Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies Wins National Communication Association Master’s Program Award

The Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies (CRS) in the College of Visual and Performing Arts has received the 2020 Outstanding Master’s Program Award from the National Communication Association (NCA). The NCA’s Master’s Education Section presents the award annually to programs that exemplify academic and teaching excellence.

According to Charles E. Morris III, professor and chairperson in CRS, “the award is a long-deserved testament to years of excellence in graduate education and inspiration for continued achievement by our current and future students and faculty.”

CRS offers a master of arts (M.A.) degree in CRS that stresses theoretical and methodological diversity, close guidance and advising by faculty instructors and high academic standards. The program specializes in training M.A. candidates to thrive as teachers and scholars and to succeed at the most renowned doctoral programs in the country. As one of the award nominators wrote, “in the 25 years that I have been a faculty member in a Ph.D. program, I can think of no other M.A. program that has produced so many exceptional Ph.D. applicants.” The nationally and internationally prominent, award-winning faculty balance deep roots in the discipline with interdisciplinary innovations.

The CRS master’s program is recognized for its faculty dedication to teaching and mentorship, reflected in the long and remarkable success of its students. “We were delighted to receive the news that we were awarded Outstanding Master’s Program,” says Rachel Hall, director of graduate studies. “Truth be told, we are accustomed to praise for our academic rigor and dedicated mentorship by those who have either studied with us or worked with our talented students after they leave CRS. We are also used to our excellent graduate students winning national awards for the work that they do with us. But it is quite another thing altogether to be publicly recognized as a premiere graduate program by the members of our national professional organization.”

Over the past decade, CRS students have received the M.A. Thesis of the Year Award from the Master’s Education Section of NCA five times. Each year, CRS graduate students’ work is competitively selected for presentation at leading conferences. On campus, CRS graduate student instructors have been awarded the Graduate School’s Outstanding TA Award every year for the past 12 years.

The NCA advances communication as the discipline that studies all forms, modes, media and consequences of communication through humanistic, social scientific and aesthetic inquiry. Each year, the NCA honors the best in communication, presenting awards for outstanding scholarship, teaching and professional service. The awards recognize a wide range of contributions to the communication discipline.