LSU Graduate Students to Serve on Executive Board of the International Listening Association

11/23/2011 08:58 AM

BATON ROUGE – Michelle Pence and Shaughan Keaton, both doctoral candidates in the Department of Communication Studies at LSU, have been selected to serve on the executive board of the International Listening Association, or ILA.


Pence recently returned from Iowa, where she attended both the Fall Executive Board Meeting of ILA and the Iowa Communication Association’s annual convention. The Iowa Communication Association, or ICA, invited the ILA board members to meet in conjunction with its annual convention because of its continued partnership with the ILA to bring greater attention to the critical role listening plays in all human activity.


Pence received her bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and her master’s degree in communication from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Because of her interest in researching listening, in 2010, Pence was selected to participate as a member of a panel that shared updates in the area of mapping the characteristics of competent listening at the ILA’s annual convention.


In 2011, Pence again was part of a student team that presented listening research at the annual listening convention. This last year, the students’ research earned them a top paper award. Her continued commitment to listening and her enthusiasm for researching this important area of communication caught the attention of the ILA membership; and this year, Pence was elected to serve on the organization’s Executive Board. As secretary, Pence is responsible for recording the minutes of both the board and business meetings as well as serving on the Constitution and By-Laws Committee.


Because of his interest in researching listening, Keaton became a student member of the ILA last year, when he attended his first listening convention. He didn’t waste any time getting involved in listening research and the ILA. While at his first convention, Keaton presented with then ILA President Laura Janusik on metacognition and was part of the LSU student panel that ultimately won the Best Convention Theme award. His creativity and enthusiasm caught the attention of the ILA membership; and this year, Keaton was selected to serve on the association’s Executive Board as web editor. In this three-year position, he is responsible for updating the web site and working on its design. The web editor also helps to make the website user-friendly by learning about and following best practices.


In addition to his studies at LSU, Keaton also teaches public speaking, a course in which he is able to share his passion for listening. Originally from outside of Columbus, Ohio, Keaton went to college in Orlando at the University of Central Florida, where he earned both his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in English. This writing knowledge and the creativity of his youthful mind are going to bring welcomed insights to the ILA’s website.


The ILA is a professional organization whose members represent 16 countries and 38 U.S. states, as well as Washington, D.C. Associates are dedicated to advancing the vision of the ILA, which is to be the international leader of listening practices, teaching and research. ILA meets at annual conventions and regional conferences to share information, to support research efforts, and to promote the practice and teaching of effective listening. The organization’s cooperative and engaging atmosphere also provides the opportunity to share applied, theoretical and strategic ideas. The ILA has designed a listening certification program that enhances listening knowledge and skills. Becoming a Certified Listening Professional appeals to a wide range of professionals who spend time listening to a variety of constituents in diverse settings.


Since its formation in 1979, ILA has promoted the study, development and teaching of effective listening in all settings. Although listening is at the root of communication, it remains an interdisciplinary topic. So, it’s no surprise that members have diverse backgrounds. Consult ILA’s directory and find professionals working in education, business, government, medicine, human resources, training and development, the media and the arts.


For more information about the ILA, visit

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2011