Fostering Excellence in Business Communication

ABC Newsletter Spring 2017

View this email in your browser

From the editor

Sky Marsen
ABC News Editor

Welcome to the Spring 2017 Issue

We have an exciting newsletter this time with several projects by ABC members. I'm impressed with the fascinating work that our members do. Keep it up! Also, this issue resumes our profiling of ABC members. As you know, the profiled  members are selected randomly from our list and this time Stephen Lind and Sabrina Pasztor were the lucky ones. Another highlight of this issue is the preparation for our annual conference coming up on October 18-21. As a reminder, paper proposals are due by April 25th.

As usual, I remind you of some deadlines coming up. Materials for the Kitty O. Locker Outstanding Researcher Award are due by June 6. The award recognizes sustained successful research in the area of business communication.

Nominations for the Award for Distinguished Publication on Business Communication are due by June 1. The award is offered to an outstanding book, book chapter, or journal article that has affected the area of business communication.

Nominations for the Outstanding Dissertation Award are due by June 1. The award goes to a graduate student to reward their contribution to business communication research.

Nominations for the Meada Gibbs Outstanding Teacher-Scholar Award are due by July 1. The award is an appreciation of effective teaching in business communication.

Finally, I would like to encourage you all to support and help to grow our community by visiting and posting on our Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

I hope you have a productive and pleasant three months and look forward to receiving your news for the next issue in June! 


From the president

Deborah Roebuck
ABC President

Dear ABC friends:                          
I want you to step back in time with me.  Back to 1920, to meet Earle and Josephine Dickson, a newlywed couple who lived in New Brunswick, New Jersey.  As we know, in that day and age, the husband was the bread winner, and the wife baked the bread.  Josephine wanted to make her new husband proud, so she worked hard and long doing the household chores and baking that bread. 
Earle would arrive home each night to find his dinner on the table.  Unfortunately, Josephine’s hands would be covered with cuts and burns from her hard work in the kitchen.  Day after day Earle would come home from his job as a cotton buyer to find his wife’s hands in terrible shape.  Being a concerned and caring husband, Earle started bringing home pieces of cotton and cutting pieces of adhesive tape to make bandages for his lovely Josephine.  Day after day they went through the same routine. Finally, after several weeks of kitchen accidents, Earle hit upon an idea.  No, it was not to hire a cook, but to prepare some ready-made bandages by placing squares of cotton gauze at intervals along an adhesive strip and covering them with crinoline. Now all Josephine had to do was cut off a length of the strip and wrap it over her cut.  
By the way, did I mention that Earle worked for Johnson and Johnson?  One day, Earle told his boss at work about his new invention and well … you know the rest of the story . . . his idea went on to become the first BAND-AID®. Earle was eventually rewarded with a position as Vice President of the company, where he stayed until his retirement, and I certainly hope Josephine had fewer accidents in the kitchen.  Earle Dickson may not have realized what a cutting-edge product he was inventing, but it certainly has stuck around (literally!). 
I am sharing this story with you because I think ABC is a cutting-edge organization, and my desire is to ensure our organization sticks around for many years to come!  Your ABC Executive Committee has made a commitment to meet either virtually or face-to-face every month throughout the year to ensure we serve you, our members.  You might be interested to know that we have created two new ad hoc committees—one to explore diversity and inclusion issues proposed by that committee and another to review our vision and mission as well as to finalize a new tag line.
We are also looking at creating job descriptions and guidelines for the leaders of our organization as well as exploring how to develop succession plans for our committee and SIG chairs who serve our needs so creatively and tirelessly.  And we will be reaching out to you shortly to ask for your ideas, thoughts, and suggestions for future locations for our international annual conferences.  So to continue to build this great organization and make it even stronger, we do need your help.
Someone has said, people hardly notice the best leaders. When the best leader’s work is done, the people say, “Look what we’ve done.”  So that’s my desire for our ABC organization. 
As Max DePree has stated, the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.  The last is to say thank you.  In between, the leader is a servant, and I am here to serve you.   So feel free to email me at or call me on my cell 404-441-8679.
Since I began with a J & J story, I want to share a bit about Robert Wood Johnson, who was known as the General.  He led Johnson & Johnson from a small, family-owned business to a worldwide enterprise.   In 1943, the General wrote the J & J Credo, which stated that the organization’s responsibility was first to customers, then employees, then the community, and finally stockholders.   Putting customers first and stockholders last was a radically different approach, but Johnson truly believed in it.  I think ABC serves in a similar way.
In a statement called “Our Management Philosophy,” Johnson said, “It is the duty of the leader to be a servant to those responsible to him.”   In fact, it is probably the Credo that allowed the organization to respond to the Tylenol scare in the early 1980s.  CEO James Burke was advised to let Public Relations handle this situation with the public.  However, he believed that he, as the leader, should be the one to talk with the people.  Because of his actions, society never lost faith or trust in his organization. Johnson died more than 30 years ago, but his beliefs are as fresh, compelling, and perhaps controversial today as they were when he wrote them.

