Fostering Excellence in Business Communication

ABC Newsletter

Issue 9, Summer 2016

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

Sky Marsen, ABC News Editor

Welcome to the Summer 2016 Issue

This issue has some interesting news about ABC conferences, initiatives and member projects. I hope you will also consider applying or nominating others for ABC awards and grants. Below is a reminder of deadlines coming up:

* Meada Gibbs Teacher-Scholar Award, July 1.
* Submission of papers for the proceedings of the annual conference, July 18.
* Pearson Award for Innovation in Teaching with Technology, August 15.
* C. R. Anderson Research Fund, September 1.
* ABC's Distinction in the Practice of Diversity and Inclusion Award, September 1.
* Margaret Baker Graham Research Grant, September 15.

Information about all these can be found on the ABC website.

Please note also that we now have PDF versions of the newsletter for those of you who want to download and read the newsletter offline. These can be found here.

I hope you have a productive and enjoyable summer (for those of you in the northern hemisphere), or a restful mid-year winter break (for those in the southern hemisphere)!  And don't forget to send me any items that are relevant to our ABC colleagues for the next issue.

Sky Marsen
ABC News Editor


From the president

Bertha Du Babcock, ABC President

Dear ABC Members,

I am pleased to contribute my second piece to the ABC newsletter.  My term as the President of ABC is about half completed and I have found being President to be both a challenging and rewarding experience.  It has been a unique experience and the highlight of my professional career.  I want to thank the many people who have helped me ease into this position, particularly the executive committee team members.  
I will use the rest of the space to make some personal comments and observations, pass along some information, and emphasize upcoming ABC events and initiatives. 

Let me start with the successful ABC regional conferences that have been held so far this year.   I first want to thank the conference organizers and regional vice presidents who put in the time and energy to make all the necessary arrangements.  I also want to thank the conference participants for their attendance and active participation, especially given that travel funds were not available in many instances.

Besides having outstanding paper presentations, the conferences included features that I specifically want to mention.   The Western Region featured a plenary session that was delivered through a videoconference.  The speakers were Jason Fremder, Product Director for Qualitative Business, and Carol Moor, a Subject Matter Expert, from Cengage Learning. They informed the conference participants on their use of technology to facilitate communication in an interactive discussion with conference participants.    

Participants in the Denver conference

The Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America Region (in conjunction with GABC) had an informative, provocative, and entertaining industry-academic panel entitled “Challenges of Doing Business Internationally”.  Peter Cardon was the moderator for the panel together with four panelists from industry and Sana Raynolds providing comments from the academic perspective.  The four industry panelists included: David Gomez, Goodyear SLP Project Site Director; Dr. Jose Torres, Planning and Development Minister State Government of San Luis Potosi; Michael Coates, Managing Director of Protostar Leadership Development Ltd.; and Gunter Daunt, General Director of Bosch, San Luis Potosi Plant.

 Mariyn Dyrud, Western Region VP, announced the locations for the next two Western Conferences.  The locations are tentatively set for Salt Lake City, Utah (2017) and Portland, Oregon (2018). 

ABC/GABC Dignitaries Dinner

 The majority of the ABC members have responded to Peter Cardon’s initiative and posted their information on the ABC website. Those who have not updated their profile yet are encouraged to do so. 

The mid-year Executive Committee meeting was held at the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America Region conference. An important topic of discussion was how to increase and broaden member participation and input.  Utilizing our new website system, Socious, Online Community Software, an online forum is in the process of being initiated in order to collect member thoughts and opinions.

Let me close by talking about our upcoming international conferences.  The conference organizers, Barbara D’Angelo and Virginia Hemby-Grubb, are working extremely hard and are putting together an outstanding program.   The conference will be professionally challenging but also fun.  It also is not too early to start thinking about the Dublin Conference next year.   Jim Dubinsky has negotiated a really good rate and the hotel is beautiful.

Best wishes for a relaxing and productive summer.  See you in Albuquerque, New Mexico in October.


