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Treasurer Report

Posted By Peter Monge (U of Southern California) , Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Proposed Budget, FY21 (October 1, 2020 – September 31, 2021)

The proposed budget is included with the other financial material that has been provided to you. Once it is approved, it will be posted on the ICA website (behind our firewall) so that all ICA members have access to it.

The budget has four financial columns with titles at the top:

Approved Budget for FY2019

Audited Actual Expenses for FY 2019 Approved Budget for FY 2020 (this year) Proposed budget for FY 2021 (2020 - 2021)


This enables you to compare the last two years’ budgets with the proposed budget for next fiscal year. Our budget is audited every year, which means that an outside licensed auditing firm has examined our books and fiscal resources and certified that we have handled our money in ways that meet professional accounting standards. By comparing the 2019 approved and actual columns, you can see how closely we adhered to budgeted amounts.

Notice that the Totals and Subtotals are at the top of the columns and the separate subsections within the columns. This may be different than what you are accustomed to seeing in a budget, but it makes it easier to see what the subsections are as well as the totals and subtotals. In the final column Laura and I have highlighted in green any proposed FY21 number that is either smaller or larger than that same line item in the FY20 budget (this year’s budget). So, in column 4, the proposed budget, remember that a green number is different from last year’s amount and a black number is the same as last year. We have also added in the final column of the budget some notes and/or comments on why the number has changed to help you understand our reasoning behind the change.

The “Section” totals are in Bold for budgeted income, expense, and Net Income.

The proposed Total Income for next year is $2,915,381 compared to $2,662,181 for this year.

The proposed Total Expenses for next year are $2,334,750 compared to $2,409,947 for this year.

The proposed Net Income (Total income minus total expenses) for FY21 is $474,176 compared to $208,234 for FY20 (this year).

This proposed budget comes to you as a motion requesting that you approve it as our operating budget for FY21.

Finances in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Planning the annual ICA conference involves a huge amount of work on the part of many people, as all of you who are a part of it know so well. It also involves the investment of a considerable amount of money, specifically for things like renting conference centers, paying for the opening and closing ceremonies, and renting audio-visual equipment and staff. For the Gold Coast conference we had nearly half a million dollars in contracted services. When we made the decision to substitute the virtual conference for the physical one, the people to whom we owed those funds demanded that we pay them the money despite the fact that we would not be receiving any of the services. Laura declined to pay, proposing instead that we postpone the conference until 2024 our next uncommitted year for a conference. After considerable negotiations, Laura was able to get all of the entities in Gold Coast to agree to this arrangement, to keep the deposits we had made for the 2020 conference and to wait for the major remaining payments until 2024. This is a huge financial achievement for us and is one of the reasons why our finances are not as desperate as they would otherwise be.

As you well know, the Executive Committee approved a 25% conference registration fee refund for those who were attending the virtual conference. That was a loss of approximately $175,000 of our budgeted conference registration amount of $700,000, a sizable loss of income. It is worth noting, as well, that the income for the 2020 conference was already going to be lower than it would be for a European or North American location, and we had budgeted for that, but while all is not yet said and done, it is likely that the attendance numbers will be further depressed by the conversion to virtual. When we made the decision to go virtual for the safety and health of our attendees, staff, and leadership, many members had not yet registered. Whereas our attendance in Prague and Washington, DC was above the 3,500 mark, we had anticipated a net of 2,700 or so attendees for Australia which will now likely end up around 2,100 total attendees virtually.

Laura and the EC recognized that converting the 2020 conference to virtual-only, while necessary, was likely to provide a financial hardship to many of our members, especially students, tier 2 and 3 members, and clinical and part time faculty who might not be able to receive reimbursement from their universities for unused but unrefundable airfare and visa expenses. So, we started the ICA Hardship Fund and invited members and universities to donate. The response was overwhelming. To date we have raised approximately $70,000. In early May our staff will be soliciting requests from members for this financial assistance via an online application form, and we will be distributing the funds after the close of the 2020 virtual conference (as with the physical conference, we do ensure that you attend the event prior to issuing reimbursement). This money is not included in the FY21 proposed budget because it was raised in FY20 and will be distributed within the FY20 budget year.

Review of Long Term Investment Accounts

It will come as no surprise to anyone that the world financial markets have been in deep trouble over the past four months. Many stock markets around the globe have lost considerable value since the beginning of the year. For example, roughly a month ago the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index had lost 33.8% of its value and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had lost 36%.

The primary function of the long term account is as a safety net, specifically, one year of funds to cover operating expenses in an emergency. If a year ever qualified as potentially needing emergency funds, this is it. As you can see from the total expense number listed for FY20 (Line 188), our operating expense for this year was $2,407,947. So, we do not have a year’s operating funds but we do have about 2/3 of that amount. Had Laura not been so successful in negotiating carrying over our obligations in Gold Coast to 2024, we might well have had to use a half million dollars to cover those costs.

Our long term investment account balance is $1,633,413 as of March 31. For the first quarter of 2020 (our second fiscal year quarter) our funds posted “a -.13.89 return” (that is, a loss), which compared to the S&P and The Dow Jones indexes is quite good. More important, however, is that we have not touched these funds so we have not realized any financial loss to date in this account. And, on a positive note, over the last month our long term fund had gained back about another 5% which means we now have paper losses in this fund of under 10%. Of course, there is a lot of volatility ahead and we do not know what the markets will do, but that is where we are as of April 30.

Review of Short Term Investment Accounts

The short term account contains operating funds and investment funds. Since our bank account makes almost no money at all, we use this account to generate income on whatever cash we have at hand and don’t need immediately. Early last year on the basis of a recommendation from ICA’s financial advisor, we rebalanced this portfolio into a conservative mix of funds highly likely to provide a reasonable interest return. This strategy paid off. On January 1, 2020 we had

$1,097,450 in this account. The balance on March 31 was $1,096,974, a loss of “-0.25 return” for the first quarter. And, again, in the good news department, our advisor has indicated that this number is no longer negative and has returned to the positive side so we are again making money on this account.

