Paul Anderson

Director of Writing Across the University
Long 102A
2575 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244 (336) 278-6646

Brief Biography

Paul Anderson joined Elon in fall 2012 to help design and lead the university’s Writing Excellence Initiative, an extensive, five-year plan for establishing writing as a signature feature of every student’s Elon education. He has a dual appointment as Director of Writing Across the University and Professor of English.

Before coming to Elon, Anderson served for more than three decades at Miami University (Ohio), where he taught technical and scientific communication and was the founding director of undergraduate and master’s programs in technical and scientific communication. He is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, Association of Teachers of Technical Communication, and Miami University’s Institute of Environment Science. His publications have won awards from the Society for Technical Communication and the National Council of Teachers of English, and he is recipient of the Society for Technical Communications’ Jay R. Gould Award for Excellence in Teaching Technical Communication. His technical communication textbook is in its eighth edition.

For his last 10 years at Miami, he was also the founding Roger and Joyce L. Howe Director of the Howe Center for Writing Excellence, which enjoyed a $10 million endowment. Its mission was very similar to that of Elon’s Writing Excellence Initiative. During his last ten years at Miami, he also served as a special assistant to several provosts. He served as Chair of Miami’s University Senate, Chair of the University’s decennial reaccreditation self-study committee, and founder of the Domestic Partner Benefits Task Force, which led a fourteen-year effort that culminated in the extension of benefits to partners of university faculty and staff. He has served on several professional committees and chaired the committee that established the Guidelines for the Ethical Treatment of Human Subjects in Research used by the National Council of Teachers of English. He also served as Chair of the Board of Directors for a non-profit organization with two studios and galleries for artists with developmental disabilities in Cincinnati.


Anderson earned his BA in English with highest honors at Lehigh University and his PhD in English from the University of Washington. 


Anderson’s research encompasses a broad range of issues centered on writing, learning to write, assessing writing, and the practice and ethics of studying writing. He has been particularly interested in writing within specific disciplines. In recent years, he has focused on fostering the progressive development of students’ writing abilities as they advance through their college studies, developing university-wide writing initiatives, and bringing the U.S. writing research into conversation with writing research elsewhere in the world.

Grants Awarded

“Teaching Communication Skills in the Software Engineering Curriculum: A Forum for Professionals and Educators.” National Science Foundation. Co-Principal  Investigator. 2007. $60,000.

“Interactive Media Studies Project.” Procter & Gamble. Co-Principal Investigator. 2001. $38,988.

“Ohio Board of Regents Academic Challenge Grant for Excellent Graduate Programs.” Principal author. 1989. $425,000.

 “Acquisition of a Frame Creation System and Videotext Terminals for Use in Three Departments.” Co-authored with faculty from Physics and from Communication and Theatre. 1984. $35,000.

“Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellows Program for New Faculty.” Eli Lilly Foundation. Co-author. 1980. $42,900. This project developed into the Lilly Conferences on College Teaching now held annually at five sites.


Selected Publications

Technical Communication: A Reader-Centered Approach. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1987; now in the eighth edition by Cengage, 2013.

 “First steps in integrating communication instruction throughout computer science and software engineering curricula” Computers in Education. April-June 2013, 34-48. Co-authored with Janet E. Burge, Michael Carter, Gerald C. Gannod, and Mladen A. Vouk.

"Beyond Composition: Creating an Outcomes Statement for Writing Across the Curriculum." The WPA Outcomes Statement: A Decade Later. Eds. Duane Roen, Deborah Holdstein, Nicholas Behm, and Greg Glau. West Lafayette, IN: Parlor Press. 2012. Co-authored with Chris Anson, Martha Townsend, and Kathleen Blake Yancey.

 “Characterizing communication instruction in computer science and engineering programs: Methods and applications.” Proceedings of the 2012 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE.) October 2012. New York, NY: IEEE.  Co-authored with Gerald C. Gannod, Janet E. Burge, Mladen A. Vouk, Michael Carter, and Kara Rosine.

