Faculty Focus: Dr. Godwin Agboka’s Work Honored
By Sheryl E. Taylor
His peers have spoken.
The National Council of Teachers of English® (NCTE) recently announced that UHD faculty member Dr. Godwin Agboka is the recipient of two 2023 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) Technical and Scientific Communication Awards. Agboka also received an Honorable Mention from the NCTE for another publication.
Agboka and his co-editor, Rebecca Walton (Utah State University), won the CCCC Award for Best Original Collection of Essays in Technical or Scientific Communication for the collection, “Equipping Technical Communicators for Social Justice Work: Theories, Methodologies, and Pedagogies.”
The selection committee said, “Walton and Agboka’s edited collection fills a gap in technical communication work focused on social justice, offering compelling examples of how to engage ethically in social justice work as well as frameworks for how to begin new projects in this direction. The collection offers a great balance of breadth versus depth in social justice research and should be essential reading for those in the field preparing to incorporate social justice as a central tenet of technical communication.”
“The academic field of technical communication is undergoing a social justice turn, which is a significant movement that is opening up the field to inclusive, delegitimized, and diverse approaches to scholarship, teaching, and practice. Yet, although this type of work is burgeoning, many scholars – both emerging and established – have a limited understanding of social justice and how to apply its goals to their teaching, research, and practice,” said the Professor of Technical and Professional Communication in the College of Humanities & Social Sciences.
“This award is important for a couple of reasons: Firstly, it foregrounds the relevance of social justice work, especially in terms of how social justice objectives create the necessary path toward magnifying the agency of disenfranchised or oppressed people. Secondly, with membership of over 4,000, the Conference on College Composition and Communication presents a unique and wider platform for projecting this important work and to bring attention to social justice issues in higher education,” Agboka concluded.
The second award is for Best Article on Pedagogy or Curriculum in Technical or Scientific Communication for the publication, “Curricular Efforts in Technical Communication After the Social Turn,” co-authored by Agboka and Isidore K. Dorpenyo (George Mason University) in Volume 36 Issue 1 of the Journal of Business and Technical or Scientific Communication.
When asked how this experience lends itself to his teaching, Agboka said, “Quality scholarship and scholarly productivity are necessary for effective teaching. My pedagogy is heavily influenced by my scholarship, and my practices demonstrate a strong synergy between my teaching and my research. To be clear, my pedagogy advances equitable teaching and learning practices that seek to reduce systemic inequities as well as enable students to critique systems and enact change through learning content.”
He continued, “My courses empower students to consider the social justice implications of their work, while providing them with job-ready skills for the contemporary workplace. I recently designed a new graduate course, ‘TCOM 6311: Social Justice Issues in Technical and Professional Communication’ to educate students about the role technical communication plays in legitimizing and sustaining injustice and oppression as well as how to take action against injustice. More so, I have recently begun redesigning all my courses to include social justice components.”
Agboka will be announced as a recipient of both awards on Feb. 17 at the 2023 CCCC Annual Convention.
“I am excited that colleagues in my field are paying attention to the important work that I am doing,” he said. “Not only does this award highlight the relevance of my work, but it also suggests that the sleepless nights and the long hours of research and writing have some value. An important objective of scholarship is impact, and it gives me great joy that what usually starts as a disjointed, nebulous idea grows into something meaningful that will later have tangible impact.”
CCCC, a constituent organization within the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), supports and promotes the teaching and study of composition, rhetoric, and communication skills at the college level, both in undergraduate and graduate programs. With more than 25,000 individual and institutional members worldwide, NCTE is dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.