The NCA Caucus on LGBTQ Concerns and the GLBTQ Communication Studies Division

Candidate Statements

In anticipation of the upcoming vote for Second Vice President of NCA, caucus leadership provided each candidate with a list of questions to answer. See below for the candidates’ responses.

Ron Jackson

1. What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing our association with respect to issues of diversity and inclusion?
2. If elected, what initiatives will you foster to address these specific diversity and inclusion issues?
3. Do you have any specific programs in mind that would help increase LGBTQ diversity and inclusiveness in the association?
4. Are there any specific initiatives that you are considering, which are targeted to diversity and inclusion with respect to academic hiring?
5. What have you done in the past to demonstrate your commitment to the mission of the Caucus for GLBTQ concerns?

Here are my responses (in corresponding order):

1.  The biggest challenges to diversity and inclusion are related to flickers of benign neglect. We need to define what diversity and inclusion excellence looks like as an association, then we need to achieve it. Clearly we absolutely need diversity with leadership and governance.  We need it was well in our pedagogy and journals.  We need it in our classrooms and NCA resources.  We even need it in our public advocacy. Fortunately Brenda J. Allen has been appointed as chair of the NCA diversity task force. Also, if I may be very frank here, I suspect real progress will emerge if someone who is invested in diversity is elected to leadership each year for the next few years.  I believe our current NCA leadership values diversity and inclusion, which is why we have such a task force chair having been just appointed.

2.  If elected I will work to expand the involvement of marginalized group members in NCA leadership and governance.  I will work to engage our diverse members including marginalized group students in the conference planning process so we have fresh new ideas that will enhance the convention experience.

3.  I think the suggested National Center for Communication Excellence and the biennial Think Tank or two programs or initiatives where JGBTQ members can be very much involved.

4.  The NCA career center and job fair may need a refresh.  I’d like us to consider that.  I also think that academic hiring, although the province of each university, is something that we might be more explicit about as we invite employers to the job fair and the career center.  We might even include a blog on the NCA website that takes into consideration resources and tips and provides sound advice about “minority” hiring from both the employer’s and prospect’s standpoints.

5. I can answer that question broadly.  My entire career has been about social justice advocacy including social justice advocacy specifically related to the LGBTQ community. My advocacy for equity and social justice broadly speaking has been actuated in my research, classroom pedagogy, journals (I edited CSMC for three years with Kent Ono), conventions (mainly ECA and NCA), and in what we call “the public” (I.e. Local communities).

My commitment to addressing LGBTQ concerns is unwavering. I fundamentally believe LGBTQ members need to be at the helm of our association participating in decision-making processes. When NCA lobbied against hotels that were against gay marriage I was one among many that advocated on behalf of the LGBTQ community working to help the leadership understand the significance of taking a stand.  Although I do gender research concerning masculinity I do not do LGBTQ research, so I cannot reasonably say my scholarship has been specifically about LGBTQ concerns except in defining and discussing masculinity and femininity as fluid gender constructs.

I hope I answered your question as fully as you anticipated. As Martin Luther King Jr. stated years ago, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!” I hope we are able to work together to make our association stronger and increasingly more accountable for addressing lapses in social justice across the U.S. and beyond. We must start with the local and move outward.  I look forward to hearing more from LGBTQ members of NCA. There is work to be done, and we all have a part in this much needed transformation.

I invite you and your members to share your own ideas.  I will remain open to hearing suggestions for ways we might improve NCA to be more welcoming and conducive to the needs of LGBTQ members.

Please remind LGBTQ members that if they would like more information about my candidacy they can visit They can also find me on Facebook ( and twitter (  I hope they will go to the online polls in large numbers on January 13 when NCA announces the link for voting.

Michael Kramer

I appreciate that you have contacted me to provide me an opportunity to answer your questions. I hope you don’t mind if I provide some context before I answer the specific questions.

I have had experience with diversity throughout my career. My second teaching experience was at a high school in south Chicago in which about 60% of the students were African-American. I enjoyed teaching there but also found that I regularly had to defend myself for teaching at “that school.” While living in Chicago, I worked on my MA at Northeastern Illinois University where Randy Majors was one of my professors. Your caucus now gives out an award in his honor. Another of my professors, Dr. Bernard Brommel emphasized the importance of inclusionary language in textbooks. As a result of those experiences, you will notice that all of the case studies in my book Socialization: Joining and Leaving Organizations use androgynous names so that they do not impose gendered stereotypes on the readers. I helped nominate Jenny Dixon for the dissertation of the year award in the LGBTQ division a couple years ago. I was on her dissertation committee and thought her study of how different sexual identities influence the socialization process of newcomers made an important contribution to the understanding of some of the concrete ways that LGBTQ issues impact the workplace. I fully support equal benefits in the workplace for couples regardless of their sexual orientation in keeping with the policies and laws as they are developing through our legal system across the country.

With that background, I will address your particular questions.

What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing our association with respect to issues of diversity and inclusion?

I think that there are probably two main challenges. One challenge would be complacency. It would be easy to take a position that since we have the various caucuses and divisions representing various underrepresented groups, we have done enough. In the same way that passing the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s is not enough to address racial inequality, NCA can do more to increase inclusion and diversity.

A second challenge is to recognize that diversity and inclusion can be looked at through various perspectives. For example, when my current department conducted its self-study two years ago, we evaluated diversity in a number of ways. Of the sixteen faculty members, half were women and half men, not particularly unusual for our field. What was unusual was that half of the full professors were women, half of the associate professors were women, and half of the assistant professors were women. In addition, we had faculty members born in five of the six inhabitable continents (no one from Australia) with international faculty representing 39% of group. We also had 28% nonwhite faculty members representing Asian, Black, and Hispanic ancestry. I have been involved in hiring a number of those faculty members. We also have five different content areas of research each represented roughly equally and a mixture of quantitative, qualitative, critical, and mixed method researchers. I have tried to create a climate where people do not feel marginalized for any of these differences. NCA faces a similar challenge of creating a climate of inclusion that broadly looks at inclusion and diversity.

If elected, what initiatives will you foster to address these specific diversity and inclusion issues?

An important way to support diversity and inclusion is to begin by providing space in NCA for inclusion of more diversity. The recent addition of four new divisions has some members concerned about whether this will result in a reduction of space for existing caucuses and divisions. In my statement posted as part of the election process, I mention that I would like to see NCA develop ways to use technology to eliminate space restrictions. By creating online (virtual) convention interactions, it will be possible to increase the space available for very small groups with similar interests or concerns. So for example, by living in Oklahoma, I am more aware of Native American issues than I previously was. It is unlikely that at any time in the near future that there will be enough NCA members interested in Native American issues to meet the current minimum requirements for a caucus or division and there will not be room at the convention for them to meet. By creating online convention space at almost no cost, it will be possible to provide room in NCA to include very small groups of people representing diverse interests and concerns. It will also provide existing groups, like the LGBTQ Caucus, addition space for research and advocacy interactions.

Do you have any specific programs in mind that would help increase LGBTQ diversity and inclusiveness in the association?

My goal if elected would be to listen to the concerns of the NCA membership during my years as 2nd VP elect and then as 2nd VP by attending regional conferences and business meetings of divisions to learn ways to improve NCA to better serve its membership. This would include listening to the LGBTQ Caucus and other groups with concerns. Then during my year as 1st VP planning the conference I would hope to implement some of those changes or push for them as President. I believe it will be more effective for me to develop specific programs after listening to the membership rather than for me to try to impose programs that I think might work before listening.

Are there any specific initiatives that you are considering, which are targeted to diversity and inclusion with respect to academic hiring?

Because academic hiring is done at the local university or college, and not by NCA, it is difficult for me to see ways that NCA can develop initiatives that will actually improve hiring processes at the local level. NCA can continue to make strides for inclusion in position advertising like it has recently done and by emphasizing that it opposes discrimination of any type. I am open to listening to other ways to accomplish this.

