Communication Ethics

Students presenting in class.The Center for the Study of Ethics in Society at Western Michigan University is the repository of the historical archives of the National Communication Association's Commission for Communication Ethics.

James A. Jaksa, the center's former associate director, petitioned to establish the commission in 1984. The association (then the Speech Communication Association) established the commission the following year. Historical documents pertaining to the commission's founding and early programming are available from the center's archives.


The commission began co-sponsoring a national summer conference every two years. Until 2002, the National Communication Ethics Conference was co-hosted by WMU's Center for the Study of Ethics in Society and Department of Communication and was held at the Kellogg Biological Station in Gull Lake, Michigan, earning it the nickname of the Gull Lake Conference. Programs, proceedings and papers from these conferences are available from the center's archives. Since 2004, the conference has been hosted by the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies at Duquesne University. The conference is known for its intimacy, giving it another nickname—the conference with a soul.

The commission also began a quarterly newsletter called Ethics; early issues are available from the center's archives. Current issues may be obtained by subscribing to the Communication Ethics listserve.

The commission was instrumental in the development of the NCA Credo for Ethical Communication adopted by NCA in 1999. Documents related to the development, adoption and implementation of the Credo are available from the Center's archives.

The commission was designated the Communication Ethics Division.

Archived materials

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Materials available for download