Program Preview— ATTW Graduate Research Award Winners

Program Preview— ATTW Graduate Research Award Winners

We have an amazing line up of panels and presenters for ATTW 2016, and the conference is only three weeks away! We asked the ATTW 2016 Graudate Research Award recipients to introduce themselves and share the abstracts for the research panel have assembled for the conference.

Get to know Laruen Cagle, Susan Rauch, and Emily January Peterson. Then plan on attending their panel during the first session on Wednesday morning April 6th at 9:00 AM at The Hilton of Americas– Houston.

Meet the 2016 award recipients:

Lauren Cagle

Lauren Cagle
Lauren Cagle,  University of South Florida

I’m currently a doctoral candidate in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of South Florida, where I teach courses in sustainability communication, visual rhetoric, new media, and technical communication. This fall, I’m very excited to be starting a new position as an Assistant Professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies at the University of Kentucky. In my dissertation, I use a case study of the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact to center environmental political theory and feminist ethics in the scholarship on citizen engagement with climate change communication and policy. I argue that incorporating an active version of citizenship in policy discourse will enable tighter integration of climate change communication and policy-making practices. In my research, I also take up questions from disability studies, digital rhetoric, and science communication.

Shaping Climate Citizenship: The Problem of Thin Citizenship for Climate Change Communication and Policy

Climate change is an incredibly complex problem, constituted of myriad entangled scientific, technical, social, philosophical, and ethical threads. One response has been the development of the interdisciplinary field of climate change communication, which investigates communication about climate change to and with the public sphere. Climate change communication scholars are broadly interested in how individuals come to believe and act as they do in response to climate change discourses. This interest is analogous to risk communication’s roots in efforts to secure public support for risk assessment and mitigation policies. Climate change communication and climate policy are generally treated as separate objects of study, however. Questions of policy are about making policy, while communication becomes a tool for disseminating policy in .hopes of public buy-in. Many technical communication and rhetoric scholars have challenged this approach to policymaking. This presentation builds on their work by offering a critique of the passive version of citizenship that is naturalized by the division between policy and communication. Using a critical discourse analysis of southeast Florida climate change policy recommendations, the speaker argues that the policy’s assumption of passive citizenship forecloses active citizen engagement around climate change. Drawing on work in political theory, rhetoric of science, and technical communication, the presenter proposes the concept of “climate citizenship” as a way of describing these assumptions about citizenship and theorizing the relationship between communication and policy. Every climate change communication practice is warranted by some model of climate citizenship and its implicit theory of how to solve global environmental problems and who is responsible for solving them. The concept of climate citizenship offers a new analytic lens with which to address central questions in technical communication, such as what role expertise plays in decision making and how to motivate people to take action

Susan Rauch

Susan Rauch
Susan Rauch, Texas Tech University

I am a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate technical communication and rhetoric at Texas Tech University with an emphasis in medical rhetoric. My research focuses on the rhetoric and economics of attention electronic health records (EHR) with specific attention to attention structures such as visual, textual, and sound cues that influence health professionals’ decisions in EHR clinical documentation. I have a strong research interests in medical rhetoric, archival research, ethics in technical communication and disability studies, and visual rhetoric to include the effects of digital graphic illustration as attention structures in simulated instructional  technologies for workplace training. I plan to defend my dissertation late spring with an August 2016 graduation date.

Rhetoric and Economics of Attention in EHR Systems Management, Usability, and Clinical Documentation Practices

Medical rhetoricians and technical communicators need to work together to improve upon the presentation of attention structures and digital text in electronic health record (EHR) technologies. Due to the accessibility and functionality of the EHR’s informational design, it is sometimes difficult for health professionals to navigate through the excess fluff of unneeded information to get to the important stuff within the patient narrative. Therefore, an important goal of my dissertation research is to better understand how the architecture of EHR-generated narratives represents rhetorical and economic units of value in an attention economy, particularly the influence of attention structures when documenting and accessing patients’ medical information. My research focuses on investigating the EHR as a digital expressive space which influences attention and rhetorical thought. In my research design, I relied on the insights and opinions of expert health professionals regarding the accessibility, usability, and functionality of EHR technology that includes 36 hospital interviews, a hospital EHR usability testing event, and a national survey of health professionals. In my presentation, I assert that transaction hazards occur due to scarcity of attention and sociotechnical challenges with EHR technologies such as automated, computer-assisted technology and attention structures (verbal and nonverbal cues) that influence workflow decisions. I will demonstrate how verbal and non-verbal forms of language compete for users’ attention which again affects the overall communicative value and integrity of the EHR constructed narrative. I recommend two models in applied rhetoric and economics as potential frameworks that might help healthcare professionals and technical communicators in EHR design identify how attention contributes to clinicians’ sociotechnical challenges with EHR technology: Locke Carter’s (2005) 3D model applies the process of technical documentation to real world rhetoric and economics, and Sittig and Singh’s (2010) 8D sociotechnical systems (STS) health IT (HIT) model that specifically looks at how HIT affects the social and written communication practices of users in the workplace.

Emily January Peterson

Emily January Peterson, Utah State University
Emily January Peterson, Utah State University

I am a Ph.D. candidate in technical communication and rhetoric at Utah State University (USU) in Logan, Utah. During my first three years in the program, I held a presidential doctoral research fellowship, which allowed me to focus on research and publishing. My research focuses on professional identities from a feminist perspective, examining how women act as technical communicators through social media and historically, in public spheres and in the workplace of the home. I investigate this trajectory qualitatively, through content analysis, interviews, and archival research. I am interested in how women claim authority, how women respond to workplace systems globally, and how the rhetoric of motherhood affects women’s lives. My work has appeared in the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, Communication Design Quarterly (forthcoming), the Journal of the Motherhood Initiative, Intercom, and conference proceedings for SIGDOC and ProComm.

Reasonably Bright Girls: Theorizing Women’s Agency in Technological Systems of Power

A woman’s experience in the workplace is an inductive process into a technological, hierarchical, and often male-dominated system. This study examines how female practitioners in technical and professional communication confront the technological system of the workplace. The speaker traces the forces that contribute to the hierarchy and power struggles women face, presents how they claim authority and agency within such hierarchical and technological systems, and shows how these experiences can lead to activism and advocacy. In addition, her findings suggest that some women leave the workplace altogether in favor of less structured and more innovative ways of communicating about technologies, particularly technologies and processes they find more applicable to their lives as women. The data from 39 interviews with female practitioners reveals that the traditional notion of the workplace is in crisis, and that women are asserting agency in order to disrupt the system and ensure a place for themselves within it.

 

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