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2021 Convention Submissions


Access the 2021 ONLINE CONVENTION SUBMISSION SYSTEM is not yet ready - (note your online submission system user name and password are NOT the same as your WSCA user name and password). If you have questions about your WSCA membership or convention registration, contact Sara Hayden. If you are presenting at the Undergraduate Scholars Research Conference, contact Kimberly Harden. If you have questions about your presentation for the WSCA convention, contact your interest group planner.

Friday February 12, 2021 Pre-Conference Workshops, Basic Course Conference, local events, and Undergraduate Scholars Research Conference
Saturday February 13 - Monday February 15, 2021 Convention


The term “cultivate” is ripe with meaning in relation to our work in communication studies.  Cultivation references breaking up the ground and amending it with missing nutrients to improve areas that are lacking. Cultivation entails nurturing new growth; providing resources for burgeoning shoots to reach their potential. Cultivation involves planting seeds as an intention for the future; a legacy to pass on to generations to come.  In all of its many uses, cultivation is an action, and one that reflects intentional examination of the current state. Unless we deliberately and carefully work at cultivation we cannot build in the change and diversity inherent in a healthy ecosystem, and we risk languish and depletion. 

In 2021 let us look for moments to cultivate our scholarship, pedagogy, and service to turn over new ground.  What do we need to break open, break down, or break through so that we can encourage growth that is meaningful and sustainable? What areas require our attention and intention toward fertilization, hydration, pruning, or hybridization? Finally, how can we build a trellis of support for this growth that is both inclusive and equitable within our departments and institutions?

In both our formal programming and our informal interactions at the 2021 convention, let us intentionally create new relationships and deepen existing connections, cultivating in ourselves and others the vitality and variety necessary for flourishing.


Christina G. Yoshimura

WSCA President-Elect and 2021 Primary Program Planner


Call for Competitive Papers, Panel Session Proposals, Pre-Conference Workshop Proposals, Basic Course Conference Position Papers, Undergraduate Scholars’ Research Conference (USRC), and Graduate Students Workshop & Graduate Programs Open House
  1. Competitive Papers (deadline: received by 9/1/20) Submit online at, Conventions, 2021 Submissions, select appropriate Interest Group (see below)
  2. Panel Session Proposals (deadline: received by 9/1/20) Submit online at, Conventions, 2021 Submissions, select appropriate Interest Group (see below)
  3. Pre-Conference Workshop Proposals (deadline: received by 9/1/20) – Submit online at, Conventions, 2021 Submissions, select Pre-Conference Workshop
  4. Basic Course Conference Position Papers (deadline: received by 9/1/20) - Submit online at, Conventions, 2021 Submissions, select Basic Course Conference
  5. Undergraduate Scholars' Research Conference (USRC deadline: received by 12/1/20) Submit online at, Conventions, 2021 Submissions.

Specific information about submitting to interest groups is available in our online submission program.


Authors are encouraged to submit papers to the interest groups for competitive selection. Papers may employ any humanistic, scientific, and/or other methodology(ies) and may address theoretical developments, critical analyses, disciplinary issues, pedagogical issues, and/or research advancements.

You should submit your paper to one interest group. (NOTE: Not all interest groups sponsor competitive papers, so be sure to review the interest group's online call for papers prior to submission. Submitted papers should not include information that identifies the author(s).

Competitive paper submissions must be submitted using the Attendee Interactive system no later than Tuesday, September 1, 2020. Specific information about submitting to interest groups will be in the WSCA News.

Research in Progress: Some interest groups sponsor "Research in Progress " programs. Papers submitted to these programs should not exceed ten pages in length. Be sure that the interest group to which you want to send you paper accepts "Research in Progress " programs before submission.

Debut Award: The WSCA Executives Club Debut Award is made to the author (or co-authors) of a paper presented at the convention "who have not presented a paper at a state, regional, national or international convention, or published in any academic journal. " Papers presented at student-only conferences are exempt from this requirement. All authors of a co-authored paper must meet these eligibility requirements for a paper to be considered a Debut Paper. Papers eligible for the Debut Award should select "debut " in the Attendee Interactive online submission system. Some interest groups also sponsor debut programs; papers need not be presented on a debut panel session to be eligible for the Executives Club Debut Award.