As you continue to serve ABC, you are following in Robert Wood Johnson’s footsteps.  You are exhibiting servant leadership as you give of your time and talent. You are making a conscious choice to use your gifts in the cause of change and growth for business communication students, professors, and practitioners.  I can just envision that The General is looking down and smiling at you.


ABC News
Annual Conference, Dun Laoghaire October 18-21

Royal Marine Hotel

The Annual Conference is rapidly approaching and this year, as we know, it will be held in Fair Ireland, at Dun Laoghaire, 20 kilometers from Dublin. Welcome to Ireland or Cead Mile Failte!
Known as the land of saints and scholars, Ireland has a long history of intellectual pursuits to inspire us. Famous Dubliners include Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and James Joyce – and they’re all honored in various spots in Dublin, from pubs to statues to bridges!
For those presenting at the conference, remember that submissions are due by Tuesday April 25th. We have sessions reserved for presentations in Spanish and for virtual presentations. And don’t forget that, in addition to individual papers, we have poster sessions, lightning round discussions and research roundtables.    Look soon for news on the Wednesday pre-conference workshops and conference registration rates.  This year, six workshops will be offered, kicking off with two workshops starting 8:30 AM, Wednesday, October 18.
See you in Ireland!

Statue of James Joyce in the center of Dublin

Graduate Students Invited to Present at Annual Conference
The Graduate Studies Committee invites submissions for the Graduate Student Panel at our upcoming conference in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. Graduate students will find a welcoming group of researchers, teachers, professionals, and fellow graduate students at the conference.
ABC is dedicated to graduate student development and provides numerous benefits to graduate students. These benefits include waivers of all conference registration fees for those who register early, conference travel scholarships, the Marty Baker Graham Research Grant to help graduate students complete a dissertation, an annual Outstanding Dissertation award,, and connections for the job search process.
The theme of the panel is “Emerging Trends in Business and Professional Communication.” Graduate students are often engaged in boundary-pushing and field-expanding work. This panel hopes to highlight those contributions of graduate students to business and professional communication scholarship. Within the context of business and professional communication, possible topics could relate to these:
·         innovative pedagogy
·         digital communication
·         social media
·         visual communication
·         interpersonal communication
·         team communication
·         crisis communication
·         globalization
·         ethics
·         other topics of related interest 

These topics can be approached via a wide variety of theoretical lenses and methodological approaches. Those chosen to participate in the panel will automatically receive the Graduate Student Travel Scholarship from ABC, which provides at least $400 to offset the cost of attending the conference. If you will be a graduate student at the time of the conference, please submit a proposal for the Graduate Student Panel!
To submit a proposal, email a 500-word abstract to Dr. Matt Sharp (, the Graduate Studies Committee Chair, by April 3, 2017. Abstract must include institutional affiliation, email address, program of study, and mailing address. You will receive a decision about your abstract by April 10, 2017.

Student Writing Contest

Looking for an opportunity to showcase your students’ talents? We invite undergraduate student submissions for the 2017 Student Writing Contest.  The case and instructions can be found at  Each member of ABC can submit up to two student entries by the deadline of midnight on Friday, April 28, 2017. 
A panel of academic readers will review all qualifying entries and determine five finalists based on the following criteria:
  • Demonstrates a clear understanding of the receiver
  • Accomplishes the purpose of the message as outlined in the prompt
  • Exhibits quality organization
  • Demonstrates superior mastery of business conventions 
A panel of business professionals will then read the finalists’ entries and select the winning responses. At ABC’s October 2017 annual international conference, winners will receive a plaque. In addition, the 1st place winner will receive $300, the 2nd place winner will receive $200, and the 3rd place winner will receive $100. Winners will be informed mid-summer 2017. 

We would like to congratulate Kelly Grant from Tulane University for submitting the winning prompt! 

Conference Proceedings

Besides attending the annual conference, you may also consider submitting a paper to the conference proceedings. 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. To be considered for the proceedings, you must also submit and present your paper at the annual conference.

Please note that only complete papers (including abstracts) will be included. Literature reviews without the completed research (findings, conclusions) will not be published. Papers should be classified under the categories of Theoretical, Classroom Practices, Research Design, and Business Practices. 

