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Teaching

There is a phrase that is used commonly among people working in communication across the curriculum (CAC) programs. They like to turn the traditional notion of "learning to communicate" on its head by emphasizing that students in all disciplines "communicate to learn." That is, students participate in communication practices as they develop an understanding of any subject they study. Nearly all of my work in university teaching thus far has involved finding ways to either integrate communicative activities and content into classrooms in the disciplines or integrate disciplinary activity and content into the writing classroom. I've accomplished a fair amount of this integration work aided by computer software I've written myself.

For the past eleven years, I have taught a number of undergraduate and graduate courses in rhetoric and writing at UALR and before that at Iowa State University. Before returning to the university to pursue my PhD, I worked in industry for ten years in positions that frequently required me to train others or to develop training materials for a number of software applications and business processes. I got my first taste of university teaching at Clemson University where from 1991-1993 I taught first-year composition as a graduate teaching assistant.

At UALR I have taught a broad range of classes, including Composition I and Composition II, the first writing courses taken by many of our undergraduates; Document Design and Writing for the Web, two courses that involve students in mastering writing and design technologies; and Theory of Technical Communication, one of the core theory courses in the Professional and Technical Writing graduate program. In addition, since 2008, I have served as the department's internship coordinator, working to place students in organizations inside and outside the university so they can gain experience "writing on the job." Finally, I always carry a respectable load of thesis/portfolio students.

I have provided a detailed summary and reflection about my work in each of the courses I have taught at UALR in the Course Summaries section. Additional information about my work as Internship Coordinator appears in the Internships and Independent Studies section.

As a graduate teaching assistant at Iowa State I taught multiple sections of technical communication, and I developed a special section for the Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering learning community. This course included a Web-based simulation (that I produced) of an organization (Omega Molecular) to provide students with an opportunity to experience what it might be like to communicate in a high-tech, biotechnology workplace. I developed other simulations for courses in several departments, including Genetics, Development, and Cell Biology; Management; and Philosophy. Instructors used these simulations at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. I served as a teaching assistant in two of these courses: Genetics 308/508: Biotechnology in Agriculture, Food, and Human Health and Management 584: Intervention in Organizations. I used another of these simulations—this one centered on a manufacturing organization—in the technical communication course I taught for working adults at Grand View College in Des Moines, Iowa.