Investment Policies

ICA has a policy of investing in Socially Responsible Funds. This means that companies that engage in products or processes that are considered financially or socially irresponsible, like firearms, tobacco, fossil fuels, etc., are excluded. Last year our investment advisor discovered a new Vanguard Socially Responsible Fund, and we have been steadily transferring funds into this account. We now have more than 2/3 of our investments in these funds. Ironically, most socially responsible funds charge a large premium for their product, which makes it difficult to make money on the funds, which is what investing is all about. Interestingly, this fund charges .15 basis points per share, which provides us the kinds of funds we want to invest in and make money!

ICA has an overall investment policy which stipulates investment goals and strategies. Largely, this is focused on conservative investment principles and tries to minimize our losses while providing investment income. Our current policy was written many years ago and is rather out of date with how markets work in the digital age. Laura, our investment advisor Matthew Lanham (Royal Bank of Canada), and I have met several times to discuss, revise and update the policy. We are close to a finished draft, but when the pandemic hit, the final revision got put on the back burner. We will return to it this summer and will get it out to the board for review and approval.

Other Financial Matters

Several years ago the Board voted to establish a goal of converting all of our publications to Open Access status. At its mid-year meeting the Executive Committee voted to commit $20,000 to convert JCMC to Open Access, pending approval of the Board.

As many of you know, our long-time tenant Starbucks broke its lease with us (and paid a cancellation fee). Laura found a replacement tenant in terms of an upscale tea shop. Shortly after the tenant moved in, the Mayor of Washington, DC closed all the restaurants in response to the global pandemic. The new tenant had no customers or way to generate funds. Laura worked out an arrangement whereby the tenant would pay half the rent and could use the money in escrow from the security deposit they provided until the government lifted the lock down. Then, they will repay the borrowed money from the security deposit over time. So, what looked like a potentially major financial loss by losing the tenant (in excess of $100,000) has been averted at least for now. And, it was the right thing to do for the new tenant who had no control over these events.

Our regional conferences have been very successful. We have one planned this year for South Africa, which we hope we will be able to hold. With the global pandemic, no one knows at this point. We have budgeted $15,000 for that event.

Those of you who attended 2018 ICA Conference in Prague will remember that we all paid a Value Add Tax, some to all of which we could recover after we left the country. ICA paid VAT as well, in fact, in excess of $100,000. Despite our best effort to get the entirety of our refund, including hiring a firm to intercede on our behalf, we have been unsuccessful in recovering the last US $57,000 or so. We are told that the government works slowly and mysteriously in the Czech Republic, and that enough time has not passed to consider this a final result, but we are not optimistic. Our auditors are recommending that if we do not get these funds soon we charge them off to bad debt. We are hoping not to have to do that.

It might come as a surprise that we have had a fairly large increase in Lifetime Memberships. Last year we received $58,000 in new Life Membership funds. Our auditors are recommending that we transfer this money to Designated Funds to sequester them for a fixed number of years and apportion the funds to our income stream on a yearly basis. That is good fiscal practice and we are beginning that process with our accountants.

Good News on Funding

As ICA is headquartered in the United States, it is eligible for certain benefits under recent legislation passed by the US Congress as a response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Immediately upon the application portals opening, Laura completed the onerous paperwork to apply for both an Economic Injury Grant of up to US $10,000, as well as for the Paycheck Protection Program. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), established by the CARES Act, is implemented by the Small Business Administration with support from the Department of the Treasury. This program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs including benefits (funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities). The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. As of the first week of May 2020, we have had no answer about the $10,000 Economic Injury Grant, but I am delighted to report that Laura's application for the PPP was approved, and ICA has already received a deposit of US $140,000. This "loan" will be forgiven if ICA passes certain tests in the next 6 months, including not having laid off any staff. This does not negate the impact of decreased revenue from the conference, but it certainly helps our bottom line and will allow us to move forward into FY21 with less damage than we would otherwise. This money plus the mitigation of penalties from Laura's negotiations to move the Gold Coast meeting forward to 2024 will help ICA emerge from this global pandemic and financial crisis largely unscathed.

The Bottom Line


Overall, given the pandemic that has swept the globe over the past six months, the economic chaos that has hit many associations and businesses in most countries around the world, and especially our decision to substitute our virtual conference for our physical conference in Australia, our finances are remarkably healthy. We could have been in far worse shape. But our reserve accounts have held up well during the declines in the markets. We have largely avoided the loss of a half million dollars in contracts to venders in Gold Coast by transferring them to 2024. And, we are predicting a profitable conference in Denver next year and a stable budget. Although things could change in the coming months, at least as of 1 May, ICA is a financially strong organization and well able to continue to do all the things that we do as scholars and teachers and as the premier communication association in the world.

Tags:  September 2020 

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ICA Online Elections Began 1 September

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 8, 2020

On 1 September, International Communication Association members began voting for association-wide and division/interest group officers. Like previous years, the vote takes place using an online-only ballot. Polls will remain open until 12:00 Noon ICA Office Time (EDT) on 15 October. 

Candidate statements for the ICA Presidential position are included in this newsletter; all other (association wide and division/interest group) candidate statements are included within the online ballots in the ICA election system. 

To access the ballot from the ICA website, members will need their ICA username and password. Members, please make sure that ICA has your correct email address so that the association can send you an announcement of the election and a link to the ballots. The ICA website allows you to personally verify, correct, and/or update the information.

To vote in the election, click here. If you have any questions about the elections, please contact Julie Arnold, Senior Manager of Governance.

ICA wide positions are Board level roles, representing the top level of our leadership. ICA wishes to thank the Nominating Committee for their diligent efforts to put forth a fantastic, experienced, and qualified slate.  