Proceedings submissions are required by June 18, 2017. Acceptances will be determined by August 1, 2017, and final revisions will be due September 10, 2017.

Please contact Leigh Ann Whittle, Proceedings Editor, at for questions or to express an interest in serving as a reviewer.

Diversity and Inclusion Award

You may recall that last year was our first for the Distinction in the Practice of Diversity and Inclusion Award.  Our intent was to make this an annual award and it was such a great success that we are able to continue. 

We know that most, if not all, ABC members regularly do significant work in diversity and inclusion.  We had some wonderful submissions last year, but since our calls were mostly over the summer, you might have missed them.

So we’re correcting that by reaching out now. The guidelines are on the ABC website.  Please follow the guidelines and submit your proposal—it’s never too early.  We look forward to reading and rewarding your fine work in diversity and inclusion.  

Last year's award went to Anita Pandey. Anita has been heavily involved with some of the immigrant communities in Baltimore, where she teaches.  She is now involving her students in this work.  It's a terrific project because the students are able to help the immigrants with English and the logistics of being in a new/foreign country.  But also the students learn about resilience and the passion of people to create better lives for themselves, their families and their greater and extended communities.  

Anita Pandey, Bertha Du Babcock, Pete Cardon and 
Jacqui Lowman at last year's award ceremony

Member News

Member Profiles

Stephen Lind

Stephen Lind is an assistant professor of business communication in Washington and Lee University’s AACSB-accredited business program. Hired in 2013 to design an innovative professional communication curriculum for the school, Stephen teaches courses covering modern professional presentations, business writing, low-resource business video, and document design. He works with organizations and events across campus including the law school, advertising competition, entrepreneurship summit, and sustainability program to help students, staff, and faculty craft strategic and engagingly effective communication products.

Stephen ran a workshop on digital video for ABC’s 2016 gathering in Albuquerque and is excited to continue to be a part of ABC, hoping to continue contributing to its body of knowledge while also gleaning keen insights from its inspiring roster of educators and practitioners.
Beyond communication pedagogy work, Stephen’s primary research explores consumer culture industries. His first book, A Charlie Brown Religion: Exploring the Spiritual Life and Work of Charles M. Schulz (University Press of Mississippi, 2015) details the personal and career challenges Peanuts comic strip creator Charles M. Schulz faced while navigating how he might voice his own spiritual commitments and curiosities in his mainstream products. “A Charlie Brown Religion” has been featured in outlets like The Atlantic and BBC Radio.

Stephen holds a PhD from Clemson’s program in Rhetorics Communication and Information Design. More about his work can be found at

Sabrina K. Pasztor

Sabrina Pasztor’s career trajectory has included 13 years of corporate work prior to a career change towards academia in 2008. After obtaining her masters’ degree in organizational behavior/industrial labor relations from Cornell University, Sabrina spent 8 years as a Senior Strategic Management Consultant at Pricewaterhouse LLP and IBM, implementing global organizational, communication and training strategy for Fortune 500 clients in the technology, pharmaceutical, and media industries.

As an independent consultant, she developed compensation and bonus processes for a local Los Angeles law firm to address attorney attrition and improve organizational culture. In addition, she spent several years as Director of curriculum design and development at a professional trade association focused on property management in Chicago, before returning to academia to obtain her doctorate in communication, media and gender studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Sabrina is now an assistant professor at the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business. Her research focuses on organizational communication, digital and mass communication. gender communication, and pedagogy/intercultural communication. Her pedagogical expertise in academia includes strategic professional communication, business case analysis. She has published in the International Journal of Business Communication and Communication Teacher.  

Joining ABC as a member in 2016 and presenting at the conference in Albuquerque was an exciting experience. She had the opportunity to meet a variety of consummate academic and industry professionals, hear research-in-progress, as well as better understand industry-specific trends, tools and techniques being employed by ABC members. This combination of access to information, and meeting fantastic communication experts make ABC a very unique organization. She has joined the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and is looking forward to taking on additional roles in ABC leadership in the future.
Member Activities

Invitation to Internship Collaboration at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Kathleen Ditewig-Morris directs an Internship Program for undergraduate Communication majors at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The program allows students to earn academic credit for their internships with the successful completion of an online course taken concurrently with their placements. The Department of Communication is ranked consistently among the top five in the United States, and the internship program helps expand the learning of students as they prepare for professional careers in the business world. Many receive job offers because of their exceptional performance.
Kathleen aims to improve the program and keep it current to meet the needs of students as well as internship providers and potential employers. Therefore the opportunity to connect with other program directors is vital. This is an invitation to ABC members to establish a networking group to exchange ideas on best practice and collaboration.  Please contact Kathleen Ditewig-Morris,

Teaching and Research Collaboration Opportunity at University of Southern California (USC) 
The Virtual Business Professional project (VBP) has opened an application period for the Fall 2017 VBP project round, October 9 - November 19, 2017. 

