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News & Press: Conventions

2018 Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Monday, February 26, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Christina Yoshimura
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By Heather Crandall, Committee Chair

The Distinguished Service Award is the organization’s highest honor and its best kept secret. This year, the recipient is Dr. Mary Jane Collier from the University of New Mexico.

The glowing and detailed letters of support describe Dr. Collier as someone willing to hear everyone with an open mind and heart, and an excellent mentor of graduate students and faculty alike. Her contributions to the discipline have changed the face of communication study across our country and around the globe authoring and editing five books, and close to 100 publications. Beyond academia, Dr. Collier’s scholarly-informed volunteer work in conflict mediation and community engagement has made a difference in communities near and far.

To look just at WSCA service is to see that Dr. Collier has served with a generous and selfless spirit in leadership roles such as president, past president, vice-president elect, member of the article of the year selection committee, and interest group chair. She has served on the editorial board of Western Journal of Communication since 2008 and reviewed for it for roughly 20 years before that. 

Dr. Collier’s selfless spirit is evidenced in stories like this: before she agreed to run against another candidate for first vice president of the organization, she agreed to share the presidential suite regardless of who won! She is also dedicated to her intercultural interest group where she regularly attends its 7am business meeting.

Dr. Collier is only one of two people who served two terms as president of WSCA. She was not supposed to serve two terms, didn’t take on the role knowing two terms were on the table but graciously agreed to a second term. A letter writer said that he, “could not think of a more difficult circumstance under which to serve as the President of a professional association. Dr. Collier not only performed this difficult role, but did so with uncommon grace, caring, and compassion. Of course, as is typical of any task she undertakes, the task was quickly transformed to a collaborative team effort, creating a third-space for all to reflect on and honor all WSCA members who served the association.

The Western States Communication Association is proud to recognize Mary Jane Collier as our 2018 Distinguished Service Award winner.


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