What have you done in the past to demonstrate your commitment to the mission of the Caucus for GLBTQ concerns?

My personal style is to work behind the scenes to promote change more so than to do things with a lot of public fanfare. So for example, when I was teaching public speaking in Texas in the 1980’s, textbooks warned against inappropriate humor based on racial stereotypes; I also urged my students to avoid humor based on homosexual stereotypes. I see that your caucus is opposed to the proposed bylaws in part because the way it limits diversity and inclusion. I imagine that you also opposed the bylaw changes voted down in 2014. I shared your same concern with the previous bylaw proposal and was pleased when they failed. I am in the process of determining whether the new proposal is any better. Like these examples, most of my efforts at supporting inclusion and diversity have been a routine part of my career, such as appointing the first female Director of Graduate Studies at Missouri in decades. I mentioned a few others in my opening statement. I will continue to work where I can to create a climate of inclusion of diversity. I know that Kathleen Turner has appointed a task force to address issues of inclusion and diversity and that the staff in the national office are involved in similar efforts. If I am elected, I will support continuation of those efforts and work to create a supportive climate for diversity in NCA.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to address your questions. Feel free to contact me if you have addition concerns. You can find out more about my candidacy and my career at

Look for us at NCA!

Please join the division and caucus for panels and business meetings at the NCA convention in Chicago! 2013 business meeting minutes are attached below:

Caucus Minutes 2013

Division Minutes 2013

NCA Calls

The NCA submission deadline is March 26. See the calls for the division and caucus below:

General Call for GLBTQ Communication Studies Division

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Communication Studies Division invites submissions for NCA’s 100th Annual Convention. The theme for the convention is “the Presence of our Past(s)” which we can be read as a call to be reflexive about the past, present, and future of the GLBTQ Studies Division and its role within the National Communication Association. Although many of our submissions are centered in the communicative practices and/or representations of sexual and gender minorities, we are particularly interested in papers, performances, sessions, and panels that take an intersectional approach to GLBTQ studies, including those addressing the experiences of queer people of color, queerness and disability studies, and transgender identities.

As part of the 100th anniversary we are also interested in panels that take stock of our history and scholarship that has advanced the discipline. Some question or themes these panels might explore are: What role have people of color and qpoc scholarship played in the GLBTQ Communication Studies Division? What scholarship produced by members of our Division greatly advanced academic research and conversations? How has scholarship produced by and about queer, bisexual, transgender, and lesbian women helped to transform the face of the GLBTQ Communication Studies Division? Submissions that take stock of our history or scholarship may take the form of panels dedicated to specific research articles or issues. Additionally, the division welcomes all methodological and theoretical perspectives as well as papers, performances, and panels conversant across the other units of our organization. Please note: Applicants can submit one and only one paper or performance in which they are the primary author of the work.

The deadline for submissions is March 26th 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time at the NCA Submission Central Website.

Competitive Submissions Guidelines

Individual paper submissions should:

include a title and a description of no more than 300 words;
identify all authors(s);
list three keywords;
upload a copy of the paper, not to exceed 30 pages (12 point font), including notes, references, figures, and/or tables;
not identify the author(s) anywhere in the description or the uploaded essay (student papers should be designated as “student authored” in the electronic submission process); and,
indicate whether or not the author(s) would be willing to present in the Scholar to Scholar (S2S) sessions by checking the appropriate agreement box.

Paper session proposals should:

provide a title for the session;
craft a session description for the convention program (less than 75 words);
enter a session chair (required) and respondent (optional);
include the title, description (less than 500 words), and author(s) for each paper presentation;
list three keywords; and,
provide a rationale for the session (less than 1000 words).

Panel discussion proposals or performance centered panels should:

provide a title for the panel discussion;
craft a session description for the convention program (less than 75 words);
enter a list of discussants and a session chair (required); and,
provide a rationale for the panel or performance, including each discussant’s qualifications to address the proposed topics (less than 1000 words).

Performance session proposals should:

provide a title for the session;
craft a session description for the convention program (less than 75 words);
enter a session chair (required) and respondent (optional);
include the title, description (less than 500 words), and performer(s) for each performance; and,
provide a rationale for the session (less than 1000 words).