VBP is a virtual consulting project co-sponsored by IBM and the Department of Business Communication at the Marshall School of Business at USC. It is open to upper level undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in a business communication course. Students from across the globe work in virtual teams and collaborate on a consulting project that examines, analyzes, and makes recommendations how to align and enhance company’s online social media presence using corporate reputation management framework. 
This six-week assignment gives students a real-world experience using communication and collaboration technologies employed in today’s corporate environment. Using the IBM Connections platform, students plan and hold virtual meetings, co-author and collaboratively revise documents, use project management tools, and write a formal report. VBP is currently in its third international round Spring 2017 that involves 415 students, 75 teams from 9 institutions and 5 countries, and 12 client companies. 
To apply for the Fall VBP project, please e-mail Jolanta Aritz at
This project has a research branch. Participating faculty are gathering both quantitative and qualitative research to learn more about how they use technology in teams, intercultural communication, and leadership. Please e-mail Jolanta Aritz if you are interested in research collaboration opportunities.

Project at Brigham Young University on Needs of English as a Second Language Students
Susie McGann, a graduate student at Brigham Young University studying Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), with Marriott School of Management faculty is in the process of evaluating the challenges and needs of non-native English speaking (NNES) international students in the business communication course (MCOM 320) offered at BYU.

MCOM 320 helps students develop written and oral communications for professional organizations as well as design business documents and presentation materials. NNES students frequently struggle with the course and tend to exhibit different needs than their native English-speaking classmates. For example, some struggle with working in teams, responding to feedback, or following basic cultural norms. In addition, many teachers feel that they lack the appropriate resources to help these students excel.

The aim of this study is to illuminate the nature of the challenges NNES students face in MCOM 320 and to develop materials that will help teachers address these needs. The study will survey and interview faculty, international students, and domestic students who have taken the course in the last five years. 
As Susie develops this project, she would love to hear from other ABC members who have conducted similar studies or perhaps who face similar challenges in their business communication courses. What strategies do you use to help NNES students in your classroom? Please contact her with questions or comments at

Susie McGann, Brigham Young University
Global Summit on Cultural Diplomacy
Leila Valoura presented in the Global Summit on Cultural Diplomacy held at the United Nations, New York City, January 11- 13.  The Summit is a major event in the field of negotiation and diversity, bringing together leaders from around the world.  In the conference Leila presented a reflection on empowering communication in the global context of Cultural Diplomacy. Her article was about empowerment among diverse teams under the theoretical perspective of the Brazilian Educator Paulo Freire. Under this perspective, power is not given to people but instead comes from them. Participants came from over 20 different countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Germany, Iraq, Romania, Norway, Tunisia, Israel, Spain, UK, Italy, Russia, Hungary, Austria, Kenya, China, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, the US, among others.

Leila Valoura

National Grammar Day at the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
The Business Communication Department at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire celebrated National Grammar Day on March 2.  The Business Writing and Presentation Studio served punctuation cookies (a National Grammar Day tradition), and the College of Business hosted a grammar contest on its Facebook page—and awarded some cool prizes, including grammar-themed coasters, tote bags, and mugs.  If you want to know more about the history of National Grammar Day or discover some resources for celebrating, you can visit the National Grammar Day website.


International Higher Education Available in French
The first issue of the French edition of  International Higher Education (IHE) appeared in January 2017.

The project was the result of an agreement reached between the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and Boston  College's Center for International Higher Education. In order to meet the project objectives, AUF established a consortium of universities made-up of the Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis in Senegal, the University of Johannesburg in South Africa and McGill University in Canada.

The vast majority of texts translated from English to French were done under the supervision of ABC member James Archibald, who chairs the Department of Translation and Written Communication at McGill University. The Center at Boston College publishes several other foreign language version of IHE, These may be found on-line in Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. All may be accessed free of charge on the Center's website.

The French-language edition is hosted on the AUF website. As a result of this initiative, current research in international education is now accessible to readers in AUF's 106 member countries and the 817 institutions  of higher earning affiliated with the AUF.

Members' Books

Business Communication: A Problem Solving Approach. By Kathy Rentz and Paula Lentz. McGraw Hill.

Business Communication: In Person, In Print, Online, 10th Edition. By Amy Newman. Cengage

Producing Written and Oral Business Reports: Formatting, Illustrating and Presenting. By Dorinda Clippinger. Business Expert Press.

Copyright © 2017 Association for Business Communication, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp