Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Lisa Melonçon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carl Herndl, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Blake Scott, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Elizabeth Metzger, Ph.D.


Curriculum, Programmatic Network, Programmatic Research, Service Course


This dissertation takes a systematic approach to answering the question of what services course assignment should accomplish in curricula by looking at the assignment from a contextual perspective that takes into consideration the programmatic factors in which the assignment circulates. The dissertation accomplishes this work by studying curricular artifacts, to include course syllabi and assignment descriptions, as well as textbooks. Additionally, interviews with program administrators and textbook authors are analyzed. The results of this analysis posit a programmatic network that visualizes connections between program, course, and staffing administrative factors with assignments as the nexus of the network. This dissertation illustrates the ways in which assignments function as a point of connection between other programmatic factors and the ways those connections can be leveraged to design more impactful assignment, increase effective program administration, and contribute to Technical and Professional Communication’s (TPC) disciplinary identity and values. The implications of this studies conclusions include discussions of contextualized genre, aligning course and assignment objectives, and impacts of curricular standardization. Disciplinary impacts include the value of empirical research in TPC, and the practical and ethical implication of addressing staffing issues through professional development. Future work to develop the programmatic network into a theory of the service course further serves the discipline. Ultimately, this dissertation proves that assignments are reflections and constructions of disciplinary values held by assignment designers, and, as such, further study of the service course is merited.

Included in

Rhetoric Commons