President Olga Matyash called the meeting to order at 12:31.
Ina Ames, Bridgewater State College, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Steven Beebe, Texas State University, email@example.com;
Robert Craig, University of Colorado, firstname.lastname@example.org;
David Cratis Williams, Florida Atlantic University, email@example.com;
Joe Dailey, Carroll College, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Olga Gershenson, University of Massachusetts, email@example.com;
Sandra Halvorson, Florida State University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Mike Hazen, Wake Forest University, email@example.com;
Nancy Hoar, Western New England College, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Dean Kruckeberg, University of Northern Iowa, email@example.com;
Michael Launer, Florida State University, firstname.lastname@example.org ;
Olga Matyash, email@example.com;
Jackie Schmidt, John Carroll University, Schmidt@jcu.edu;
Marylin Young, Florida State University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Deborrah Uecker, Wisconsin Lutheran College, email@example.com;
Beth Goering, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Sergei Samoilenko, George Mason University, email@example.com
The Third International Russian Communication Association Conference is scheduled to be held in St. Petersburg, June 12 to June 16, 2006. The conference theme is "COMMUNICATION AND (RE) MAKING SOCIAL WORLDS." The two previous international conferences - in Pyatigorsk (2002) and in Rostov (2004) - involved a single hosting institution for each of the conferences. Each of those institutions is a regional institution. In St. Petersberg, the RCA conference will be in a particularly large city and will be hosted by a number of institutions: St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg-M.A. Bonch-Bruevich State University for Telecommunications, St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University, Nevsky Institute of Language and Culture, and the St. Petersburg Institute of Foreign Economic Relations, Economics and Law.
Initially there was a proposal for an interuniversity consortium to be formed specifically to host the 2006 conference.
Members present took note of the passing of Mihail Vershinin, who was to be one of the guiding forces of the 2006 conference. He was a professor at the State Polytechnical University in St. Petersberg.
Dr. Matyash spoke about the challenges of the organizational process leading up to the 2006 conference: the loss of Vershinin's leadership, the withdrawal of some commitments, the need to create a new team of organizers - especially in the spring of 2005.
Beginning in the spring of 2005, a new team emerged. Dr. Matyash had worked with them, at first via e-mail and later face-to-face. She expressed her thanks to her colleagues in St. Petersburg who came forward to offer their participation and energy under difficult time constraints. Their contributions, she said, were invaluable in creating progress toward the 2006 conference. She noted that the co-organizers are mostly chairs of public relations departments. Prior to our collaboration on the conference, they did not have a great deal of familiarity with the Russian Communication Association and the National Communication Association. Western communication education practices, as one might expect, differ from Russian practices, she said.
Dr. Matyash provided an overview of preparation, convention locations, anticipated programs - both academic and cultural.
She noted that individual presentations are the norm for academics in Russia, while collaborative panels and programs are common in America. She encouraged submission of American proposals for all kinds of presentations: papers, panels, master classes and programs.
Deadline for submission of proposals for the conference in St. Petersburg is Jan. 15. Proposals go to Steven Beebe, of Southwest Texas University, firstname.lastname@example.org.
She emphasized the fact that we will experience some cultural differences in conference planning, activities and academic orientation. We might expect to see the opening of the conference with greetings from university administrators, which is not a tradition at western conferences. On the other hand, the tradition of a keynote speaker is not that common at Russian academic conferences. The Russian intellectual orientation drifts to the philosophical and theoretical, while the American intellectual orientation tends to drift to the empirical and theoretical. Even the terms "communication" and "commnucation studies" are an issue for debate in Russia. The question remains as to whether the discipline should be called Communicatsia, Communicalogy, Social Communications, Communicativistica, or something else.
The RCA conference will be at the conference center on the north side of St. Petersburg. Travel from there to city center or to the airport is conveniet by subway.
