National Communication Association honors several Penn Staters

November 15, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State’s Department of Communication Arts and Sciences was well-represented at the National Communication Association’s (NCA) Awards Ceremony last week, as faculty and students from the department received six of NCA’s 23 annual awards and five additional division awards.

NCA, the largest communication association in the United States, presents its awards each year to recognize excellence in scholarship, teaching and professional service within in the discipline. The 2018 recipients were honored during the organization’s Presidential Address and Awards Presentation, held Nov. 10 in conjunction with the NCA 104th Annual Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“To have our communication arts and sciences faculty and students recognized in this way by a leading disciplinary association speaks volumes about the quality of these scholars and our program,” said Susan Welch, dean of the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts  “We are extremely proud of each of these well-deserved accolades.”

Penn State award recipients included:

  • James Dillard, distinguished professor of communication arts and sciences, who was named a 2018 NCA Distinguished Scholar. The award recognizes NCA members for a lifetime of scholarly achievement in the study of human communication and for showcasing excellence within the discipline. Dillard’s selection marks the fourth consecutive year that a member of the Penn State communication arts and sciences faculty received the award.
  • Benjamin Firgens, a doctoral student in communication arts and sciences, who received the Donald P. Cushman Memorial Award for the top-ranked student-authored paper from any unit that competitively ranks papers for programming at the NCA Annual Convention. Firgens received the award for his essay titled “The Circulation of Destruction between 1939 and 1941 and the Failure of the American Imagination.”
  • John Gastil, professor of communication arts and sciences and political science and a senior scholar in the McCourtney Institute for Democracy, who received the Gerald M. Phillips Award for Distinguished Applied Communication Scholarship. The award, named in memory of former Penn State faculty member Gerald Phillips, recognizes NCA members responsible for authoring bodies of published research and creative scholarship in applied communication.
  • Dennis Gouran, professor emeritus of labor and employment relations and communication arts and sciences, who received the Wallace A. Bacon Lifetime Teaching Excellence Award. The award recognizes outstanding teaching at any academic level by retired NCA members or NCA members not currently engaged in full-time teaching. Recipients have demonstrated a long-term commitment to distinguished teaching.
  • Denise Solomon, head and liberal arts professor of communication arts and sciences, who received the Mark L. Knapp Award in Interpersonal Communication. The award honors career contributions to the study of interpersonal communication and recognizes individuals who have made significant scholarly contributions to the study of interaction and/or relational processes.
  • Solomon also shared the Charles H. Woolbert Research Award that recognizes a journal article or book chapter whose influence has grown with time, has become a stimulus for new conceptualizations of communication phenomena, and is reflective of the diversity of the discipline and its scholarly pursuits. She and co-author Leanne Knobloch, professor of communication at the University of Illinois, were honored for their article, “A Model of Relational Turbulence: The role of Intimacy, Relational Uncertainty, and Interference from Partners in Appraisals of Irritations,” which was published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships in 2004.

At the division level, NCA’s Health Communication Division named Dillard its 2018 Outstanding Health Communication Scholar, and Rachel Smith, associate head and professor of communication arts and sciences, received the division’s Outstanding Article Award. NCA’s Rhetoric and Communication Theory Division named Ekaterina Haskins, professor of communication arts and sciences, Outstanding Scholar; Michelle Kennerly, assistant professor of communication arts and sciences and classics and ancient Mediterranean studies, received the New Investigator Award; and Rosa Eberly, associate professor of rhetoric, received the Faculty Mentorship Award.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 19, 2018