Derek G. Ross
Technical and Professional Communication, Auburn University Department of English

About Me

I'm a professor in Auburn University's Master of Technical and Professional Communication Program in the Department of English, co-editor of SUNY’s Studies in Technical Communication series, co-director of Auburn's Lab for Usability, Communication, Interaction, and Accessibility (LUCIA), and the Director of Graduate Studies for the English Department.

My research interests include perceptions of environmental rhetoric, ethics, and document design. My edited collection, Topic-Driven Environmental Rhetoric (2017), is available from Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, and Amazon.

You can see me in an interview talking about my work with Aldo Leopold's land ethic at the 2015 International Professional Communication Conference here. I was featured in our Discover Auburn lecture series, where I gave a talk titled Earth First!: Communications and Radical Environmentalism.

Discover Auburn Lecture Series:”Earth First! Communications and Radical Environmentalism” from Auburn Libraries on Vimeo.

Contact Me

Office Hours: I am by appointment only this semester. Please send me an email to schedule a meeting time. 

My office (and digital space) is a safe space for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors, regardless of race, color, creed, class, religion, political affiliation, or gender or sexual  identity.

Email: derek (dot) ross (at)

Pronouns: he/him/his

During the semester, I respond to email during business hours: between 8:00 and 5:00 M - F, excluding university holidays. I try to respond within 24 hours.

Phone:  334-844-9073

Office: 8072 Haley Center

Mail: 9030 Haley Center, Auburn University, AL 36849-5203

Cover for Topic-Driven Environmental Rhetoric Book

Statement on Diversity and Inclusion

My classrooms, office, and lab are safe spaces for all students, staff, faculty, and visitors. I support people of all colors, ethnicities, and gender and sexual identifications. I support people of all nations and immigrants of any status. I support people of all faiths and none, people of all ages, and people of all abilities. In keeping with Auburn University policy, I will not accept the disparagement, harassment, or exclusion of others based on differences, perceived or otherwise, in any of my spaces.

I recognize the value of visible and audible diversity. While many of us are diverse in our backgrounds and beliefs, this diversity is often invisible. I recognize that visible and audible diversity is a valuable, important factor in establishing a vibrant, shared, and safe community. I celebrate people of all colors, abilities, identifications, and backgrounds, recognizing that differently-abled bodies are just as important to our world as differently-colored bodies, and that we identify as much by sound as by sight.

I celebrate traditional and non-traditional modes of dress, and recognize the importance of an individual’s right to express their faith or sense of being through the way they dress, the jewelry they choose to wear, and the way they choose to decorate their skin. I recognize that self-expression is a rhetorical choice, and here, in a department where language and action intersect to shape our teaching and research practices, I celebrate physical diversity—inherent or chosen—as an obvious and apparent marker of the richness of our shared community.

I celebrate difference, recognizing that the respectful exchange of ideas in the spirit of academic inquiry supports and bolsters our shared human connections.

Selected Publications (Book and Chapters)

Ross, D. G. (Ed.). (2017). Topic-driven environmental rhetoric. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group. Honorable Mention for the 2018 CCCC Technical and Scientific Communication Award in the category of Best Original Collection of Essays in Technical or Scientific Communication.

Ross, D. G. (2021). (Teaching) ethics and technical communication. In M. J. Klein (Ed.), Effective Teaching of Technical Communication. WAC Clearinghouse, Foundations and Innovations in Technical and Professional Communication.

Ross, D. G. (2018). Résumé design and career advocacy in a Goodwill Career Center. In G. Agboka and N. Matveeva (Eds.), Citizenship and Advocacy in Technical Communication: Scholarly and Pedagogical Perspectives (pp. 175 – 198). New York, NY: Routledge.

Ross, D. G. (2016). “We will live to piss on their graves”: Edward Abbey, radical environmentalism, and the birth of Earth First!. In R. D. Besel and B. K. Duffy (Eds.), Green voices: Defending nature and the environment in American civic discourse (pp. 243 – 273). Albany, NY: SUNY.


Selected Publications (Peer Reviewed Journal Articles)

Ross, D. G., & Pears, K. (2022). Zines as empowerment. The 40th ACM International Conference on Design of Communication (SIGDOC ’22), October 06–08, 2022, pp. 117–120.

Ross, D. G., Oppegaard, B., & Willerton, R. (2019). Principles of place: Developing a Place-Based Ethic for discussing, debating, and anticipating technical communication concerns. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication.

Ross, D. G., & Parks, M. (2018). Mutual respect in an ethic of care: A collaborative essay on power, trust, and stereotyping. Teaching Ethics. DOI: 10.5840/tej2018112156

Ross, D. G. (2017). The role of ethics, culture, and artistry in scientific illustration. Technical Communication Quarterly, 26(2), 145 – 172.

Ross, D. G. (2015). Monkeywrenching plain language: Ecodefense, ethics, and the technical communication of ecotage. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 58(2), 154 – 175.

Ross, D. G. (2013). Deep audience analysis: A proposed method for analyzing audiences for environment-related communication. Technical Communication, 60(2), 94-117.

Ross, D. G. (2013). Common topics and commonplaces of environmental rhetoric. Written Communication, 30(1), 91 – 131.


All current courses are available via Canvas.

Past courses include, among others: British Impact on Communication Design; Document Design (Undergraduate); Document Design (Graduate); Document Design (Advanced, Graduate); Ethics, Communication, and Society; Ethics in Technical Communication; Environmental Rhetoric; Environmental Rhetoric, Ethics, and Policy; Grant and Proposal Writing; History of the Book in Theory and Practice; Professional Writing (Intro); Professional Writing (Capstone); Writing Public Policy; Writing Public Policy: Rhetoric, Ethics, and Social Justice; Technical Editing; Technical Writing; Technical Writing (large format); and independent studies in Activist Rhetoric (PDF) and Teaching Technical Communication (PDF).