My research operates at the intersections of technical communication, the rhetoric of health and medicine, and disability studies. I believe that scholarly research should have a positive impact on people’s lives, whether by promoting ethical and productive discourse, supporting student learning, or making information more accessible and usable. This belief informs all of my scholarship.
For information about my dissertation, see my dissertation summary.
Transfer of Learning from College to Career
While my dissertation explores how definitions bridge knowledge between varied discourses, my research in transfer of learning considers how student writers bridge academic and professional discourses. My recent work in this area examines how undergraduates in STEM fields perceive the relevance of their classroom writing experiences to their future work and how those perceptions affect their present and future learning. I discuss focus groups I conducted with animal science students about their lab report assignments in an article I co-authored with Fernando Sánchez, “Of Evolutions and Mutations: Assessment as Tactics for Action in WAC Partnerships,” forthcoming from the WAC Journal. I have also spoken at the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing conference about recent research in educational psychology that provides theoretical language for issues of motivation and goal development of interest to studies of writing transfer. I plan to build on this foundation with a longitudinal study of students’ transition from school to work.
Accessibility in Pedagogy and Programs
My interest in pedagogies and programs that respond to students’ needs extends from transfer to accessibility. I am currently writing an article based on an evolving approach to accessible design in the healthcare writing course I teach. I have helped shift this approach from being impairment-specific to incorporating insights from universal design and user experience design, with the ongoing goal of connecting students to the needs and views of people with disabilities. I situate this work in accessibility research in technical communication as well as in disability studies’ engagement with medical education. In addition, I am also exploring the role of web accessibility statements and standards in organizational planning, building relationships with users, and paying attention to accessibility throughout the content development process. This project grows from my work improving and planning for the Purdue OWL’s accessibility. In addition to preparing articles on each of these projects, I plan to continue my accessibility work at my next institution and drawing on it in my scholarship.