- Assistant Professor of Technical & Professional Communication
- Director, Scientific & Technical Communication Program
- Ph.D. History & Philosophy of Science, Indiana University
- A.B. Mathematics, Vassar College
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 40 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
- 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
- Fiss, A. Ridicule, Technical Communication, and Nineteenth-Century Women Performing College Math. Technical Communication Quarterly (2020): forthcoming in print.
- Schelly, C., D. Bessette, K. Brosemer, V. Gagnon, K.L. Arola, A. Fiss, J.M. Pearce, and K.E. Halvorsen. Energy Policy for Energy Sovereignty: Can Policy Tools Enhance Energy Sovereignty? Solar Energy 205 (15 July 2020): 109-112.
- Fiss, A. Mathmagics of Media Princesses: Informal STEM Learning, STEM Rhetorics, and Animated Children's Movies. Peitho 22.1 (Fall/Winter 2019): 128-142.
- Fiss, A. and L.K. Fiss. Laughing Out of Math Class: The Vassar Mathematikado and Nineteenth-Century Women's Education. Configurations 27.3 (Summer 2019): 301-329.
- Fiss, A. Structures of Antifeminism: Drugs and Women’s Education in the Texts of Dr. Clarke. Peitho 21.1 (Fall/Winter 2018): 81-103.
- Fiss, A. 2017. Studying Objects, Objectifying Students: Natural History at Women's Colleges in Postbellum New York State. New York History 98.2 (Spring 2017): 205-229.
- Fiss, A. 2017. Mathematics and Mourning: Textbook Burial and Student Culture Before and After the Civil War, 1853-1880. History of Education Quarterly 57.2 (May 2017): 221-246.
- Fiss, A. and M. Vest. August 2014. Broadcasting Science Writing: Media Translations in Liberal Arts Pedagogy. Transformations, Special Issue on Digital Collaboration and Blended/Hybrid Learning.
- Fiss, A. January 2014. Cultivating Parabolas in the Parlor Garden: Reconciling Mathematics Education and Feminine Ideals in Nineteenth-Century America. Science & Education, Special Issue on the History and Philosophy of Mathematics Education. 23: 241-250.
- Fiss, A. August 2012. Problems of Abstraction: Defining an American Standard for Mathematics Education at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. Science & Education. 21: 1185-1197.
- Chaney, J., A. Fiss, P. Carey, and F. Iacobelli. March 2014. Graduate School and Family. In GPS for Graduate School: Students Share Their Stories. Purdue: Purdue University Press.
- "Sounds of Sound Health: Historical Traditions of Student Singing about Health and Science," Conference on College Composition and Communication (Virtual) 2020.
- "Professional Symbols: Parody and the Broader Reach of Local Mathematics." For the British Academy Workshop "Universals' Locales: The International and Global History and Sociology of Modern Theoretical and Mathematical Sciences," the University of Edinburgh, January 2020.
- “Turning Health Fears into a Joke: Vassar Students’ Covert Rhetorics of Ridicule, 1860s-1880s,” International Society for the History of Rhetoric, New Orleans, July 2019.
- “Religious Mourning and Mathematical Achievement: Burying Anna Lytics at 1870s Bowdoin College (and Bates College),” Conference on College Composition and Communication, Kansas City, March 2018.
- Andrew Fiss and Laura Kasson Fiss, "Female 'Mathematikados': Parodying the Patriarchy in 19th-century STEMM Education." Lecture for the British Science Festival, British Association for the Advancement of Science, September 2017.
- “‘For Computing Is Our Duty’: How Women Became Computers.” Lecture for the Algorithmic Thinking Symposium, UC Berkeley Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society, Social Science Matrix, Institute of International Studies, May 2017.
- "The Drug of Women's Education: Dr. E.H. Clarke's Materia Medica as Context for his Sex in Education (1873)," The History of Science Society Annual Meeting, Atlanta, November 2016.
- "Performing 'Trig': The Stakes of Embodying Mathematics in Student Plays," The History of Science Society Annual Meeting, Atlanta, November 2016. (Women's Caucus featured round table)
- "Studying Objects, Objectifying Students: Natural History at New York State Women's Colleges, 1861-1875," The Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Conference, Asheville, NC, March 2016.
- "Performing Trigonometry: Scientific Parody and Women's Mathematical Abilities in Late-Nineteenth-Century America," The History of Science Society Annual Meeting, San Francisco, November 2015.
- "Who's Anna? Burying Mathematics Books in order to Remember the Civil War Dead at Nineteenth-Century New England Colleges," Special Session about the History and Philosophy of Mathematics, American Mathematical Society (Eastern Section), Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., March 2015.
- "Burying Anna (Lytics): Mathematics Rituals and College Communities after the Civil War," The History of Education Society Annual Meeting, Indianapolis, November 2014.