Rick Wysocki is a new Rhetoric and Writing professor in the Ball State English Department. He has his PHD in Rhetoric and Composition. Wysocki’s research includes LGBTQ archival rhetoric, media theory, and digital rhetoric.

How would you describe your perspective on teaching?

I’m influenced by the liberal arts tradition, and I’m interested in teaching that emphasizes dialogue and shared inquiry on topics rather than top-down models of “content transmission.” When I was a college student, I always learned best when the professor worked to create conditions of self-directed learning and exploration rather than assigning a multitude of facts to memorize. The most important job of teachers, to me, is helping students learn how to learn. Of course, this is somewhat discipline-dependent.

Are you working on any projects at the moment?

I’m working on developing few articles emerging from my dissertation work on the Williams-Nichols Archive, an archive of LGBTQ materials now held at the University of Louisville. Having studied music for a large chunk of my life (unrelated to my academic work), I’ve also always been interested in music and, maybe even more so, musical technologies. From that interest, I’m at the very early stages of formulating a research project on the development of the musical synthesizer and its ongoing transformation of what “counts” as music and musicianship.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve been slowly re-reading Martin Buber’s I and Thou (my favorite book on ethics and one of the formative books for me deciding to go to graduate school) and am also reading David Stubbs’s Future Sounds: The Story of Electronic Music from Stockhausen to Skrillex.

What are some of your hobbies or interests?

I like spending time with my partner, my dogs (April, Queenie), and my cat (Ginsberg). As far as hobbies, and as suggested above, I’m a bit of a nut about all things music related, and spend a good deal of my free time either working on music or building musical devices. Lately I’ve been spending some time learning Max/MSP, a visual programming environment for creating musical instruments.

Who are your biggest role models?

Hmmm, I’m not sure if they count as role models, but my favorite artists (across media) are David Byrne from Talking Heads, the director David Lynch, the electronic musician Richard James (Aphex Twin), and Tom Waits.

What is a piece of advice you would offer students?

Taking ownership of your own learning, and developing your own ability to foster learning, is the most important aspect of your education.