My research offers a rhetorical framework for helping educators and leaders in higher education shape education policy.
My current book project examines the argumentation strategies, frames, and competing rhetorical styles that are used in debates about the future of U.S. higher education. Drawing on qualitative methods from rhetorical and discourse analysis, I investigate controversies surrounding cases of higher education policy, such as the 2006 Spellings Commission on Higher Education. More recently my work has traced the rhetoric of “global citizenship” in establishing U.S. higher education partnerships in China, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.
In parallel with my research on higher education policy, I engage in two forms of pedagogy research: (1) research on how to effectively plan and scaffold community engagement courses and (2) research that examines how external policy pressures shape the teaching of writing in college classrooms. Recently I have been working collaboratively on a study about how to foster intellectual risk-taking in the writing classroom through the use of qualitative methods and alternative forms of assessment. The goal of the project is to help instructors and students navigate the tension between their learning goals and outcomes-based assessment.