Congratulations and best of luck to each of the 2020 ICA-wide candidates:


The member selected as president makes a 5 1/2-year commitment to the Executive Committee (six months as president elect select; one year as President-Elect/Conference Program Chair; one year as ICA President; three years as Past President). The final year on the Executive Committee, the Past President serves as General Secretary and chair of the Regional Conferences Committee. The President-Elect-Select selected in the 2020 election will begin service on the Executive Committee immediately upon announcement of the results.

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Noshir Contractor

Northwestern U

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Katherine Sender

Cornell U



The ICA Treasurer works closely with the Executive Director to oversee the budget, investments, endowments, reserves, and cash flow of the association. The Treasurer participates in a quarterly call to review investments, will attend monthly Executive Committee calls, and is a voting member of the Executive Committee for three years, preceded by an initial “Treasurer Elect” year in which the role is non-voting and observational. The Treasurer reviews monthly bank statements and approves the fiscal year budget as prepared by the Executive Director. As ICA’s accounts, investments, and financial procedures are conducted according to GAAP in the United States, the Treasurer should have a strong understanding of US tax rules and best practices. The ideal Treasurer will have past experience controlling a large budget and have had significant fiscal responsibility in university settings, federal granting agencies, large private foundations, private sector firms, or on large funded research grants and contracts, etc. Because of the complexity of this role, the slate is narrowed to one candidate, to be ratified in the election. The Treasurer selected in the 2020 election will begin service at the end of the 2021 Annual ICA Conference in Denver.

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Elisia Cohen

U of Minnesota



Board Members-at-Large serve one three-year term; there are three BMAL at any given time. The purpose of Member-at-Large positions is to grow the Board of Directors representation from underrepresented regions. The BMAL selected in the 2020 election will begin service at the end of the 2021 Annual ICA Conference in Denver.

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Michael Kent

U of New South Wales

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Daniel Raichvarg

Societe Francaise des Sciences

de l'Information et de la Communication



Board Student and Early Career Representatives serve in pairs, with one nominated each year for overlapping two-year terms. The Board Student and Early Career Representative selected in the 2020 election will begin service at the end of the 2021 Annual ICA Conference in Denver. Christine Cook is running uncontested for this role as the opposing candidate withdrew. 

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Christine Cook

New Jersey Institute

of Technology

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Candidate Statement for ICA Presidential Election: Katherine Sender

Posted By Katherine Sender (Cornell U), Tuesday, September 8, 2020

At this time of critical global challenges, there is not one ICA division or interest group that does not have something to contribute. This year alone we are experiencing catastrophic consequences of climate change; a global pandemic; an economic tailspin; the ongoing oppression and murder of Black, Brown, Indigenous, queer, and trans people; sexualized abuses of power; and deep anxieties about misinformation and our democratic processes. Universities face devastating budget cuts, adding job losses and hiring freezes to the growing scarcity of secure academic employment. Our members have much to contribute to making sense of, and making better, these urgencies. ICA has been my intellectual and professional community for more than twenty years, and I am heartened to see it flourish through the energies of its members and the commitments of its leadership. I would be honored to serve as president of our association. If elected, I would focus my efforts on furthering key initiatives related to engaging our discipline, engaging our membership, and supporting students and early-career colleagues. 

Engaging our Discipline 

Given the centrality of Communication and ICA’s intellectual vibrancy, there is great potential for our scholarship to become more consistently engaged within and beyond the academy. Encouragingly, our 2020 conference facilitated debates about the contribution of open science to methodologies across the discipline, and our journals are working towards open access models. Yet our research can contribute more consistently to a wide range of social issues. For example, how can we better share knowledge from large data sets to assist social media platform engineers who are struggling to manage misinformation worldwide? When the World Health Organization creates a new field in “infodemiology,” how might our scholars engage them in communicating science, risk, and health information? As COVID-19 has forced us to rethink work processes and spaces, how can organizational communication help to inform new practices? Building on my own experience as a filmmaker and colleagues’ public intellectual labors, I would explore how ICA can support members in further engaging beyond our academic cultures to work towards sustainable ways of living, healthy and nurturing communities, more just societies, and vibrant democratic processes. 

Engaging our membership

Based on recent discussions with committee chairs for students and early career scholars, sustainability, internationalization, and conferences, I would build on the momentum that has been growing in recent years. Specifically, in my presidency I would focus on the following: 

Internationalization, inclusion, diversity, equity, and access

With almost 50 per cent of our members coming from countries outside the US, ICA is working towards becoming the international association it has long claimed to be. I would support the Membership and Internationalization Committee’s efforts to challenge the dominance of American and northern European academic norms, including through the new program that selects international liaison members for all divisions and interest groups. 

I was delighted to see that this year the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) task force became a standing committee, confirming its ongoing role in fostering meaningful changes in ICA’s culture and representation. ICA has also championed gender and sexual diversity in scholarship and membership, including in the Feminist Scholarship Division and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Interest Group. I would work with IDEA and the Professional Standards Committee to address cases of racialized, sexualized, and gendered abuses of power in our academic settings. 

Annual conferences

The COVID-19 pandemic forced ICA into an experiment in virtual conferencing. The Sustainability Committee and Conferences Task Force had already been charged to consider the environmental impacts of the annual conference. Virtual conferences are more sustainable and reduce some barriers to access, including mobility, cost, and visa restrictions, but reintroduce others, such as constraining the informal networking opportunities of the in-person conference. As we consider for future conferences the gains of hybrid in-person/online models, we need to develop innovative means of virtual social contact to safeguard the crucial place ICA’s conferences have in advancements in members’ scholarship and career progression. I would draw on the expertise of our members in human-computer interaction, among other research areas, to envision a more socially serendipitous virtual conference experience. 

