Texas Tech University

Geoffrey Sauer

My scholarly research focuses on the history of publishing, both from theoretical perspectives (using both cultural and rhetorical theory) and pragmatics (typography, offset printing, online document management, databases, new media, and generative A.I./machine learning).

I am currently writing a book tentatively titled Usable Genres (you can read the proposal here). I am also researching learning management systems as a form of material rhetoric, and investigating problems with contemporary theories of dialectical negotiation when applied to cloud and virtualized hosting platforms. 

Pronouns:   he/him
PhD:           Carnegie Mellon University
Website:      https://geoff.sauer.studio/

Fields of Interest

  • Technical communication, with a special interest in computer supported collaborative work and emerging publishing technologies.
  • Media studies, with expertise in Internet studies.
  • Intellectual property in the history of publishing.
  • Usability, accessibility, user-centered design, user experience design and interaction design.
  • Digital humanities, including both digitized and born-digital materials.
  • Rhetorical theory, especially the multimodal persuasive description of technical issues.
  • Performance studies, particularly of literary, film, or new media works.
  • Critical theory and cultural studies.

Print Publications (Selected)

Sauer, David K. and Geoffrey Sauer. “Chapter 19: Drama.” In American Literary Scholarship: 2020. David J. Nordloh, ed. Duke University Press, 2022. p. 359-379. Project MUSE: muse.jhu.edu/article/868591.

Sauer, David K. and Geoffrey Sauer. “Chapter 20: Drama.” In American Literary Scholarship: 2019. Gary Scharnhorst, ed. Duke University Press, 2021. p. 387-410. Project MUSE: muse.jhu.edu/article/805985.

Sauer, Geoffrey. ‘Applying Usability and User Experience within Academic Contexts: Why Progress Remains Slow.' Technical Communication Quarterly. Volume 27, 2018 – Issue 4

Sauer, Geoffrey. “Multimedia Labs as Content Incubators.” Intercom. September/October 2011.

Sauer, Geoffrey. “Teaching Partnerships Explored: Designing Globally Networked Learning Environments.” A review of Designing Globally Networked Learning Environments by Doreen Starke-Meyerring and Melanie Wilson (eds.) Programmatic Perspectives. April 2010, 4pp.

Sauer, Geoffrey. “A Commentary on Edmond H. Weiss's ‘Egoless Writing: Improving Quality by Replacing Artistic Impulse with Engineering Discipline.‘” In ACM Journal of Computer Documentation. Vol. 26, No. 1: February 2002. pp. 17-22. 

Haselkorn, Mark P., Geoffrey Sauer, Jennifer Turns, Deborah L. Illman, Michio Tsutsui, Carolyn Plumb and Tom Williams. “Expanding the Scope of Technical Communication: Examples from the Department of Technical Communication at the University of Washington.” In Technical Communication, May 2003.

Sauer, Geoffrey. “コミュニティ、コースウェア、知的財産権.” In オンライン・コミュニティ: eコマース、教育オンライン、 非営利オンライン 活動の最先端レポート (Online Communities: A Cutting-Edge Report on E-Commerce, Education Online, and Non-Profit Online Activities). Chris Werry and Miranda Mowbray, eds. Ken'ich Ikeda, Ed. Supervisor. Midori Shimoda, Kiichi Obata, Ko Ito and Yumiko Koiwa, translators. Tokyo: Pearson Education Japan, 2002. pp. 187-205.

Sauer, Geoffrey. “Community, Courseware and Intellectual Property Law.” In Online Communities: Commerce, Community Action, and the Virtual University. Chris Werry and Miranda Mowbray, eds. New York: Prentice Hall, 2001. 23 pp.

Online Publications (Selected)

EServer.org. Director, 1990-2017.
A digital humanties cooperative, with more than 227 editors from around the world, collaborating to publish over fifty collections in the arts and humanities.
over 2 million visitors (13 million hits) per month; 20.5 million visitors (142 million hits) in 2015

Antislavery Literature Project. Webmaster, 2005-2017.
Designed and created the content management system which runs a project which publishes a body of literature crucial to understanding the African American experience.
40,000 visitors (336,000 hits) per month

Bad Subjects. Member, Production Team, 1993-2017.
Served as the web designer and member of the editorial board of a cultural studies journal published on the web since 1993.
222,000 visitors (1.5 million hits) per month. Two new issues published in 2015.

Books. Webmaster, 1994-2017.
Built and published high-quality online editions of literary fiction and nonfiction book-length monographs free to all readers.
61,500 visitors (836,000 hits) per month

The David Mamet Review. Web Advisor, 2003-2017
The journal of the academic David Mamet Society, a group dedicated to studying contemporary drama from a literary perspective. Designed their content management system and advise the journal's two webmasters.
20,500 visitors (124,000 hits) per month

EServer Technical Communication Library. Director, 2001-2017
Built and supervised an online resource for technical, scientific, and professional communicators.
500,000 visitors (4 million hits) per month

Lectures on Demand. Director, 1996-2017
Created and posted content to a site which publishes streaming audio and video lectures in the arts and humanities.
16,000 visitors (133,000 hits) per month


Johnson, Alex. “Experts Weigh In On Current Job Market Trends.” Zippia.com. 2020.

Charis-Carlson, Jeff. “Going Digital: It's Not Your Grandma's Humanities Any More.” The Des Moines Register and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. 2015.

Johnson, Tom H. and Geoffrey Sauer. “EServer TC Library: The Most Popular Technical Communication Website in the World.” I'd Rather Be Writing. 2008.

Kudesia, Saurabh and Geoffrey Sauer. “Rendezvous with KnowGenesis.” International Journal of Technical Communication. Volume 2, number 2: June 2007. pp. 5-11.

Johnson, Tom H. and Geoffrey Sauer. “Geoff Sauer on tc.eserver.org, the Largest Tech Comm Index Online.” I'd Rather Be Writing. 2007.

Presentations (Selected)

Sauer, Geoffrey. "Teaching Serverless Web Development in TComm: Malicious Compliance in Complex, Changing, and Limiting University Environments." Association of Teachers of Technical Writing annual conference, 2023.

“Design for Too Many Stakeholders: Redesigning an Academic Library Site.” ACM Special Interest Group for the Design of Communication Annual Conference. October 2020. