Monthly Archives: June 2010

Shaun Cashman, PhD

A nonsurgical tot. Wait. CongratulationsNow they’re in order for Dr. Shaun Cashman, who successfully defended his dissertation last week for his chair, Dr. Vicki Gallagher, and committee members Drs. Adriana de Souza e Silva, Jason Swarts, and Steve Wiley.

Shaun (not pictured) investigated the phenomenon of immersion in games like Halo, Final Fantasy VII and Wii Sports.

Roll, abstract, roll!

The Rhetoric of Immersion in Video Game Technologies:

Immersion is a crucial concept for understanding how people engage, interact, and understand mediated messages. This work examines the concept of immersion within video game technologies. It argues that immersion is a rhetorical function and that we can understand how a media text immerses using rhetorical theory. Immersion itself is defined as a unique, multifaceted relationship that forms between a person and a media message that acts on the body, mind, and emotions of a person and is intrinsically tied to the unique experience of a medium. To that end, video games are distinct in that they are comprised of a game, screen, computer, and interface. These four components allow us to understand the medium as a communicative act that can be studied through rhetoric. Justified in existing game and media theory, this work constructs a rhetorical model of immersion that highlights seven rhetorical means through which video game technologies can immerse. The rhetorical model of immersion is then compared to two existing immersion models through and analysis of five distinct video. Through this analysis the rhetorical model shows its viability by comparison and its contributions to our understanding of immersion in video game technologies.

The countless hours Shaun spent on his dissertation paid off as he will be joining the communication faculty at Pfeiffer University in the fall. Pfeiffer is a private liberal arts college located in Misenheimer, North Carolina. Shaun was hired as an associate professor to bolster their new media studies, and he will teach Communication Theory, Fundamentals of Oral Communication, and Game Studies next year.

Well done, Shaun, and remember that the tenure cheat code is up up down down left right left right B A start.

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Dawn Shepherd, ABD

Last week marked the 7th member of the third-year cohort to pass the preliminary exams. Under the guidance of co-chairs Dr. Carolyn Miller and Dr. Jeremy Packer, Dawn Shepherd joined the ranks of the CRDM candidates marching steadily onward toward their degrees. Dawn’s other committee members, Drs. Susan Miller-Cochran and CRDM program director Steve Wiley, are almost certainly looking forward to reading drafts of her proposed dissertation, “Our Best Guess for You: A Theory of Matching.” Turns out she’s really interested in candidating.

What’s that? You can’t believe how a gamble like the rhetoric of online dating services like will pay off for a dissertation? As far as I’m concerned, it’s safe to Always Bet on Dawn.


Follow Dawn 140 characters at a time on Twitter, or read her 2004 co-publication with Carolyn Miller on the genre of the blog.

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Filed under exams and dissertations