2016 NWCA Conference
Thursday, April 14 – Saturday, April 16
Conference Theme: Collaboration & Engagement


Registration Form MS Word Format

Registration Form PDF Format


NWCA 2015 Keynote Speaker Announced

Robert Trapp is a Professor of Civic Communication and Media and the Director of the Willamette University Debate Union. He is completing an Open Society Foundation grant-funded project in the Peoples Republic of China.

Mr. Trapp’s teaching career began over forty years ago. He has taught at Texas Tech University, Austin Peay State University, the University of Northern Colorado, the University of Denver, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Stonehill College, and Willamette University. Rarely has he had the luxury of being “simply” a professor as he has either served as Department Chair (Northern Colorado, Stonehill, and Willamette) or Director of Debate (Northern Colorado, Denver, and Willamette).

He has a modest publication record in refereed journals and has co-authored and authored several books, the most recent of which is Building Global Relations Through Debate, in press with Foreign Language and Teaching Research Press (AKA Beijing Foreign Studies University Press).

Message from the President

A Ruby Jubilee in Coeur d’Alene: the upcoming April 2016 conference marks the 40th Anniversary of the Northwest Communication Association. We especially invite all former NWCA presidents and executive leadership to join current students and faculty and professionals in this celebration, as we return to examine the role of the Communication discipline and communication research in answering questions and solving problems that confront us all. While much has changed over the last four decades, NWCA remains committed to showcasing our work and connecting us to our world. This conference, just as it did when I first attended it as a student from Idaho State University in 1989, ardently encourages and supports undergraduate research, graduate scholarship, faculty-student, and scholar-professional collaborations. We value partnerships between 2-year and 4-year schools, between public and private institutions, between independent colleges and professional advocates, between the campus and the community, and across state borders. We honor authentic engagement and offer opportunities for all conference-goers to become NWCA leaders in their own rite.

In addition to the call for proposals included in this fall newsletter, we ask that former NWCA leaders deliberate upon and propose specific workshops, panels, and competitive papers that embrace the 2016 theme of “Collaboration and Engagement” within the context of our forty year anniversary. Please contact me directly at — or you can contact our 2016 conference planner, Jackson Miller, at — if you’d like to share ideas in advance of the February 1, 2016 submission deadline.
Most important, make plans now to collaborate and engage at the 2016 annual NWCA conference April 14th through the 16th in brilliant Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Notes from the Conference Planner

The 2016 NWCA conference theme is “Collaboration and Engagement.” Submissions that speak directly to this theme are strongly encouraged. In cases where the theme will not apply directly to a submission for the conference, an emphasis on partnerships or on significant implications for broader communities is encouraged. As communication scholars, we widely acknowledge that our work, our personal lives, and our identities are inextricably bound up in the web of relationships that surround us. The conference theme asks us to pay close attention to this relational web, with a particular focus on the groups or individuals with whom we collaborate and the practical consequences resulting in and through our engagement with external communities.

A focus on “collaboration” means highlighting and interrogating the various ways in which partnerships impact the study of communication. Communication research is not done in a vacuum, and the individuals and groups with whom we partner to complete our work inform and enhance our scholarship. Collaborators can include undergraduate and graduate students, administrators or staff members on our campuses, colleagues from other colleges and universities, scholars from other disciplines, members of community groups, and individuals from local businesses or nonprofit organizations. Collaboration takes place along a spectrum of involvement and may include the roles of co-author, research assistant, interviewee, or editorial reviewer, to name but a few.

A focus on “engagement” means featuring the various ways in which we engage communities external to the academy in research, creative activities, teaching, consulting, and service. Communication scholarship lends itself to engagement because it frequently demands a bridging of theory and practice. Engaged scholarship can take myriad forms, including publicly engaged instruction, community-based research, work that contributes to public debates, academic service learning, and research that addresses critical societal issues.

Call for Papers

Papers, panel proposals, and workshops will be considered for conference presentation according to the following guidelines:

  1. The convention program is open to all NWCA members and those who want to become members.
  2. All submissions are due to the Division Chairs by 5 p.m. on February 1, 2016. Please include a detachable title page with the author’s name, address, telephone number and email address, and submit electronically (i.e., in Word or .rtf format). Hard copies are no longer accepted. No faxes please. It is preferred that student papers are sent directly by the student; if faculty members do submit for their students, please cc the student along with the submission.
  3. Research that has already been published or presented at another conference is not eligible for submission.
  4. Special attention will be paid to papers and programs that support the convention theme, although unrelated themes and submissions are also encouraged. Proposals that creatively combine faculty and student work are especially welcomed.
  5. Paper length is limited to 25 pages of text.
  6. Faculty and students are especially encouraged to submit papers. Papers should be clearly marked in the upper right hand corner of their title and abstract pages; undergraduates should place a “U”, graduate students a “G” and faculty an “F”. This is necessary in order to be considered for the President’s Awards, Best Undergraduate Paper, Best Graduate Paper, Best Faculty Paper and Best Faculty/Student Collaboration.
  7. Panel proposals should focus on a unifying theme, which may be the conference theme. Panel proposals must include: (a) title and description of the program; (b) a brief paragraph stating the scholarly importance of the panel and its contribution to the NWCA conference program; (c) names, addresses, and affiliations of all panelists;and (d) a 200 word (max.) abstract of each paper on the panel. Roundtable discussants do not need to submit abstracts.
  8. Workshops are intended as training and/or information sessions that can be presented in 1 hour blocks. Submissions should include the workshop title, the problem or expertise addressed, an outline of the proposed content, any specific “takeaways” participants should expect, and the time block required. Include the name, address, and affiliation of workshop presenter(s).
  9. Presenters must supply any audio-visual equipment their presentation requires. The cost of renting such equipment on-site is expensive. Please consider this carefully when planning your proposal’s presentation details.
  10. We apologize, but we are unable to accommodate special scheduling requests.

Send your submissions to one of the following divisions as appropriate:

Submissions regarding the theory and practice of rhetoric in diverse artifacts, practices and traditions, or intersections with legal, political, historical, religious, gendered, philosophical, ethnic, poetic, and environmental contexts will be considered. Send submissions to: Brenda DeVore Marshall Linfield College

This division encourages scholarship concerning educational practices in communication including classroom communication and the practice of competitive speech and debate. Papers that explore practices in teaching communication or participation in forensics are welcomed. Panels which present G.I.F.T.S – Great Ideas for Teaching Speech – are especially encouraged.Send submissions to: Craig Rickett Spokane Falls Community College

Submissions to this division should describe human interpersonal communication, or explore, develop, test, critique and/or refine one or more of the many theories of human communication. Theoretical essays and empirical research papers using any accepted qualitative or quantitative methodology will be considered.
Send submissions to: Heather Robinson Eastern Washington University

This division encourages scholarship addressing issues related to mass media, intercultural communication, popular culture, diversity and multiculturalism, and mediated persuasive campaigns. Essays and panels proposals that address topics related to media and cultural studies are also encouraged.
Send submissions to: Molly Mayhead Western Oregon University

Submissions that explore organizational contexts and technical communication will be considered in this division. Organization and technical communication topics may include group or management communication, public relations, crisis response, investigations of how people communicate about technical topics, organizational criticism, and research that explores how we use technology to communicate.
Send submissions to: Dan Peterson Oregon Institute of Technology