Faculty travels to Egypt for research project

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HAYS, Kan. – Dr. James Austin, assistant professor of English at Fort Hays State University, recently traveled to Cairo, Egypt, to study the writing and literacy development of Egyptian undergraduates at the American University in Cairo.

The project, sponsored by the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the flagship organization in the field of rhetoric, composition and writing studies, is the first part of a two-country research project funded by an Emergent Researcher Award.

“Students who graduate from an Egyptian public high school rarely attend the American University in Cairo, an English-language institution based on a United States model, which is considered the best university in Egypt and is usually only attended by the children of wealthy and influential Egyptian families,” said Austin.

“Public school graduates in Egypt do not hail from influential families, and the opportunity to come to AUC to pursue social and professional mobility is very important,” he said.

Austin conducted interviews and a focus group with 10 current AUC students in order to learn about the educational background, challenges they experienced with writing at AUC, and what first year and disciplinary writing allowed them to achieve in the wider Egypt.

“I’m interested in the ways in which supposedly Western forms of literacy and communication are taken up and adapted by these students and what avenues they pursue with these developing abilities,” said Austin.

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