Current economic and social realities of higher education have placed increasing emphasis on using Teaching Assistants (TAs) in the classroom. However, missing from the discussion is how prepared these TAs are for the rigors of teaching and the effects of the increasing emphasis on their education and the education of their future students. To better understand the process a TA underwent to learn to teach in a higher education classroom, the following study explores what teaching assistants within a Writing Program (WP) at a research-one university say about how they learned to teach writing. The study aims to explore what strategies future TAs relied on and how they experienced their training to teach in hopes of exploring the problem space of learning to teach writing. The literature review explores some themes researched in the history of TA training. The study itself is a focus group of 9 Graduate Student TAs at a research one facility. The research suggests that the complex negotiation of learning to teach is situated within the framework of multiliteracies in that future TA’s utilize available designs from all over their lived experiences, design them for their own course, and eventually redesign their courses and pedagogies with selected available designs. This research offers new ways to conceptualize TA training and make it more scalable to better serve future TA’s.
Women are under-represented in engineering, in school and in the workplace. Reasons for this include the socio-historical masculinization of technology, which has been established by feminist technology researchers such as Faulkner, Lohan and Cockburn, and makes developing role models of women engineers difficult. The under-representation of women in engineering is a social problem that typically lies outside the area of interest of rhetoricians. However, my dissertation considers storytelling by women engineers as a powerful rhetorical tool, one that is well-suited for the particular structural inequalities endemic to engineering. I analyze stories told by participants in an oral history project conducted by the Society of Women Engineers, with women engineers who worked between the 1940’s and the early 2000’s. I use a textual coding research method to reveal the claims participants make through stories, themes that are evident across those claims, and how women engineers effectively use stories to advance those claims. My study extends the scholarly understanding of the rhetoric of engineering work. I find that in their stories participants argue for a complex relationship between social and technical work; they describe how technical thinking helps them work through social problems, how technical work is socially situated, that an interest in technical work impacts family and interpersonal relationships, and how making career decisions is facilitated by social relationships. They also demonstrate considerable rhetorical expertise in their use of narrative. As a collection these stories meet a pressing need: the need for an understanding of engineering and women engineers that creates possibilities for change. They meet this need first by helping the audience understand both significant systemic oppressions and the problem-solving individual actions that can be taken in response (in ways that highlight possibilities without placing the full responsibility for change on women engineers), and second by illustrating a heterogenous understanding of engineering and women engineers (in order to avoid essentializing women and essentializing technology). As a result of these qualities, the stories are a way to get to ‘know’ engineers and engineering from a distance, which is exactly the pressing lack felt by so many potential women engineers.
This research works from in an institutional ethnographic methodology. From this grounded approach, it describes the dialectic between the individual and the discourse of the institution. This work develops a complex picture of the multifarious ways in which institutional discourse has real effects on the working lives of graduate teaching associates (GTAs) and administrative staff and faculty in Arizona State University's Department of English. Beginning with the experiences of individuals as they described in their interviews, provided an opportunity to understand individual experiences connected by threads of institutional discourse. The line of argumentation that developed from this grounded institutional ethnographic approach proceeds thusly: 1) If ASU’s institutional discourse is understood as largely defined by ASU’s Charter as emphasizing access and academic excellence, then it is possible to 2) see how the Charter affects the departmental discourse in the Department of English. This is shown by 3) explaining the ways in which institutional discourse—in conjunction with disciplinary discourses—affects the flow of power for administrative faculty and manifests as, for example, the Writing Programs Mission and Goals. These manifestations then 4) shape the training in the department to enculturate GTAs and other Writing Programs teachers, which finally 5) affects how Writing Programs teachers structure their courses consequently affecting the undergraduate online learning experience. This line of argumentation illustrates how the flow of power in administrative faculty positions like the Department Chair and Writing Program Administrator are institution-specific, entangled with the values of the institution and the forms of institutional discourse including departmental training impact the teaching practices of GTAs. And, although individual work like that done by the WPA to maintain teacher autonomy and the GTAs to facilitate individual access in their online classrooms, the individual is ultimately lost in the larger institutional conversation of access. Finally, this research corroborates work by Sara Ahmed and Stephanie L. Kerschbaum who explain how institutions co-opt intersectional terms such as diversity and access, and that neoliberal institutions' use of these terms are disingenuous, improving not the quality of instruction or university infrastructure but rather the reputation and public appeal of the university.
