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Posted By Tolu Ilupeju, Friday, February 2, 2018


Laura Sawyer, Executive Director

As we all know, reviewing for conference is not an easy task. You sign up when your schedule seems fairly open—it seems like a great idea at the time, doesn’t it—but the actual work inevitably shows up in your inbox at exactly the worst, busiest time. You often feel yourself pulled between needing to get reviews DONE and off your desk, and the responsibility of providing substantive and useful feedback to your colleagues. Perhaps you curse your months-ago self for having agreed to do such a thing.

We recognize this struggle, and understand why so many reviewers (at so many associations, not just ours) often succumb to submitting only numerical ratings and leave off the qualitative commentary, just to cross the task off their lists. That qualitative commentary, though, is crucial to the improvement not only of papers who ultimately are rejected, but also to those who are accepted, so that they may come to conference months later with the best version of their work.

In 2017, in an effort to put an emphasis on qualitative reviewing for our conference in San Diego, ICA instituted a process whereby each division and interest group may nominate one “rock star reviewer.” The Rock Star Reviewer from each division is defined is someone who may have taken on a high number of last-minute reviews when others had failed to fulfil their obligations, or who has provided especially helpful, detailed, or astute commentary to submitters to help them truly improve their work (as opposed to simply numerical ratings or one-word comments). The Rock Star Reviewer is nominated by the planner from each division, and then all “rock stars” are entered into a randomized drawing to receive a complimentary conference registration!

This year’s rock star reviewer WINNER, chosen at random from all nominees to receive the complimentary main conference registration is Alena Vasilyeva (U of Massachusetts Amherst). In her nomination, Language and Social Interaction Planner Jessica Robles writes of Alena, “Not only does she consistently do her reviews early, she also always offers to take more if needed; responds quickly when I need emergency reviewers and takes on the reviews, turning them around swiftly; AND (this is what really sets her apart from other stellar reviewers) she still manages to give useful feedback to the best of her ability in the time frame.” Thank you, Alena! Alena will receive complimentary main conference registration for the 68th Annual ICA Conference in Prague.

Although they don’t all receive free registration, we extend our gratitude to all of the other top reviewers submitted by each division/interest group, as follows (in alpha order by Division/Interest Group name):

Paola Sartoretto (Activism, Communication & Social Justice), Kathleen Beullens (Children, Adolescents & the Media), Caleb Carr (Communication & Technology), John Nerone (Communication History), Eric Robinson (Communication Law & Policy), Chance York (Communication Science & Biology), Mingxiao Sui (Ethnicity & Race in Communication, Joe Wasserman (Game Studies), Melanie LeForestier (nominated by both Global Communication & Social Change and Intercultural Communication), Andy King (Health Communication), Justin R. Keen (Information Systems), Michelle Violanti (Instructional & Developmental Communication), Jingwen Liang (Intergroup Communication), Christian Baden (Journalism Studies), Alena Vasilyeva (Language & Social Interaction), Kathryn Leslie (LGBTQ Studies), Hyun Suk Kim (Mass Communication), Roei Davidson (Media Industry Studies), Kate Lockwood Harris (Organizational Communication), Jack Bratich (Philosophy, Theory & Critique), Claes deVreese (Political Communication), Nicole Strobel (Popular Communication), R.S. Zaharna (Public Diplomacy), Michael Kent and Lisa Tam (Public Relations), and Chuka A. Onwumechili (Sports Communication).

Thank you to ALL of you who review each year for ICA. If you haven’t reviewed before, please consider reviewing next year for the conference in Washington, DC. The success and quality of the ICA conference—and of individual submitters’ work—depends on rigorous review and guidance from colleagues and mentors.

We look forward to seeing you all in Prague!  

Tags:  January-February 2018 

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