ABC News


From the Executive Director

Jim Dubinsky, ABC Executive Director

ABC is halfway through its 81st year.  Our financial situation is strong and stable, and our organization is growing.  As you will read in the newsletter, our members have had wonderful opportunities to attend ABC events all over the world in 2016, beginning in January with our conference in Cape Town, South Africa and including the most recent conference, held in partnership with GABC, in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.  As Bertha Du-Babcock, our current president indicated, it is not too soon to begin planning to attend the 82nd international conference in Dublin, Ireland (October 18-20, 2017).  For inspiration, check out the hotel’s website.

You also should start gearing up for Albuquerque.  Barbara D’Angelo and Virginia Hemby-Grubb, ABC’s conference co-chairs, have been working diligently to review your proposals.  The program and schedule will be coming out soon.  In addition, keep your eyes out for information about activities (social and educational) available before, during, and after the conference.   Look on our Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts, as well as on our ABC website (which reminds me – if you haven’t updated your personal information on the website, now is a good time.  Our new website has tremendous potential for sharing information about you, your interests, and your projects.  You can add a wide variety of widgets to your “My Page” section, to include connections to your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts).

Finally, please consider participating in our 2016 Silent Auction.  Our local partner in Albuquerque is Reading Works, an adult literacy program.  Most of us are privileged in many ways, not the least of which is being able to function effectively because of our literacy skills.  Helping others acquire the basic literacy skills they need for day-to-day activities and civic participation seems like a “cause” worth supporting.  See here for more information.  As she was last year, Becky Morrison will be in charge of the auction.  Becky, a PhD candidate at Virginia Tech, just took a position at Miami University (Ohio), where she will be working come August.  When you contact her about items to donate
<>, also share your congratulations!

Jim Dubinsky

ABC Election Results

Congratulations to the election winners.  They will begin serving their term at the close of the annual international conference in Albuquerque October 19-22, 2016.  ABC will benefit from their knowledge and experience.  

2nd Vice President:
Marcel Robles

Regional Vice Presidents:
Erika Darics, Europe, Africa, and Middle East

Sandra Sepulveda, Caribbean, Mexico, Central, and South America

Marsha Bayless

Valerie Creelman

Sam DeKay

We also thank those who demonstrated their commitment to ABC by running for office: Elizabeth "Liddy" Tuleja, Rudi Palmieri, Valery Chistov, Sandra French, and McLain Watson.  We deeply value and appreciate their time and energy.

ABC 14th Asia-Pacific Conference in Guangzhou

Participants at the Asia-Pacific regional conference

The 14th ABC Asia-Pacific Conference was held in Guangzhou, 27-29 November 2015 under the sponsorship of Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China. With the theme of “Business Communication in the Global Century”, the conference provided a forum for discussion of the new trends concerning the diversity and complexities of business communication across countries and cultures. Over 100 people attended the conference including academic scholars and professional practitioners.
At the opening ceremony, Vice-President of GDUFS, Proessor Liu Jianda presented a welcome speech. In her opening speech, President of the ABC, Bertha Du-Babcock in her opening speech on behalf of ABC, introduced ABC to the audience as a well-established, international and interdisciplinary organization, which had just celebrated its 80th anniversary in Seattle.

ABC President Bertha Du-Babcock and Vice President of the Asia Pacific Region
Yunxia Zhu (center) with the organizer, keynote speakers and some participants

Five high profile keynote speakers from UK, the United States, Australia and China presented talks of in specific areas of cross-cultural business communication. Vice President of the Asia and Pacific Region of ABC Yunxia ZHU (University of Queensland), presented a speech on her newly developed Situated Cultural Learning (SiCuLA) and its application in international business communication learning and education.

