Rhetorician specializing in technology, education, and business
Current university position: Adjunct Professor of Business and Management Communications, The Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University.
Communicating requires persuading an audience that what you are expressing deserves attention. Technology enables us to reach millions of people, but with millions of individuals seeking an audience, each convinced of the importance of a message, finding the most effective communication strategies challenges civic and business leaders. Technology offers the potential to unify or to alienate. Online, audiences self-sort, finding information and opinions supporting their existing interests and biases. Bridging audiences that actively pursue homogeneity of thought requires deft rhetorical strategies.
How can we educate the greatest number of people on complex policy issues? How can we engage citizens on issues of public policy? We want citizens involved in government, and we want our involved citizens to be informed.
From Education to Economics
While studying the role of technology in education, I developed an appreciation for the role of economic analysis in public policy. Educational technology comes with direct and indirect costs; adaptive technology for students with special needs comes with even higher costs. Without understanding basic economic principles, the complex relationships between the investments schools make and the returns a community experiences (or does not experience), cannot be analyzed.
Before completing my graduate degrees, I cofounded a few small technology businesses, bought into an existing business, and worked in the financial industry. As a business owner and executive, I thought I understood the financial aspects of education. Until I served as the interim coordinator of a community college program, I had no idea how complex educational funding is. Those few months informed my later research projects. The economics of special education defy easy explanations; you need to study applied economics and government policy.