Williams earns grant for ‘Readying for Risk’ project

To help companies around the world create their own safety documentation, Dr. Joseph Williams, an assistant professor of technical communication and rhetoric in Louisiana Tech’s College of Liberal Arts, has been awarded a Career Advancement Research Grant.

The $1,200 grant will help Williams complete his research project which will become a book, Readying for Risk: Analyzing + Creating Effective Company Safety Initiatives, and is funded by SIGDOC, the Special Interest Group on Design of Communication.

“SIGDOC is a major international organization in Technical Communication as well as Engineering,” Williams said. “The grant will not only help me procure much-needed materials for my book project, but it will also help me move forward with research goals associated with its creation.”

Williams is one of only two Career Advancement Research Grant winners for the calendar year.

“The SIGDOC Executive Committee was impressed with Dr. Williams’ project’s potential to bring previously inaccessible safety documents to light in a way that will extend in new ways how we might approach risk and safety communications,” said executive committee member Dan Richards. “We feel confident that this project will do great work for our field and we are delighted to fund it, be it in a relatively modest way.”

“Readying for Risk details safety practices that a global petroleum entity employs in order to protect its workforce on and off the job, thereby showing how risk communication and intercultural communication intersect and play vital roles together in the output of effective technical communication,” Williams said. “Additionally, this project serves as an example of risk and intercultural communication various audiences may use as a blueprint for their own safety initiative needs.”

Interdisciplinary in nature, the book can help companies around the world in creating their own safety documentation, or Risk Communication, to protect their employees.

“While my initial examples address the petroleum industry,” Williams said, “there will be a section about ‘Going Green’ and other fields such as electrical, construction, hospitals, and even daycare.”

Williams will use the SIGDOC funding to buy books and materials for his book project, along with software associated with generating graphics for the creation of meaningful safety initiatives. Additionally, he intends to travel to refineries and other industry-related sites along the Gulf of Mexico in order to obtain contrasting examples of petroleum safety initiatives.

He’s not the only one who’ll benefit from the grant.

“I love to share my research with my students in Tech Comm, Risk Communication, Research Methods, and Ethics in TCR in order to assist them with forming their own research agendas – in and out of the classroom,” Williams said.


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