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Honoring Beach

Distinguished Scholar Award Speech: 2017

Presented by Heather Crandall (Executive Council Member-at-Large)


I am on a great team charged with selecting WSCA’s Distinguished Scholar Award.

Our committee members are: Sara Hayden, Cheree Carlson, Keith Nainby, and Greg Dickinson.

This award recognizes a WSCA member who has made significant and sustained contributions to scholarship
We had some difficult work to do but did agree on a recipient. Let me tell you about our Distinguished Scholar.

This person’s scholarship is deeply rooted in questions about what makes our discipline unique, academically speaking.

This person has published more than 90 articles, chapters, and reviews and this person’s work is cited frequently.

This person continues to include and support students

This person currently has four articles under review and three in press and nine under revision for submission. This means 16 pieces of this person’s work are moving forward as I present this award.

Our Distinguished Scholar started working in the field back when communication research was all too often dismissed as not "scientific" and consistently and steadily worked to change that perception.

Peers remark that this person tackles big issues.

Our Distinguished Scholar’s work crosses disciplinary boundaries, specifically taking communication on the road to significantly influence another discipline

This person is a public scholar
     Who has worked in collaborations with theater groups to create plays
     This scholar has a PBS documentary about communication
     This scholar has written award-winning books
Public scholars are known for their practical, accessible work.

This distinguished scholar’s work is supported by millions of dollars of research grants for qualitative studies! Millions.

This person has been a member of Western for 43 years and earned a Ph.D. here in town at the University of Utah.

This person founded the language and social interaction interest group here for WSCA and in the field, generally.

This person has spent a career advancing scholarship on conversations that are a matter of life and death, in other words, in health communication.

This person’s specialty is conversation analysis.

His current and funded work is about how patients talk with oncologists about their cancer and how oncologists respond to patients’ hopes, fears, and uncertainties.

His national book award is for the book, A Natural History of Family Cancer

For innovation and collaboration, for persistent vision, for a remarkable program of research, for inspiration, for improving individual lives in intense health care contexts as well as in family communication,

He has made a difference in the ways scholars and students think about the nature, function, and scope of communication.

This year’s Distinguished Scholar Award goes to Dr. Wayne Beach, professor in the School of Communication at San Diego State University.

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