Welcome to my humble website.
My name is Paul Cook. I’m Professor of English in the Department of English and Language Studies at Indiana University Kokomo, where I teach writing, rhetoric, technical and professional communication, and digital media studies (with an emphasis on mis- and disinformation and digital literacy). Here’s my CV (updated March 23, 2023) and the link to my Substack newsletter, The Highlight Zone.
From 2019 to 2022, I served as President of Faculty Senate at IU Kokomo, and I have been the reviews editor at Across the Disciplines since 2018. I also co-host Digital Gardening, a podcast on digital literacy and teaching with technology co-hosted by Adam Maksl of IU Southeast. From 2014 to 2020, I served as Director of Writing at IU Kokomo; in this role, I was responsible for both first-year writing courses and our second-year writing in the disciplines (WID) courses in the majors, which I developed in 2018. Most recently, I developed the Certificate in Professional Writing track, a 12-credit hour track for students interested in developing practical writing and editing skills in a wide variety of genres across multiple domains and professions. I am also a senior fellow in IU’s Digital Gardening Initiative.
I earned a BA in English from Winthrop University, an MA in English from Auburn University, and a PhD from the Rhetoric/Composition program at the University of South Carolina.
My research on the teaching of writing has appeared in Pedagogy, JAC (Journal of Advanced Composition), and Across the Disciplines, as well as several edited collections, including the popular Bad Ideas about Writing textbook (and companion podcast).
A related area of research includes my work in communication theory, the history of the university, and academic labor. This scholarship has appeared in Communication Law Review, American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor, The Forum, Liberal Education, and others.
My current book project, The Twilight of the University: Misinformation Studies for a Postdigital Age, seeks to move the conversations surrounding information disorder and mis- and disinformation beyond our current fascination with so-called “fake news” by concentrating on the socio-cultural and technical drivers of our unique moment in history: post-truth culture and all its trappings, superabundant information, the speed and ubiquity of our digital networks, educational shortcomings in media literacy and civics learning, and a widespread loss of faith in both institutions and traditional forms of expertise. In doing so, I examine the history of the university as a modern social and knowledge-producing institution, and suggest how the university might reclaim and re-invigorate its historical mission by making a case for the meta-disciplinary study of problematic information through what I propose to formalize as misinformation studies.
Recently, I’ve been working on three smaller projects. The first is the introductory chapter for the edited collection If at First You Don’t Succeed: Writing, Rhetoric, and the Question of Failure, forthcoming in 2023 from the WAC Clearinghouse’s Perspectives on Writing series. The second is a chapter fleshing out my research proposing the meta-discipline of misinformation studies for another forthcoming edited collection called Education in the Age of Misinformation. This piece will be out in May 2023.
The third is an article for an upcoming special issue of the WAC Journal on “Transforming WAC at 50: What, How, and for Whom?” I am writing about how the historical development of WAC/WID has a lot in common with our current epistemological moment, and that there is much to learn about how to teach students to deal with information disorder and become better consumers of information by examining how WAC/WID developed in the university as a meta-discipline rooted in rhetoric and writing pedagogy.
I attended the Summer Institute in Digital Literacy in July 2022, which you can read all about on my Substack newsletter, The Highlight Zone, and I was named an American Democracy Project Civic Fellow in September 2022. Thanks for visiting!