CASDW Award for Best Dissertation

Joan Pavelich CASDW Annual Award for the Best Dissertation in Writing and Discourse Studies

This year’s CASDW Award for Best Dissertation goes to Matthew Falconer of Carleton University. Matthew’s impressive and timely study, “Providing Science Advice: An Ethnography of the Council of Canadian Academies Boundary Work of Reconceptualizing Expert-Produced Scientific Knowledge for Canadian Government Policy-Makers,” examines how science discourse becomes recontextualized for policy analysts.

Matthew’s study offers a cogent analysis of the communicative dynamics, strategies, and tools deployed by the Council of Canadian Academies’ as they translate knowledge from scientific experts into science-based reports for policy-makers. His study followed this collaborative process focusing on how the Academies culture shaped participants’ boundary work as they developed a series of intermediary texts towards the final report. The study produced significant empirical data through a number of interviews with participants and substantive textual analyses.

Falconer’s study contributes to a growing, current body of work of interest to writing specialists for its implications for those working at the policy/science interface and for scholarship related to recontextualizations of science research for non-specialist audiences. It is an important contribution to how we theorize transactional discourse across genre boundaries and to rhetorical studies of collaborative communication in the broader context of discourse and society.

Honourable Mention 

Congratulations also go to Chloe Fogarty-Bourget for her dissertation project, “Facilitating Student Engagement in Undergraduate Mathematics’ Lectures,” Education, Carleton University. Fogarty-Bourget’s study offers a sound, complex theoretical framework for her analysis of chalk talk as a socially situated genre in the teaching of university mathematics. Using social interaction theory in conjunction with aspects of comprehension theory, pragmatics, and genre theory, she examines how classroom context influences student engagement and how instructors adopt multi-modal strategies to enhance student engagement. Her study especially contributes to student engagement studies in English for Specific Purposes pedagogy, and shows how institutional pressures can hinder student engagement. Her study has implications for ESP policy and ESP pedagogical change.