School of Communications at National Communication Association Convention

ST. LOUIS, MO (Jan. 15, 2015) The School of Communications at Webster University was well represented at the 100th Annual National Communication Association (NCA) Convention. It was held November 20 through 23 in Chicago. The theme for the centennial convention was “The Presence of our Past(s).” It emphasized the idea of looking back at different areas within the communication discipline and their evolution over the years.

Presenters from the School of Communications included Dean Eric Rothenbuhler, Associate Dean Paaige Turner, Associate Professor and Advertising Program Coordinator, Kristen DiFate, Director of Forensics and Debate, Scott Jensen, Assistant Director of Forensics and Debate, Gina Jensen, and Adjunct Professor and Assistant Coach of Forensics and Debate, Tom Serfass. Alumni Kim Runnion (Speech Communication Studies and Forensics Program, 2010) and Ryan Louis (Film Production and Forensics Program, 2003) also presented.

Eric Rothenbuhler chaired the panel “Communicating Emotion and the Blues: Interviews with Chicago Blues Musicians at Buddy Guy's Legends.” In a live streaming event, he posed questions of Chicago Blues artists exploring the history of the blues as communication. Rothenbuhler presented "Reward Structures, Skill Sets, and Rhythms of Faculty and Administrative Work" during the panel, Transitioning into Higher Education Leadership: The Career Turn from Faculty Member to Administrator.

Paaige Turner presented “Uses of Pecha Kucha in the Communication Classroom and Beyond.” (Pecha Kucha is a presentation format in which you show 20 images for 20 seconds.)

Kristen DiFate presented her paper, "G.[ood] E.[nough] D.[iploma]: Reframing the Dropout Crisis” as a Part of the "Who Am I?" Ethnographic Approaches to Stigma panel, which she and peers from other institutions proposed. The panel focused on the exploration and deconstruction of stigmatized identities.

Scott Jensen presented "A Scavenger Hunt for Personal, Professional, and Program Balance: Reflections on Three Decades of Service, Competition, Education, and Celebrating Voice," and "The Opposite of Success? Addressing Perceptions of Failure Among Forensics Competitors and Coaches” during the panel, Presence of the Past as Present: Multi-Generational Perspectives on Education, Competition, and the Evolution of Intercollegiate Forensics.

Jensen presented a third paper, "Be it Resolved That Debate is Resolute: Deep Structures as Explanation for Predictable Cycles in the Evolution of Intercollegiate Debate," during The Evolution of Forensics: An Examination of How the Past has Shaped Change in Forensic Competition and Organizational Structures panel.

Gina Jensen presented “A Discussion on the Value of Judging Paradigms in Parliamentary Debate.”

Tom Serfass presented "A Survey of Current Practice Regarding Deliberate Advocacy and Source Analysis of Literature in Constructing Interpretation Pieces" during The Pedagogy and Construction of Interpretation Event Pieces panel.

Webster SOC alumna, Kim Runnion presented "The Opposite of Success? Addressing Perceptions of Failure Among Forensics Competitors and Coaches," as a co-author with Scott Jensen. Runnion serves as an assistant forensics coach and program administrator at Lafayette College.

Webster SOC alumnus Ryan Louis served as a chair for the panel Beyond Facebook and Twitter: Integrated Social Media Approaches in Forensic Pedagogy. He is the Director of Forensics at Ottawa University.

Pi Kappa Delta, an honor society for forensics and debate programs, was one of many organizations that held meetings during the NCA convention. Gina Jensen attended as a Pi Kappa Delta past president, and Scott Jensen attended as the national tournament director. Ryan Louis attended as a national council member. Kim Runnion and Tom Serfass also attended.

When later asked about the importance of attending the NCA conference, Scott Jensen replied “Our school benefits from professional presentations such as this because it emphasizes the dedication of our faculty to professional development, and to contributing to the growth of their disciplines. I hope that my participation in conferences such as this promotes the commitment Webster and its forensic and debate program has to scholarship, service, and being part of dialogs that matter.”

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