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2020 Convention in Denver
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Friday February 21, 2020 Pre-Convention Workshops, local events, Undergraduate Scholars Research Conference, and Kick-Off

Saturday February 22 through Monday February 24, 2020 Convention

(please scroll and read this page for information about the pre-conference workshops and keynote speaker)

Western States Communication Association holds an annual convention, often around Presidents' Day weekend in February, at a location in one of our 12 western states. The location is selected 4+ years in advance by the Executive Council, upon the recommendation of the Time and Place Committee and with input from the Legislative Assembly.

Western's conventions involve about 750 students, faculty, and practitioners experiencing close to 200 research papers, symposium, presentations, short-courses, debates, and discussions. During our convention, we also recognize and reward outstanding contributions to the communication discipline, to its scholarship and teaching, and to WSCA.

The convention begins with pre-conference workshops Friday morning and afternoon. The Undergraduate Scholars' Research Conference is Friday, and the Graduate Student Workshop and Graduate Programs Open House are Friday afternoon. The Kickoff Event and Welcome Reception are Friday late afternoon/early evening. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (until about noon) multiple panels are held simultaneously. The Keynote Speech is Saturday morning; the famous, not-to-be-missed Sock Hop is Saturday evening, and the Convention Luncheon is Sunday.

The first WSCA convention was held in 1929 in San Francisco. Conventions have been held annually since then, except for two years during World War II. The WSCA convention is where our unofficial slogan comes from: "Work hard; play hard!" We invite you to join us, and come West for the best! The 2020 conference theme is "Communication, Agitation, and Justice."

Pre-Conference Workshops

WSCA President-Elect, Marnel Niles Goins has organized an exciting slate of pre-conference workshops. Be sure to sign-up for them when you register for the convention. Note: All workshops are Friday, February 21, 2020


Agitating the Classroom: A Workshop on Innovative Environmental Communication, Ethics, and Coping with Grief

$8.00       9:00 am - 12:00 pm


Facilitators: Joanne C. Marras Tate (University of Colorado, Boulder), Jeanette German (University of Colorado, Boulder), Michael Warren Cook (University of Colorado, Boulder), Patrick Chandler (University of Colorado, Boulder), Malinda Dietrich (University of Colorado, Boulder), and Cristiano Matochi (Washington State University)


This workshop encourages educators through group dialogue and hands-on activities to learn and share methods to help students engage in thinking and working through environmental issues in innovative communicative ways. Educators will explore different techniques to adapt their curricula to support students in expressing emotions and learning about environmental issues--without losing sight of hope.


Agitation through Advocacy: A Workshop on Translational Education for Social Justice

$7.00       9:00 am - 12:00 pm


Facilitators: Jamila Cupid (Pepperdine University), Kandace Harris (California State University, Northridge), Shaun J. Fletcher (San Jose State University), and Kesha Morant Williams (Penn State University, Berks)


This workshop will generate opportunities for dialogue and active participation in the creation of classroom techniques used to build trust, raise awareness, and encourage social change. Using frames such as social responsibility, narrative advocacy, and brand identity, the facilitators will provide attendees with case studies and engaging activities to explore ways to apply classroom knowledge to a diverse range of real-world settings. Presenters will also demonstrate how creating a classroom culture based on ethics and respect translates into sustainable business practices for student practitioners.


Intentions and Balance of Contingent Academics

$5.00       1:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Facilitators: Raina Chelise (Cabrillo College) and Kendall Sooter (Cabrillo College)


This workshop will explore the history of the reliance on contingent hires, the inequitable aspects of re-hiring, and how we can utilize one-another as support. Attendees will be able to formulate self-care, balance, and professional development goals through exploring various activities and discussions about our everyday lives within higher education. We will focus on ownership of ability, belonging, and engagement in community development.

Feminist/Queer/Raced Agitations for Social Justice: Reflections on Surviving Emotional Labor and Resistant Praxis in the Academy

$20.00     1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Facilitators: Bernadette Calafell (Gonzaga University), Karma R. Chavez (The University of Texas at Austin), Lisa A. Flores (University of Colorado, Boulder), Logan Gomez (University of Colorado, Boulder), Rachel Alicia Griffin (University of Utah), Pavithra Prasad (California State University, Northridge), Stacey K. Sowards (The University of Texas at El Paso), and Toniesha Taylor (Texas Southern University)

This pre-conference workshop explores the intersections of emotional labor and resistant praxis in the professional work, intellectual labor, and agitations for social justice of queer/women of color communication scholars. Participants can expect to: hear co-presenters reflection how emotional labor and resistant praxis shapes and shades our work; creatively reflect on their own emotional labor and resistant praxis; and partake in generative dialogue about how to navigate/endure/survive politicized--and oftentimes invisible--labor in the academy.

Keynote Speaker: Holiday Simmons

 Please join us Saturday, February 22, 2:45 to 4:00 pm for our keynote speaker, Holiday Simmons. 


Holiday Simmons, MSW, is trained as a social worker and has experience in crisis response, conflict mediation, and somatics with a social justice lens. He is the Resident in Healing and Resilience at the Campaign for Southern Equality, and a Contractor with Black Emotional and Mental Health (BEAM). Holiday has nearly two decades of experience leading trainings on best practices when working with LGBT people for social workers, medical personnel and other services providers, as well he appreciates any time spent with community members on grassroots workshops. Holiday has a private therapy/somatics coaching practice, he performs various Indigenous healing practices from smudging to energy work, and he coordinates teams of healers to create wellness spaces for front line organizers, social justice advocates, and people most impacted by trauma and oppression. Holiday finds joy in most all things soccer-related, in nature, and in pondering what liberation feels like. 



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