Communication professors invited to present at annual CSCA conference

Author: Carroll University

Published Date: 4/13/2018

Categories: Communication Faculty and Staff


Dr. Rebecca Imes, chair of the communication and sociology department, and Dr. Barbara King, associate professor of communication, presented at the 2018 Central States Communication Association (CSCA) Annual Conference which was held in early April in Milwaukee. The CSCA is an academic organization of communication professionals including college and university professors, students, and K-12 educators. The organization has grown to become the largest regional communication group in the United States and is the fourth largest academic communication association in the world. 

Dr. Imes, who also served as the local arrangements committee chair for the conference, presented on data she collected from Carroll physical therapy students. After videotaping over 50 hours of student/patient interactions, Dr. Imes was able to further understand how students communicate with real patients. “The takeaway of the research is that we know it is important for clinicians to develop good relationships with their patients, but we have little specific advice to give them.  Many health professions rely on ‘real life’ to teach skills like communication but the research shows that communication skills exhibited in graduate school are more likely to be solidified rather than evolve after leaving school.” She added, “This research found that students should be aware of having a broad base of conversational topics, how to prepare to talk with people about depression and lack of progress and understanding how they use words like the ubiquitous ‘OK’ may be confusing to a patient.”

Dr. King’s presentation was based on a scholarly article she wrote for the conference that explored the rhetorical appeal of Bronson Koenig’s essay, “What I Found in Standing Rock.” Koenig’s essay reflects on his experience at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, where he traveled to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline. “This conference represents an excellent opportunity to receive peer feedback on my research, especially because I teach a course in Rhetorical Criticism at Carroll.” Dr. King added, “Attending this conference helps me stay current with the scholarly developments in my field, which I then share with students in the classroom.”

Isabella Ruggiero, a communications major, was also busy with the CSCA conference, serving as the Local Arrangements Chair Intern. In her role, Ruggiero was hard at work writing newsletter articles, attending the hotel walkthrough and scheduling the volunteers it takes to staff the conference, including some of our very own Carroll students. Ruggiero also developed a website for conference attendees to learn about where to eat, what to do and how to get there. Overall, Isabella’s work in ensuring the conference ran smoothly gave her the opportunity to apply and showcase the knowledge she learned in the classroom while also gaining valuable real-world experience. Dr. King comments, “Isabella did a tremendous amount of work for this event. We are so proud to count her among our majors.”