At this year's 72nd Annual International Communication Association (ICA) Conference held in Paris, Communication and Social Influence Professor at Klein College of Media and Communication Lance Holbert (he/him) and alumna Esul Park, KLN '21 (she/her), received the biannual Outstanding Article Award for the work they co-authored and published in 2020.
Holbert and Park started working together four summers ago when Holbert was advising Park as she completed her PhD. The former was looking for help quoting articles as he started working on his article examining how communication scientists approach conditional effects.
Together, Holbert and Park pointed out to the field of communication that oftentimes, its moderation-based hypotheses about conditional relationships aren't as precise as they should be.
"For as long as I've been a professor, I have spent some time identifying ways in which the field can improve its research practices," Holbert said.
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at The Ohio State University David DeAndrea (he/him) nominated Holbert and Park's work for the award. DeAndrea met Holbert when he was a student at University of Delaware, where Holbert was teaching in the late aughts.
"It seemed like a no-brainer that [the award] would be very competitive," DeAndrea said. In order to win the Outstanding Article Award, nominated works must be proven to have a large impact on the communications field.
In the few short years since publishing, Holbert and Park's article has a citation rate in the top 1% of all social science articles.
DeAndrea teaches a mandatory communication theory class at his university, and requires all PhD and master's students to read Holbert and Park's work. "I've seen how much of an impact it's made in terms of them learning about important concepts relating to theory development," he said.
Park is honored to have received this award, especially because it is only given once every two years. "This award has been given only to a very small number of people in this field," she said.
Holbert went to Paris to receive the award in-person on behalf of himself and Park. This year's conference was particularly special because it was the first one to be held in-person since before the pandemic. Holbert enjoyed seeing people again, and is glad to have received one of only five association-wide awards given out each year.
"I think he leads the field in terms of being a role model for what a more senior advanced scholar should be," DeAndrea said. He admires Holbert's ability to mentor students like Park while publishing work that is changing the field as we know it.