National Communication Association

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National Communication Association office in Washington, D.C.

The National Communication Association (NCA) is a not-for-profit membership-based scholarly society founded in 1914. NCA’s mission is to advance Communication as the discipline that studies all forms, modes, media, and consequences of communication through humanistic, social scientific, and aesthetic inquiry.


The Association's name has changed over time, from 1914 to today.[1][2]

National Association of Academic Teachers of Public Speaking (1914–1922) The association was founded in 1914, when 17 speech teachers formed the National Association of Academic Teachers of Public Speaking (NAATPS) to focus on public speaking and persuasion. James M. O'Neill (University of Wisconsin) served as the association's first president. The first convention, hosted in Chicago in 1915, attracted 60 members and featured 16 presenters.[citation needed] Annual dues were $2.00; the convention cost just $1.00.[citation needed] NAATPS launched its first journal, The Quarterly Journal of Public Speaking, within a year of its founding.[citation needed] In 1917, the publication's name changed to Quarterly Journal of Speech Education, and "Education" was dropped in 1928.[citation needed]

National Association of Teachers of Speech (1923–1945) With its membership increasing to 910 and its focus broadening to reflect the diversity of its membership, NAATPS changed its name to the National Association of Teachers of Speech (NATS) in 1923.[citation needed] By 1934, NATS membership topped 2,000.[citation needed] That year, the association began publishing Speech Monographs (now titled Communication Monographs).[citation needed]

Speech Association of America (1946–1969) In 1946, the association again changed its name to the Speech Association of America (SAA) and officially incorporated under this name five years later.[citation needed] In January 1952, SAA launched its third quarterly publication, Speech Teacher (now Communication Education), which was geared toward the classroom teacher.[citation needed]

Speech Communication Association (1970–1996) In 1970, the organization became the Speech Communication Association (SCA).[citation needed] The SCA grew rapidly over the next two decades.[citation needed] A key part of this growth was expansion of member services, including the development of new publications to address changes in the field. These included Journal of Applied Communication (now the Journal of Applied Communication Research) (1973),[citation needed] Critical Studies in Mass Communication (now Critical Studies in Media Communication) (1984), and Text and Performance Quarterly (1989).[citation needed] SCA also expanded its conference and awards programs.[citation needed]

National Communication Association (1997–present) In 1997, to address "all forms, modes, media, and consequences of communication", the association changed its name to the National Communication Association (NCA).[citation needed] In 2001, the association launched the Review of Communication[citation needed] and then in 2008, launched the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication[citation needed]. In 2012, NCA's annual Free Speech Yearbook became a journal, First Amendment Studies.[citation needed]


Through Routledge/Taylor & Francis, NCA publishes 11 academic journals:

NCA's quarterly magazine, Spectra, features articles that are relevant to communication scholars, teachers, and practitioners. In addition to guest articles exploring career development, external representation of the discipline, funding, higher education/disciplinary trends, pedagogy, public policy, publishing, and other topics of interest, Spectra also includes announcements from the Association and job advertisements.

Public programs, advocacy, and media dissemination[edit]

NCA organizes and participates in a number of programs that engage public audiences in current communication issues. NCA has partnered with the Newseum Institute, co-sponsoring two public programs—one exploring the 2012 presidential debates, and the second on the anniversary of the March on Washington.[7] Both were held at the Newseum in Washington, DC. NCA also co-sponsors Free Speech Week, and sponsors a booth at the USA Science and Engineering Festival, which is held in Washington, DC.

NCA engages in two types of work related to public policy and advocacy. First, the association advocates for federal funding for social science and humanities research. Second, NCA advocates for issues related to the professional interests of members, such as letters to members of the Senate, encouraging support for the federal research and development budget of the National Science Foundation The association has endorsed several public policy statements on topics relevant to the Communication discipline and higher education more broadly.

NCA regularly disseminates media advisories and press releases[8] that provide access to NCA member experts and highlight new communication research covered in NCA's journals.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cohen, Herman. The History of the Speech Communication Association: The Emergence of a Discipline, 1914-1945. Annandale, VA: Speech Communication Association, 1994.
  2. ^ Work, William W., & Jeffery, Robert C., eds. The Past is Prologue: A 75th Anniversary History of Speech Communication Association. Annandale, VA: Speech Communication Association, 1990.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "First Amendment Studies".
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  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "NCA Newsroom".