“Communication genres: Integrating communication into the software engineering curriculum.” Proceedings of the 2011 24th IEEE-CS Conference on Software Engineering Education and Training. May 2011, 21-30. Co-authored with Michael Carter, Mladen A. Vouk, Gerald C. Gannod, Janet E. Burge, and Mark E. Hoffman

 “Ethics, Student Writers, and the Use of Student Texts to Teach.” In Teaching with Student Texts. Edited by Joseph Harris, John Miles, and Charles Paine. 2011. Provo, UT: Utah University Press. Co-authored with Heidi A. McKee.

“Are Student Self-Assessments a Valid Proxy for Direct Assessment Efforts To Improve Information Systems Courses and Programs?” An Empirical Study.” Communications of the AIS 28 (2011): Article 31. Co-authored with Jeffrey Merhout, John Benamati, and T. M. Rajkumar.

“Peer Reviewing Across the Atlantic: Patterns and Trends in L1 and L2 Comments Made in an Asynchronous Online Collaborative Learning Exchange Between Technical Communication Students in Sweden and in the United States.” Journal of Business and Technical Communication 24 (2010): 296-322. Co-authored with Becky Bergman, Linda Bradley, Magnus Gustafsson, and Aurora Matzke

“The Benefits and Challenges of Adopting a New Standpoint While Assessing Technical Communication Programs.” In Assessment in Technical and Professional Programs. Eds. Margaret N. Hundleby and Jo Allen. Amityville: NY: Baywood, 2010. 57-64.

“The Protean Shape of the Writing Associate's Role: An Empirical Study and Conceptual Model.” Across the Disciplines 2008. Co-authored with Rhoda Cairns.

“Implementing Direct and Indirect Assessment in the MIS Curriculum.” Communications of the Association for Information Systems 23 (2008): 419-436. Co-authored with Jeffrey Merhout, John Benamati, T. M. Rajkumar, and David Marado.

"Guidelines for the Ethical Conduct of Research in Composition Studies." College Composition and Communication 55 (2004): 479-484. [An official policy of the Conference on College Composition Communication that I co-authored with a committee of distinguished researchers, which I chaired.]

“The Three-Part Program for Preparing TAs to Lead Professional Communication Courses at Miami University (Ohio).” In Preparing College Teachers of Writing: Histories, Theories, Programs, and Practices. Edited by Betty Pytlik and Sarah Liggett. New York: Oxford, 2002. Co-authored with graduate students Todd DeLucca and Lisa Rosenberger.

"Guidelines for the Ethical Treatment of Students and Student Writing in Composition Research," College Composition and Communication 52 (2001): 485-493. [An official policy of the Conference on College Composition Communication that I co-authored with a committee of distinguished researchers, which I chaired.]

 “Simple Gifts: Ethical Issues in Person-Based Composition Research.” College Composition and Communication 49 (1998): 63-89. Anthologized in Trends and Issues in Postsecondary English Studies. Edited by National Council of Teachers of English. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1999, pp.102-132.

“Ethics, Institutional Review Boards and the Use of Human Subjects in Composition Research.” In Ethics and Representation in Qualitative Studies of Literacy. Edited by Peter Mortensen and Gesa Kirsch. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 1996, pp. 260-285.

“Evaluating Academic Technical Communication Programs: New Stakeholders, Diverse Goals.” Technical Communication 42 (1995): 628-633.

New Essays in Technical and Scientific Communication: Research, Theory, Practice. Co-editor with R. John Brockmann and Carolyn R. Miller. Farmingdale, NY: Baywood Publishing, 1983.

Teaching Technical Writing: Teaching Audience Analysis and Adaptation. Editor. Morehead, KY: Association of Teachers of Technical Writing, 1980.

Personal Information

Anderson and his wife, Margie, have two children, Christopher, who is a Professor at the University of Washington, and Rachel, who is a speech language pathologist and co-owner of a children’s therapy clinic in Bloomington, Indiana.

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