Through education, research, and collaboration, the National Association of Communication Centers (NACC) supports the advancement of communication centers on college and university campuses across the country. Our annual conference brings together center directors, coaches, support staff, and students to network, share experiences, and innovate.
The Joyce Ferguson Faculty Paper Award honors outstanding communication center research by a faculty member. Submissions should be an original research paper that investigates a topic around Communication Centers 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.
All communication center topics are welcome.
Coordinator: Carl Brown
To be eligible for this award, the submitting author must:
To be eligible for this award, all research must be:
The recipient will be chosen by a committee of NACC members/Communication scholars that do not belong to the home institution of paper authors. The NCA Communication Centers Section Vice Chair Elect coordinates this effort.
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.