ALL AV (audio/visual) requests must be made at the time of submission.

All submitters are encouraged to review the Professional Standards for Convention Participants prior to submission. Helpful resources, including live and recorded step-by-step instructions on how to submit, are available in the Convention Library

Each submission should be made to one unit only.

If you have any questions about the submission process, please contact the unit planner, Bernadette Marie Calafell at

General Call for the Caucus on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns
Submissions Open: Mon, 1/13 2014 12:00 AM EDT
Submissions Close: Thu, 3/27 2014 3:00 AM EDT
NCA 2014 Call for Submissions
Caucus on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Concerns
November 20-23, 2014 Chicago, IL
Michael A. Tew (Eastern Michigan University)
Vice Chair, Caucus on GLBTQ Concerns
The Caucus on GLBTQ Concerns welcomes submissions of individual papers, paper sessions, and panel discussions that foster political awareness and public advocacy on issues relevant to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities. Voices from these communities and their allies are particularly valued.
The 2014 convention theme is “The Presence of our Past(s): NCA at 100.” With this theme in mind, submitters are encouraged to explore the extent to which our past (or varying accounts of our pasts) has contributed to our present and possible future(s). Submitters are encouraged to consider how our intellectual traditions and practices have served (or not served) caucus, disciplinary, and community interests; how social, political, economic, and intellectual conditions have affected GLBTQ scholarship, theorizing, and advocacy; how organizational, institutional, and cultural forces have laid foundations for, faclitated, and/or prevented the inclusion of GLBTQ voices in academic contexts as well as contexts outside the academy; how obstacles faced by historically underrepresented groups in the field have/have not been identified and/or negotiated.
In addition to the general call, the Caucus also encourages panel discussion submissions relating to: GLBTQ advocacy; relationships between advocates, activists and academics; examination of persistent heteronormativity in the discipline and NCA; critical consideration of diversity and intersectionality in the caucus, discipline, and public advocacy; and interrogation of the theory/advocacy binary. If you have a panel idea but are not sure about finding other participants, feel free to contact the program planner for assistance.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Wednesday, March 26, 2014  11:59 PST

All papers, paper sessions, and panel discussions must be submitted electronically to NCA Submission Central. Formats for uploaded files include Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, PowerPoint, Excel, PDF, RTF, and JPG. More information is available on the NCA Convention Website at
For Individual Papers, NCA Submission Central will ask you to indicate if your submission is a student paper.
For Individual Papers, NCA Submission Central will also ask you to indicate whether or not you would like you paper to be considered for Scholar-to-Scholar (S2S). If you check this box during submission, the unit planner may forward your paper to the S2S unit if it includes visual images that may be more appropriate for table display and interactive discussion with “wandering scholars.” Note that NCA will not provide audio-visual equipment for S2S displays. Submitted Panel Discussions and Paper Sessions will not be sent for consideration for S2S.
Each submission should be made to only one unit (i.e., division, caucus, affiliate).

Submitted papers must include:

A title
A 250-500 word description
An uploaded copy of the paper with no more than 25 double-spaced pages of text, not including references
No information identifying the author within the uploaded abstract or text.

Submitted paper sessions must include:

A title for the session
A very basic session description (75 words max.)
A list of chair(s) and respondent(s)
Titles and descriptions (150 words max.) along with author(s) for each paper
A session rationale (500 words max) including the session’s relevance to the Caucus

Submitted panel discussions must include:

A title for the panel
A very basic panel description (75 words max.)
A list of presenters
A panel rationale (500 words max.) including the panel’s relevance to the Caucus

If you are considering a request for AV equipment, please read NCA’s Audio-Visual Equipment Policy, available in the Convention Resource Library on the NCA Website. NCA normally approves requests for internet, laptop audio, and LCD projectors, and this request must be made at the time of submission.
All submitters are encouraged to review the Professional Standards for Convention Participation prior to submission. Helpful resources (including the Professional Standards for Convention Participants), such as live and recorded step-by-step instructions on how to submit, are available in the NCA Convention Library (

Michael A. Tew
Communication, Media, and Theatre Arts
Eastern Michigan University
124 Quirk Building
Ypsilanti, MI  48197

The Caucus on LGBTQ Concerns of the National Communication Association, which is the association’s advocacy arm with respect to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues and represents over 1000 members of the association recommends that NCA members reject the proposed major change to the association and vote NO on the bylaw resolution during NCA’s annual election.

