Dr. J. Matthew Melton, dean of Lee University’s College of Arts & Sciences, assumed the office of president of the Religious Communication Association at their annual business meeting. The meeting was part of the National Communication Association Conference in Orlando, Fla.
Dr. Melton takes on the role after having served as second vice president in 2011 and first vice president in 2012. He succeeds Dr. Kathleen Edlemayer of Madonna University. As first vice president, Dr. Melton was responsible for organizing the RCA’s pre-conference and sponsored sessions for the national conference.
Between the pre-conference and the national conference, the RCA sponsored 20 sessions that included more than 80 scholarly presentations from various aspects of religious communication including film, prayer, preaching, recent political discourse, classical rhetoric and the debates surrounding the teaching of science and theories of evolution.
Scholars represented institutions across the academic spectrum from large state universities to smaller privates. The association’s activities concluded with a banquet featuring keynoter Christina Beck from the School of Communication Studies at Ohio University. Ms. Beck spoke on the challenges of civility and grace confronting rightwing and leftwing Christians in the aftermath of the 2012 general election.
The RCA is an interfaith academic society founded in 1973 by people interested in the study of all aspects of public religious communication. Among its members are teachers, students, clergy, broadcasters, scholars and professionals who share a common interest in religious speech, media, performance and other communication.
The RCA is affiliated with National Communication Association, which conducts annual conferences for thousands of its members across dozens of disciplinary divisions and groups.
Dr. Melton has been dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Lee University since 2005. He has directed the Kairos Scholars Honors Program since 2003 and teaches in Humanities and Communication Studies.
Dr. Melton joined the Lee faculty in 1995 as a journalism professor in which role he guided student print media for ten years. He later served as the chair of the Communication Arts Department (1997-2002). Dr. Melton’s wife Leslie teaches second grade at Arnold Memorial Elementary in Cleveland, and his son Nick is a junior at Cleveland High School.
For more information on the Religious Communication Association, visit http://www.americanrhetoric.com/rca/index.html