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Dr. Ruth Derksen

Senior Instructor Emerita

Civil Engineering

Faculty of Applied Science

Research Themes: 

The Communicating Mind and Body

Dr. Derksen’s research and teaching activities integrate the philosophy of language (rhetoric, discourse analysis and genre theory) into professional communication courses taught in numerous Applied Science departments. More recently, she has designed curriculum in the CIVL and MTRL engineering departments that incorporates communication competency into specific engineering design projects.

She has presented papers on audience design, linguistic constructions, and genre analysis in Canada, USA, Europe and Russia. A film for broadcast on a Canadian network has been produced, and two books (one winning the Lieutenant Governor’s award, 2014) have been published.

Additional research has been conducted in India that investigates the gap between international students’ assumptions about success in English language use and a UBC Technical Communication instructor’s measurement of that success (2013). This research emulates methodology in an earlier project (1998) commissioned by the British Columbia Ministry of Education which measures the gap between secondary and post-secondary English proficiency.

Research Interests

Integrating the philosophy of language (rhetoric, discourse analysis and genre theory) into professional communication courses in Applied Science; audience design; linguistic constructions; genre analysis.