Competitive papers must be submitted online using the Attendee Interactive system no later than Tuesday, September 1, 2020. Please address any competitive paper questions, comments, or concerns to the Interest Group Planner or the Primary Program Planner, Christina Yoshimura.


Panel session proposals should focus on a unifying theme relevant to research, theory, or instruction in the area of the sponsoring interest group. Panel sessions may consist of a chair, individual presenters, and a critic/respondent in a traditional conference format. However, we encourage proposals for a debate, a round table discussion, a performance activity, or innovative program that provides opportunities for interaction among participants and attendees. We welcome programs co-sponsored with other interest groups. We intensely solicit programs that relate to the 2021 convention theme, “Cultivate.”

  1. Panel session proposals must contain the following:
    1. Thematic title of the program;
    2. Names and affiliations of all participants;
    3. Title and brief description of each presentation;
    4. Abstract -- 50-75 words for the convention program that identifies the content and purpose of the panel. Additional explanations or details should be in a separate panel leaflet or handout made available at the panel presentation;
    5. Equipment needed for the program. Equipment availability is extremely limited and expensive. Note that an AV request is not a guarantee that AV will be available. If your submission is accepted, your interest group planner should inform you whether or not you will have AV. See the WSCA policy on Audio-Visual Equipment at Conventions in the Policies and Procedures Manual.


    Panel session proposals must be submitted online using the Attendee Interactive system no later than Tuesday, September 1, 2020. Please address any session proposal questions, comments, or concerns to the Interest Group Planner or Primary Program Planner, Christina Yoshimura.



A workshop is intended as a training or informational short course that can be presented in a three-hour or six-hour time block. A workshop topic may concern the presentation of teaching innovations, as area of research, a new theoretical perspective, the application of a body of knowledge, skill development, or another clearly focused topic. Workshop leaders are encourage to advertise their workshops and solicit participation.

Workshops are scheduled the day of the kick-off, as a pre-conference activity, Friday, February 12, 2021. Participants pay a modest registration fee. The fee is intended to cover only the direct costs (photocopying, materials, AV, etc.) incurred in conducting the workshop.

Pre-conference workshop proposals should include the following:

  1. Title of the workshop;
  2. Names and affiliations of all presenters;
  3. A detailed rationale that outlines the workshop's goals;
  4. A brief (50-75 word) description of the workshop activities for potential inclusion in the conference program;
  5. Room size and configuration requested (e.g. theater seating, tables of eight, etc.);
  6. Equipment needed for the pre-conference. Equipment availability is extremely limited. Noe that AV costs are the workshop planner's (submitter's) responsibility. You will either have to pay for it directly, bring it with you (if the hotel contract allows), or put it in the cost of the workshop and pass the fees on to the participants);
  7. Maximum enrollment number;
  8. Fee amount set in accordance with WSCA policy (see below);
  9. Time-block requested (i.e. three hours or six hours)
Guide to setting fees for workshop leaders: WSCA has set $5.00 as the base fee for any workshop. The first $5.00 of each registrant’s fee is designed to cover the association’s administrative costs. Any fees above $5.00 should be set at such a level as to provide reimbursement to the workshop leader(s) only for the cost of materials, equipment, and any out-of-the-ordinary expenses. Costs for audio-visual and other equipment rental and costs of producing materials for participants must be covered within the overall fee that is specified. WSCA cannot reimburse more money to a workshop leader than it receives from participant fees. If a part or all of a fee is proposed as covering an individual’s expenses or as an honorarium, Marnel Niles Goins, current WSCA President, must approve it prior to any commitment to the individual.


Workshop proposals should be submitted online using the Attendee Interactive system no later than Tuesday, September 1, 2020. Please address any workshop proposal questions, comments, or concerns to the President Elect, Christina Yoshimura.

V. Basic Course Conference Position Papers

The Western States Communication Association invites participants for the Basic Course Conference (BCC) on Friday, February 12, 2021 at the WSCA annual convention in Irvine, CA. The Basic Course Conference focuses on issues in the basic communication course (broadly defined). In keeping with the conference theme, “Cultivate,” issued by Christina G. Yoshimura, President-Elect, this year's Basic Course Conference will address topics, concerns, positions, and perspectives in the Basic Course that might benefit from active cultivation.  How can we better consider and understand what may be fruitfully and metaphorically pruned, hybridized, fertilized, and sown? Dr. Toniesha Taylor serves as this year’s Basic Course Conference Coordinator.

