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Call for Participants 2017: WSCA Convention Basic Course Conference

Friday, May 13, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Christina Yoshimura
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By Thomas Dunn, Basic Course Coordinator


Call for Participants: Basic Course Conference

Western States Communication Association 2017 Convention


Little America Hotel, Salt Lake City, Utah

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Submission Deadline: September 15, 2016


The Western States Communication Association invites participants for the Basic Course Conference (BCC) on Saturday, February 18, 2017 at the annual convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Basic Course Conference is a special event held periodically during the WSCA conference and focuses on issues in the basic communication course (broadly defined). In keeping with the conference theme, “Centralizing Marginality, Marginalizing the Center,” conceived by Michelle A. Holling, President-Elect, this year's Basic Course Conference will address issues, concerns, positions, and perspectives in the Basic Course often left on the margins of our discussions. At the same time, we will also consider how the often privileged assumptions regularly centered in our work might be productively questioned, rethought, or retired.


Knowing that form and format often contribute to the viewpoints we can and cannot imagine, the 2017 Basic Course Conference will adopt a different format than previous conferences. In particular, while our many previous Basic Course Conferences have succeeded by selecting a panel of experts to speak to participants about a chosen topic, this year’s theme encourages us to think differently about center(s) and margin(s) by privileging the expertise, insights, and passions of our participants—some of whom might offer a radically different viewpoint on the Basic Course.


To this end, the BCC invites position papers that will drive the conference structure rather than impose it from above. By relying on position papers, rather than complete scholarly papers or pre-fashioned panels, we hope to highlight subjects that do not easily fit within scholarly conventions, address topics that are not rewarded with attention in full scholarly publications, and attend to voices not afforded the time, space, or resources to conduct “research” in conventional models. In doing so, we seek to engage and embrace the entire Basic Course community (course directors, graduate teaching assistants, community college faculty, temporary or term faculty, etc.), invite conversations driven by that community's diverse interests, and raise concerted questions about the relationships between our long standing best practices and exciting outside possibilities.


To receive full consideration, position papers for the BCC must:

1.     NOT exceed ONE (1) page in length, single spaced.

2.     Include the name, institutional affiliation, e-mail address, and phone number of the participant. Participants are limited to one submission per person, though co-authored submissions are welcome.

3.     Explicitly pose a question, raise an issue, or allege a critique about a topic commonly marginalized OR overly centered in the Basic Course. Doing so will facilitate review and assist in identifying potential discussion groups. This question must be:

a.     A single sentence.

b.     BOLDED and placed at the top of the position paper.

For example, prospective participants might pose the following kinds of questions/issues/critiques:

a.     “Given radical changes in how we conceive of gender, class, and culture in the 21st century university, why do we continue to enforce professional, Western, and gendered expectations for dress and decorum in public speaking?”

b.     “What, if any, is the role of trigger warnings in a Basic Course founded on the promotion of freedom of speech?”

c.     “What roles and responsibilities do Basic Course Coordinators and instructors have in controlling the costs of textbook and peripherals?”

d.     “How can we credibly teach students public and professional communication when the majority of the people teaching these courses have limited or no voice in departmental or university governance?”

4.     Then narrate why this question, issue, or critique is meaningful for investigation at the Basic Course Conference.


Due to the space and design restrictions of our format, request for audio-visual technology will not be entertained for BCC; however, participants are welcome to bring handouts, if they so choose.


Submitted position papers will be assessed on their relevance to the BCC, resonance with the conference theme, quality of writing, and potential for sparking a genuine contribution at the BCC. Based upon these position papers, accepted participants will then be placed in roundtable discussion groups and/or thematic panels by the Basic Course Coordinator. As such, the BCC will focus on active participation and interaction from its participants rather than making BCC participants passive audience members. However, while the number of roundtables/thematic panels will vary based on the number of participants, we anticipate a series of different discussions at the BCC with opportunities for participants to engage on a number of diverse topics. We also hope to have a “reporting out” segment at the end of the event, where discussion groups can share their findings with the conference as a whole.


Given the structure of the 2017 BCC, participants selected to join the BCC agree to attend and stay for the duration of the event (not to exceed 3 hours). The BCC is typically held on the Saturday morning of the WSCA conference, so participants should not plan to attend other conflicting Saturday events (i.e. the Undergraduate Research Conference, full day pre-conferences, etc.). Unlike in previous years, there will be no cost associated with attending the 2017 BCC for selected participants, above and beyond registration for the WSCA convention itself. The BCC will also ensure that all participants are recognized in the conference program in order to secure institutional support.


Position papers must be submitted to Thomas R. Dunn, 2017 Basic Course Coordinator, via e-mail at  All submissions should be in Microsoft Word or PDF format. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Position papers must be received NO LATER THAN 11:59 PM on Thursday, September 15, 2016 to receive full consideration. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Basic Course Coordinator at the e-mail address above.



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