Bob and Ann Weiss Undergraduate Paper Award


The NCA's Communication Centers Section will have a business meeting in November to discuss possible CFP changes for our Spring 2019 competition.

In order to be eligible, the undergraduate student submission must be an original research paper that meets the criteria of the call for conference submissions. It must be based on a communication theory, but it can be reflexive. An abstract is sufficient on or before February 13th of the conference year.

Submission Guidelines:

The complete paper must be e-mailed as a Word attachment to the Communication Center Section/NACC Student Coordinator by the date announced in the call for papers. The subject line should read: “NACC Undergraduate Paper Competition.” To ensure an anonymous review process, the document (body of paper and abstract) cannot include the author’s name or affiliation. Information that in any way identifies the presenter or her/his affiliation may disqualify the proposal from consideration. A separate cover page should include the following: name, university/college, address, phone number, and e-mail address.

Additional Guidelines:

  1. Current or recently graduated students are allowed to submit one paper per conference to the undergraduate paper competition.
  2. The submission may be either a single-authored or co-authored paper written during undergraduate studies and is not limited to those written as part of coursework.
  3. A student whose paper is accepted for presentation may not submit another paper from their undergraduate work for this competitive paper competition. They may submit additional papers for consideration on non-competitive panels.
  4. If your abstract is accepted as a conference submission, you are expected to present your paper, regardless of whether or not you win the award.
  5. Presenters are required to register for the mini-conference.
  6. The award-winner will be determined by a committee formed for that purpose by the Communication Center Section/NACC Student Coordinator.
  7. Manuscripts should not exceed 5,000 words.
  8. Manuscripts should be submitted by the end of the day in the local time zone of the submitting author.

View Past Award Winners

About Bob and Ann Weiss


Bob Weiss taught at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, for decades. On campus, he was known as “Mr. Debate,” because of his role as the university’s debate coach. He was successful as a traditional debate coach; he was a national leader as President of Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha. But, when he felt traditional debate was no longer meeting its communication goals, he joined others in the region in creating the National Educational Debate Association (NEDA), an organization committed to keeping excellent public speaking in the forefront.

He believed in excellent public speaking not just for his debaters but for DePauw students at-large. In the late 1970s, the writing across-the-curriculum (WAC) movement began. Bob believed that a comparable effort should be made for speaking. Thus, he was the creator of one of the first speaking across-the-curriculum (SAC) programs in the nation. It featured “S Courses” in the various disciplines and faculty development for all who volunteered to feature speaking assignments in their classes.

Many WAC programs featured a writing center as a supporting service. Bob believed that SAC should feature a parallel speaking center. Bob’s wife, Ann, a faculty member in the English Department, took on the task of creating and directing one of the earliest speaking centers in the nation.

Bob and Ann both were strong advocates for the work they were doing, encouraging other institutions to follow the models they had created. A major part of Bob’s advocacy was the speaking across-the-curriculum newsletter he prepared and mailed-out several times a year. Its pages shared news and ideas, and it also facilitated early networking among those involved in both SAC and speaking centers.

DePauw, as a university, has a pronounced focus on undergraduate education. Thus, the speaking center there used undergraduate peer tutors. But Bob and Ann were both educators as well as program directors. As educators, both had a strong commitment to their liberal arts-oriented university’s undergraduate mission. As NACC developed, both Bob and Ann were thrilled to see the level of undergraduate involvement that emerged. Thus, it is quite appropriate that the award for the best undergraduate paper at NACC has been named in Bob and Ann Weiss’s honor.