About Ryan Cheek


  • Utah State University, Doctor of Philosophy, 2022

Ryan Cheek

Prof, ast
English & Tech Communication
236 Humanities-Social Sciences

573-341-4681 | ryancheek@mst.edu


  • Utah State University, Doctor of Philosophy, 2022


Expertise areas

political communication technologies, techne(s) of gender, and the technical rhetoric(s) of apocalypse

Research interests

Technical Communication, Technical Writing, Rhetoric, New Materialism, Feminism and Social Justice, Eschatology and Apocalypticism, Rhetoric of Health and Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Communication Ethics, Public Speaking, Argumentation Theory, Policy Debate, Political communication, Gender Studies, Feminist Theory, Feminist Research Methods, Masculinity Studies, Popular Culture, Media Studies, Communication, Political Campaigns, Apocalypse, Editing of Journals, Professional Communication, Composition and Rhetoric, Digital Rhetorics, Professional Writing, Rhetorical Theory, Rhetoric of Science


Journal Articles
  • Making a case for Political Technical Communication (PxTC) In this Technical Communication Quarterly article, I argue that the accelerated adoption of political technology during the COVID-19 pandemic evinces exigency for a rhetorically grounded framework to teach, research, and practice political technical communication (PxTC) as a sub-discipline. As a starting point, I use a rhetorical genre studies approach to identify political social actions that separate political communication technologies into four distinct genres: election, electioneering, constituent services, and punditry.
  • Unjust revisions: A social justice framework for technical editing (co-authored with Sam Clem) Published in IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication. There is a lack of conceptual framework for how to develop more inclusive practices in the subfield of technical editing. Literature review: Some researchers have posited theories, like feminism and rhetorical theory, as ways to conceptualize technical editing. This piece extends that literature into social justice using Walton, Moore, and Jones's 3Ps heuristic of positionality, privilege, and power. Research questions: 1. What ideologies are circulating in technical editing pedagogy? 2. How might technical editing pedagogy become more inclusive? Methodology: We conduct a rhetorical analysis of the major academic works in technical editing, including books, textbooks, and academic articles, and compare them to an established framework for social justice in technical and professional communication—the 3Ps heuristic. Results: We find that there are strong instrumentalist underpinnings to much of the current literature in technical editing, making the goal of technical editing linguistic conformity to American Standard English (ASE) at the expense of linguistic diversity. We offer a conceptual framework, the inclusive editing paradigm (IEP), to challenge that linguistic hegemony in technical editing and provide technical editors with theoretical and practical foundations for developing a more inclusive editing practice. Conclusions: More work needs to be done to shift technical editing in a more inclusive direction. We call on practitioners, academics, and users to contribute to this dialogue.
  • Zombie ent(r)ailments in risk communication: a rhetorical analysis of the CDC's zombie apocalypse preparedness campaign Published in the Journal of Technical Writing & Communication. Apocalypticism is a powerful brew of eschatological belief and political imagination that is extremely persuasive. This article addresses the intersections between apocalyptic rhetoric and the technical communication of risk, disease outbreak, and disaster preparedness by analyzing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s zombie apocalypse preparedness campaign. Specifically, I argue that the framing of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s campaign relies on and extends problematic iterations of apocalypticism and undermines the educational objectives of disaster preparedness and response. I conclude with suggestions for how technical communicators designing public awareness and outreach campaigns can use existential risk rhetoric for engagement without succumbing to the pernicious side effects of apocalypticism.

Course information

Distance courses

2022 Fall Semester