Date of Award

8-16-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Patrick Bizzaro, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Resa Crane Bizzaro, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jeannine M. Fontaine, Ph.D.

Abstract

A conflict exists between student desire for a pragmatic education leading to gainful employment and our desire to teach them to think critically about the world. This study argues the necessity of both and concludes—through the voices of three workplace writers—that students must become avid life-long learners and researchers in order to keep pace in an age of exponential information growth. This study presents three workplace writers‘ self-reports in the post process era. Arguing the validity of writers‘ self-reports, this study moves research of workplace writers beyond process, which is typically considered invention, drafting, revising, and editing, by expanding the lens through which we consider workplace writers. Specifically, this study examines their history as writers, the preparation they received, their motivation to write on the job, their acquisition of job specific literacy, how they manage multiple audiences, the corporate identities and voices they must assume, the process they employ to accomplish their writing, their revision strategies, how they manage writer‘s block, and, finally, the survival skills they utilize in order to become proficient workplace writers. The addition of these facets to the standard process model seeks to push research beyond post process. Bartholomae suggests students will ―invent the university‖ in their writing. This study suggests that they will one day invent the workplace in much the same way. The three writers studied here describe steep learning curves before they felt adept at writing in their workplaces, highlighting the importance that students identify as life-long learners and researchers. They privilege grammar and mechanics, yet they acknowledge the importance of collaboration, solid research skills, and audience. They offer survival strategies for getting their writing done amidst the chaos of workplace demands and occasional writer‘s block. Finally, this study suggests a pedagogy that seeks more intentionality in teaching students about writing while teaching them to write in order to provide them with a meta-awareness of the act of writing that will carry them successfully into the workplace.

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