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Use Of Classical Rhetorical Framework For Critical Analysis Of Science And Engineering Issues

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1091.1 - 6.1091.11



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Paper Authors

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David Hutto

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Kathryn Hollar

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2793

Use of Classical Rhetorical Framework for Critical Analysis of Science and Engineering Issues

David Hutto, Kathryn Hollar

College of Communication/College of Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey


A unique program at Rowan University has joined a sophomore engineering design lab (Sophomore Clinic I) with the second-semester composition and rhetoric course, for a team-taught class in design and writing. The goals of this collaboration include teaching technical writing formats specific to engineering, strengthening general writing skills, and also making students aware of the epistemological background of thinking like an engineer. In this paper, we will begin with a description of the sophomore engineering clinic, then focus on a particular activity designed to bring a rhetorical awareness to issues that arise in engineering and science. In order to motivate student interest and participation, we decided to work with an issue that has received a significant amount of recent press, the use of genetically modified organisms in products for human consumption. We found that students have strong opinions on this topic, but are often unacquainted with the science behind genetically modified organisms.

The pairing of a faculty member trained in classical rhetoric and analysis of persuasive writing and a faculty member well-versed in the science behind the discussion topic provides complementary perspectives. Through this activity, we show that the effective use of rhetoric can shape public and company policies towards new technologies. We also underline the fact that science and engineering operate within a social context.

In this paper, we detail how we prepared students for class discussion, how the stasis questions of classical rhetoric shaped that discussion, and how we feel this technique can be expanded on.

History and Background

In 1992, Henry M. Rowan donated $100,000,000 to the then Glassboro State College to establish a unique engineering program in southern New Jersey. What is now Rowan University boasts an innovative College of Engineering comprised of four programs: Chemical, Civil and Environmental, Electrical and Computer, Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Hutto, D., & Hollar, K. (2001, June), Use Of Classical Rhetorical Framework For Critical Analysis Of Science And Engineering Issues Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9945

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