Concord Professor Receives National Award for Dissertation

For Immediate Release: 
Aug 29 2005

Concord Professor Receives National Award for Dissertation

Athens, W.Va. — Dr. Rebecca Meisenbach, assistant professor of communication arts at Concord University, recently was awarded the John Grenzebach Award for Outstanding Research in Philanthropy from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

She received the award for her dissertation, "Framing Fund Raising: A Poststructuralist Analysis of Higher Education Fund Raisers' Work and Identities" (Purdue University, 2004).

“Using in-depth interviews with higher education fund raisers from six different states, I focused on understanding how fund raisers discursively form their identities and negotiate among various societal discourses,” said Meisenbach. “In layman’s terms, I looked at words that they use to describe themselves and their work.”

The results of her dissertation concluded that fund raisers use seven different ways to frame their work and identities, based on their sense of self and job satisfaction. Meisenbach found that those who were least satisfied with their jobs tended to refer to their work only within the financial frame.

With this research, Meisenbach said she hopes that fund raisers will be able to increase their sense of worth and job satisfaction by recognizing these different ways of framing their work.

“In terms of communication theory, the project moves away from viewing identity as something static and fixed, viewing it instead as an ongoing tension-filled process of daily negotiation,” she shared.

The John Grenzebach Awards for Outstanding Research in Philanthropy for Education recognize the work of established researchers and encourage young scholars to continue their work in advancement. The awards program is co-sponsored by CASE and the American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel Trust for Philanthropy (AAFRC).

The awards are named in honor of the late John Grenzebach, founding chairman of John Grenzebach & Associates Inc., development consultants to educational institutions. He was a leader in educational philanthropy with a strong interest in promoting scholarship in the advancement field.

Meisenbach was honored with other award winners at the CASE Annual Assembly in July 2005.

“I was honored to receive the award and excited about the chance to attend part of CASE's annual assembly where I had the opportunity to meet fund raisers from across the nation,” she said. “Spending a night in Miami wasn't bad either. But seriously, it is a wonderful acknowledgment of the work that fund raisers are doing across the country.”

"The contributions these individuals have made in the areas of research and writing are significant and will undoubtedly lead to new areas of scholarship within the educational advancement field," said John Lippincott, president of CASE, about the award winners.

Meisenbach will be making a presentation of her research at the National Communication Association Conference in Boston on November 17.

Dr. Meisenbach is planning research projects on the history and future of organizational rhetoric, and the experiences of working mothers and childcare. She is in her third year of service to Concord University.

For more information, contact Dr. Meisenbach at, 1-800-344-6679, extension 5303, or 1-304-384-5303.


PHOTO: Dr. Rebecca Meisenbach

CONCORD UNIVERSITY NOTES: Jesse Call, a junior majoring in political science and history, wrote this news release. His hometown is Pocahontas, Va.