The Russian Communication Association is now an institutional partner not only with the National Communication Association, but also with International Communication Association. Dr. Matyash thanked Robert Craig, a former president of ICA who worked on behalf of RCA at the ICA conference in May of 2005 in order to establish our new partnership.
It was noted that the RCA conference in St. Petersburg, scheduled for June 12-June 16, will finish only a couple of days before the annual conference of the International Communication Association, which will meet in Dresden, Germany, June 19-June 23. (Jurgen Habermas is scheduled to speak at one of the plenary sessions.)
Coordinator Maureen Minelli is looking for information as to who intends to attend and who among those will also be going to ICA in Dresden. Members of RCA can participate in the ICA conference at member rate. RCA can have a program slot at ICA for a panel related to Russian themes or issues. Although the ICA deadline is past, RCA has permission to submit a late proposal. Since Dr. Matyash does not plan at this point to be going to Dresden, someone else will have to take charge. Michael Haley, an executive director of ICA, is the person to contact about a program.
Dr. Matyash announced that she intends the 2005-2006 school year to be her last year as president of RCA.
David Cratis Williams noted that, at NCA 2004, we formed the North American Russian Communication Association (NARCA) as an affiliate of RCA. NARCA is also affiliated with ICA, and - as such - members will be able to attend each others conferences at members rates. Earlier, some of the projects had faced difficulties because of lack of formal status within the United States. NARCA, Inc. was founded and incorporated in the state of Florida as a not-for-profit organization. This allows the organization to establish bank accounts and to benefit from federal tax-exempt status. As of today, there is no formal membership, although we may begin the formal membership soon. Fees are likely to range from $20 to $40.
The status as an incorporated not-for-profit organization is valuable as the legal foundation for the pursuit of grants. We anticipate that by the time of the 2006 conference in St. Petersburg, membership would be a two-year membership. The organization still needs a constitution. It is possible that NARCA might postpone collecting dues until after it is even more firmly established as a formal organization. A committee to begin drafting the constitution will begin soon under the leadership of Marylin Young, who volunteered to lead that effort.
We can find announcements on RCA website at russcomm.ru/eng/, a website supported by two Russian web designer/managers. In the future there may be a separate NARCA website, and perhaps the two will be combined.
At previous conferences, Americans have been asked to bring books to support what is known as "the book project," an effort that has been directed by Nancy Jackson.
At this point, we are looking for people with contacts with publishers who might be willing to provide copies of the most recent publications.
David Cratis Williams talked about the potential for a mini book fair which would include an exhibitions of Russian text books
Mike Hazen introduced the issue of slots for RCA programs at NCA conferences, saying that we need good ideas and good proposals for 2006. In 2005, NCA has three slots for RCA -- one went for business meeting , one was a program of competitive papers and the third was a discussion panel. Attention turned to ways to better publicize what we do and the question as to what can be done to get additional slots. Our situation improves if RCA co-sponsors with NCA units. Ina Ames suggested co-sponsorship with the Women's Caucus. Can we get additional slots?
Near the end of the business meeting, members exchanged a series of ideas related to the work of RCA.
Mike Hazen noted how difficult it is for Russian citizens to get to RCA conventions. Perhaps the new technologies will help, he said. He looks forward to finding non-traditional ways that might bridge the gap and get more Americans and Russians working together. He mentioned a forthcoming website that will be based at Wake Forest.
There was mention of the idea that the Russian language departments might be happy to use their resources - especially their Websites - in ways that would support RCA and NARCA.
Olga M said that the reason that Russians often do not seem to be interested in the NCA's activities is only because they don't have a sufficient understanding of what is happening within the NCA. Once Russians come to understand the NCA and its relevance to their work, they become more enthusiastic, she said.
Sergei Samoilenko said that RCA needs to advertise better within the popular disciplines in Russia, especially PR and telecommunication. There we have best chance to explain what we do and why we do it, he said.
The meeting adjourned at 1:45 p.m.
Joe Dailey and Beth Goering