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2019 Distinguished Service Award

Wednesday, March 20, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Christina Yoshimura
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By Derek Buescher, Committee Chair

As the chair of the WSCA  Distinguished Service Award Committee I have the distinct honor of recognizing Dr. Katherine Adams of California State University Fresno with the 2019 Distinguished Service Award. I want to thank the work of the committee members in the difficult, albeit rewarding, task of the committee work: Audrey Deterding, Michelle Holling, and Wendy Hine.

In some circles, a “service award” is considered a dubious honor. Cliff Lampe describes services as the potential “third rail of academic life.” Indeed, we tend to counsel younger assistant professors and graduate students to avoid service, to be sure to say “no” when asked, and then, as full professors, many may cease service work altogether, hiding in the shadows of other, often younger and more precariously situated faculty to do the work for them.

To engage the academic life is to engage also a life of civic purpose where we are not merely academics; we are academic citizens. And the citizenship of academics certainly rests in the often overlooked and more minute, some may say mundane, details of service. While we tend to recognize the crucial work of scholarship and teaching, we think still of service as the thing we have to do, but not too much and not too hard.  But scholarship and teaching don’t happen without the passionate work of service. The scholarship of this conference does not happen without the service of those who organize, plan, review, respond to that scholarship.  The nurturing service of those organizers, planners, reviewers, and respondents allows us to come together and discuss our teaching and research for the better. And, perhaps most importantly, service is a love of leadership in the true sense of the term, as those who serve frame the conversations and invite us, as an organization, to the points of inquiry for our critical conversations. In other words, service isn’t just the foundation of the discipline; it is the bedrock, the moorings, the framework and structure.

This year’s award recognizes the service of one individual who has given of themselves to WSCA tirelessly for, well, quite some time. Dr. Adams has served as respondent and reviewer for multiple panels and divisions, has served as interest group chair, coordinated workshops, served as a member-at-large to the executive council (twice), twice served on the nominating committee, been president and vice president of the executive club, second vice president, chaired the futures committee, was local host (and supported two additional local hosts), and, of course president.  All the while, Dr. Adams has invited others to join them in her love and passion for communication, and her belief of WSCA as a home for all of us, believing, practicing, and, perhaps, preaching, across their four decades of WSCA leadership, that, as framed her Presidential Address: “Of All Things, Communication is the most Wonderful.”



Adams. K. L. (2003) Of all things, communication is the most wonderful. Western Journal of Communication, 67(4), pp. 449-452.


Lampe, C. (2016, July, 12). Why I love academic service [Blog Post]. Retrived from


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