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The New York State Communication Association 77th Conference

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Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center

356 Villa Roma Road

Callicoon, NY 12723

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The New York State Communication Association

77th Annual Conference October 18-20, 2019 | www.nyscanet.org

Theory vs. Practice: Bridging the Gap”

Spaghetti and Meatballs. Salad and Ranch Dressing. Laurel and Hardy.
Laurel and Yanni.

Pen and Paper.

Theory and Practice.That last one is no more a polar opposite than the others, so why do we see it portrayed this way so often in academic and business circles? Often these terms are more about “things that go together” yet sometimes we see the discussion turned into an either-or, binary, take it or leave it, all or nothing, bifurcated reality when it comes to the classroom.

How many times have we heard “Professor X only teaches production” or “Dr. Y only teaches concepts”? Has this been of concern to us, or a necessary side effect of people who have different focuses, approaches, goals, and methods?

Surely in some courses, there is an emphasis on theory over practice and vice-versa. And in other courses, the content is more of a blend. Lately blends seem to have been making more inroads, but are these constructions really necessary in a modern educational context? Do theoreticians need to learn to pull up their sleeves and do actual hands-on work? Do practitioners need to learn the ins and outs and nuances of all the important foundations of thought that we expect communications students to understand? Or are we serving our students poorly to expect people to model behavior which employees in contemporary organizations are not always themselves practicing?

In a world of inter-disciplinary, inter-cultural, inter-national collaboration – is it acceptable to expect people to hyper-specialize as some in the academy do, or will higher education embrace a more generalist worldview which may provide more opportunities to not only gain the entry-level job experience that families of our students now expect, but also the ability to code-shift into different and more lucrative and fulfilling opportunities?

In this, the 77th conference of the New York State Communications Association, we examine Theory VS. Practice.How can they work together and where should they be apart? How will we navigate the age-old tension between the camps, and ensure that our graduates can both think deeply, and also deal with the practical issues that citizens of a 21st century planet must tackle to move forward together.


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Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center

356 Villa Roma Road

Callicoon, NY 12723

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