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2016 Convention in San Diego
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"Come West for the Best!"

February 27 - March 1, 2016 Mission Bay/San Diego

Final Program (2/24/16)

Western States Communication Association holds an annual convention, often over 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 preconference(s) and workshops Saturday morning and afternoon. The Undergraduate Scholars' Research Conference is Saturday, and the Graduate Student Workshop and Graduate Programs Open House are Saturday afternoon. The Kickoff Event and Welcome Reception are Saturday late afternoon/early evening. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday (until about noon) multiple panels are held simultaneously. The Keynote Speech is Sunday morning; the famous, not-to-be-missed Sock Hop is Sunday evening, and the Convention Luncheon is Monday.

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 President-Elect, Mark Bergstrom, is featuring several workshops on Saturday, February 27. If you want to participate, sign up when you preregister for the conference. If the minimum numbers are not met, the workshop may be cancelled and those who registered will be notified and refunded.

The State of Academic Labor in Communication Studies 10:45 – 5:00     $5.00

This collaborative pre-conference will assess the health of our field by considering to what extent the current state of academic labor compromises our ability to foster civic engagement, risks our commitments to critical and just pedagogy and inquiry, impedes the generation of new knowledge about communication, and endangers academic freedom.

Session 1 - 10:45 - 11:45 AM

Devaluing Students By Degrading Teaching (Keith Nainby and Juliane Mora)

How does the reliance on lecturers and the disinvestment from tenure impact teaching practices, curriculum development, advising, teacher training, and mentoring.

Session 2 - 12:00 - 1:00 PM

Healthy for Whom?: A Closer Look at the NCA Jobs Report (Kathleen McConnell and Adam Perry)

This session looks at data and information not included in the NCA report and proposes possible designs for future reports. Trevor Perry-Giles, NCA Director of Academic and Professional Affairs, will be joining this session.

Session 3 - 1:15 - 2:15 PM

Re-writing the Standard Academic Script (Bernadette Calafell and Benny LeMaster)

This session draws on the concept of intersectionality to critique and re-write the standard narrative for academic professionalism.

Session 4 - 2:30 - 3:30 PM

This Is Not Working: A Performance Workshop (Amy Kilgard and Benny LeMaster)

Participants in this workshop will develop a short performance that challenges the stereotype of the lazy academic and consider how we might better appreciate the value of academic work.

Session 5 - 3:45 - 4:45 PM

Future Actions (Kathleen McConnell)

The final session will see the performance developed in the workshop and plan future collaborations designed to grow awareness of the state of academic labor in communication studies.

 Busting Barriers:  A Collaborative Effort Among the Department of Human Communication, CSUF, Maple Elementary School, and the City of Fullerton to Mentor New Immigrant Students 9:00 – 12:00    $5.00

This workshop will present modules that help students bust through educational, cultural, social and political barriers. We will present and have workshop attendees participate in activities that we have used that have broken down psychological, sociological and cultural barriers and that have created a sense of belonging.

Chair: Robert Emry, California State University, Fullerton
Participants: Rebecca Avalos, University of Colorado; Yvette Ramirez, Fullerton College; Aaron Zamora, Pepperdine University; Sam Bowers, California State University, Fullerton; Elizabeth Wenzel, Cal Poly Paloma; Anthony Guy, California State University Fullerton; Phatana Ith, Orange Coast Community College; Thanh Le, California State University, Fullerton; Emilie Vu, Fullerton College

Whale Watching and Water Rituals as Ecocultural Convergence: Exploring Complicity, Implication and Coherence via an Internatural Communication Lens
9:00 - 5:00     $24 per person (beginning 2-11-16 you need to purchase your ticket directly from the vendor. Contact Julie Schutten for details).
Join the Environmental Communication Interest Group for a day full of beauty as we go whale watching for three hours with San Diego Whale Watch followed by lunch and a walk to the beach where we will participate in an ocean blessing/healing ceremony. It is Gray whale migration time so we are likely to witness these beings as well as several species of dolphin and potentially Minki whales. There will be a certified naturalist on board to answer any questions you may have about these charismatic megafauna. This workshop explores aspects of Internatural Communication and pushes the participant to imagine what it would look like to see the ideas of interconnectedness, mutual interdependence, and a web of life mentality enacted in our daily lives.
Facilitators: Julie Kalil Schutten, Northern Arizona University; Jeremy G. Gordon, University of South Florida; Anastasia Prentiss, Holy Names University; Suzanne Pullen, Arizona State University; Michael Salvador, California State University, San Bernardino

Curriculum Mapping and NCA’s Learning Outcomes in Communication
9:00 – 12:00    $5.00

Curriculum Mapping and NCA’s Learning Outcomes in Communication provides a specific exercise that aligns a  determined, established set of learning outcomes with an individual department’s or program’s curriculum and pedagogical practices. Participants will learn and examine NCA’s Learning Outcomes in Communication (LOC) and explore how those LOCs may or may not be aligned with a specific curriculum in the Communication discipline.

