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News & Press: Awards

2017 Distinguished Scholar Award

Friday, March 10, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Christina Yoshimura
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By Heather Crandall, Committee Chair

This award recognizes a WSCA member who has made significant and sustained contributions to scholarship.  We had some difficult work to do but our committee did agree on a Distinguished Scholar for 2017.

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 in their writing. 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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