This research examines four stateswomen fashion icons—Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Diana, Princess of Wales, Michelle Obama, and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge—and the way these stateswomen used clothing and personal style to create a public identity. Dress is a powerful tool of personal expression and identity creation and when we look at stateswoman style, we see the ways that dress gives them agency to negotiate the “official” identity that’s being placed on them. Personal style is the way we use personal adornments (clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, etc.) to form messages about who we are, who we dream we could be, and what our personal values are. It is a system of communication with rhetorical influence on others that, in return, offers a way to embrace, challenge, or subvert societal expectations and cultural norms. The choice to embrace, challenge, or subvert to the expectations is fluid, and the women continuously move back and forth between these states. I argue for the ways the selected women in this analysis make choices and negotiate such expectations on the national stage through their clothing choices.
While personal style does not construct our identities on its own, our dress is often the first indicator of our identity and personality. Dress, therefore, becomes one way to express our identity, even in situations where we are otherwise silenced. Stateswomen are “not body as advertisement”—as celebrities are—but “body as a source of agency.” For every woman, stateswomen included, clothing is a rhetorical statement that they make every day. These women exemplify the way choices can be made powerfully—because they are “like us” more than fashion icons. These stateswomen icons show the public evolving negotiations between personal and public style and identity. They demonstrate the ways that clothing choices can be empowering ways to construct identity and use clothing as an identity statement. This is instrumental in helping average women of the public learn how they can use clothing as a rhetorical statement that creates agency and identity.
More than 260 million people suffer from an anxiety disorder worldwide, with 40 million in the U.S. alone—18% of the American population. And that label includes everything from Social Anxiety and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder to phobias and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Thus, people with anxiety may not have a singular cause for their worry, but a myriad number of them that influence every aspect of their lives. And, that doesn’t include people who’ve never been formally diagnosed and don’t receive proper medication or therapy.
Unfortunately, medication has many possible side effects, and both medication and therapy are often expensive. However, there are alternatives for someone dealing with anxiety. This book proposal offers a range of solutions for anxiety management, from do it yourself techniques like guided imagery and yoga, to biofeedback devices like HeartMath, to research trials on Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, as well as Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. The idea was not to outline every potential solution for anxiety, but to educate people on available opportunities and empower them to take control.
Though anxiety can be managed and reduced, there is no cure. That’s because anxiety is a normal part of life, and in most cases a helpful evolutionary tool to keep people on track. But, when this anxiety becomes a burden on someone’s life, there is a plethora of alternative solutions available. Understanding anxiety and learning to manage it is not an impossible task. This thesis provides an introduction to the idea and then allows the reader to move forward on their own path as they choose.
