2014 NWCA Annual Conference 

April 17-19, 2014

Conference Theme: “Change Agents”



Conference Program



Room Reservations are now Available

Three easy ways to book your room for the conference…

Option One: go to the Coeur d’Alene Resort website and enter “NWCA14” for discounted rates

Option Two: go directly to the online reservation link

Option Three: contact them at (800) 688-5253

See you all in April!!!

Register Online


Register by Mail


 “Things To Do”


Message from the Conference Planner Sacheen Mobley-Welsh

As the season changes here on the mountain I call home, I am reminded of the harrowing year this nation, this world, endured: record drought and super storms, burning forests and water shortages, acts of terror and environmental disasters and, most recent, government shutdown to name a few. These are moments that test the endurance of an individual, a people, a nation and they seem to be coming faster and faster each year. In deciding on the theme for this year’s conference, April 17-19 if you have not marked your calendar yet, I was torn: which direction should we go? What are the pressing ideas, items, problems, inspirations of the day? Where are the answers and who are the answer givers? This last question finally gave me the insight into what I see happening around us: change agents are making their move and the question for us as a community of academics might be, where are we in that movement?

Agents of change are shaping the future from activists working to prevent the Keystone XL pipeline to a photographer working to document the history, legacy and future of the tribes of Native America. These individuals are taking their ideas out of the conference room, classroom, boardroom and putting them to practical use.  This, then is our theme: Change Agents. As the landscape of the world changes rapidly, how will we, can we, use our scholarship beyond the walls of our home institutions?  Are we called to re-imagine, re-invent ourselves or should we work to make sure the status quo does not get lost in all the changes? In pondering these issues and questions, I urge you to find creative and innovative ways to bring your findings to the conference this year. Once again, we will descend upon beautiful Couer d’Alene, Idaho, we will come through terrain touched by many of the changes mentioned above. Let’s bring our stories and insights together to, once again, shed light on the changing dynamics of the communication landscape.

In keeping with this year’s theme, I am pleased to have Dr. Christa Tess Kalk as our keynote speaker at the luncheon. Dr. Kalk is a former department chair and current professor at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.  She is also an adjunct professor for the graduate programs at both St. Mary’s University and Concordia University in Minnesota.  Prior to academia, Dr. Kalk worked as a flight attendant. In 1998, she testified before Congress in after being assaulted by a passenger while working on a flight.  Since that experience, Dr. Kalk has found numerous ways to create change with the students on the campuses where she has taught through service learning classroom assignments as well as community driven events.  Dr. Kalk has also conducted numerous training seminars in the private sector in areas of conflict management, nonverbal communication, effective listening, and organizational communication audits.  She is committed to expanding education beyond the classroom and explores opportunities beyond the traditional professional service expectations.


Call for Papers and Proposals

This year’s conference theme, “Change Agents” invites you to examine how the scholarly community can and does use communication to affect change. Papers, panel proposals and workshops will be considered for conference presentation according to the following guidelines:

The convention program is open to all NWCA members and those who want to become members.

All submissions are due to the Division Chairs by 5 p.m. on February 15, 2014. 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.

  1. Research that has already been published or presented at another conference is not eligible for submission.
  2. 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.
  3. Paper length is limited to 25 pages of text.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. 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.
  8. We apologize, but we are unable to accommodate special scheduling requests.
  9. Send your submissions to one of the following divisions as appropriate:


Environmental Communication Division

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. Chad Okrusch

Associate Professor
Technical Communication Department
Montana Tech of The University of Montana
(406) 496-4577


Media and Cultural Studies

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
NTT Faculty
Department of Communication
Central Washington University
(509) 963-1072


Interpersonal & Communication Theory

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
(503) 797-4524


Instructional and Forensics Division

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:
Dr. Brian Simmons
Communication Studies
University of Portland
(503) 943-8025


Rhetorical Theory and Criticism

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


Organizational Communication

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
Department of Communication
Central Washington University


Technical Communication Division

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.

Send submissions to:
Cassandra Hemphill
University of Montana
(406) 370-8344