Joyce Ferguson Faculty 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.

About the Award:

In order to be eligible, the faculty 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 recipient will be chosen in the first year of the award (2010) by a committee consisting of Joyce Ferguson and the current and previous conference planner. In the second year, the committee will consist of Joyce Ferguson, the conference planner, and the previous winner. In the third and subsequent years, the committee will consist of the conference planner and the winners from the two previous years.

Submission Guidelines:

The complete paper must be e-mailed as a Word attachment to the conference organizer Amy May by the date announced in the call for papers. The subject line should read: “NACC Faculty 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. Faculty are allowed to submit one paper per mini-conference to the graduate paper competition.
  2. The paper may be single or co-authored original work of the individual(s) submitting the paper. Faculty may submit papers co-authored with undergraduate or graduate students.
  3. 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.
  4. Presenters are required to register for the mini-conference.
  5. Manuscripts should not exceed 5,000 words.
  6. Manuscripts should be submitted by the end of the day in the local time zone of the submitting author.

View Past Award Winners

About Joyce Ferguson:


University of North Carolina, Greensboro (UNCG), Professor Joyce Ferguson played an important role in the early days of the fledgling speaking across-the-curriculum (SAC) movement. Like Bob Weiss at DePauw University and several others at schools scattered nationwide, she believed that the writing across-the-curriculum movement developing in the late 1970s needed a parallel speech communication movement. Thus, she worked at her school to develop one. She understood the important role faculty development played in speaking-intensive (SI) courses; thus, she developed and/or facilitated workshops for UNCG instructors. She understood that such courses needed to be carefully scrutinize; thus, she insisted on high standards reflecting the communication discipline’s “best practices” as a member of the university-wide committee approving SI courses.

Joyce was well aware how programs can come and go. She was especially aware that programs not backed by research were likely, in a university environment, to be perceived as “lightweight” and, thus, very likely to go should the initiator retire or leave or should the university budget become tight. The way to avoid becoming an academic fad was solid research.

One person can do programmatic research tied to a single institution. Joyce did this, encouraging her graduate students (among them, Amanda Gunn) to join in. Such research, if published, could encourage both the emulation of the studied program and emulation of the programmatic research effort. Joyce hoped that her work would not only prompt this imitation but stimulate other kinds of research, perhaps cross-institution research, on both SAC topics and speaking center topics. Joyce’s interest was more in SAC than centers; however, she recognized that a strong SAC effort needed a strong center. She thus saw to it that UNCG developed just such a center, one that not only offered tutoring but sustained the SAC effort.

Joyce also tried to encourage research nationwide on SAC and centers by initiating a bibliography project. Bob Weiss joined her, moving the bibliography project to the pages of the SAC newsletter. And that bibliography project continues today at UNCG. Joyce’s idea was that such a document would both encourage communication scholars to do research—by showing that it was publishable—and provide scholars with a handy guide to what was in print so that they could build the requisite literature reviews and thereby situate their research in the extant work.

Joyce’s commitment to faculty/staff research on SAC and communication centers makes it very appropriate that the NACC award for outstanding faculty paper presented at the annual conference be named in her honor.