Professor Lifei Wang, Dean of the School of International Studies at the University of International Business and Economics, introduced updated models of intercultural business communication in Mainland China. Professor Helen Spencer-Oatey, Director of the Centre for Applied Linguistics at the University of Warwick, proposed the model of ‘communication flexibility’ and discussed how experienced professionals operationalized it in practice. Professor Gary Oddou, emeritus professor of California State University, offered a talk on effective global communication between international firms and across borders. Professor Huhua Ouyang, Vice director of Foreign Language Teacher Education and  President of Foreign Language Teachers’ Association of Guangzhou spoke about the importance of experiential cultural learning.

In addition, 51 presentations were given by the delegates from different disciplines and cultures. The overarching themes of the presentations coincide closely with the keynotes’ talks focusing on situated cultural learning and stressing on cross-cultural communication in practice.

A very successful conference all round! Congratulations to all involved in organizing it.


ABC Southwestern Conference

The ABC Southwestern conference was held in conjunction with the Federation of Business Disciplines (FBD) on March 9-11. Susan Jennings from Stephen F. Austin State University served as program chair. Also contributing to the success of the event were other conference officers including Kathryn O’Neill, Sam Houston State University; Laura Valenti, Nicholls State University; and Kelly Grant, Tulane University.

ABC officers in attendance were first vice president Deborah Roebuck and regional vice president Debbie DuFrene. The program included presenters from Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and Mexico. Carol Wright, Stephen F. Austin State University, served as editor of the conference proceedings, which attendees received on CD. In addition to a Thursday evening reception, attendees enjoyed an authentic Mexican fare at an after-hours dinner in historic Bricktown.

ABC-Southwestern 2016 Conference officers (l-r), Katie O’Neill, Laura Valenti,
Kelly Grant, Susan Jennings, Carol Wright, and Debbie DuFrene

Program chairs and award recipients were recognized at the FBD awards dinner, along with those from the eight other participating organizations in the federation. The ABC Southwest U.S. distinguished paper award went to Geraldine Hynes and Melissa Barrett, both  from Sam Houston State University, for their excellent case study on Blue Bell Ice Cream, entitled “The Little Creamery that Could: Weathering A Crisis and Maintaining Brand Loyalty.” Timothy Clipson from Stephen F. Austin State University was recipient of the FBDs Outstanding Educator Award for ABC-SWUS. Geraldine Hynes also received the Outstanding Research Award for ABC-SWUS and was recognized with a plaque and monetary award at the group’s annual business meeting held during the conference.

Gerry Hynes (l) and Melissa Barrett (r) receiving their awards
for Distinguished Paper from Ann Wilson, FBD President

The 2017 ABC Southwestern conference will be held in Little Rock Arkansas, March 8-10. The deadline for conference proposals is October 1, 2016. Refer to the ABC website or contact conference chair Laura Valenti ( for details.

Tim Clipson (c) receiving the Federation of Business Disciplines
Outstanding Educator Award from FBD Executive Director,
Michelle McEacharn (l), and Ann Wilson, FBD President (r)

ABC and APCC Award for Excellence in Communication Consulting

The Association of Professional Communication Consultants (APCC) and the Association for Business Communication (ABC) invite full- and part-time communication consultants to apply for a jointly sponsored, annual Award for Excellence in Communication Consulting. The award winner, to be named at the annual ABC international conference in Albuquerque, will receive $1,500 and a free registration to the following year's ABC international conference in Dublin, Ireland, with an invitation to present his or her project at that conference.

The award may be presented in one of three categories: Excellence in Writing, Excellence in Training, and Excellence in Electronic Media.

The Call for Proposals describes the criteria for each category, the application procedure, and eligibility requirements. A Nomination Form is also attached.  Please visit the ABC website for both the Call and the Nomination Form.

Deadline for Nominations: August 15

​ To learn more about communication consulting, please plan to attend the presentation by last year's award winner, Sana Reynolds, at the annual convention in Albuquerque--and join your fellow consultants in the ABC Consulting SIG.

