The Francine Merritt Award or Outstanding Contributions to the Lives of Women in Communication, presented by the National Communication Association's (NCA) Women's Caucus, honors the memory of Francine Merritt, who taught at Louisiana State University between 1947 and 1984. Congratulations to the 2013 Francine Merritt Award winner, professor and head of the department of communication studies, Barbara Biesecker:
Dr. Biesecker's commitment to the Women's Causus' goal of "exploring the diversity and complexities of women's lives" is evident in her research. Former Chair of the Women's Caucus, UGA Distinguished Professor and COMM faculty member Dr. Celeste Condit noted in her letter of support that Dr. Biesecker "has clearly been and continues to be an important figure in the progress of feminist and women's studies scholarship in communication" and she 'is recognized as a leader (perhaps the leader) in a realm of abstract theory." Incoming President of NCA Dr. Lynn Turner noted that Dr. Biesecker's scholarship reveals her "continual efforts to bring both women and feminist perspectives to rhetorical history" and draws "attention to the significatn influences on and by women." Dr. Biesecker's scholarship has been the focus of a spotlight panel at the Southern States Communication Association Annual Conference called "Shifting Scenes: Rhetoric/Feminism/Postmodernism," earned her the Douglas Ehninger Distinguished Rhetorical Scholar Award, and contributed to her selection as the newest Editor of the Quarterly Journal of Speech - making her only the fifth women to serve in that role during the last century.
As her colleagues note at the link, Dr. Biesecker works tirelessly as a mentor to further the careers of women in the field of communication. For this alone we are in her debt, though her dedication as an educator and scholar put her in the position to be such a positive influence and source of support for her colleagues. Congratulations on on this particular award, which brings great distinction to UGA and the Franklin College.