Engaging our students and early career colleagues

ICA has the resources to explore engaged communication training in an increasingly challenging job market. I would like to encourage ways that our ICA fellows could be more active in mentoring junior colleagues. We can work to support efforts already underway to cultivate peer networks to share skills across institutions and countries. We can also value alternatives to academic careers by emphasizing transferable skills and mentorship in non-academic professions. 

ICA’s robust intellectual position uniquely situates our association to inform our current global challenges. As president, I would draw on our strengths to consider innovative ways to address these challenges in our scholarship and professional cultures, and to expand our research priorities and community engagements. 

About me

I am a professor in the Department of Communication at Cornell University in the US (view profile). I have held tenured positions at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, both in the US, and at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. My experience thus spans state-funded and private universities, the US academic system and the British system followed in New Zealand, and departments that appreciate diverse approaches to Communication. 

Since joining ICA in 1996, I have been co-chair of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Interest Group (2003-2007); was on the Fair Use Task Force (2017-2018); and currently serve on the Publications Committee. I was co-editor of the NCA journal Critical Studies in Media Communication (2013-2016). I am a board member for Console-ing Passions, the feminist and queer media studies organization. 

My written scholarship spans media studies, audiences, media industries, gender and sexuality, race, and transnational media flows. I am also a filmmaker, including producing and directing the Off the Straight and Narrow series of three documentaries about LGBTQ representations on US television. As part of a fair use advocacy collective, I have overturned the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s restrictions on copying DVD content. I would be honored to serve as president of ICA, and am excited by the challenges this role offers at this extraordinary moment.

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Candidate Statement for ICA Presidential Election: Noshir Contractor

Posted By Noshir Contractor (Northwestern U), Tuesday, September 8, 2020

I am honored to be considered as a candidate for President of the International Communication Association. ICA has been my intellectual home since 1985. I attended my first ICA conference in Hawaii as a graduate student.  I have seen ICA play a key role in helping nurture the community of communication scholars as well as conveying the significance of communication scholarship to the broader scholarly community, policy makers, and publics at large. During this period, I have had the privilege to contribute to the Association’s efforts formally and informally. At the Association level, I served as Chair of the Nominating Committee, the Development Task Force, the External Research Funding Task Force, and as a Member of the ICA Fellows’ Working Group on Diversity and Inclusion. At the Division level, I served as Chair of the Organizational Communication Division. I have also contributed to ICA as Associate Editor of ICA’s Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and by serving on the editorial boards of 3 ICA journals: Journal of CommunicationCommunication Theory and Human Communication Research

My passion for Communication was awakened as an undergraduate Electrical Engineering student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. As a summer intern, I researched Indians’ reactions as they congregated in village halls to watch - for the first time - a TV connected to a satellite dish streaming “prosocial programming.” Shaped by those early experiences, the dominant theme of my research as a graduate student at the University of Southern California and a faculty member at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and now at Northwestern University, has been to understand how communication networks, often enabled by technology, help us organize in a wide variety of contexts. These include natural disasters, combating climate change and global health issues, reducing HIV disparities in racial, ethnic and sexual minority populations, and working in isolated confined environments here on earth (during COVID-19) and as we prepare for missions to Mars. The nature of my research, funded by agencies in the US and abroad, has given me the opportunity to forge collaborations on all 7 continents (including Antarctica), across ICA, as well as across disciplines. It has also given me the opportunity to build communities in three areas adjacent to Communication: Computational Social Science, Network Science and Web Science. My experiences (http://bit.ly/Noshir-CV) have helped me reflect on areas where ICA has made progress as well as identify challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. 

Today, as we navigate seismic inflection points and socio-cultural global reckonings, we have an opportunity, and indeed a moral obligation, to reimagine ICA’s efforts by building on our progress in three key areas: Internationalization, Cross-Divisional Scholarship for Social Impact, and Professional & Pedagogical Development. The efforts of the current ICA leadership on implementing the charter of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) Taskforce offer a framing to collectively pursue this reimagining. As the ICA Executive Committee’s statement reminds us “merit and diversity are not mutually exclusive principles.” Hence, as we reimagine ICA, principles of IDEA can serve as guideposts by which we envision, execute, and evaluate our progress. 

Reimagining Internationalization: ICA has made great strides in increasing international membership and convening Regional Conferences, including in the Global South. But we still have far less proportional representation of ICA membership from various constituencies. Publications in ICA journals do not equitably reflect these constituents pointing to the need for decentering communication scholarship. Based on principles of IDEA, we need to reimagine how ICA can sustain global engagement: (1) Establish regional presence, including in the Global South is one approach. (2) Restructure ICA conferences, perhaps, as distributed concurrent “hub events” at multiple world locations; each hosting a community of scholars from the region while participating live in events with other hubs. (3) Reconfigure convenings for scholars to engage in global scholarship showcased in ICA/affiliate journals. The upcoming special issue of Communication Theory on “Theorizing Communication from the South” illustrates the feasibility of that goal. Reimagining internationalization is crucial in developing sustained networks to promote community and foster mutual listening and learning globally. 

Reimagining Cross-Divisional Scholarship for Social Impact: ICA has witnessed the creation of several Divisions/Interest Groups in response to emerging intellectual innovations and societal developments. However, the challenges of our era, such as social justice, climate change and the pandemic, do not align with ICA Divisional boundaries. In response, we have witnessed an increase in ad hoc cross-divisional pre/post conference workshops, cross-listing sessions across Divisions and one-off themed/plenary sessions. Now is the time to reimagine a more sustained commitment towards cross-divisional scholarship. These could include instituting new and exciting fora at ICA conferences to help address systemic social challenges and explore intellectual questions that transcend Divisional boundaries. Reimagining cross-divisional scholarship is crucial to promote dialogue, nurture networks and (re)build communities around societal problems and intellectual questions. 