Distinction in the Practice of Diversity and Inclusion Award

New for 2016, the Award for Distinction in the Practice of Diversity and Inclusion celebrates and recognizes practices that foster community outreach and diversity/inclusion.  It honors work outside the classroom, engaging a community that would be deemed non-dominant.  This is work that creates partnerships to effect positive social change, whether the change be on an individualized level or on a broader, system-wide, policy level--or a synergistic blend.

The achievements that this award will honor should involve service learning, community service, engaged learning, or some other type of activity that promotes social awareness and the spirit of inclusion.  There are many possible constituencies who could be involved in these types of contributions:  students in a class or directed study; students in clubs or participating in co-curricular activities; university faculty and administrators involved in curriculum change; consultants who broaden clients' perspectives; or employees coming together to benefit others outside the typical constraints of their jobs.

The work or project should demonstrate the core values of partnership.  The participants should learn about and benefit one another.  There should be a continual analysis, evaluation, feedback loop during the partnership, which can be a fixed or ongoing collaboration.

The award is purposely taking a broad interpretation of "diversity and inclusion" and service.  The committee is open to a wide variety of activities that match the award criteria.  The committee will also be happy to give applicants guidance and feedback as they prepare their proposals.

Nomination Procedures

The award is open to any ABC member.  People can be nominated or self-nominate. To be considered for this award, people should submit a short (no more than 1,000 words) description of the project that includes the non-dominant community served, the type of partnership created, any of the many possible types of applied learning involved, the change effected, some of the issues learned, and any plans for moving forward.  Nominations are due to Jacqui Lowman, chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee by September 1.

The award will be judged by a panel with diversity and inclusion expertise.  The recipient will be announced at the annual conference during the Presidential Awards; the winner will receive a plaque and $1000, along with registration to the following year's annual conference.  The recipient will present a paper at the following year’s conference.

Special Issue of BPCQ on Disability and Accessibility Call for Reviewers
Sushil Oswal, who is presently guest editing a special issue of Business and Professional Communication Quarterly (BPCQ) on the topic of disability and accessibility in business and professional communication, is looking for interested reviewers. The manuscripts for this special issue are expected  during the first week of August, 2016 and the manuscripts must be returned to the authors within six weeks.
If you can help in this peer review process, please contact Sushil Oswal at .


ABC Annual Conference Proceedings

ISSN Assigned for ABC Proceedings
The Association for Business Communication now has an ISSN for its annual proceedings. The Library of Congress has issued ISSN #2472-0658 for our online annual proceedings. ABC Web Editor Alfredo Deambrosi has posted proceedings dating back to 1979 on our webpage, which can be accessed at Thanks also to Publications Board Chair and former Proceedings Editor Jason Snyder for his work in obtaining the ISSN.
Consider Submitting to the Conference Proceedings
Please consider submitting a paper to the conference proceedings for the 81st Annual Association for Business Communication Conference in Albuquerque. The proceedings offer a much wider distribution of your scholarship and create a permanent legacy that can be passed on to your peers for years to come. All proceedings are published on the ABC website. Additionally, completing your paper early offers you more time to prepare for your oral presentation.
Only complete papers will be included in the proceedings. Literature reviews without the completed research (findings, conclusions) will not be published. Theory and practical articles are also welcome. Only papers that are presented at the conference will be included in the proceedings. Therefore, the proceedings will be published after the conclusion of the conference.
Submissions are required by July 18, 2016. Acceptances will be determined by August 18, 2016, and final revisions will be due September 18, 2016.
Please contact Leigh Ann Whittle, Proceedings Editor, at for proceedings guidelines.  If you are interested in serving as a reviewer, you may contact Leigh Ann at the above email address.


Member News

Research on Business Communication Theories

Jackie Mayfield, Milton Mayfield (Texas A & M International University), and Robyn Walker (University of Southern California) have undertaken a study to identify the key theories of use by researchers in the field of Business Communication. A number of overlapping goals drive this effort: To create a shared world view for members of our academic community; to more clearly delineate the boundaries of the field of Business Communication; to provide a guide for researchers seeking robust, well supported frameworks for examining phenomena in the field; and to provide a basis for teachers crafting pedagogy based on useful and well understood principles and for writers looking to develop texts grounded in our field's best practices.