My grandmother, Mickey Gilbert, is the daughter of Italian immigrants, Clemente Saulino and Anna Moccia, who married in Italy and moved to a small mining town called Lynch, Kentucky in 1928, the year before my grandmother was born. Her family moved to an apartment in Cumberland, Kentucky where Clemente started a dry-cleaning business. Grandma's sister, Berenice, was born in 1931 and then her mother had a child every five years for 15 years, adding Joanne, Joe, and Tom to the family. Her family was religious and attended church every Sunday and holy day. Grandma went to a Catholic boarding school called St. Camillus Academy in Corbin, Kentucky from third grade through high school, spending holidays and summer vacations at home in Cumberland. She graduated in 1946 and attended Villa Madonna College in Covington, Kentucky that fall. She lived with three girls \u2014 Mary Catherine, Sara Lou, and Eulalie \u2014 at St. Joseph Heights, which was run by nuns. She spent a good amount of her holidays at Mary Catherine "Juggie's" home in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky which was closer than her own home in Cumberland. That is where she met my grandpa, Colly Gilbert. She graduated from Villa Madonna in 1950 with a B.A. in history and a secondary education teaching certificate. She married Allen Carlton "Colly" Gilbert, the youngest of seven children and a World War II veteran, in 1951 and they moved to Phoenix, Arizona where they had seven children: Anne, Carlton, Kelly, Monica, Marydith, Eileen (my mother), and Mark. Unfortunately, Colly lost a battle with kidney cancer in 1971 when their youngest child, Mark, was only ten years old. Grandma raised their children on her own after that and never remarried. She kept busy even after her children moved out by taking up gardening, knitting, and volunteering. She also spent time playing the piano and reading books. All of her children married, and all had at least one child except Carlton. Grandma has thirteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren who all adore her. Anne, Carlton, Kelly, Monica, Marydith, and Mark eventually settled in different cities or states. My mother, Eileen, was the only one that stayed in Phoenix. She actually bought the house that her dad had built \u2014 the house that she grew up in \u2014 from my grandmother in 1992, and my grandmother moved to a patio home at Arcadia Green, less than a mile away. My grandma is an inspiration to our family. She taught us all the importance of enjoying the simple things in life and doing what we can for people. The values that she has passed on to us and the activities that she has inspired us to love make us healthier and happier people. Her parents instilled in her a love of family, friends, and life that she passed on to her children, and her children passed on to their children. Our family is close because of her \u2014 she is our lifeline. Her legacy is the tight bonds our family has woven.
Despite its rich history in the English classroom, popular culture still does not have a strong foothold in first-year composition (FYC). Some stakeholders view popular culture as a “low-brow” topic of study (Bradbury, 2011), while others believe popular culture distracts students from learning about composition (Adler-Kassner, 2012). However, many instructors argue that popular culture can cultivate student interest in writing and be used to teach core concepts in composition (Alexander, 2009; Friedman, 2013; Williams, 2014). This dissertation focuses on students’ perceptions of valuable writing—particularly with regards to popular culture—and contributes to conversations about what constitutes “valuable” course content. The dissertation study, which was conducted in two sections of an FYC course during the Spring 2016 semester, uses three genre domains as a foundation: academic genres, workplace genres, and pop-culture genres. The first part of the study gauges students’ prior genre knowledge and their beliefs about the value of academic, workplace, and pop-culture genres through pre- and post-surveys. The second part of the study includes analysis of students’ remix projects to determine if and how students can meet FYC learning outcomes by working within each domain.
Through this study, as well as through frameworks in culturally sustaining pedagogy, writing studies, and genre studies, this dissertation aims to assist in the reconciliation of opposing views surrounding the content of FYC while filling in research gaps on the knowledge, interests, and perceptions of value students bring into the writing classroom. Ultimately, this dissertation explores how pop-culture composition can facilitate student learning just as well as academic and workplace composition, thereby challenging course content that has traditionally been privileged in FYC.
This dissertation posits that a relationship between a feminist rhetorical pedagogical model and autobiographical theoretical tenets engage students in the personal writing process and introduce them to the ways that feminism can change the approach, analysis, and writing of autobiographical texts. Inadequate attention has been given to the ways that autobiographical theory and the use of non-fiction texts contribute to a feminist pedagogy in upper-level writing classrooms. This dissertation corrects that by focusing on food memoirs as vehicles in a feminist pedagogical writing course. Strands of both feminist and autobiographical theory prioritize performativity, positionality, and relationality (Smith and Watson 214) as dynamic components of identity construction and thus become frames through which this class was taught and studied. I theorize these “enabling concepts” (Smith and Watson 217) as identity pathways that lead to articulation of identity and experience in written work.
