciences intersect. Her research integrates ethnographic, literary, and evocative writing to portray and make sense of lived experience in cultural context. She is best known as an originator and developer of autoethnography—a reflexive approach to research that connects the autobiographical and personal to the cultural, social, and political—and collaborative and documentary approaches to studying loss and trauma, in particular the Holocaust. Professor Ellis’s work is widely cited across the human sciences. She has 12,248 citations total with one chapter showing 2,894 and one book showing 1,577 citations, an h index of 42, an i-10 index of 69, and 23 published works with 100 or more citations. She has been the recipient of numerous national and international career, scholarly, and mentoring awards, including the Charles H. Woolbert Research Award from NCA, the Legacy Lifetime Award and best book and article awards from the NCA Ethnography Division, as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award in Qualitative Inquiry from the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. She earned the rank of Distinguished University Professor at USF in 2014. Dr. Ellis has presented more than one hundred papers at professional meetings and an additional eighty invited keynotes and workshops in sixteen countries, including: Israel, Australia, the UK, Finland, Canada, Germany, Poland, Belgium, New Zealand, Malaysia, China, The Netherlands, and South Africa. More than a dozen special issues of journals, review symposia, documentaries and conference sessions have featured her work, some of which has been translated into Chinese, Spanish, and Polish.