We believe that there are three primary issues with this wholesale change to the association governance. These three key issues should prevent NCA members from supporting the ballot measure. While the Caucus does believe that incremental changes are necessary to keep the association functioning smoothly, we also fervently believe that the proposed changes are not what our association needs right now.

1. NCA members have no provision to vote on final changes to the bylaws

We believe that the membership of the association should be given the right to review and approve final changes to the structure and function of NCA. According to the provisions of this bylaw change, the legislative assembly has the ability to change any provision during the 2014 meeting [1]; therefore, the document that the membership is voting on may not (and likely will not) be the finalized governance document of the association. Given the importance of this change, we firmly believe that NCA members should be given the ability to accept or reject the final governance document. Granting the 2014 Legislative Assembly discretion to make changes to the association’s legal, fiduciary, and policy-making abilities without approval of the membership violates the letter and spirit of NCA’s current constitution, which states; “after no less than 30 days following the distribution of a proposed amendment, a full membership ballot shall be distributed. A two-thirds majority of those voting shall be required for adoption of an amendment” [2]. There is no provision for NCA members to review and approve any changes that the 2014 Legislative Assembly make to the proposed bylaws. NCA members are being asked to vote on a draft of the association’s most important governance document. We find this unacceptable.

Therefore, we ask that NCA members reject this bylaw change and grant the 2014 legislative assembly the ability to present a finalized set of documents to the membership for ratification in 2015.

2. The proposed change removes the legislative powers of the Legislative Assembly.

While we understand that the association may need to consider changes to fiduciary policy, we believe that this proposed change in the structure of the association goes too far. Currently, the Legislative Assembly is the body charged with the duty to adopt and enforce the governance and public policies of NCA. In fact, our association’s current constitution clearly outlines this: “The legislative assembly shall be the principal policy making body of the association and shall be responsible for managing its resources and affairs” [3]. The proposed revision to the bylaws explicitly grants this provision to the Board of Governors as one of the outlined duties: “Adopt and enforce the policies of NCA.” [4]

The proposed revision of the bylaws relegates the legislative assembly to non-legislative tasks including recommending and providing feedback to the Board of Governors. However, the Board of Governors is under no obligation to follow the direction of the Legislative Assembly. The current structure of the association clearly provides the legislative assembly with policy-making abilities and the executive committee with policy-enforcing ability. We feel that this distinction has served our association well and provided a necessary check-and-balance on the governance of the association. While we appreciate the fact that legislative assembly will still be charged with the explicit duty to adopt “public policies”, the proposed bylaw change removes the association-level legislative duties from the Legislative Assembly [5]. We feel that this proposed change diminishes the ability for NCA members to have a voice in the regular functioning of the association. The Legislative Assembly is the direct voice of the membership. Without association-level policy-making powers, the Legislative Assembly serves nothing more than ceremonial functions.

We recommend that NCA members reject these proposed bylaws and grant the 2014 Legislative Assembly the ability to draft a modified structure that retains the association-level policy-making power of the Legislative Assembly.

3. The proposed policy-making “Board of Governors” would not be as diverse as the association at-large.

The authors of this proposed resolution were ostensibly concerned with diversity when they purposefully indicated that one person ought to explicitly represent diversity issues on the Board of Governors. That person would be given the title “Diversity Representative,” and would chair the association’s “diversity committee.” However, there was no consultation from the executive committee or any of the authors of this proposal with the association’s current Affirmative Action and Inter-caucus Committee (AAIC) in drafting this proposal. We assume that the AAIC would be renamed to the “diversity committee,” a name that is fraught with problems (again, that name was selected without consultation of the representative bodies). Importantly, since the “diversity chair” serves on the Board of Governors for a 3-year term, if that position were to rotate among the 6 caucuses equally, this means that each caucus would only have direct representation on the Board of Governors once every 18 years. Furthermore, under the proposal, members of the “diversity committee” do not pick their chairperson (the proposal indicates that the Committee on Committees would select the chair). Therefore, the “diversity representative” on the Board of Governors is not required to come from the membership of the caucuses. Additionally, caucuses are only able to appoint a member to the Diversity Committee for a one-year term, which directly violates many caucuses’ standing rules (for instance, the term for the Caucus on LGBTQ concerns is three years). These issues are of major concern to our caucus, as they represent a clear departure from the standard and very clearly-defined mechanisms for diversity enshrined in the current governance documents and policies of the association [6].

One of the valuable features of our current governance structure and function of the association is that each division, caucus, regional association, and group has explicit representation in the policy-making body of the association. Under the proposed structure, there would only be three at-large members appointed to the Board of Governors [7], thereby reducing the diversity of the policy-making board of the association.

We strongly encourage NCA members to reject this proposal and grant the AAIC the ability to provide specific policy recommendations about these changes to the 2014 Legislative Assembly for consideration.

We do believe that incremental change to the association’s governing documents and structure may be necessary to meet the needs of the association over the next 100 years. However, given these major objections, we encourage the association’s membership to reject this draft of the bylaws. If nothing more, the fact that NCA members are being asked to vote on an incomplete document should nullify any benefits suggested by members of the executive committee for such a wholesale change to our association’s governance.

[1] Page 148, 2013 Legislative Assembly Manual states “This means that the 2014 Legislative Assembly will retain the authority to make changes to the revision before it goes into effect.”

[2] NCA Constitution, Article X, Section 5.

[3] NCA Constitution, Article VI, Section 1

[4] Proposed Bylaws, Article III, Section 3 “Duties”

[5] see Proposed Bylaws, Article V, Section 3

[6] See NCA’s “Statement on Diversity” adopted 1995, reaffirmed 201.

[7] see Proposed Bylaws, Article III, Section 2

Congratulations to award winners Jamie Landau and Michaela Meyer! Image


For more about the business meeting, see the meeting minutes from 2013 and 2012 here:

Caucus Minutes 2013

Caucus minutes 2012



LGBTQ Caucus Awards

The Caucus on LGBTQ Concerns is happy to announce the winners of our annual awards. Michaela Meyer was selected to receive the Randy Majors Award for outstanding contribution to scholarship on LGBTQ issues. Jamie Landau will receive the Lambda Award for her advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community and in particular her leadership in fostering an LGBTQ-supportive environment at Keene State College.

Please join us in congratulating the winners and consider joining us for the LGBTQ Social Hour at NCA on Thursday, November 22 at 3:30 in the Marriott Wardman Park, Thurgood Marshall Ballroom South – Mezzanine Level. Free food will be provided and there will be a cash bar.

The GLBTQ Division and the Caucus on LGBTQ Concerns are pleased to announce the recipients of our first annual book, dissertation and monograph of the year awards. Please join us in congratulating these individuals on their exceptional scholarship.

Book of the Year Award – to Tony Adams (Northeastern Illinois University) for “Narrating the Closet: An Autoethnography of Same-Sex Attraction.”

Dissertation of the Year Award – to Alyssa Samek (University of Maryland) for “Crafting Queer Identity, Building Coalitions, and Envisioning Liberation at the Intersections: A Rhetorical Analysis of 1970s Lesbian-Feminist Discourse.”

Monograph of the Year Award – to Joan Faber McAlister (Drake University) for “Figural Materialism: Renovating Marriage through the American Family Home” and to Jody Koenig Kellas (Univeristy of Nebraska) and Elizabeth “Beth” Suter (University of Denver) for “Accounting for Lesbian-Headed Families: Lesbian Mothers’ Responses to Discursive Challenges”