Dr. J. Matthew Melton, Dean of Lee University's College of Arts
& Sciences, assumed the office of president of the Religious
Communication Association (RCA) at their annual business meeting on
Nov. 17. The meeting was part of the National Communication
Association Conference in Orlando, Fla.
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,
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. 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
The RCA is affiliated with National Communication Association,
which conducts annual conferences for thousands of its members
across dozens of disciplinary divisions and groups.
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
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). Melton's wife Leslie teaches second grade at Arnold
Memorial Elementary in Cleveland, Tenn., and his son Nick is a
junior at Cleveland High School.
For more information on the Religious Communication Association,
please visit http://www.americanrhetoric.com/rca/index.html.