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CSCA Message from Chad McBride

Hi CSCA Members:

One of the many things we missed from not being able to physically get together in Chicago for the 2020 Conference was our annual business luncheon.  Beyond eating and connecting with friends, at this event, we typically have reports from officers and celebrate the work of others.

The award chairs graciously agreed to create videos to honor our association award winners, and I hope, if you haven’t already, that you watch these videos on our social media or YouTube channel to hear about their amazing work.

We had also planned to induct Drs. Patrice Buzzanell, Shelly Schaeffer Hinck, and Mitchell McKinney into the CSCA Hall of Fame. While their inductions were announced on social media, we will save their official induction until next year’s luncheon so we can celebrate and congratulate them in person. 

The luncheon also provides an important opportunity for members to get updates about the health of our organization and journals and to announce the slate of nominees for our upcoming elections. I apologize for the length of the rest of this email, but we thought it was important to have a record of what would have been shared in these reports and announcements.

President (Chad McBride) and Executive Director (Chad Edwards) Report

As we have reported in previous emails to the association (November 2019), we had not had taxes and business licenses filed since 2015, losing our tax-exempt status and recognition as an organization.

We are extremely happy to report that we are now current on all back paperwork from the years of 2015-2018. We are official in both West Virginia and Ohio and are recognized in these states as a legal organization. Being in good legal standing in more than one state is important so that we have multiple recognitions of our organizational status should we default in one given state in the future. We are currently in a 60-day waiting period with the IRS to be in full compliance. This time period may be extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this period, we can get approved for nonprofit status or we may be asked for more paperwork/information. As part of this process, we retained legal representation to guide us through this process and who will also review our bylaws.

As stated in our November 2019 email to the membership from both of us, Chad McBride created a Presidential Ad Hoc committee, comprised of Drs. Christie Beck, Deanna Sellnow, and Don Ritzenhein, to investigate what contributed to our tax and organizational status situation, to examine organizational processes, and to make recommendations of how to best build in layers of security in the future so we can consistently retain our tax and organizational status. They have interviewed several people to learn more about the organizational processes during the term of the Executive Director before Chad Edwards. They have submitted their report to Chad McBride, Al Gonzalez, and Chad Edwards, who will share with the Executive Committee for discussion and questions. In a continued goal of transparency, this report will then be shared with the membership in the next week.

When we made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s conference, we did so for the health of our members and larger community without knowing the extent of the financial implications for the organization. We are happy to report that our legal representation engaged in negotiations with the Chicago hotel to waive all fees and penalties that would have been charged for a cancellation in our contract. Additionally, Chad Edwards was able to save money by cancelling the printing of the program, etc., and most other expenses/purchases can be saved for next year’s conference.

Beyond these unplanned challenges, the CSCA Executive Committee released a statement in summer of 2019 expressing our commitment to diversity and inclusivity and promising to examine our bylaws and practices related to these important issues. While some of this work was delayed given organizational circumstances, we had continued work in this area and had several events planned for the 2020 conference, including the inaugural Calloway-Thomas speakers series, a Next Leaders Network series of events, and two Presidential Listening Sessions. Additionally, Chad McBride created an ad hoc committee to examine our initiatives and processes in this area, and Dr. Al Gonzalez helped write a charge for this committee. Dr. Ahmet Atay has agreed to chair this committee and we look forward to their recommendations in the coming year.

We would like to thank Dr. Al Gonzalez and his planning team for planning what would have been an outstanding 2020 conference. We also thank Al for his leadership in making the difficult decision of cancelling the conference and handling all of the work involved in creating new processes for countless events, such as holding individual business meetings. He will also be working closely with next year’s planner, Dr. Deb Ford, to find ways to incorporate some of the spotlight panels planned for 2020 into the 2021 conference.

We would also like to thank Dr. Jeff Child, our finance chair, for all of his work in advising us through the tax and legal issues this past year and the finances related to cancelling the conference. Jeff has been an excellent steward of our long-term investments and has worked with Chad Edwards to create processes between their roles to provide a better check and balances in these areas. After serving CSCA for several years, Jeff’s term as finance chair is complete, and we are happy to announce that the Executive Committee has approved the appointment of Dr. Don Ritzenhein to serve as the next chair of this important committee.

Finally, thanks to Chad Edwards for his countless hours and energy tackling the challenges of the past year. His term as Executive Director is also ending, and Dr. Tiffany Wang, who has been shadowing for the past year, will officially take over in this role this summer.

While the past year has been very challenging for our organization, we would like to thank the entire Executive Committee for their work and guidance throughout the year. We also believe that the changes we have started to implement will further guarantee a bright, healthy future for CSCA for years to come.

First Vice President (Al Gonzalez)

I would like to thank all of the members who submitted competitive papers, paper panels, and discussion panels.

Also, I would like to thank all of the unit planners who worked on the 2020 convention program. Putting a program together is a collaborative effort and the CSCA team was always there for advice and troubleshooting, especially Chad Edwards, Tiffany Wang, Kathie Cesa, Chad McBride and many others.

