English Ph.D. Dissertations


Composing Rhetoric and Composition Program Websites: A Situated Study and a Heuristic Model

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


English (Rhetoric and Writing)

First Advisor

Kristine Blair (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Lee Nickoson (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Lance Massey (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Gi Woong Yun (Committee Member)


This dissertation reports my study of the institutionally situated challenges involved in designing and maintaining Rhetoric and Composition doctoral program websites via two primary research methods. First, I conduct content analyses of nine methodically selected doctoral program websites in order to develop a detailed set of site characteristics. Then I synthesize these characteristics with data collected via interviews with students and faculty from Bowling Green State University regarding their involvement in using, developing, or maintaining the Rhetoric and Composition program’s website. My use of these research methods draws upon aspects of grounded theory and qualitative research methodologies as they are represented by Bob Broad in his book on writing assessment entitled What We Really Value: Beyond Rubrics in Teaching and Assessing Writing. Similar to what Broad does in his book in relation to writing program assessment processes, I develop a set of heuristics from my research findings that other disciplinary programs can use to help facilitate their own situated inquiries into the complex institutional dynamics that impact the ways in which they represent their programmatic work and cultures on their websites. I argue that conducting inquiries like this can help programs discover ways to more authentically and powerfully express their programmatic identities within the multiply-influenced digital context of their university websites.