The researchers created a list of more than seventy-five well established business communication theories identified by examining major business communication books, journals, and web sites. From these sources, they identified the theories that appeared repeatedly: a signal of their importance and a guard against idiosyncratic selection. After theory identification, they asked editorial board members from major business communication journals to rate their familiarity with a given theory and to evaluate the theories they were familiar with for scientific validity, practical use, and importance.

The raters also were given an opportunity to nominate and evaluate up to five business communication theories not included through the initial theory identification. These evaluations will be used to rate each of the theories and classify them into three categories: major, essential, and core. The researchers plan to present their results at the next ABC international conference in Albuquerque.

Research on Digital Discourse

Valerie Creelman has been working on a digital discourse research project. The project explores communication in the digital age and included a case study on Lululemon. It was featured by the media, here

International Teaching and Research Collaboration

Susan Luck, Pfeiffer University, and Stephanie Swartz, University of Mainz Applied Sciences, have published an article in the Journal of Business Diversity entitled “A German-American Alliance” based on a project combining business communications students in a trans-Atlantic group project. The goal is for them to experience working in true intercultural teams. The authors presented preliminary results at the ABC conference in Seattle last October.

Luck and Swartz developed an official partnership and Memorandum of Agreement between Pfeiffer University and the University of Mainz Applied Sciences and this summer will see the first working adult MBA students go to Germany for two weeks to study under the University of Mainz’s faculty in intense session, while In July, several German students will come to Charlotte and complete four-week internships with companies in the Charlotte area.

Research on Leadership and Intercultural Communication

Leila Valoura, doctoral candidate at Northeastern University, is working on a project exploring leadership and intercultural issues in organizational communication. She recently presented her research in the 13th International Congress of the Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA) at the Ivy League Brown University, in Providence, RI.  In particular, she explored the question, what it means to be a Brazilian living in the United States with reference to intercultural sensitivity and dimensions of culture. 


Praise for Business Communication Book

Sandra Lamb
's book, Writing Well for Business Success, published September 1, 2015, by St. Martin's Press, won second place in the American Society of Journalists and Authors 2016 Writing Awards for the best books and articles of the year.  Lamb says she wrote Writing Well for Business Success to both "help people in the business world improve the quality of their writing in the workplace, and as a reference for use in business communication undergraduate and graduate university courses." Sandra's book was featured in Issue 5 of the ABC newsletter.

ABC Familiar Face Harold Hurry Retires

University colleagues and ABC friends recently gathered to celebrate the retirement of Harold Hurry from Sam Houston State University (SHSU). His retirement marked 40 years of faculty service to SHSU. Harold is a long standing member of ABC and actively involved in the Southwestern region.

In his remarks to the gathering, business dean Mitchell Muehsam congratulated Harold for being a mainstay during four decades of significant changes in business education and in faculty expectations.  In addition to his numerous contributions to his university, Harold served as a regional conference officer for ABC Southwestern for a number of years, and as program chair for the 2006 regional conference. He received the region’s Outstanding Teacher Award in 2009, and the Federation of Business Disciplines Outstanding Educator Award for ABC-Southwestern in 2011. While Harold will be missed by his university colleagues, we look forward to his continued involvement in ABC.

ABC colleagues from Sam Houston State University and Stephen F. Austin State University celebrating with Harold Hurry at his university retirement reception (l-r) : Ann Wilson, Katie O’Neill, Kathy Hill, Gerry Hynes, Debbie DuFrene, Harold Hurry, Marsha Bayless, and Lucia Sigmar

Members' Books

Managerial Communication for the Arabian Gulf. Valerie Goby, Catherine Nickerson and Chrysi Rapanta. Business Expert Press.

The book presents a comprehensive account of management communication in the Arabian Gulf that is useful for both managers on assignment in the region and students of management, business communication or intercultural communication.

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