Reimagining Professional & Pedagogical Development: In recent years, there has been a rise in professional and pedagogical workshops and consortia focused on graduate students, junior faculty, and scholars of specific identity groups. Informed by the principles of IDEA, and leveraging technology, it is time for us to reimagine ICA offering development unfettered by time and space. We can ramp up our efforts via digital offerings such as webinars and podcasts which have an increasingly low barrier of entry. In addition to the information conveyed, these offerings also serve as gateways to help create and sustain collegial and mentoring matchmaking networks across the producers and consumers of these offerings. 

Reimagining internationalization, cross-divisional scholarship, and development dovetail with ongoing ICA initiatives such as social justice and open access. In all of these efforts, ICA needs to develop mechanisms that will help us evaluate our progress and provide us greater transparency. We live at a moment where the relevance of Communication to understand and address societal challenges is unassailable. We have the intellectual abilities and the societal will to rise to the occasion. I would be excited to have this opportunity to help ICA creatively and inclusively mobilize our collective resolve for a better tomorrow.

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ICA President and ICA President-Elect Joint Column: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Posted By Claes de Vreese (U of Amsterdam) and Mary Beth Oliver (Pennsylvania State U), Tuesday, September 8, 2020

We thank everyone who took part in the post-conference survey. Your responses brought home many lessons, viewpoints, and ideas that are invaluable as we plan for ICA 2021 and for future conferences.  The vast majority of participants (78%) rated the quality of the presentations as good to excellent. Undoubtedly, this is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of our members who took the time to record and upload their presentations that were engaging and professional. Thank you! At the same time, though, a smaller percentage (54%) rated the overall conference experience as good to excellent. We believe that this number reflects many aspects of the need to rapidly shift to an online experience in a turbulent and unchartered environment, but it also highlights the importance of the need for us to grow and learn as we move forward.

Lessons from #ica20

First and foremost, we miss seeing our colleagues – the chance encounters, the friendly meals, the conversations that allow our relationships and our scholarship to flourish. We also miss the opportunity to engage with scholars during their presentations. Various aspects of the online platform and additional technologies helped with this. Many of us left comments for presenters, followed the #ica20 hashtag on twitter, and found the emails from ICA headquarters helpful and supportive. Yet few of our members attended the available social events or VR hangouts, suggesting room for improvement in promoting and facilitating interactions, both formal and informal.  

In terms of the online platform, we saw many positive responses for various aspects of the technologies, including video playing speeds, upload speeds, and the overall design. However, we also saw a number of ways that the user experience can be improved. For example, the easier universal implementation of captions/subtitles, the enhancement of navigation to panels/papers, and notifications to presenters when people comment or ask questions are crucial to our experience. Likewise, the timely responsiveness of the platform host (vFairs for #ica20) to answer questions and deal with technology problems should be routine. 

We are also sensitized to how long online content should be available to attendees. Many members voiced appreciation for the opportunity to see more presentations than they normally could during a typical conference, and also from divisions and interest groups they normally don’t engage with. However, we also learned that the online conference experience prohibited many members from the full experience because, unlike in a face-to-face conference, attending from home meant that teaching, parenting, and other personal responsibilities continued unabated, side-by-side with the conference experience. Although we extended the conference by a day this year, many members (44%) reported that having the materials available for even longer would be helpful.

Looking ahead: #ica21

We hear your concerns and suggestions. Most of our members (69%) reported hoping to attend the 2021 conference in Denver in person. At the same time, 54% have concerns about COVID-19, 32% report travel-budget restrictions from their universities, and 20% worry about carbon emissions related to air travel. These are big and some even combined concerns. As we have announced, we are planning for a hybrid conference (https://www.icahdq.org/blogpost/1523657/353343/ICA21-in-DENVER-COLORADO-HYBRID-FORMAT-FAQ).  As we prepare for the hybrid format for 2021, we will be working very hard to take all of your feedback and suggestions to heart, to make this a valuable conference experience for everyone, and to continue to implement your ideas and critique.

We also want to be completely open: we do not know how the Covid-19 pandemic and other global challenges will develop in the next months. We will plan for hybrid, but if conditions dictate, we may have to move to a full online format once more. If we can realize a hybrid format, we want to make sure that both the physical and the online version of the conference offers an optimal experience. This will require more work for both planners, participants, and headquarters, but the potential upsides of learning more about a hybrid conference format are great. We will introduce new features in the online format, but also pilot a program of local, physical meet-ups to join the online ICA conference in places from where it might be difficult to join the physical conference and/ or where individual member access to the online conference is a challenge. More about this later. 

Whether we retain the hybrid plan or switch, ultimately, to a full-online format once more, we will not be re-using the vfairs platform and will instead have a much more robust platform the staff are preparing as we speak, with caption and transcript functionality, a link to our submission site so nothing gets lost, and the ability to archive video content if desired. In sum, #ica21 will surely be a new and exciting learning experience. We will draw on your input from 2020 and leverage the fact that we have more time to plan than we did for #ica20. 

Looking into the Future: #ica22, 23, 24….

The pandemic has fast tracked a dialogue that was already ongoing in ICA. On the one hand, we had an existing task force called ‘The Future of Conferences,’ chaired by Jeff Niederdeppe (Cornell U). The Task Force was originally tasked to examine the implications of the ICA conference format, the growth of the conference, its locations, etc. On the other hand, we also have an ongoing dialogue on how to make the ICA and its conferences more climate-proof. The #ica20 conference featured a full panel on this topic which is available for viewing at the ICA YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLfQ-LCjJMfiFCOEG7e6hkA/videos). These conversations converge—and are fast tracked by—the pandemic and the climate crisis. We believe the future of large conferencing is hybrid: meeting in person with all of the many well-known advantages (and the experience of serendipity) must be retained. Introducing and learning from early career scholars likewise. But maybe we as individuals don’t have to attend all meetings. Maybe we can alternate with online experiences. And then let’s think through the advantages of online conferences: reaching a bigger audience, sharing research more broadly, enabling participation from groups that may not have been able otherwise, using conference materials in education, advancing the conference presentation mode using sound and visuals, eliminating the need to make hard choices between which one of 27 concurrent sessions to attend, longevity of content, etc. These are just some of the possibilities. Developing conferences for the next decade means getting these things right. This needs to go hand in hand with a solid funding model too. Planning online conferences takes time, planning physical conferences takes time, planning hybrid ones (like with teaching) takes even more, and more varied, resources. We look forward to thinking through and learning with our ICA community in the coming period.