Leaders: Jonathan Bowman, University of San Diego; David Marshall, Institute for Evidence-Based Change; Trevor Parry-Giles, National Communication Association; Meg Tucker, National Communication Association

Innovations in Presentation Slide-Design: Improving Audience Comprehension and Retention
9:00 – 12:00    $5.00

This workshop will focus primarily on the Assertion-Evidence Slide Design. However, some alternative slide designs will also be discussed including a TED-style (Nancy Duarte) and Presentation Zen style (Garr Reynolds) slide design. The threads connecting all three of the slide design styles is the emphasis on eliminating noise from slides, limiting the amount of verbal information displayed, and incorporating purposeful visual evidence. Adopting these practices will benefit our own and our students’ presentations.

Facilitators: Lori B. Miraldi, The Pennsylvania State University; Peter N. Miraldi, The Pennsylvania State University

ORWAC Gender Preconference: Feminist Inquiry in the Communication Discipline
12:00 – 5:00    $5.00 (SOLD OUT)

This pre-conference will provide feminist scholars the opportunity for sustained conversation about feminist inquiry in the discipline. To participate, submit a short position paper (2-4 double-spaced pages) on one of the following topics to Karen Foss ( by February 1.
1.  Defining Feminism:  How do you define feminism?  What does it mean to be a feminist—in the field of communication, in academia, and in general?  Are there acts that are feminist and acts that are not?  What are feminist principles?  Can someone be a feminist simply by being a woman who realizes her full human potential in the world?  Must she consistently act politically, and, if so, what does that mean?  Do we still need the label feminist to describe our orientation to the world?
2.  Assessing Feminism:  What do you see as the current status of feminist research within the communication discipline?  Is a feminist perspective on the decline in our discipline?   Has a feminist perspective been integrated into the discipline?  What evidence is there for whatever view you take on the status of feminism in our discipline? How can feminism be made fun again?
3.  Articulating the Silences:  What are you interested in discussing in terms of feminism that you have felt couldn’t be discussed?  Are there strictures within the communication discipline or within feminism that make you feel that you can’t say certain things?  How would a discussion of this “unspoken” topic change our perspective on or research about feminism and communication?
4.  Asking New Questions:  What question about feminism and communication would you like communication scholars to ask?   What article from a feminist perspective would you most like to read in our journals?
5.  Living Feminist Lives:  How can our lives as academic feminists be made more satisfying and coherent?  What does it mean to live as a feminist? 
6.  Teaching as a Feminist:  What constitutes feminist pedagogy?  Is it all that different from other kinds of good teaching?  Is it contradictory in any ways to good teaching?  What are the results of feminist pedagogy in our classrooms?  How can we become more feminist in our pedagogy?

Coordinators: Lisa Flores, University of Colorado Boulder; Stacey Sowards, University of Texas, El Paso; Laura Hahn, Humboldt State University, Marnel Niles Goins, California State University, Fresno; Sonja Foss, University of Colorado Denver; Karen Foss, University of New Mexico

Teaching The Introductory Communication Theory Course
1:00 - 4:00     $10.00
This course is for teachers who have little or no experience in teaching the introductory course in communication theory and are now called upon to teach it, or wish to do so in the near future.  The short course/workshop is aimed at helping teachers prepare or reinvigorate a class in communication theory.

Directors:  Lynn Turner, Marquette University; Richard West, Emerson College

Local Host Activities

The local hosts in the School of Communication at San Diego State University are planning fun activities for convention goers. All the events will take place on Saturday, February 27. If you want to participate, sign up when you preregister for the conference. If the minimum numbers are not met, the events will be cancelled and those who registered will be notified and refunded.

  • San Diego Brewery Tour - Try the best beer in town! Spend an hour each at three of the top ten breweries in San Diego. We start off at Ballast Point Headquarters, rated the # 1 brewery in San Diego. Then we head over to Green Flash, rated the # 2 brewery in San Diego. We end our tour at Mission Brewery, Top Ten in San Diego. Each person will receive a flight of three or four 4-ounce tasters at each of the breweries. You are more than welcome to bring along your own personal snacks or munchies in case you want to eat a little something in between breweries. Time: 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm; $65 includes limo bus, driver, tip, and tastings. Onsite registration may be possible; limited space available. SOLD OUT
  • Mission Bay Bike Tour - Join SDSU's avid cyclist, Wayne Beach, on a flat and scenic bike tour in and around Mission Bay. No training required: If you can ride a bike, you can enjoy this tour. Wayne is a resident of Mission Bay and will guide the group through the maze of bike paths only local knowledge can take advantage of! The tour will take about 2-3 hours, cover anywhere from 10-15 miles of beautiful San Diego views, and begin/end at the Bahia (our convention hotel). At the end of the ride, participants will have the option to gather for lunch. Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm; prices vary for rental bikes and equipment (see attached document for pricing)
  • Golf at Mission Bay Golf Club- Let's go golfing! The local hosts (SDSU, College of Communication) have organized a golfing day on Saturday, February 27. Your $50 includes 18 hole green fee and cart. Golf attire required (collared shirt, no denim, no metal spikes). Rental clubs available for $11.50. Golfers must be at the Mission Bay Golf Club by 8 am. The local hosts will facilitate cab or Uber rides to and from the course. All golfers MUST be registered for this event by Friday, February 19th. Prizes will be awarded for the longest drive, closest to the pin, and longest putt.


Support graduate education and commemorate the WSCA San Diego experience by purchasing a t-shirt. As of 2-8-16 they are only available to purchase at the convention registration area.



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