We will shape this year’s BCC borrowing from some of the framework created by Past President Michelle Holling and Past Basic Course Conference Coordinator Tom Dunn. The BCC will be constructed around perspectives, needs, and ideas that are articulated by interested attendees, resulting in sessions that engage, educate, and support the multiple positions within the Basic Course community (including course directors, graduate teaching assistants, community college faculty, temporary or term faculty, etc.). To achieve this end, the BCC invites position papers that will aid in creating the content and foci for the conference. We will use position papers to identify themes, as well as to build from the experiences/perspectives of interested attendees. We will facilitate sessions and conversations driven by the community's diverse interests, and work together to cultivate flourishing at the individual, course, and disciplinary levels.

Position papers submitted 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. Identify how you see yourself positioned relative to the basic course (for example: are you relatively new to the basic course, are you feeling burned out and in need of new ideas from decades of teaching the course, are you a chair or dean seeking assessment ideas or logistical assistance with the basic course, are you a graduate student who is new to teaching overall, etc.).
  4. Explicitly pose a question, raise an issue, or offer a bid for change regarding a topic where cultivation is needed within the basic course. This question/issue/bid must be:
    1. A single sentence.
    2. BOLDED and placed at the top of the position paper.

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

  1. “How can we cross-pollinate our public speaking courses with contexts or content from other disciplines, such as public speaking and engineering or public speaking and the arts?”
  2. “What can we do to provide support for our Basic Course instructors who are new to teaching the course?”
  3. “An essential task of department chair should be to advocate for the Basic Course’s inclusion in the core of the college/university curriculum.”
  1. Then narrate how you would address this question, issue, or bid for change in a way that would aid our focus on cultivation at the 2021 Basic Course Conference.

We will not be utilizing AV equipment during the BCC; however, participants are welcome to bring handouts if desired.

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 fruitful discussion 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 Conference Coordinator. We will focus on active participation and interaction from participants rather than making BCC participants passive audience members.

Given the structure of the BCC, participants selected to join agree to attend and stay for the duration of the event (not to exceed 3 hours). The BCC will be held on the Friday morning of the WSCA conference, so participants should not plan to attend other conflicting Friday events (i.e. the Undergraduate Research Conference, morning or full day pre-conferences, local events, etc.).

There will be no cost associated with attending the 2021 BCC above and beyond registration for the WSCA convention itself. The BCC will also ensure that all discussion leaders are recognized in the conference program in order to secure institutional support.

Position papers will be submitted online at, Conventions, 2021 Submissions, and then when you are directed to the Attendee Interactive system select BCC as the interest group.  All submissions should be in Microsoft Word or PDF format. Position papers must be received by midnight PST on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Basic Course Conference Coordinator Toniesha Taylor.

VI. Undergraduate Scholars Research Conference

USRC submission must be submitted online using the Attendee Interactive system no later than Sunday, December 1, 2020. For the USRC, all authors of the submitted papers must be undergraduate students at the time of submission. Please address any questions, comments, or concerns to the WSCA Second Vice-President, Kimberly Harden. Click on this link for the USRC Call for Papers (not yet ready).

VI. Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Authors must disclose whether they have obtained Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, organizational approval, or other necessary permissions for any convention submission involving the collection of data on human participants. If no approval was obtained, the reason should be stated.

For example, if authors have not obtained IRB approval because their institutions do not have IRBs, that fact should be stated. The IRB disclosure statement should be included in a footnote, author note, or submission text.

Interest Group Calls

Communication and Instruction

Communication, Identities, and Difference

Communication Theory & Research

Community Colleges

Environmental Communication

Freedom of Expression & Political Communication

Health Communication

Intercultural Communication

Interpersonal Communication

Language & Social Interaction

Media Studies

Organizational Communication


Performance Studies

Rhetoric, Culture & Advocacy

Western Forensics & Argumentation








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