Program Development, Mentoring, Methodology, History/Historiography, Video, Teaching Cases

Program Development

  • Meredith Johnson, Michele Simmons and I recently have completed Lean Technical Communication; it is being published by Routledge Press. preorder link
    This book addresses how canny work can leverage meager program resources--when supported by affordances offered by free and open source technologies, community engagement projects, energy-saving facilities, and other free or low-cost initiatives. The programs can be forged into sustainable infrastructures for technical communication programs. Inspired by the 2009 financial crisis in the US that negatively impacted higher education, a crisis that has eased in some areas (though not all), this volume seeks to strengthen technical communication programs'structural and procedural nimbleness as key facets for ensuring the field's long-term sustainability.

  • I also have recently completed a program development chapter entitled "The Purdue Graduate Program in Rhetoric and Composition: Issues and Challenges." It describes the approach taken to graduate program work and ponders how emerging issues/challenges are addressed. It appears in Writing Program Architecture: Thirty Cases for Reference and Research, edited by Bryna Siegel Feiner and Jamie White-Farnham (Utah State University Press, 2017).


I've been working with several colleagues on mentoring for women including: 1) students in STEM fields, 2) new teachers of professional writing, and 3) faculty in technical communication.

  • Kristen Moore, Lisa Meloncon, and I have co-authored a chapter on cooperative mentoring models that help us construct safe spaces for faculty development in technical communication. It will appear in Surviving Sexism in Academia: Strategies for Feminist Leadership edited by Holly Hassel and Kirsti Cole.

  • Michele Simmons, Lisa Meloncon, Kristen Moore, Liza Potts, and I completed a Keynote (in response to receiving the Diana Award from the Association of Computing Machinery (SIGDOC) and penned an accompanying article appeared in SigDoc 15 Proceedings. "Intentionally Recursive: A Participatory Model for Mentoring," and reported on efforts that WomeninTC have taken to investigate mentoring for Technical Communication faculty (with a particular focus on women in TC) and reshape mentoring efforts to better meet our field's needs.

  • Michele Simmons, Kristen Moore, and I have an editorial in the current Programmatic Perspectives entitled "Mentoring Women Faculty in Technical Communication: Identifying Needs and the Emergence of Women in Technical Communication." It can be downloaded at:
  • Kristen Moore and I wrote "Time Talk: On the Power of Small Changes in Mentoring of Undergraduate Women" (it appeared in Journal of Technical Writing and Communication). This article uses feminist approaches to mentoring as a way to assist STEM women (and men as well) practice a skill women engineers are thought to struggle with, i.e., developing language and practices that assist them in controlling and justifying their work time. The article won the 2015 CCCC Award for Best Article on Philosophy or Theory of Scientific or Technical Communication.
    The abstract is attached.


Methodology often is on my mind. I look forward to collaborating on a book with Michele Simmons, and in preparation I have taught advanced methodology seminars and worked on several publications that trace practices and/or extend conference presentations that interrogate the building of small or mundane habits. The following have been published or are placed:

  • "Beckon, Encounter, Experience: The Danger of Control and the Promise of Encounters in the Study of User Experience,” a chapter in Rhetoric and Experience Architecture, edited by Liza Potts and Michael Salvo (Parlor Press, 2017) that explores the ways in which moves qualitative research has made to standardize (and its methods have threatened one of its greatest strengths link to book in Amazon

  • "Participating with Pictures: Promises and Challenges of Using Images as a Technique in Technical Communication Research" appeared in Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2017) . This article discusses how an oft-used method for gathering input in public health policy debates (sometimes called photovoice or PGI) might be used in participatory research studies to help participants find and use their own language (rather than conforming to language suggested by researchers).

  • “Tracing Uncertainties: Methodologies of a Door Closer" (co-authored with Michele Simmons and Kristen Moore) examines how Bruno Latour's sociological deployment of ANT works in his ethnographic research (and might work in some of our public research); it appeared in Thinking with Bruno Latour in Rhetoric and Composition, edited by Paul Lynch and Nathaniel Rivers (SIU Press, 2015).

  • "Methodological Ballast: Storytelling as a Balancing Practice in the Study of Posthuman Praxis" (written with Emily Legg), examines how varied uses of storytelling interacts with human and nonhuman agents in ways that facilitate posthuman praxis.

