Jennifer Sano-Franchini, assistant professor of professional and technical writing in the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, has received the university's 2015 XCaliber Award for an individual making extraordinary contributions to technology-enriched active learning.

Established in 1996 by the Office of the Provost, the XCaliber Award (shorthand for exceptional, high-caliber work) is presented annually by Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies to recognize individual faculty members or teams of faculty and staff who integrate technology in teaching and learning. The award celebrates innovative, student-centered approaches.

This year’s individual award recognizes Sano-Franchini’s course, Issues in Professional and Public Discourse, a senior-level capstone course for the professional writing option of the English major. In this course, students explore how technical and professional writing influence — and are influenced by — public discourse through a focus on feminism and interaction design.

“Dr. Sano-Franchini’s course provided an amazing environment that was a mixture of online pedagogy, engaged discussion, collaboration, and hands-on problem solving that reinforced the themes and goals for the course,” Katrina Powell, associate professor of English and director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program, wrote in her letter of support. “This exciting class exemplifies the kind of work we hope to achieve in both English and women’s and gender studies courses where students are asked to engage the issues through real-world problems and solutions.”

“I found it very interesting to study how people physically use technology, especially since it’s such a big part of our lives,” one student wrote in a course reflection. “This class illuminated the many processes involved in designing for interaction, particularly from a feminist standpoint. How do you design for everybody?”

Sano-Franchini teaches courses on professional writing and intercultural communication. Her research and teaching interests are in the relationship between cultural and digital rhetoric, document design, and Asian-American rhetoric.

She has given presentations on topics that include the rhetoric of cosmetic surgery, composition of mixtapes, cultures of BitTorrent communities, and graduate student professional development at national conferences in numerous disciplines, such as rhetoric and composition, technical communication, computers and writing, digital humanities, and Asian-American studies.

Her scholarship has been published in Computers and Composition, Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society and the International Journal for the Scholarship on Teaching and Learning. Most recently, she published book chapters in "Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities" (University of Chicago Press, 2015) and "Cultures of Copyright" (Peter Lang, 2014).

She currently is co-editing "Building a Community, Having a Home," a collection documenting a history of the Conference on College Composition and Communication Asian/Asian American Caucus. She also has seven years of industry experience in document design and professional writing, which informs her research and teaching practices.

Sano-Franchini received her bachelor's degree and master's degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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