In sum, we scheduled 104 paper sessions and 92 discussion sessions (which includes Scholar Conversations and other Spotlight sessions) and 27 business meetings.

The submission system worked pretty well. We encountered a few glitches, but we only needed help from the vendor a few times. We need to have ongoing efforts to have all submitters and session participants create a profile in AI.

It is clear that members—in the selection of research topics and discussion topics—are thinking about the relationships between equity and inclusion and communication studies. I hope that trend continues to future conventions.

Finance Chair (Jeff Child) 

I am happy to report that the financial health of CSCA is strong given the current situation. The executive committee has been busy working hard to preserve the financial resources of the association as best we can. We hired a lawyer to help CSCA fight getting out of our contract cancellation fees for the Chicago, IL CSCA convention. The law firm we retained was successful in resolving the contract issues, which saved CSCA $80,000.00.

We have enough financial reserves in our checking to support the next two years should  COVID-19 still be occurring and we cannot have the conventions. Furthermore, while our longterm investments have taken a hit, we are still in a good position. A year ago the value of CSCA’s longterm investments was a little over $537,000.00. As of April 15, 2020 the valuation of our investments was just over $494,000.00. Our goal is to not have to touch any of our longterm investments so they can recover when the market does as well. We have been fiscally conservative in our budgeting and spending practices in order to have a surplus for day-to-day expenditures during this difficult period without needing to dip into longterm investments.

It has been a pleasure to serve as the chair of the finance committee. The incoming chair is Donald Rizenhein. During the past six years while serving in this role we have made great strides in improving our financial accounting practices, the transparency of our financial revenues and expenditures, and growing the overall financial health of CSCA’s investments to continue to support the endeavors of the association well into the future.   

Second Vice President (Deb Ford) 

The 2020 preconference was to feature an Advanced Qualitative Methods workshop hosted by Jimmie Manning, University of Nevada, Reno. It was canceled with the conference.

Below is the 2021 call for proposals for CSCA in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Central States Communication Association
Hilton Netherland Plaza
Cincinnati, OH
March 23-28, 2021

You are cordially invited to submit competitive papers, panel discussions, and performance sessions for our 90th Annual Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio. Members are encouraged to reflect on the theme of Inspire. Our many roles as teachers and scholars ask a great deal from us intellectually, emotionally, and relationally. Our annual conference provides us an opportunity to pause, reflect, connect, and reconnect with each other and with what inspired us to choose these lives we lead. When the conference is at its best, our connections often help us to reinvigorate our energy so that we can return to our homes to offer energy to our students, our colleagues, our families and friends, and our work. How does our work inspire other individuals, communities, organizations, and societies toward their aspirations? How can we inspire our students? Each other?

Central States is a space that is reinvented every time we gather together at the conference, every time we talk with a colleague, and every time we share our research, our teaching ideas, and our very selves. We are not a perfect organization. How can we inspire each other to create a welcoming space for all our members?

Faculty, students, independent scholars, and community members are all encouraged to submit and attend the convention. Institutional and community partnerships are particularly welcome. Submissions inclusive of all methodological perspectives in the communication discipline are expected and embraced.

Look for specific calls and submission information from each of the 20+ CSCA Interest Groups, Caucuses, and Sections.

For questions about the general call or the 2021 conference, please contact Debbie Ford, 2021 primary program planner, at

Deadline for Submissions:  11:59 PM CST October 9, 2020

Communication Studies Editor Report (Patric Spence)        

Submissions to Communication Studies continue to increase as does readership. The year to date usage (as of the conference date) is up 135%.

The article “What’s in a Font?: Ideological Perceptions of Typography” was the third highest altmetric scoring article across all Taylor and Francis (2,7000+ journals) the week of January 6th.              

Journal of Communication Pedagogy Editor Report (Deanna Sellnow)        

We are making good progress toward completing the first issue and currently collecting final edits from authors. There will be two special issues this year focused on technology and human communication and pandemic pedagogy.

Special thanks to my Editorial Assistant America Edwards and Assistant Editor Renee Kaufmann for their help with the journal.

Nominating Committee Report (Dawn O. Braithwaite) 

The nominating committee is tasked with providing a slate of candidates for our two elected positions. This year’s nominees for 2nd Vice President are Kathy Denker (Ball State University) and David Wendt (Iowa Wesleyan University). This year’s nominees for Member at Large are Sandy Pensoneau-Conway (Southern Illinois University Carbondale) and Stephanie Young (University of Southern Indiana). Typically, at our luncheon, there is an opportunity for attendees to make nominations from the floor. Since we cannot be together in person, if you have an additional nomination, please email Chad McBride within 48 hours of this email being sent.

In Closing

And with that final report, our modified business luncheon comes to a close.

I would like to again thank the entire Executive Committee and all of our members who supported us as we navigated the challenges in the last year. It has been my honor to serve as your President these last 12 months.

And now the Presidential gavel is passed to Dr. Al Gonzalez.


Chad McBride


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