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The Grammar Elephant in the Engineering Classroom: Panel Proposal

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Panel Session: The Grammar Elephant in the Engineering Classroom

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

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Paper Authors


Brad Jerald Henderson University of California, Davis

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Brad Henderson is a faculty in writing for the University Writing Program (UWP) at University of California, Davis. Henderson holds a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Cal Poly State University San Luis Obispo and a Masters in Professional Writing (MPW) from University of Southern California. Currently focusing his career on engineering communication and professionalism, he has worked as a design engineer and technical education specialist for Parker-Hannifin Aerospace and Hewlett-Packard Inkjet. Henderson was featured in the book—Engineers Write! Thoughts on Writing from Contemporary Literary Engineers by Tom Moran (IEEE Press 2011)—as one of twelve ”literary engineers” writing and publishing creative works in the United States. Henderson’s current project is a book pioneering a new method for teaching engineers workplace writing skills through the lens of math. A Math-Based Writing System for Engineers: Sentence Algebra & Document Algorithms is forthcoming from Spring Nature, 2017.

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Ruth Ann McKinney The University of North Carolina School of Law

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Ruth Ann McKinney, M.Ed., J.D., Emeritus Clinical Professor and former Assistant Dean, directed the writing program and academic success programs at the University of North Carolina School of Law for more than twenty years. Professor McKinney is the author of Legal Research: A Practical Guide & Self-Instructional Workbook (West 5th ed. 2008) and Reading Like a Lawyer (Carolina Academic Press 2d ed. 2012), and she is the original senior editor of the national academic support website, Together with co-author Katie Rose Guest Pryal, she published Core Grammar for Lawyers, the first in the Core Grammar online series, in 2011, and received the national Academic Success Section Award from the American Association of Law Schools in 2014. She has most recently put together a team of engineering educators and digital learning experts to publish Core Grammar for Engineers, a discourse-specific, self-instructional program for engineering students that will be released in 2016-17 (see

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Julia M. Williams Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Dr. Julia M. Williams is Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Research, Planning, and Assessment and Professor of English at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Her research areas include technical communication, assessment, accreditation, and the development of change management strategies for faculty and staff. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Engineering Education, International Journal of Engineering Education, IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, and Technical Communication Quarterly, among others.

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TThe Grammar Elephant in the Engineering Classroom:

Panel Theme: Engineering professionals form a distinct discourse community with a shared way of thinking, speaking, writing, and operating in the world. As members of this discourse community, engineers are expected to write often and with impeccable accuracy, aim communications at a variety of audiences, and be able to produce professional-quality correspondence and documents that are grammatically correct. What happens to engineering students who do not have the grammar skills necessary to meet the expectations of their chosen profession? What are universities doing to address this developmental need?

Henderson, B. J., & McKinney, R. A., & Williams, J. M. (2016, June), The Grammar Elephant in the Engineering Classroom: Panel Proposal Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26166

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