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 graduate student submission should be an original research paper that investigates a topic from an empirical or theoretical perspective and meets the criteria of the call for conference submissions. The paper should focus on challenging a theory, the development of a new theory, or the modification of a current theory. An abstract is sufficient on or before February 13th of the conference year.
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 Graduate 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.
When speaking centers were in their infancy, although they often had a senior faculty member as chief promoter, they quite often had graduate students doing a great deal of the “heavy lifting.” Such was the case for Bill Huddy, then a graduate student at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and Amanda Gunn, then a graduate student at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. At their institutions, they both work tirelessly to create model centers.
With the professional ambitions typical of graduate students, they wanted to see greater recognition for speaking center work, especially recognition from the National Communication Association (NCA). They also felt that NCA recognition would facilitate both the exchange of ideas among those working at fledgling centers and networking among them. Believing that there was no place in the existing NCA structure to facilitate this sharing and networking, they spearheaded the attempt to secure NCA approval for a separate NCA section devoted to just speaking or communication centers.
They played a major role in drafting a proposal for a new NCA section, and Amanda appeared before the Legislative Council (LC) to both answer questions about it and argue for it. Speaking/communication centers were fairly new on the scene: thus, many in the LC did not know what such centers were and what their mission might be. So, a large part of what Bill and Amanda did, through their proposal and Amanda’s “defense” of it, was to educate those at the helm of NCA about centers.
Both Bill and Amanda have moved on, both from graduate school and from direct involvement with speaking centers, although both remain strong supporters. The important work they did that all now involved with speaking centers have benefitted from was done as graduate students. The work was not tied to their graduate curriculum; the work was not related to their dissertation projects. It was something they did above and beyond the norm because they felt centers could play a major role in the education their institutions were offering.
That Bill and Amanda so served speaking centers as graduate students makes it quite appropriate that the NACC award for outstanding paper by a graduate student be named in their honor.