Something for Everyone

Last spring I had an article, “Rugged Practices,” in the Quarterly Journal of Speech published. I’m still excited about this because the ideas I put forward were the most radical ones from my dissertation. With that as a base, I can continue with some other research that will build on concepts of rhetoric, materiality, and practices. What’s even better about this paper is that it caught the attention of an editor from Communication Currents. This online publication caters to lay audiences, translating communication research into language everyone can understand and highlighting topics that many people will find interesting. The editor invited me to translate my article to something that everyone could appreciate! And so I did. I figured the average person wouldn’t care that “practice” was a new way of thinking about rhetoric. So, instead I focused on a concept I call experiential degradation. I linked up the article here so that you can read for yourself what it’s all about. This was a good experience. I think it is important to be able to talk about my research in ways that most people can understand. When I first started as a researcher, I had trouble with this. To me, it was because I didn’t understand the concepts well enough to discuss them in ordinary language. I see a marked difference now in my approach. I hope you find the article interesting!
Also, this summer I’ve been revising my courses. I reorganized my Civic Engagement through Public Communication class so that the units more effectively build on one another. I think this will help students not only understand the course material but also process it throughout the semester. Sometimes the class goes too fast for students to try out the ideas they’re learning. With a different organization pattern, I hope students will be able to let the concepts sink in and then apply them to their speeches. In my Rhetoric and Public Culture course, I cut a few methods that I think weren’t helpful for students. Additionally, I’m looking forward to trying a new pedagogical approach. I’m going to try have a few small assignments before each paper so that I can make sure students are going down a productive path before they get in too deep. In the past, I assigned only papers. I don’t think this is as effective helping students through the steps of rhetorical criticism. So, I’m going to try that this semester. I think it will be fun.

Please feel free to contact me at SamanthaSenda-Cook@creighton.edu.

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