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Stephen Yoshimura

University of Montana

Among all of the professional associations that one could belong to in the communication discipline, the Northwest Communication Association has always struck me as a hidden gem. Although we are a small association by most standards, our annual conference provides outsized opportunities for our members to enhance their professional development, build new collaborations and relationships, and integrate themselves into the discipline with a group of professionals who are as friendly, energetic, and engaged as one could hope to find.

From April 16-18, 2020, we will once again gather at the scenic Coeur d’Alene Resort to hear about the latest research being conducted in our region, discuss current issues related to teaching, hear from established professionals in the keynote speech, and gather informally in Coeur d’Alene. Dr. Donna Allen, this year’s NWCA first vice-president and conference planner, is assembling what promises to be an exciting program under the theme of “20/20 Vision: Seeing Each Other Clearly.” To me, the NWCA provides the perfect setting in which communication teachers, researchers, and students can come together to articulate their current visions, encounter new ones, and revise old ones. Of course, the only way to see each other clearly is to place ourselves among each other where we can be seen. So I hope to see you there!

Of course, our annual conference is not the only place for you and your work to be seen. If you have work that you would like to have reviewed for publication, please consider sending it to the Northwest Journal of Communication. Now under the editorship of Dr. Andrea McCracken, our association’s flagship journal is an outstanding place to showcase your scholarship.  

Donna Allen

Perfect vision – 20/20.  NWCA plans to create a space to move us as both scholars and members of society toward better vision, toward seeing others more clearly. Our 2020 conference is designed to encourage conversation and scholarship that leads to opening our eyes to the richness in diverse viewpoints, to seeing new topics for exploration, to viewing excellence in presentations, and to discovering hidden gems of knowledge and relationship where we might not have been looking in the past.

As a relational researcher and scholar acknowledged as an international expert on positive relations, our keynote speaker can address ways for us to see each other more clearly. Heidi Reeder, Ph.D. is a professor in the Department of Communication and Director of Leadership & Human Relations in the College of Innovation and Design at Boise State University. She is an expert blogger for Psychology Today, and has been featured on Life and Style and The Today Show. Her research on cultivating positive relationships, male-female communication, love, and friendship has been published in leading social psychology and communication journals such as Communication Monographs, Sex Roles, and The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. In 2007 she was named the Carnegie Foundation’s Idaho Professor of the Year and her book, Commit to Win: How to Harness the Four Elements of Commitment to Reach Your Goals, was published in 2014.

Each year, NWCA has a wonderful blend of outstanding scholarship and relational connection. Through the scheduled program, we see and hear about new topics for research, techniques for teaching, research methodologies, and ways of thinking about others. We combine these scholarly events with our social gatherings such as the welcome reception, boat cruise, luncheon, and hallway conversations that help us as an association really get to know one another. NWCA provides a wonderful space for faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates to experience the best in what academic conferences can offer – relational, collegial connections that can last a lifetime. I truly hope you are able to attend and to submit your scholarship; please encourage your students to do the same.

This year’s deadline for submission has been extended to January 31, 2020, to allow sufficient time for the reviewers and division chairs to consider the submissions, and to ensure that the program is released in time for everyone to make plans for attending the conference. The newsletter, with each division’s calls for papers, will be released in the coming weeks, but please start thinking of the papers and panel submissions that you might like to submit, and talking about the conference with your students and colleagues. I am honored to serve in this role and look forward to seeing our conference program take shape as your excellent proposals and papers are submitted.