International Communication Association

The Association Newsletter

In Memoriam: James McCroskey

Mike J. West, ICA Publications Manager

vspace=10James C. “Jim” McCroskey, Scholar in Residence in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, died on 27 December 2012 of complications related to pneumonia. He was 77 years old. McCroskey, a major figure in the study of communication, was a fellow and life member of the International Communication Association, affiliated with the ICA for over 4 decades.

McCroskey leaves an enormous legacy of scholarship, including what is believed to be the largest body of published work in the history of the discipline. His writings included over 220 articles and book chapters, over 50 books and revisions, and over 30 textbooks and instructionally related books. His first book, An Introduction to Rhetorical Communication (Prentice-Hall, 1968), was published in its 9th edition in 2006, making it one of the longest continually published books in the field of communication.

According to his friend and colleague Mark Hickson, McCroskey was “an expert in communication apprehension, source credibility, organizational communication, instructional communication, and nonverbal communication, to name a few.” He was also an expert in the field of interpersonal communication, serving as chair of the Interpersonal Communication Division of the ICA as well as of the corresponding divisions/interest groups of the National Communication Association (NCA) and Eastern Communication Association (ECA).

“Virtually every student of speech, speech communication, communication arts, or communication studies in the past 40+ years has heard the name, James C. McCroskey,” said Hickson.

A native of South Dakota, McCroskey received his B.S. degree from the Southern State Teachers College in Springfield, S.D. (now the University of South Dakota-Springfield), and his Master’s from USD, before moving on to Pennsylvania State University to complete his doctoral studies. He spent brief periods at Michigan State University and Illinois State University before becoming Chairperson of the Department of Communication Studies in 1972, where he spent the next 25 years. He moved to the University of Alabama in 1997.

In addition to his service to ICA’s Interpersonal Communication Division (in which capacity he served on the association’s Board of Directors), McCroskey was a former chair of the Membership and Life Membership Committees. He was instrumental in the creation of ICA’s journal Human Communication Research in 1975, served on its founding editorial board, and was the journal’s second editor form 1977-79. He was also inducted as one of the first class of ICA fellows in 1979.

“It is with profound sorrow that we mourn the passing of our friend and colleague; Dr. James C. McCroskey,” the University of Alabama’s Department of Communication Studies said in a statement. “The profession and department are substantially lessened by his death.”

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This entry was posted on January 31, 2013 by in January/February 2013 and tagged , , , .

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