Fostering Excellence in Business Communication
The Association for Business Communication (ABC) Newsletter
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ABC Newsletter

Issue 10, Fall 2016

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From the editor

Sky Marsen, ABC News Editor

Welcome to the Fall 2016 Issue

I hope the Fall has started off well for those of you in the northern hemisphere and Spring  for those in the southern hemisphere!

It is only a month away from the  81st Annual International Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 19-22.  Remember to register by the end of September for the Early Bird fee. The site also contains a forum and other useful information on lodging, the location and events. Keep reading for some information.

In addition to the conference, we have some other exciting initiatives, grants and awards whose deadline is coming up.

The Ambassador Award helps newer members advance their careers by participating in conferences and promoting ABC. The next deadline for applications is September 15.

The Rising Star Award recognizes the meaningful contributions to the mission and membership of ABC and to the field at large through excellent teaching, research, and/or practical applications. The deadline is September 15. Please send applications to Matt Sharp, chair of the Graduate Studies Committee (

The C. R. Anderson Research Fund is receiving applications for the next round to be submitted by January 1.
As usual, I welcome any items of interest to our ABC colleagues for our newsletter.

I look forward to seeing many of you in Albuquerque next month. If you have any ideas about the content or delivery of the newsletter, please take note of them and discuss them with me at the conference.

Sky Marsen
ABC News Editor

From the president

Bertha Du Babcock, ABC President

Dear ABC Members, 
This is my last opportunity to contribute to the newsletter in my capacity of the President of ABC. It is an honor and a significant learning opportunity for me to be serving as the ABC President.  I have enjoyed watching the ABC community grow, especially with regards to our graduate student membership.  This is a significant development as these members represent the future of our Association.  ABC is unique in the sense that our members, unlike other professional organizations, represent different academic disciplines, including business communication, management, English, linguistics, and discourse among others.  We can use our diversity to build and grow ABC.  In my Presidential address at Albuquerque, I will report on the state of the organization and discuss the future.  
Throughout my presidential term, I especially have appreciated the support and encouragement of the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, and many members from throughout ABC. It was my pleasure and honor to have the opportunity to meet with many of you throughout the year, especially at regional conferences.  To those I visited with, thanks for the hospitality and making me feel at home as I visited your region.
Concerning the Executive Committee, it especially has been challenging to work in a global virtual team where members had to take part in skype meetings (zoom for one meeting) starting at 8 or 9 pm and lasting till almost midnight.  Luckily for me the September meeting was held at 8 in the morning Hong Kong time.  I had a real opportunity to practice participative and collegial leadership.  Working with extremely talented people coming from different professional and personal backgrounds, I was able to see the value of diversity in professional settings.  
To close, at Albuquerque I would like to encourage you to reach out to the first-time ABC participants and to welcome them to the “ABC big family”.  Let them experience ABC’s friendliness and collegiality.  Please also take the opportunity to renew and, of possibly greater importance in my opinion, add diversity to your professional network.    Look forward to seeing you in October.



ABC News



Photo credit:

Albuquerque Awaits

ABC’s 81st Annual International Conference is October 19-22 at the enchanting Hotel Albuquerque in Albuquerque, NM.  We will have an exciting lineup of presentations and panels on teaching and research in business communication.  Two pre-conference workshops will engage participants in the use of video assignments in the business communication classroom and on using core competency rubrics for assessment. 

Our keynote speaker, historian Zonnie Gorman, will share information about the Navajo Code talkers and relate their relevance to today’s business communication classroom. The plenary session will feature talks by the 2015 award winners and the 2016 award winners will be announced at the Presidential Dinner on Friday evening.
Continuing the tradition of supporting a local charity, CRARF will host a silent auction to benefit both ABC’s graduate student travel fund and our charity partner--Albuquerque’s non-profit Reading Works, an adult literacy group.  We hope you will support this worthy cause by contributing items or bidding on them while in Albuquerque (or both!).  For questions, or if you would like to donate an item for the auction, please contact Becky Morrison at Also continue reading for an article on this.
For those of you arriving Wednesday, jump on the trolley for the pre-conference tour of Albuquerque to learn about its history and diverse culture.  The post-conference tour will take us to Santa Fe, a unique and charming city with a rich tapestry of history, art, good food, and so much more.  Please sign-up in advance for the excursions.
Please be sure to register for the conference by September 30th to take advantage of early registration rates.  Details on registration, the Hotel Albuquerque, schedule, workshops, excursions, and more are located on the conference website
Join us for ABC’s 81st Annual International Conference!

