- Candidate for Ph.D. in Communication and Rhetorical Studies (A.B.D.)Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA.
- Master of Arts in English (Rhetorical Composition)Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. May of 1997
- Bachelor of Arts in English (Creative Writing)University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. December of 1992
My pedagogical approach is informed by Calvin O. Schrag’s metaphor, “communicative praxis”: the application of theory-informed action to a communication event. Communicative praxis emphasizes the role theory can play as a source of reflexive knowledge to help inform ethically appropriate responses in human interaction. It enables students to: discern differences in beliefs, cultural practices, and values in new relationships; and dynamically determine what responses would most appropriately attend to the differences they have discerned, placing a special emphasis on civility and empathy. Communicative praxis understands that such discernments are a form of human reasoning.
While theory moves action away from unreflective presuppositions about the world, communicative praxis also understands that action tempers theory with historical engagement. In that spirit, I strive to connect theory to the life-world that my students themselves recognize and experience, and are preparing to enter. I am particularly well positioned to do that because I have worked in the marketplace for many years myself, so I can reference the practical orientation of the marketplace, and its ethical challenges, first hand.
Communicative praxis is mutually informed by my scholarly agenda which investigates Mikhail Bakhtin’s seminal engagement in the philosophical-phenomenological tradition toward articulating a phenomenology of communication. I find in the “intentionality” of Bakhtin’s metaphor of the “answerable act” a moral counterbalance to the ‘egocentric predicament’ of modernity, and a restraint on its solipsistic (even nihilistic) anxieties as witnessed by postmodernity. To this end, I see Bakhtin’s seminal philosophical essay, Toward a Philosophy of the Act, as an anticipation of Husserl’s, Heidegger’s, and Merleau-Ponty’s thinking as means of grounding moral reasoning in the phenomenology of the human person.