Technical Communication and Rhetoric

Our Program

The TCR faculty at USU define technical communication as communication that facilitates action in the world. Facilitating action requires that communication be effective and persuasiveor intentionally rhetorical. Within this expanse (effective and persuasive communication that facilitates action in the world), our doctoral program in Technical Communication and Rhetoric (TCR) equips students to pursue a wide range of research interests: e.g., recent students have studied environmental rhetoric and climate change communication, technical communication in the Global South, and accessible design in writing programs.

Our PhD program is known for addressing issues of social justice, community engagement, diversity, and service learning—issues that can be explored with partners from a variety of fields and backgrounds. For example, a student coming to us from a marketing and public relations background may study professional communication in terms of online fundraising strategies of humanitarian organizations; a student with a degree in biology may focus on the rhetoric of science and ways that dominant narratives obscure and delegitimize the knowledge of disenfranchised groups; and a student coming from rhetoric and philosophy may develop theories for better enacting social justice in professional communication. If this kind of work appeals to you, we invite you to join us: Bring your experience and expertise, your culture and connections, your questions and your open mind. 

PDRF Perks
  • Four-year fellowship
  • Full-tuition award (each year for four years)
  • Departmental assistantship of $20,000, reduced teaching load: 1/1
  • Health insurance
  • Enrollment in research certification
  • Exclusive socials, special guests, and trainings
  • One-on-one support from the Associate Vice President

Application Requirements

Please contact Carol Hatch Nicholas at with your questions.

Our Research

The TCR faculty welcomes opportunities to include students in our research, especially early in students' doctoral careers when they are still crafting their own research agendas. Recently, several PhD students have co-authored publications with faculty in prestigious journals such as the Journal of Business and Technical CommunicationProgrammatic PerspectivesPresent Tense, and the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication. Our students have conducted fieldwork in India, Morocco, and the US and presented their work at conferences in Spain, Ireland, and India, as well as the US. We welcome students drawn to this type of work to join us in pursuing research opportunities that shape the direction of the technical communication field.

old main
Our Faculty

Five faculty within the USU Department of English are a part of the Technical Communication and Rhetoric program:

Jared Colton (he/him/his)
Associate Professor

Avery Edenfield (he/him/his)
Assistant Professor

John McLaughlin
Associate Professor

Rylish Moeller (he/him/his)

Rebecca Walton (she/her/hers)
Associate Professor