ABC Midwestern/Southeastern Conference, April 21-23, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri - Briefing

Dr Clark Ford receiving the Clarice Brantley Service Award

The joint Midwestern/Southeastern regional conference was held in St. Louis, Missouri, April 21-23, 2016, at the Embassy Suites Downtown. The 41 attendees represented 18 different states as well as Thailand and Canada. One of the highlights of the conference was the presentation of the Clarice Brantley Service Award to Dr. Clark Ford, a long-time ABC-SE leader and friend of Clarice. Clark was presented with a plaque as well as a memory book of messages from ABC colleagues. 
Keynote speaker Christi Dixon, Corporate Media Relations Lead from Monsanto Company in St. Louis, presented strategies for communicating with audiences beyond direct customers who have a stake in a company’s reputation. Her presentation included specific strategies for communicating with difficult and possibly alienated audiences. Other presentation themes from conference participants included executive/managerial communication, innovative pedagogy, technology and communication, organizational communication, and legal/ethical issues.
In addition to the engaging conference sessions, attendees enjoyed an impressive reception Thursday evening, the awards luncheon Friday afternoon, and a fun group outing for dinner at Charlie Gitto's Downtown Friday night. And of course, a trip to St. Louis would not be complete without a visit to the impressive Gateway Arch. 
Thank you to the conference coordinator, Kathryn Rybka, for her time and effort to organize this educational and entertaining event! Thanks also to ABC-MW RVP Teresa Sekine, ABC-SE RVP Kristin Pickering, and ABC 2nd VP Lisa Gueldenzoph Snyder for their support. 

Silent Auction: Reading Works

The annual conference in Albuquerque is right around the corner, and we are once again excited to announce the opportunity to partner with a non-profit in the area. During the October 19 - 22 event, ABC and the C.R. Anderson Research Fund are honored to support Reading Works, an organization whose mission is to empower adults with the literacy and language skills they need to participate fully and effectively in work, civic life, and community. Reading Works is a community-based program that offers free tutoring services to adults with literacy needs. Trained volunteers work with clients in several core areas including reading and writing, English as a Second Language, Math, and Digital Literacy.

The median reading level of Reading Works’ clients when they enter the program is 3.8; after six months of tutoring, their reading improves by 1.5 grade levels. The goal of Reading Works is to “create a relaxed atmosphere where adults are treated as adults and their experience and knowledge are respected,” says Becky Morrison. For Reading Works, “the purpose of adult literacy instruction is to help people gain more control over their lives,”  adds Morrison. Reading Works began in 2009 and has since provided free tutoring to over 850 people.

Though the program's mission is focused on helping adults; for every adult Reading Works helps, 1.7 children are also impacted. Morrison says, “This is important because learning to read begins long before a child enters school. Children raised in low literate homes enter kindergarten with skills two years behind their peers. These children also have a nearly 85% chance of dropping out of high school. For many immigrant parents, the lack of English language skills is a barrier to parental involvement at their children’s schools. Educating adults who are raising school aged children is a successful way to break the cycle of intergenerational illiteracy and poverty.”