Tags:  September 2020 

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ICA is excited to announce the paper submission website is now open!

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 8, 2020

ICA invites you to submit your individual submission or session proposal for the 71st Annual ICA Conference to be held as a hybrid event, both in Denver, Colorado, USA and virtually. Participants will be able to select the attendance format they prefer. The physical conference is slated to take place at the Hyatt Regency in Denver on 27-31 May 2021. The conference theme is "Engaging the Essential Work of Care: Communication, Connectedness, and Social Justice."

Click here (https://www.icahdq.org/page/ICA21CFP) for the Conference Calls for Papers.

To access the paper submission website, please click here (https://ica2021.abstractcentral.com/). You do not have to be an ICA member to access and submit, but you do need a ScholarOne Abstracts profile. If you created a ScholarOne Abstracts profile last year, you can use the same login information to access the website. Our membership database is no longer linked to the paper submission website. If you have any questions or concerns about accessing or editing your profile, please contact ScholarOne’s Help Desk

Tips for Online Submission


Have your document ready to upload! You MUST upload a paper or extended abstract in order to complete the individual submission process. Before submitting your document, remember to remove all author identification from the text, cover page, and the file properties. (In the "File" menu select "Properties," delete any identifying information, click "OK," and save the document.) 


Plan ahead! The Session Organizer submits the panel proposal, and enters all of the panel information including the abstract rationale, and listing of all panel participants. When entering a panel participant, please SEARCH THE DATABASE for the participants. ENTER ONLY 2 OR 3 LETTERS OF THE FIRST AND LAST NAMES WHEN SEARCHING. This strategy will minimize the possibility of missing a record because of a 'special' character in the first or last names. In the Panel Description field enter the text of your panel proposal including rationale, presentation authors and titles, and abstracts or any other information mentioned in the Call for Papers. You can do this by copying and pasting the text of the panel proposal from your Word document.


If your topic crosses the interests of several divisions or interest groups, and relates to this year’s theme, "Engaging the Essential Work of Care: Communication, Connectedness, and Social Justice”, consider submitting your work or paper as a theme session for the conference, rather to a single division or interest group. The ICA 2021 conference theme calls for our examination of how care forms the fabric of our social and interconnected lives. From the moment that we enter this world we are completely dependent on the care of others, and as we move through our lives, the care of our teachers, doctors, leaders, and artists shape us into the adults that we are today. Even as we leave this earth, on our last days, we are comforted by the care of loved ones. Please visit the full CFP (https://www.icahdq.org/page/ICA21CFP) for the full theme statement. 

If you have any questions about submitting your work for the theme sessions, please get in touch with one of this year’s theme co-chairs:

Walid Afifi, U of California at Santa Barbara, w-afifi@ucsb.edu

Mohan Dutta, Massey U, mohanjdutt@gmail.com

Chenjerai Kumanyika, Rutgers U, Chenjerai.Kumanyika@gmail.com

Srividya Ramasubramanian, Texas A&M U, srivi@tamu.edu

Anamik Saha, Goldsmith, U of London, a.saha@gold.ac.uk

Meghan Sanders, Louisiana State U, msand@lsu.edu



ICA Member Associations are entitled to one panel program at the conference. The highest ranking elected officer or designated program planner of each Member Association is invited to submit a panel proposal through the online submission system by the 6 November submission deadline. Follow the instructions for submitting a panel session and submit under Sponsored Sessions. 


When you submit your paper, you are automatically signed up to review. You do not have to submit a paper to become a reviewer. Volunteering to serve as a reviewer does not guarantee that you will be selected to review. Be sure to mark your areas of expertise, so that you are appropriately matched to a paper to review.


Submitters can only be the first author on three submissions max. But there is no longer a limit on submissions in general, only for the first author.


If you need help with online submission, contact the appropriate ICA division or interest group program planner. Contact information is listed in the Calls for Papers

Messages or emails are regularly sent from ICA or Unit Planners concerning paper submissions or reviewing. Sometimes our emails will filter into spam folders, usually of those who have a university address. So be sure to frequently check your message center in the paper submission system after signing in. The message center stores all sent messages and eliminates the problem of universities blocking emails.

Submission Deadline: Friday 6 November @12:00 Noon ICA Office Time (EST)


For more information on ICA21, please visit the frequently asked questions page (https://www.icahdq.org/page/ICA21FAQ).

Tags:  September 2020 

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Call for Editors

Posted By Tom Mankowski, ICA Director of Publishing Operations, Friday, September 4, 2020

Call for Nominations: Editor for Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (JCMC)

The ICA Publications Committee is soliciting nominations for the editor of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (JCMC). Self-nominations are welcome. The appointment is for four years, to begin in the January 2022 Issue. 

The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication is an open access, peer-reviewed scholarly journal that publishes original social science research on communicating with computer-based media technologies. As of August 2020, all submissions now publish under a CC-BY license, officially making JCMC the Association’s latest endeavor into open access.  The journal is methodologically diverse and broadly interdisciplinary, publishing work by scholars in communication, business, education, political science, sociology, psychology, media studies, information science, and other disciplines.  Highly international in scope, authors and articles represent the broad global interests of the International Communication Association. More details about the journal can be found at https://academic.oup.com/jcmc/pages/About.

