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Joseph MacDoniels of Communication
Faculty Honored by National Group

Posted December 22, 1997

          HOLLAND -- Joseph MacDoniels, professor of
  communication at Hope College, has received a citation of
  appreciation from the National Communication Association
  (NCA).
          The "Presidential Citation" was presented by
  Judith Trent, the NCA's 1997 president, on Saturday, Nov.
  22, during the association's annual convention, held in
  Chicago, Ill.  The citation recognized MacDoniels and
  colleague Roger Smitter of North Central College in
  Naperville, Ill., for a faculty development program they
  coordinate at Hope each summer.
          The award represents a second round of recognition
  from the NCA.  Interested in expanding its own role in
  faculty development, the association offered to help sponsor
  the successful, long-running program beginning last summer.
          The one-week "Institute for Faculty Development:
  Communication Theory, Research and Pedagogy Conference"
  annually hosts about 40 faculty from colleges and
  universities across the country.  Its goal is to enhance
  undergraduate communication education by providing
  instructors with new insights into their field.
          "The intention of the program is to provide a
  setting where faculty can explore current research and
  theory and teaching strategies in the core areas of our
  field of study and the emerging areas of our field of
  study," MacDoniels said.
          MacDoniels and Smitter established the program in
  1985, seeking to address issues that would be meaningful to
  all communication faculty who were working with
  undergraduate students, whether at small schools or large.
  That general philosophy remains
  in place, although its execution has changed.
          The program spent its first two years having its
  participants debate and select the core areas of
  communication that ought to be studied by all undergraduate
  communication students, regardless of the size of the size
  of the school involved.  They settled on six:  interpersonal
  communication, public speaking, small group communication,
  mass communication, communication theory and a capstone
  course.
          The exercise included designing a full, 24-course
  communication curriculum for a hypothetical "Blank-Check
  College," a 2,000-student school with four full-time
  communication faculty.  The process was so successful,
  MacDoniels noted, that the resulting plan for the
  hypothetical college has "served as a model for about 30
  programs across the country."
          The program changed its emphasis in 1988, when
  after a one-year hiatus it began bringing in experts at the
  forefront of the core areas, to provide insights into
  cutting-edge research for those attending.  "We wanted to
  provide a way for faculty members to learn what's going on
  in their curricular areas--to understand current theory--so
  that they're not 'textbook teaching,'" said MacDoniels, who
  feels that textbooks should instead complement the
  instructor's expertise.
          Topics can range from general issues like freedom
  of speech, to new theories, to how new developments in
  technology will affect the field.  In August of 1997, the
  sessions included "Leadership and Communication," "Feminist
  Perspectives on Communication," "Qualitative Methods,"
  "Issues in Visual Communication," "Argumentation,"
  "Communication Theory," "Visions for the Basic Course in
  Communication" and "Issues in Diversity."
                                 -30-


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