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Jeanne Persuit Elected Eastern Communication Association President

Jeanne Persuit is a professor with UNCW's Department of Communication Studies.
Jeanne Persuit is a professor with UNCW's Department of Communication Studies.
Photo: Michael Spencer/UNCW

Jeanne Persuit has been elected president of the Eastern Communication Association, the oldest regional association in the communication discipline, for 2024-25. 

Persuit, a professor in the Department of Communication Studies, previously served as the first vice president and conference planner for the 2024 ECA Convention, which was held in Cambridge, Mass., in March. More than 500 attendees presented their research and teaching. The convention also featured an undergraduate scholars’ conference and graduate student poster sessions, including 10 undergraduate and two graduate students in UNCW’s communication studies undergraduate program and integrated marketing communication master’s program.

“Planning the convention is a significant effort, but I had an amazing team in place — including our COM Studies students,” said Persuit. “Now that I’m president, I’m looking forward to reviewing what went well and what we might need to update in our planning processes and supporting my first vice president while he plans the convention in Buffalo.”

Persuit’s experience with the association, first as a graduate student, inspired her to take a leadership role in the organization. 

“ECA was the first academic conference I ever attended; as a graduate student, I was able to volunteer and learn about this important service to our discipline firsthand,” Persuit said. “My first presentation of my research was also at ECA; as a doctoral student, I was learning how to communicate my ideas and get feedback from scholars in the field. ECA fostered the community that served as my academic home even after I came to Wilmington in 2008. Because of those experiences, I wanted to serve ECA in a leadership role.”

Persuit said she looks forward to her time as president and is thankful for the support of UNCW, the College of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts, and the Department of Communication Studies.

“I am hoping to create strategic partnerships with other professional organizations to add more value to an ECA membership,” said Persuit. “I am also creating an integrated marketing communication working group to ensure that we communicate the brand and value of ECA membership and convention attendance. We have been working on new membership structures and mentorship programs that I hope to finalize this year.”

Persuit hopes to increase conference accessibility, particularly for individuals facing financial constraints. 

“Since COVID, academic conferences have become more costly to plan, and travel is more expensive for our attendees,” she said. “Since ECA provides services and benefits to its members beyond the annual convention, I am working to communicate those benefits and make the association more accessible for undergraduate and graduate students; contingent faculty; and faculty who are not as well resourced.”

Established in 1910, the Eastern Communication Association is the oldest professional communication association in the United States. It is a service-oriented organization with a record of excellence in research, criticism, communication theory and excellence in teaching. The association welcomes members who share the goals and objectives of a membership dedicated to participation in state, regional and national activity.