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
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
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
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."