Students, faculty present at conference

Four Stevenson seniors and two professors recently returned from presentations at the Eastern Communication Association‘s convention, held annually each spring. The convention’s theme was “Creating Our Future,” and the event was held at the Omni Providence Hotel April 11-14.

Lambda Pi Eta students from Stevenson University joined others college students on a panel about the honor society. The four students (on the right in the photo) were Paul Farrell, Quinn Luethy, Mariah Williams, and Molly Myers. (Photo from the Business Communication department)

Providence, Rhode Island, the self-dubbed “Creative Capital” of New England, hosted the event. Usually the convention is held in a large city in the East; last year’s event was held in Pittsburgh, and 2020 will feature that city’s football rival, Baltimore, home to the Ravens.

According to its website, “Founded in 1910, the Eastern Communication Association serves as the oldest professional communication association in the country. Bolstering a strong tradition, the Eastern Communication Association has prided themselves on strong research, criticism, communication theory, and excellence in teaching.”

The 110th annual conference included attendance by Stevenson business communication professors Leeanne M. Bell McManus and Chip Rouse as well as four student honor society members. The students were Paul Farrell, Quinn Luethy, Molly Myers and Mariah Williams. Bell McManus has served as president of the association for the last year, and prior to that, was the first vice president charged with planning the Pittsburgh convention.

Faculty members Leeanne Bell McManus (center) and Chip Rouse (far right) joined faculty members from other universities on a panel that discussed innovative ways of engaging students in the learning process. (Photo from the business communication department)

Conference days included hour and a half slots during which the Lambda Pi Eta students got the chance to go to volunteer as logistics helpers and ambassadors. They were also able to attend some of the sessions when they were not working. In addition, the students sat on a panel with Lambda Pi Eta students from other universities to discuss the challenges that honor societies face nationally.

Lambda Pi Eta is the honor society of the National Communication Association. Students in their junior or senior year who meet the admission criteria are invited to join the organization.

Bell McManus described the four-day event: “The 110th convention was a success because of the outstanding primary convention planners and interest group leaders. I am also forever grateful to everyone who helped me plan the 109th convention in Pittsburgh, Penn.”

Dr. Leeanne Bell McManus (left, holding the plaque) of Stevenson University received a prestigious Teaching Fellows Award during a ceremony at the 110th annual ECA convention. (Photo from Facebook)

She added, “This year’s program was packed with exciting panels that promoted opportunities for listening, learning, and engaging others in great discussion.” The ECA president also received a prestigious Teaching Fellows Award during the awards ceremony.

Rouse also enjoyed the conference, adding, “I always like hearing what other communication professors are doing in the classroom. It’s a great chance to learn a lot from others and share my own experiences with them.” The two professors shared a panel session on new and different ways of engaging student learning outside of the classroom, as Bell spoke about the Faculty in the Halls program and Rouse talked about the social media workshops that the faculty in the business communication department have been offering.

Already preparing for what next year has to offer, the ECA convention in 2020 looks to build on the theme of “Harboring Innovation.” Because Baltimore, the site of the event, is a harbor town, the theme is an apt one.

More information can be found at, where interested educators will be greeted by a host of easily accessible links and tools.

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