2015 NWCA Conference

Thursday, April 16 – Saturday, April 18th

Conference Theme: Communication & Convergence

Pre-Registration has been extended through April 1 


Conference Program

Online Conference Registration

UPDATED Conference Registration Form

 Hotel Registration Form




Message from the President

Sacheen Mobley-Welsh,

Central Washington University

The time has come to turn our eyes towards our conference. Though submissions are open to all possible subjects, I am looking forward to hearing our theme brought to life in the scholarly works presented. Registration is open and, again, there are some changes this year in terms of costs for the conference and options on the registration form so please make a note of those things.

As this is my last presidential message, I would like to say thank you. In the past year, the executive board and I have endeavored to continue the traditions of NWCA while being mindful to protect our future as an organization. I believe we have handled that charge admirably. I want to thank the EC and all of you for working with me and allowing me the pleasure and the honor to serve in this post. I hope to see many of you at the opening reception Thursday evening, April 16, 2015.

Notes from the Conference Planner

Patricia Chantrill

Eastern Washington University

The 2015 NWCA Conference theme is Communication and Convergence. Let me explain: in February of 2015, WSCA will convene in Spokane, WA, just 35 miles west of Coeur d’Alene. Coincidence?  Then, at the exact time as NWCA’s April 16-18th conference, the National Conference on Undergraduate Research will convene on EWU’s Cheney campus—for the first time ever.

Clearly, the region is experiencing a convergence in 2015. We are moving toward one another; in form and function, we’re irresistibly drawn to the same landscape—like that compelling scene in Close Encounters when the chosen few converged at once on Devil’s Tower.

Convergence is a process with multi-disciplinary appeal. Economists argue poorer economies will eventually “catch up” to richer economies and achieve income convergence.  Sociologists posit that newly industrialized societies will resemble older ones and “converge” toward similar forms of social organization.  For IT experts, convergence occurs when functions once understood as distinct become deeply integrated, like when cell phones and handheld computers converged into smart phones.  Biologists use Convergent Evolution theories to explain how insects, birds, and bats developed the useful characteristic of flight independently of each other.

Scholars in our discipline have long known that convergence can undermine communication processes, enabling group think or exacerbating conflict. And yet, Harold Giles’ “accommodation theory” explains why we shift our speech patterns to resemble those of the people we’re speaking with.  Ernest Bormann’s Symbolic Convergence Theory clarifies group cohesiveness and the effort to make sense out of incomplete narratives.  In their 2009 Encyclopedia of Communication Theory, Littlejohn and Foss proclaimed the general principle of convergence as “central” to many communication theories. Together, we examine the merging of industries, concentrations of wealth and power, intertextual influences and the convergence of things and ideas across disciplinary boundaries.

Our keynote speaker for 2015 is Dr. Michael Salvador, Professor and Chair of Communication Studies at California State University, San Bernardino and 2012 Recipient of the National Communication Association’s Christine Oravec Research Award in Environmental Communication. His research explores the intersections of Leadership, Environmental Communication, Rhetoric and Culture. He is also an accomplished teacher and creative thinker with important things to say about the necessity of communication scholarship in a world grappling with 21st century complexities.

While we cannot promise a Third Kind event at NWCA in 2015, you won’t want to miss this particular convergence. Something’s happening here.



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 16, 2015. 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 that explore organizational contexts will be considered in this division. This may include group or management communication, public relations, crisis response, and other topics relating to organizational criticism, as well as research that explores organizational communication or the scholarship of organizational development.

Send submissions to:

Dr. Phil Backlund


Central Washington University



Submissions that explore environmental issues will be considered in this division. This includes interpersonal, small group, organizational, intercultural, rhetorical, technical, and mass communication about the natural environment. We encourage submissions from scholars exploring oral, written, and visual communication but working outside traditional communication departments.

Send submissions to:

Dr. Patricia Chantrill

Associate Professor

Eastern Washington University



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 other cultural contexts will be considered.

Send submissions to:

Dr. Henrietta Nickels Shirk

Associate Professor

Montana Tech



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:

Chris Cardiel

Jr. Research & Evaluation Associate

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry



Submissions to this division should address issues related to mass media, popular culture or technology. Essays and panels may also address cultural and intercultural communication.

Send submissions to:

Dr. Nadene Vevea

Assistant Professor

Central Washington University



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



Technical communication addresses how we provide the right information, in the right way, at the right time to make someone’s life easier and more productive. Technical communicators investigate how people communicate about technical or specialized topics or how we use technology to communicate; other tech comm areas include the theory and practice of instructions for how to do something, regardless of how technical the task is, or if technology is even used to create or distribute that communication. Papers and panels that explore best practices and innovations in technical communication are especially encouraged.

TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION DIVISION SUPPLEMENTAL CALL FOR “PRODUCTS” Technical communication students and practitioners apply theory and practice to communication challenges, often creating a “product,” rather than a traditional academic paper. Creation of a technical communication product requires the same scholarly steps that are described in a paper, but the results shape and become embedded within the outcome, rather than being explicitly described.

The Technical Communication Division invites students and practitioners to present the products of their scholarship at NWCA’s annual conference. This year’s conference theme, “Communication and Convergence” invites you to examine “coming together” of ideas and phenomenon from disparate beginnings. Technical communication products will be considered for conference presentation according to the following guidelines:


  1. Submissions are open to all NWCA members and those who want to become members.
  2. Submitters must prepare a maximum 3 page (not including the attachment) “Response to Supplemental Call” addressing all of the following:
    • Description of Product (e.g., title, product type, brief summary or overview)
    • Problem/Need Statement (What problems or needs is this product designed to address?)
    • Customers/Audience (Who are the expected customers/audience this product is designed for? If more than one, describe all customers/audiences)
    • Expected Use of Product (How will this product be used?)
    • Product Review/Acceptance (Who will take ownership of the product when it is final? Is there a review process? If not, how will you and the owner determine when the product is final?)
    • Product Effectiveness (How will you measure whether the product is effective? How will you know whether the product fulfills the need or resolves the problem?)
    • Additional Development/Maintenance (Will the product require additional development or maintenance? If so, how will this be accomplished?)
    • Issues/Challenges Encountered (What specific issues or challenges did you encounter during development of this product? Are there “lessons learned” that can be shared?)
    • Product Status (Is the product finished? If not, when will it be finished? Attach a pdf of the finished product or, if the product is web-based or available on the internet, provide a link)
  3. Submitters must attach a copy of their Literature Review.
  4. Student products and papers should be submitted directly by the student.
  5. Products and papers that have been published or presented at another academic conference are not eligible for submission.
  6. Products and papers should be submitted to only one division. Only the Technical Communication Division will accept product submissions under this Supplemental Call.
  7. Special attention will be paid to products and papers that support the convention theme, although unrelated themes and submissions are also encouraged.
  8. Products and papers that creatively combine faculty and student work are especially welcomed.
  9. Submissions that are accepted will be grouped by the Division Chair into panels.
  10. At the time of submission, the submitter must inquire as to the availability of a projector, screen, and speakers to enable multimedia presentations. Although every effort will be made by the Division Planner to accommodate multimedia presentations, due to limited budgets, the submitter may need to provide their own equipment.

Submit general submissions and supplemental “product” submissions to:

Cassandra Hemphill

Missoula College