Research Grants Winners

In 2018, CPTSC re-launched its grants program and selected two grants for awards. Following are short descriptions of their projects and what they hope to accomplish.

Developing User-Centered Technical and Professional Writing Programs at Hispanic-Serving Institutions

What is the major aim of your research project and/or the question/problem that you are investigating?
We are hoping to better understand how Professional and Technical Writing programs are currently being implemented at Hispanic-Serving Institutions. Specifically, we are interviewing program directors, students, and teachers in TPW programs at HSIs to learn about the connections between the HSI identity and TPW curricula. We want to know if and how TPW programs are being tailored for Latinx student populations at HSIs, and if/how the HSI identity influences TPW program development across institutions.

What do you foresee as being the biggest benefit to CPTSC?
Through our conversations with various stakeholders, we will develop models for building and sustaining TPW programs at HSIs. This will help CPTSC members to better understand the specific institutional contexts and assets of HSIs, potentially leading to new avenues for the organization to support Latinx students and instructors in the field of TPW.

Is there anything you want CPTSC and the greater TPC community to know about your research project?
We’re grateful to CPTSC for supporting this project, and we hope that this initiative will lead to more opportunities for our field to localize TPW programs for linguistically and ethnically diverse students.

Laura Gonzales
University of Texas El Paso
Kendall Leon,
California State University, Chico
Ann Shivers-McNair
University of Arizona

Locating Technical and Professional Communication at Two-Year Institutions

What is the major aim of your research project and/or the question/problem that you are investigating?
To the best of our knowledge, in the last nearly 30 years, wholly TPC curricular and programmatic research has been primarily devoted to four-year institutions. However, two-year colleges (2YC) educate nearly 40% of all undergraduates attending either private or public higher education institutions in the United States.  To remedy the incomplete TPC picture,  “Locating Technical and Professional Communication at Two-Year Institutions ” aims to update and to rectify the incomplete TPC picture by identifying TPC courses, certificates, emphases, and programs across the nearly 1,500 two-year colleges in the United States.

Right now (October 2018), the research team, and mainly two student research assistants from Harold Washington College–Qahir Muhammad and Yocelyn Cabanas– and one PhD student from Texas Tech University–Jessica Ulmer–have used NCTE’s 7 Two-Year College Association (TYCA) regions for the first phase of the research to 1) identify state 2YC oversight agencies; and 2) locate urls for course catalogs and acquire PDFs of those catalogs. For the first phase, we’re nearly through all 7 regions and 50 states and the almost 1,500 colleges.

The second phase of the research starts at the end of October, and it includes textually analyzing the course catalogs to determine if there are courses, certificates, emphases, and programs at these 2YCs. The entire research team will contribute to this work since it involves identifying and analyzing slightly trickier relevant data. We hope to have the information turned over to CPTSC in early 2019. We anticipate sharing results at the CPTSC conference next year. And Programmatic Perspectives editor Susan Popham should have the first draft of a collaborative research team piece reporting our results in the spring.

What do you foresee as being the biggest benefit to CPTSC?
Recent curricular and programmatic research has primarily focused on four-year institutions. However, that research is probably only capturing about 60% of the TPC picture. By knowing the other nearly 40%, CPTSC will have a more complete understanding of what is programmatically and curricularly happening at 2YCs.

We can foresee collaborative opportunities for 2YCs and four-year institutions. For example, if your institutions has transfer students, and you’re looking to recruit into your program, reaching out to 2YCs that have TPC might be one path. Furthermore, knowing where TPC exists at 2YCs will provide valuable new research opportunities. For instance, assessment of TPC knowledge for students who transfer from 2YCs to four-year institutions and longitudinal studies of these students after graduation and into workplaces.

Additionally, our professional organizations, including CPTSC, are primarily comprised of graduate students and faculty from four-year institutions, which suggests these organizations’ memberships do not cast nearly a wide enough net. CPTSC and other professional organizations would do well to include their counterparts at 2YCs to grow membership and to increase the likelihood for collaborative research.

Is there anything you want CPTSC and the greater TPC community to know about your research project?
The project emulates what I hope will be possible in the future because of this research: collaborative, 2- and 4-year cross institutional research with student participation. Nell Ann Pickett is highly regarded for her contributions and service to TPC from a 2YC. I like to think our work contributes in a similar way to building knowledge about TPC at 2YCs. Also, we are grateful to CPTSC for funding our project, especially since it provides funding for Qahir and Yocelyn’s work on the research team.

Kristin Bivens
Harold Washington
Timothy Elliott
Depaul University
Gustav Karl Henrik Wiberg
Qahir Mohammad
no photo avialable Yocelyn Cabanas

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