Date of Award:

5-2020

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

English

Advisor/Chair:

Rebecca Walton

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Ryan M. Moeller

Third Advisor:

Avery Edenfield

Abstract

With the recent social justice turn in technical and professional communication (TPC) scholarship, researchers have begun to focus their attention on issues of diversity and inclusion. Increasing diversity and inclusion in the field of technical and professional communication starts with TPC academic programs. This dissertation reports the results of qualitative interviews conducted with five undergraduate students, six graduate students, and five pre-tenure faculty who study TPC and identify as persons of color as well as six influencers identified by research participants. Interview participants discuss reasons why they chose TPC as a major, obstacles to discovering TPC academic programs, the importance of mentorship, embedded racist practices in TPC academic programs, and barriers to inclusion. Recommendations are given for increasing diversity and inclusion in TPC academic programs including the need to designate a staff member in charge of recruitment, the importance of creating a student advisory council comprised of students from diverse backgrounds, specific ideas for community outreach, and how departments can be more proactive in recruitment efforts.

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