PhD in Communication and Rhetoric

For more than thirty years, our Ph.D. graduates have been the leaders in the study of the relationship between communication and technology.

As new forms of technologically mediated communication emerge, research and scholarship are needed to describe their nature and account for their unique effects.

The mission of the Ph.D. in Communication and Rhetoric at Rensselaer is to enable students to make a contribution with rigor, depth, and creativity on issues related to communication in technologically mediated contexts. Our approach draws on the insights of rhetoric, technical communication, composition, communication studies, human-computer interaction, game studies, and graphic design.

We are uniquely positioned to provide an environment for graduate study in communication and technology. We combine the resources of a premier technological university with a faculty strongly grounded in theory and research as well as technology and media.

Current Graduate Students

NameContactResearch interests
Jacqueline Bowler
cultural studies of the music industry; new media and film theory philosophy of technology
Jason Coley virtual reality; presence; immersion
Joshua Comer
history of media studies; media theory; new media
Laquana Cooke
new media literacy; critical literacy; pedagogy of gaming
Gaines Hubbell
contemporary history of rhetoric; invention; game studies
Nicholas Hanford
games criticism; audience and identity; data mining
Stephanie Jennings
video games; games criticism; player agency
Corinne Kasura incoming Fall 2014  
Candice Lanius
rhetoric and politics of data analysis; HCI; data and information visualization
Robb Lauzon incoming Fall 2014  
Ray Lutzky HCI; educational technology; culture and design
Marco Navarro writing pedagogies; post-secondary correctional education; digital literacies
Matt Rolph
academic assessment; communication theory; social, cognitive and computer sciences
Britney Summit-Gil mass media and national identity; digital communication and politics; cultural studies
Eric Walsh incoming Fall 2014  

Recent Dissertation Titles

Hilary Savoie “Sacred Journalism: Displaying Public Memory in This American Life”   
Lisa Litterio “Pedagogies, Processes, and Possibilities: Examining the Future of First-Year Composition through the Digital Expository Writing (DEW) Program” 
Eric Newsom “Participatory Storytelling and the New Folklore of the Digital Age” 
Michael Rancourt “Remembering the Iraq War: Public Memory and the Memory of the Publics” 
Marcy Szablewicz “From Addicts to Athletes: Youth Mobilities and the Politics of Digital Gaming in Urban China”  
Elia Desjardins “Small Stories for Learning: A Sociocultural Analysis of Children’s Participation in Informal Science Education” 
Jason Zalinger “Gmail as Storyworld: How Technology Shapes Your Life Narrative” 
Amber Davisson “I’m Not the President But I Play Her on YouTube: Public Address Online in Clinton’s 2008 Democratic Primary Campaign” 
Paul Booth “Fandom Studies: Fan Studies Re-Written, Re-Read, Re-Produced” 
Noah Shaffer “Verifying an Integrated Model of Usability in Games” 
Gabriele Bechtel  “Toward a Rhetoric of Participation: Monologue and Dialogue in the Context of an Intercultural Online Board” 
Shira Chess “License to Play: Women, Productivity, and Video Games” 

View more ...

Comments from Graduates

"My studies in C&M not only provided the things I expected from a Ph.D. program- academic knowledge, research skills, professional connections and credentials—but made me ask important questions of myself and my world, and gave me the opportunity to build long-lasting personal relationships as well. Dialogue with colleagues on the material we studied resonated far beyond the boundaries of the classroom. As a result, my experience in C&M not only positively shaped me as a scholar, but as a human being as well."

Eric Newsom '13

"My years in C&M shaped me into the researcher and teacher that I am today. I consider myself an interdisciplinary thinker -- surely a result of the nature of C&M... Just as important to me are the personal and professional relationships that I formed at RPI and that I continue to form with RPI graduates from other years. I cannot imagine my career without these relationships, which keep me connected to the profession."

Beth Britt '97, Associate Professor of English Northeastern University

"Much of my professional identity and success and many of my most cherished personal relationships reside in the growing community of people I joined when I began my studies in C&M."

Greg Clark '85, Associate Dean in the College of Humanities Brigham Young University

Program Guide

Ask a Question