Two faculty members of Howard Payne University’s Department of Communication attended the Texas Speech Communication Association’s (TSCA) state convention held recently in Amarillo. The faculty members, Dr. Julie Welker and Richelle Hair, both had an opportunity to be on a discussion panel.

 

Dr. Julie Welker, chair of the Department of Communication and professor of communication, served on a panel titled “Online Communication Classes as Echo Chambers: Are We Killing the Face-to-Face Experience?” which addressed the current enrollment trends of online communication courses. Dr. Welker’s presentation focused on ways to increase student success in online classes, including student training for taking online classes, better pedagogical practices in online education and improving interpersonal communication online.

 

“Technological increases don’t automatically transfer over to better online communication, despite the perception that it might,” she said. “As student demand for online courses increases, our online classrooms must be a place where good, insightful communication and learning occurs.”

 

Dr. Welker has been attending the convention for several years and believes the conference is important for communication educators. She also serves on the Bylaws Committee for the TSCA.

 

“Both secondary teachers and professors at higher education institutions benefit from the rich programs and training opportunities the conference provides,” she said.

 

Richelle Hair, instructor of communication, served as the chair of the panel titled “Squashing Echoes – Title IX in Higher Education and Sexual Harassment in Secondary Education.” Hair served as the facilitator for this discussion, focusing on how Title IX plays a role in minimizing sexual assault and harassment in both secondary and higher education.

 

“Faculty must understand the importance and implications of Title IX,” she said. “This is a significant issue that has implications for our students and faculty alike. Students, faculty and staff need to understand their role in reporting.”

 

Hair added that she was thankful for the opportunity to attend the TSCA conference this year.

 

“The programs were insightful and I enjoyed collaborating with faculty from other universities,” she said. “TSCA has a warm and inviting environment and I felt I had an open seat at the table to share and learn with my colleagues.”

 

TSCA is the largest state professional communication association in the nation. Membership in TSCA is open to any communication educator, communication student, communication consultant or individual interested in learning about the field of speech communication. All levels of instruction and areas of interests are represented in the association.

 

The benefits of membership in TSCA include updated professional awareness, networking with other professionals, and exposure to innovation, teaching methodologies and scholarly works relevant to the discipline of speech communication.