Siegel Finer and Miller to Present on Rhetoric of University Presidents

Posted on 5/8/2018 8:37:29 AM

Bryna Siegel Finer and Katie Miller, both from the English Department, will present at the 18th Biennial Conference of the Rhetoric Society of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the end of May. Their presentation, “Environmental Shock, Organizational Anxiety, and the Rhetoric of Making Change,” describes their ongoing research and rhetorical analysis of a corpus of e-mails from university presidents to their campus communities in response to the 2016 presidential election.

Guided by a conceptual framework informed by organizational rhetoric, institutional rhetoric, and scholarship on higher education administration, Siegel Finer and Miller used open coding methods to analyze the e-mail corpus. They identified four main themes: reaffirming university values; celebrating diversity, difference, and inclusion; establishing community support, membership, discourse, and identity; and modeling democracy and civil discourse. These e-mails identify specific cultural communication principles that were threatened during the contentious campaign. Furthermore, they argue that the e-mails function as a corrective to election-related rhetorical disequilibrium.

Department of English