History and Historiography

Digital Humanities, Historiographies, and the Education of New Historians of Rhetoric

  • Tarez Graban and I have been investigating how advances in digital humanities impact historiography in the conduct of rhetorical history and the education of new historians of rhetoric. We are interested in how digital tools and practices (developed to support digital archiving, digital curation, and digitally-enabled historical investigation) operate to sponsor ways of restructuring archival practices/products in support of non-dominant perspectives. A first paper "Digital and Dustfree" grew out of a session at a Feminisms and Rhetoric Conference and was published in Fall of 2011 in Peitho.

  • I completed an historiographic article inspired by the first one, entitled "Inspecting Shadows of Past Classroom Practices: A Search for Students' Voices," it was published in College Composition and Communication. It relates the stories of two quite different students from the early 1920s, Lena a student from a rural Indiana school who attended a normal school in summers in order to teach and Emmett an engineering student at VPI who enrolled in a technical writing class during spring of his senior year. Lena's voice comes from her notebooks saved and donated to a local historical society and Emmett's come from his marginal notes in his textbook. My argument is that their voices add needed vitality to accounts of pedagogical history.
    The opening page is attached.

  • I also conducted a more extensive study of Emmett Owens' engineering writing class, interested in whether and in what ways that class enacted a humanistic or a utilitarian approach. It starts with the marginal marks made by an electrical engineering student in a 1924 class in "Technical English" held at VPI. "After the Great War: Utility, Humanities, and Tracings from a Technical Writing Class in the 1920s" examines both published discussion about instruction extant in that time period and the evidence of classroom work provided by Owens' marginalia from his copy of Homer Watt's 1917 The Composition of Technical Papers. This article appeared in the Journal of Business and Technical Communication in April 2012, and the opening is attached.

  • A chapter Tarez Graban and I have co-authored, "New Rhetorics of Scholarship: Betweenness and Circulation as Feminist Historical Motives,"will appear in Rhetoric, Writing, and Circulation, edited by Laura Gries and Colin Brooke, (Utah State University Press, in press). It reports on feminist moves we have used in digital historical scholarship to make invisible (and often female and minority done) work more visible and sticky.

  • A chapter underway (co-authored with Erin Brock Carlson and Michelle McMullin) for Teaching Rhetoric and Composition Through the Archives , a collection Tarez Graban and Wendy Hayden are editing, uses feminist methods to structure digital archiving instruction in technical and professional writing classes that supports work habits necessary for project management, product documentation, collaboration, and information structuring (appropriate for natively digital content). We see this project as important to making technical writers work visible and retrievable to those in the future who seek to know it.


  • Peter Fadde and I have written a series of articles on video and composing in digital environments.

    • Initially we published a chapter that addressed developing a sustainable approach that would assist teachers in handling rapid technology changes: "Video for the Rest of Us? Toward a Sustainable Process for Incorporating Video into Multimedia Composition." It appeared in Danielle DeVoss, Heidi McKee, & Richard Selfe, eds., Technological Ecologies and Sustainability: Methods, Modes, and Assessment. Computers & Composition Digital Press and Utah State University Press, 2009.

    • "Guerrilla Video: Adjudicating the Credible and the Cool," appeared in a special issue of The Writing Instructor on "Disruptions of/in Professional Writing Pedagogy" in May 2010. It examines how professional writing teachers might navigate those difficult aesthetic shoals between the professional video look workplaces might want their employees to have and the grassroots aesthetics that most young people think are cool. Then it applies that discussion to video resumes retrieved from YouTube.

    • "Cool and Credible Web Video: Old Rules, New Rules, No Rules?" was included in Educause Quarterly's December 2011 issue. That article contrasts basic rules used in TV composition with emerging rules of YouTube composition, and includes a tutorial.

  • We also have been studying how video can be used by young teachers to improve the problems they notice in teachers' classroom performance. "Using interactive video to develop pre-service teachers' classroom awareness." CITE Journal (Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education) 13. 2 (2013): 156-174.

We continue to ponder the production of and reception of digital video in old and new public settings. . and how rhetoric plays a role.

Teaching Cases for Engineering Communication

  • Peter Fadde and I also collaborated on a teaching case that addressed cross- cultural communication problems typical of those faced by engineers who collaborate internationally. Fictionalized out of an actual set of events, the case focuses on helping a new design engineer who has been given a broken project diagnose the problems that have stalled productive work and then repair the collaborative workflow through scaffolded communication moves that are sensitive to cultural differences. "Designing Communication of Collaboration across Engineering Cultures: A Teaching Case" was published in Connexions: International Professional Communication Journal [1.2 (2013): 135-158. ], and won the 2015 CCCC award for Best Article on Pedagogy or Curriculum in Scientific or Technical Communication.