Andrew Fiss

Andrew Fiss

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  • Assistant Professor of Technical & Professional Communication
  • Director, Scientific & Technical Communication Program
  • Ph.D. History & Philosophy of Science, Indiana University
  • A.B. Mathematics, Vassar College

Biography

My graduate degrees in history and philosophy of science and postdoctoral fellowships in science, technology, and society (STS) and writing studies have positioned me to work at the intersections of STS and STC. My research articles have appeared in the journals Science & Education, the History of Education Quarterly, New York History, Peitho, Configurations, and are forthcoming in Technical Communication Quarterly. My new book, Performing Math: A History of Communication and Anxiety in the American Mathematics Classroom (Rutgers UP, November 2020), argues that we must understand mathematics as communication-based, particularly in order to deal with Americans’ widespread math hatred and high rates of math anxiety. With evidence from a dozen educational archives, it recovers the performative dimensions of communicating about mathematics, during the emergence of many assumptions, techniques, and frameworks of American higher education. Performing Math brings together Civil War Era instructions for reading mathematics textbooks, manuals for speaking at the blackboard, and debates about written testing, with informal student performances (funerals for mathematics textbooks) and student-generated mathematical plays. Performing Math is available for pre-order.

My participation in multiple grants advances transdisciplinary education, community engagement, and educational innovation. As named personnel in the 2019 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant “Human-Centered Engineering,” I have interviewed engineers and humanists about the values of each others’ fields, exploring the possibilities of building “engineering humanities” on the model of medical humanities. On the 2020-2025 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant “Michigan Community and Anishinaabe Renewable Energy Sovereignty (MICARES),” I now extend these interests to explicit models of team science.  In my role as the MICARES Senior Personnel researcher in charge of “convergence evaluation,” I study whether/how the large research team comes to agree on similar vocabulary and expectations.

At the undergraduate level, I especially teach courses that contribute to the Program in Scientific and Technical Communication. STC at Michigan Tech is a leader in the field, significantly arguing for the importance of humanities-based STC for over 50 years. The classes I teach in Science Writing, Grant Writing, Rhetoric of Science and Technology, Technical and Professional Communication, and Risk Communication contribute to our humanities majors and also serve to develop general students’ skills in composition and communication. At the graduate level, I participate in the MS/PhD program in Rhetoric, Theory, and Culture: teaching Public Understandings of Science; Technical & Scientific Communication; and the Practicum in Teaching Technical Communication, and serving as research advisor. Finally, as indicated by my involvement in Tech Forward, I am interested in Health and Quality of Life; Ethics, Policy, and Culture; and multiple aspects of Education for the Twenty-First Century.

Links of Interest

Google Scholar Profile

Specialties

  • Technical Communication
  • STS (Science and Technology Studies; Science, Technology, and Society)
  • Science Communication
  • History and Philosophy of Science and Math
  • Interdisciplinary, Multidisciplinary, and Transdisciplinary Education