Communication conference, special meeting set at UAH

Alabama Communication Association

Dr. J. Michael Hogan, the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor Emeritus of Rhetoric at The Pennsylvania State University and a visiting professor and chair of Communication Studies at Davidson College, will be the keynote speaker for the 8th annual Alabama Communication Association (ACA) conference at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) on July 21.

Sponsored by the UAH Department of Communication Arts, the ACA conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the university’s Shelby Center for Science and Technology. The conference is prefaced by a July 20 special meeting of the Southern Colloquium on Rhetoric, also hosted by Communication Arts.

The ACA conference is open to the public but registration is required. Attendees may also register at the conference. The public can attend Dr. Hogan’s keynote speech without registering.

The Southern Colloquium on Rhetoric is free but requires advance registration with Dr. Clarke Rountree, associate dean of Outreach & Recruitment and graduate program director and professor in Communication Arts. The colloquium requires attendees to read several selected speeches and articles prior to the event, as the event requires all attendees to participate.

ACA keynoter Dr. Hogan's appearance is made possible through a grant primarily supported by the UAH Humanities Center. Dr. Hogan, who will also lead the Southern Colloquium on Rhetoric meeting, is the founding director of the Center for Democratic Deliberation at Penn State, as well as the founding co-editor of the Penn State Press book series, "Rhetoric and Democratic Deliberation." He is the author, coauthor or editor of eight books and more than 60 articles, book chapters and reviews, and has won a number of scholarly awards, including the National Communication Association’s Distinguished Scholar Award.

"Having a big name like his as the keynote speaker is a big bonus for the ACA this year," says Dr. John Saunders, conference site coordinator, who is a UAH communication lecturer, ACA co-founder and inaugural president and executive director. Dr. Saunders notes that Penn State continually ranks as one of the top rhetoric programs in the country.

"Bringing in such a well-known scholar on political rhetoric and democratic deliberation does two things for the ACA," Dr. Saunders says.

"First, it will help attendees better understand how all public deliberation relies on effective communication for it to work, as well as the role communication faculty and students can play when engaging the public and acting as communicative role models. Second, Dr. Hogan regularly attends our national conference, the National Communication Association. By speaking at a much smaller state association, he is engaging attendees, especially undergraduate students and faculty from smaller schools, that may never get a chance to attend our discipline on the national level."

At the ACA conference, Dr. Hogan will be a member of a panel about "Advice for Students in Communication Arts," which will provide students an opportunity to ask questions about graduate school, research and trends in the discipline.

"As a former student of his," Dr. Saunders says, "I can say that Dr. Hogan has a way of distilling information in unique, and often entertaining, ways."

The ACA is dedicated to highlighting students and faculty in Alabama schools and beyond who study the field of communication and how humans effectively, and ineffectively, communicate with each other. The ACA conference brings a mixture of presentations of original research and innovative communication teaching methods. Presentations will include research from UAH Communication Arts faculty and graduate students.


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