This year, for the first time ever, the 2018 Rex Crawley Service Award from the African American Communication and Culture Division / Black Caucus of the National Communication Association will be presented to a Penn State professor. Dr. Kesha Morant Williams, an associate professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State Berks, will receive the award at the 104th National Communication Association Conference in November 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Rex Crawley Service Award is named after Dr. Rex Crawley, a professor from Robert Morris University who was deeply involved in social advocacy, social justice and his community. The award recognizes the contributions made by an active member of the National Communication Association who completes extraordinary works of service. The association defines service as social advocacy, community service and/or mentoring.
Morant Williams was nominated for this award by two colleagues: one from the California State University, Fresno and another from Rider University in New Jersey. The award is based on the work she has done as part of a collaborative effort between Penn State Berks and Penn State Health St. Joseph, as well as other service initiatives that she has completed with her students in the community.
According to Morant Williams, “It’s always been important to me to find a clear way to link my teaching, my service, and my research. To really be able to see it materialize is very important to me.”
While this will be the 104th anniversary for the National Communication Association, it will also be the 50th anniversary for the Black Caucus, which means a lot of time will be spent looking back at what African American scholars have done and what they have contributed to the discipline in regards to research, teaching, and service. To Morant Williams, this makes receiving the award even more special.
“It’s already an honor to get it, but it’s even more, in my opinion, an honor to get it this year when we’re reflecting back over the last 50 years of our work. Maybe 50 years from now, when people are looking back over this, they’ll be able to see something that I contributed to the discussion.”