How is ABC giving back?
To support the mission of Reading Works, we are giving back to our host city by organizing a Silent Auction at our annual conference. During the conference, bidding will begin Thursday, October 20 and will end Friday, October 21. Just like last year, the proceeds from your donations will be divided 50/50: half of the proceeds will go to Reading Works, the other half will support the graduate students in our own organization. You can support Reading Works and our ABC graduate students by bidding at the conference as well as donating items for the auction.
Your donations
Donations can include anything from gift certificates, to wine and food baskets, to getaways, to electronics, to swag from your organization or university. If you are interested in supporting Reading Works and our graduate students, please contact Becky Morrison ( to confirm your donation pledge, its value, description, your contact information, organizational affiliation, pick-up/drop-off details, etc. Donations are tax-deductible and a great way to increase the visibility of your business or institution among conference attendees.

Member News

A student's best friend: Dogs help in communication practice

Bonnie Auslander, the Director of the Kogod Center for Business Communications, started an innovative project using dogs to help students hone their writing and speaking skills.  The students practice their presentations in front of a canine audience, which is likely to be less critical than a human one! As Auslander notes, “Addressing a friendly and nonjudgmental canine can lower blood pressure, decrease stress and elevate mood — perfect for practicing your speech or team presentation.”

The Center booked about a dozen sessions last semester and employed six “locally sourced” dogs, recruited for their calm personalities. Student feedback was enthusiastic.

The project was showcased in a New York Times article.

MS Marketing student Zachary Fernebok '16 with Copper

Other Projects

Sana Reynolds participated in a College Now program working with 4 high-school students, preparing them to interview and conduct primary source research among Latino and Bangladeshi communities in Queens. The purpose of the research was for students to learn about the immigrant experience and to present their information in a poster session held at the end of the program. The motto of the program was "Get them interested when they're young (before college or university)."

Jerry Koehler ABC Life member and Professor of Information Systems and Decision Sciences at the University of South Florida has received a Fulbright Award to Belarus (2016-17). He will be teaching in the Executive MBA program at Belarus State University in Minsk. We wish him much success in his project!
Member Profiles
In this issue we continue our profiles of ABC members, with the introductions of Thomas Landis and Brigitte Planken.

Thomas Landis

Thomas Landis is a Lecturer in the Department of Communication, Professional, and Computer Skills in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. His primary teaching focus is Business Presentations, a course comprised of mostly freshman and sophomores who are learning how to effectively engage an audience with a message that is informed, relevant, and persuasive. He found his passion for teaching and learning when he taught an Introduction to Communication course while working on a Masters in Professional Communication.

Looking ahead, he believes we are at a neat position in society with technology becoming an ever increasing part of our daily routines.He is interested in exploring how we can use technology to enhance our human interactions and become better communicators. As a new member to ABC, he is looking forward to engaging the community at the upcoming regional and national conferences as well as volunteering where he can be of value. ​

Brigitte Planken

Brigitte is an Associate Professor in the department of Communication and Information Sciences at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. She teaches Business English and specialization communication and research courses at Bachelor and Master levels, and coordinates the International Business Communication Master’s degree program. She is a member of LIBRI (Linguists for Business Research Initiative), a European network of linguists working in business communication departments in universities in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Brigitte’s research interests include multilingual advertising, CSR communications, English as a business lingua franca and language management in multinationals. In recent years, she has co-authored books on Business Discourse (with Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini and Catherine Nickerson) and Business English (with Catherine Nickerson). She has been a member of ABC for some years, serving on its Publication Board and Research Committee, and, since 2013, as one of its Directors at Large.

As ABC continues its drive towards becoming the go-to international organization and platform for knowledge exchange and collaboration between business communication researchers and teachers from around the world, she looks forward all the more to visiting the inclusive and inspirational ABC conferences that are helping to realize this goal.

Members' Books

Communication for Consultants. Rita Owens. Business Expert Press.

Leaving Independence. Leanne Smith. Waterfall Press (a historical fiction).

Organizational Vital Signs: The How and Why of Communication Audits. Lori Harvill Moore.

The Secret Handshake: Effective Communication Strategies for the Workplace. Cherilyn Boyer, Cheryl Brodersen, Mikel Chertudi, Caitlin Hills, Michael Mandel, Kim Marchesseault, Marisa Michaels, and Diza Sauers. Kendall Hunt.

Copyright © 2016 Association for Business Communication, All rights reserved.

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