This study posits that Royster and Kirsch’s four feminist rhetorical practices— Critical Imagination, Social Circulation, Strategic Contemplation, and Globalizing Point of View (19)—taken together offer a model for instruction geared to help learners chart identity pathways in the context of one semester of their undergraduate rhetorical education. This model is operationalized through a writing classroom that focused on feminist ideals, using a food memoir, The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber, as the vehicle of inquiry. This study offers a starting point for analysis of food memoirs in university writing classrooms by focusing specifically on the ways that students understood and applied the framework, model, and vehicle of the study. This dissertation prioritizes the composition and valuing of individual and communal lived experiences expressed through the articulation of identity pathways. Teachers and scholars can use the knowledge and takeaways gained in the study to better support and advocate for the inclusion of the students lived experiences in writing classrooms and pedagogy.
This dissertation presents reflective teaching practices that draw from an object-oriented rhetorical framework. In it, practices are offered that prompt teachers and students to account for the interdependent relationships between objects and writers. These practices aid in re-envisioning writing as materially situated and leads to more thoughtful collaborations between writers and objects.
Through these practices, students gain a more sophisticated understanding of their own writing processes, teachers gain a more nuanced understanding of the outcomes of their pedagogical choices, and administrators gain a clearer vision of how the classroom itself affects curriculum design and implementation. This argument is pursued in several chapters, each presenting a different method for inciting reflection through the consideration of human/object interaction.
The first chapter reviews the literature of object oriented rhetorical theory and reflective teaching practice. The second chapter adapts a methodology from the field of Organizational Science called Narrative Network Analysis (NNA) and leads students through a process of identifying and describing human/object interaction within narratives and asks students to represent these relationships visually. As students undertake this task they can more objectively examine their own writing processes. In the third chapter, video ethnographic methodologies are used to observe object oriented rhetoric theory in practice through the interactions of humans and objects in the writing classroom. Through three video essays, clips of footage taken of a writing classroom and its writing objects are selected and juxtaposed to highlight the agency and influence of objects. In chapter four, a tool developed using freely available cloud-based web applications is presented which is termed the “Fitness Tracker for Teaching.” This tool is used to regularly collect, store, and analyze data that students self-report through a daily class survey about their work efforts, their work environment, and their feelings of confidence, productivity, and self-efficacy. The data gathered through this tool provides a more complete understanding of student effort and affect than could be provided by the teacher’s and students’ own memories or perceptions. Together these chapters provide a set of reflective practices that reinforce teaching writing as a process that is affective and embodied and acknowledges and accounts for the rhetorical agency of objects.
This dissertation discusses how Twitter may function not only as a tool for planning public protest, but also as a discursive site, albeit a virtual one, for staging protest itself. Much debate exists on the value and extent that Twitter (and other social media or social networking sites) can contribute to successful activism for social justice. Previously, scholars' assessments of online activism have tended to turn on a simple binary: either the activity enjoyed complete success for a social movement (for instance, during the Arab Spring an overthrow of a regime) or else the campaign was designated as a failure. In my dissertation, I examine a Twitter public-relations campaign organized by the New York Police Department using the hashtag #MyNYPD. The campaign asked citizens to tweet pictures of themselves with police officers, and the public did, just not in the way the police department envisioned. Instead of positive photos with the police, the public organized online to share pictures of police brutality and harassment. I collected six months of tweets using #MyNYPD, and then analyzed protestors' rhetorical work through three lenses: rhetorical analysis, analysis of literacy practices, and social network analysis. These analyses show, first, the complex rhetorical work required to appropriate the police department's public-service campaign for purposes that subverted its original intent; second, the wide range of literacy practices required to mobilize and to sustain public attention on data exposing police abuse; and third, the networked activity constituting the protest online. Together, these analyses show the important work achieved within this social justice campaign beyond the binary definition of successful activism. This project shows that by increasing our analytical repertoires for studying digital rhetoric and writing, scholars can more accurately acknowledge what it takes for participants to share experiential knowledge, to construct new knowledge, and to mobilize connections when engaging online in public protest.