WMU News

Communication ethics experts converge on campus

May 16, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Many of the top scholars in communication ethics will descend on Western Michigan University's campus May 30 through June 2 for the seventh National Communication Ethics Conference.

Among the topics to be discussed by participants at this year's event will be media ethics and the coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, hate speech, and employees and ethics in organizations.

This is the first time that the biennial conference, for which WMU acts as host, has been held on campus. The conference, which began in 1990, has traditionally been held at the Kellogg Biological Station Conference Center on the shores of Gull Lake, but rising costs and a desire for the accessible resources of the University brought the event to campus.

Dr. Richard Johannesen, professor of communication at Northern Illinois University and the conference's James A. Jaksa Scholar-in-Residence, will present the keynote address. The post of scholar-in-residence, which the conference has had since its inception, was named this year for Dr. James A. Jaksa, WMU professor emeritus of communication and a founder of the conference. Jaksa will introduce Johannesen, who is the author of several books, including "Ethics in Human Communication," for his keynote address on "The Role for Shame in Communication Ethics" at 12:30 p.m. Friday, May 31, in the President's Dining Room at the Bernhard Center. In addition, Johannesen will present a workshop on teaching about hate speech with Dr. Debra Worley, associate professor of communication at Indiana State University.

Three WMU students have been awarded the conference's Duquesne Graduate Student Fellowships in Communication Ethics. Awarded to the authors of the top student papers submitted, the fellowships cover the cost of conference registration fees for the winners. This year's recipients are Rebecca S. DeVries of Holland, Mich.; Alycia M. Iwan of Portage, Mich.; and Angelika Kausche of Mattawan, Mich.

The conference is sponsored by the Communication Ethics Commission of the National Communication Association; the Department of Communication at Duquesne University; and Western Michigan University's Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, Department of Communication and College of Arts and Sciences. The event is expected to draw participants from across the United States and as far away as Switzerland.

For more information about the conference, contact Dr. Sandra Borden, assistant professor of communication and one of the conference's organizers, at (269) 387-3146 or visit the conference's Web site at <www.wmich.edu/communication/ethics>.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 269 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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