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Faculty Feature: Saint Rose Professors, Students to Present at National Communication Association Conference

From left, every year Professors Mark Congdon, Karen McGrath, Jin Kim and Cailin Brown mentor their communications students to write papers that qualify for the prestigious annual conference of the National Communication Association.

Professors in the Saint Rose Department of Communications not only teach public relations, journalism, broadcast news, critical media studies and film/new media, but also pursue their own research. Their work is driven by ever-advancing tools of technology and age-old concerns about the public’s right to know.

Every year, communications faculty and students share their research at one of the field’s most prestigious events – the annual conference of the National Communication Association. Drawing scholars from around the world, the academic event features scores of panels and provides invaluable networking opportunities.

This year’s 105th annual conference, titled “Communication for Survival,” takes place November 14 to 17 in Baltimore, Maryland. Once again, Saint Rose will be well-represented.

The students – who had their work accepted or who co-authored work with their professors – addressed the following topics:

Caroline Aurigemma ’19: press coverage of judicial proceedings

Kevin O’Brien ‘21: film ratings

Jessica Holden ’18: Instagram microcelebrity

Takora McIntyre: Snapchat and long-distance relationships

Paulette Morgan G ’17: From Television President to YouTube President: Analysis of Obama’s Presidential Address Weekly YouTube videos

Here, the professors weigh-in on the conference:

Associate Professor and Department Chair Cailin Brown

At Saint Rose since: 2005

Teaches: news writing, media ethics, sports and health journalism

Research interests: media ethics, open-government issues

Conference involvement: serving on panel: “Communication for Survival: Faculty Strategies: Initiatives for Improving Retention”

On the experience: “The upcoming annual NCA convention offers a platform for our students and faculty to share their research on a national stage and to learn from other scholars. Events like this celebrate the hard work and collaborative efforts of our students and teachers.”

Assistant Professor Mark Congdon 

Teaches: public relations, strategic communication, conflict management

Research interests: how innovative teaching strengthens civic engagement.

Conference involvement: several panels, including “Possibilities of Positive Pedagogy” and “Creative Forms of Assessment in Communication Studies Courses”

On positive pedagogy: “By merging the worlds of communication pedagogy, critical pedagogy, and positive communication, the concept of ‘positive pedagogy’ can be explored. Those on this panel are called to use positive pedagogy strategies as a means of bringing life, agency, and belonging to our students. This panel will provide a collaborative showcase of techniques and activities that can be used and adapted.

Specifically, I explore how to develop community, utilize experiential learning, demonstrate acknowledgment, practice meditation, embrace self-disclosure, explore justice and diversity, and practice a growth mind-set.”

Associate Professor Jin Kim

At Saint Rose since: 2010

Teaches: new media and film

Research interests: critical media studies, communication technologies

Conference involvement: supervised three student papers; co-authored two papers with students

On assigning students to apply to the conference: “Writing a paper for conference submission is a great encouragement and challenge for student development in academic success. Our students compete with professors, graduate students, and undergraduate students not just around the USA but also around the world. We are so proud of COM student success in academic conferences.”

Professor Karen McGrath 

At Saint Rose since: 1997

Teaches: communication and culture, gender and communication, media literacy

Research interest: the effect of gender and age on communication

Conference involvement: organizer and chair of “Communication for Re-education: Black-ish as a Pedagogical Tool for Educating Audiences about Marginalized Identities”; organized/presenting at “Communication for Survival: Faculty Strategies and Initiatives for Improving Retention.”

On interacting with peers from across the country: “The outreach NCA offers enables researchers to go beyond their own professional networks. For example, I met Dr. Tina Harris, recently hired as the nation’s first Endowed Chair of Race, Media & Cultural Literacy at Louisiana State University about 25 years ago at NCA, and we continue to stay in touch. In fact, she is on the black-ish panel I organized for this year’s conference.

Additionally, the scholars on the retention panel formed relationships with those who happen to have similar interests. These connections and opportunities keep me up to date and connected in the field.”

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