A complete nomination package should include:

  • A letter of application; 

  • A vision statement for the editorship;

  • The candidate’s curriculum vitae;

  • Two letters of support from published scholars familiar with the candidate’s work, speaking to the quality of the candidate’s research as well as their experience with and suitability for journal editing; and

  • A letter of institutional support from the candidate’s home institution.

The Publications Committee weighs multiple factors when evaluating candidates, including, but not limited to:

  • Clear understanding of the journal;

  • Clear articulation of an intellectual and operational vision for the journal;

  • Demonstrated openness to a range of epistemologies appropriate for the scope of the journal;

  • Demonstrated interest and/or experience in theoretical development;

  • Demonstrated interest and/or openness to interdisciplinary work;

  • Demonstrated communication skills and diplomacy;

  • Commitment to upholding principles of fair use

  • Reputation and academic output;

  • Editorial, managerial or administrative experience;

  • Tenure or advanced rank; and

  • Institutional support.

Candidates should be familiar with the nuances of open access publishing. 

A transitionary period for manuscript software training leading up to the January 2022 Issue date may be necessary.

Editors of ICA publications should be committed to respecting and enhancing diversity within the scope of their work for ICA. This diversity spans multiple domains, including but not limited to interest areas, gender, ethnicity, and national origin. 

All materials should be submitted to Thomas Mankowski, ICA Director of Publishing Operations (tmankowski at icahdq dot org) by 15 January 2021.  Finalists will be notified in February 2020 and subsequently interviewed by members of the Publications Committee.

ICA’s Publications Committee is chaired by Robin Nabi (U of California, Santa Barbara) and includes Patricia Moy (U of Washington), Katherine Sender (Cornell U), Sabine Trepte (U of Hohenheim), and Silvio Waisbord (George Washington U).



Call for Nominations: Series Editor for the ICA Handbook Series

The ICA Publications Committee is soliciting nominations for Series Editor of the ICA Handbook Series. Self-nominations are welcome. The appointment is for four years, to begin in January 2022. 

A joint venture between ICA and Taylor & Francis, the ICA Handbook Series includes scholarly handbooks that represent the interests of ICA members and help to further the association’s goals of promoting theory and research in the communication discipline. The series includes handbooks that reflect a range of content areas, methodological approaches, and theoretical lenses in communication research and often cross sub-disciplinary boundaries.  For further information, see: https://www.routledge.com/ICA-Handbook-Series/book-series/ICAHAND.

The role of the Series Editor is to develop ideas for volumes, search for appropriate editors, review proposals, assist the Publisher in identifying additional reviewers and in evaluating external reviews, actively promote the series as an outlet for ICA scholars and work with the Publisher to assist volume editors in project development. 

A complete nomination package should include:

  • A letter of application from the candidate that includes an overall strategic plan for the editorship;

  • The candidate’s curriculum vitae; and

  • Two letters of support from published scholars familiar with the candidate’s work, experience, and suitability for the task of editing a handbook series or similar publication

The Publications Committee weighs multiple factors when evaluating candidates, including, but not limited to:

  • Clear understanding of the handbook series

  • Clear articulation of an intellectual and operational vision for the series

  • Demonstrated openness to a range of epistemologies

  • Demonstrated interest and/or openness to interdisciplinary work

  • Demonstrated communication skills and diplomacy

  • Reputation and academic output

  • Editorial, managerial or administrative experience

  • Tenure or advanced rank

  • Institutional support

Editors of ICA publications should be committed to respecting and enhancing diversity within the scope of their work for ICA. This diversity spans multiple domains, including but not limited to interest areas, gender, ethnicity, and national origin. 

All materials should be submitted to Thomas Mankowski, ICA Director of Publishing Operations (tmankowski at icahdq dot org) by 15 January 2021.  Finalists will be notified in February 2020 and subsequently interviewed by members of the Publications Committee.

ICA’s Publications Committee is chaired by Robin Nabi (U of California, Santa Barbara) and includes Patricia Moy (U of Washington), Katherine Sender (Cornell U), Sabine Trepte (U of Hohenheim), and Silvio Waisbord (George Washington U).

Tags:  September 2020 

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Renew Today for the 2020 - 2021 ICA Membership Term!

Posted By Kristine Rosa, Manager of Member Services & Marketing, Friday, September 4, 2020

The 2019 – 2020 ICA membership term comes to an end in less than 30 days. We strongly urge our members to renew their membership now to prevent a lapse and to ensure a full year’s worth of ICA member benefits.

ICA is the premier academic association for scholars engaged in the study, teaching, and application of all aspects of human and mediated communication internationally. To be a member of ICA means to:

  • Belong to a large community of communication scholars across 82 different countries

  • Join one or more of our 33 smaller subcommunities (divisions and interest groups) to network with scholars in similar disciplines

  • Gain access to some of the top scholarly journals in the field

  • Receive a generous discount to one of the world’s leading conferences in the field of communication (which in Denver in May 2021 will offer both a virtual and in-person option)

  • ...and much more!

In 2020, ICA members banded together to make the virtual conference a success and individual members, universities, and division & interest groups all donated to the 2020 Hardship Fund to help students recover from the financial impact of canceled travel plans. We are so proud to be part of this community that values excellence as well as helping each other in times of need.

The sense of belonging and professional networking you receive from your ICA membership is more important now than ever before, and professional associations like ICA need you more than ever, as well.

ICA membership begins 1 October and ends 30 September every term. Renew your membership today and don’t miss out on the professional growth and support of the ICA community!

Click to sign in and renew your membership: https://www.icahdq.org/login.aspx

Tags:  September 2020 

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SECAC 2020-2021 Team: Planning Ahead for Greater Collaboration

Posted By Myrene Magabo (UP Open University) and Lara Schreurs (KU Leuven), Friday, September 4, 2020

1st Quarter Update: SECAC operations

In the first quarter of SECAC’s 2020-2021 term, Co-Chairs Myrene Magabo and Lara Schreurs are working on a document along with a strategic Activity Plan to streamline the tasks needed to perform the functions and role of SECAC. Our overall goal is to provide students and early career scholars with key resources for academic achievement, professional development, and work-life coherence. The guiding document, plan of activities, and designation of tasks shall help the SECAC team strategize their course of actions in supporting this overall goal and thereby accomplishing the three major yearly standard tasks for SECAC:

  1. Writing Blog/Articles for the ICA Student Column; 

  2. Fund - Raise for and organize the SECAC Night; and,

  3. Organize a Bluesky Worksop at the annual conference.

The delineation of tasks and functions will help each committee member focus on the completion of the specific tasks they find most interesting. The purpose of having an Activity Plan is to aid the committee members to strategically allot a portion of their time for their designated roles in SECAC. In August, for the first SECAC quarterly meeting, the committee will most likely have their approved SECAC Activity Plan. SECAC aims to meet synchronously via ZOOM every quarter and will cohesively communicate and collaborate online using Google Docs. 

The months of June, July, and August 2020 were dedicated to pre-planning activities, which had been productive. Certain plans aimed at strengthening SECAC’s fundraising efforts and enhancing the support for students and early scholars have been consulted with ICA Executive Director Laura Sawyer and ICA Senior Manager of Governance Julie Arnold. To ensure that the activities are in sync with the role and functions of  SECAC, Co-Chairs Myrene Magabo and Lara Schreurs are working closely with guidance from ICA Senior Manager of Governance Julie Arnold in the creation of a SECAC document. The document streamlines the roles and functions of SECAC (as an advisory committee). It provides the guiding principles on how the committee members shall work together in collaboration with the SECAC Co-Chairs. SECAC members Muhammad Ittefaq, Cecilia Zhou, and Grazia Murtarelli are looking forward to fulfilling their service to SECAC with the role and tasks that they have already been doing estimably. 

For SECAC’s role in bringing together the voices of ICA Division and Interests Groups student representatives (SECRs), the SECAC - SECRs second “Virtual Get Together” is expected to be held soon.  The SECAC-SECRs Virtual Get Together was initiated last year during the then dedicated and able leadership of Co-Chair Sarah Cho, whose term at SECAC ended after the #ica20 Conference. This year, it shall be one of the most important activities for SECAC. To all our friends, colleagues, and cohorts from ICA Divisions/Interest Groups, please, expect us to reach out to you soon for our next virtual get together! More updates and more discussions are coming our way! 

Interested in SECAC?  

If you are interested in serving as a SECAC committee member and help us achieve our goals, please complete an Expression of Interest form and indicate in your responses that you are interested in SECAC. Do you want to network with early-career scholars? Please join the ICA early-career scholars network on Facebook and Twitter! (if you haven’t done it yet. For those who want to know more about SECAC, please click: About SECAC.  The SECAC Co-Chairs are just an email away! If you have questions, comments, and suggestions, please, send us an email at mmagabo07@live.com  and  lara.schreurs@kuleuven.be

Tags:  September 2020 

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Division and Interest Group News

Posted By Administration, Friday, September 4, 2020


Dear Colleagues,

We hope you are all safe and well at these trying times.

We are writing to update you on a few things.

First, ICA is preparing for the meeting in Denver full speed. The upcoming conference will be planned as hybrid. Along with our traditional categories this year we also have a special call for research escalator papers that I wanted to draw your attention to. We hope that these sessions will be a great opportunity to connect our younger researchers with our esteemed members.

Research escalator sessions provide the opportunity for feedback and one-on-one mentorship on early work from established scholars in the Division. Research escalator papers should be submitted as extended abstracts limited to 6,400 double-spaced characters including spaces (about 4 pages, double-spaced). All character limits exclude references, tables, and figures. On the first page of the extended abstract, please make a note: CONSIDER FOR RESEARCH ESCALATOR SESSION. Also, if you have a preferred mentor or would like a mentor with a specific type of expertise (e.g., methodological expertise), please note this on the first page of the extended abstract.

For additional details and access to our call for papers please see our website at: https://icainfosys.org/annualconference/

Second, this year we will be electing a vice chair. We have great candidates lined up. Please be on the lookout for additional information and please vote.

Third, August is a good time to renew your membership. Please remember to renew. Your support of the Division shows through your membership and helps fund our awards, initiatives, and socials. It matters and is greatly appreciated.

Lastly, we have made available the posters presented at ICA2020 for our membership via our website: https://icainfosys.org/conference-papers/

As always we are listening and welcoming any suggestions and help. Please feel free to connect by emailing either to Rachel Bailey at rbailey2@fsu.edu or me, Narine Yegiyan at nsyegiyan@ucdavis.edu.

Stay safe, be well,

Rachel and Narine


Instructional and Developmental Communication Division

Dear IDD members,

We ask all paper submitters to also volunteer as reviewers for the division. We need you! :-)

We will be happy to answer your questions! Please use the provided editable Google Doc


To stay updated on the latest news about the Instructional and Developmental Communication Division, check out the official IDD Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ICAIDD/

All the best,

Davide Girardelli

University of Gothenburg (Sweden)

IDD Chair



Dear all,

Now is the season for renewing our ICA memberships. I wanted to remind you to also sign up for the Mobile Communication Interest Group as a part of the process (and please encourage your colleagues to do the same).

As the name implies, the Mobile Communication Interest Group focuses on mobility and the social consequences of mobile communication. Thus, the interest group is at the intersection of mobility, technology, social structure, and culture in human communication. The scholarship includes a wide array of perspectives and approaches in communication studies. This ranges from historical perspectives to studies on future media innovations, from ethnographic to quantitative empirical approaches, and from journalism studies to media effects research. The common ground of the Interest Group is state-of-the-art analysis and theorizing about mobile communication and its social consequences.

Please remember to check off on the box for the Mobile Communication Interest group when you renew your ICA membership.

Rich Ling

Tags:  September 2020 

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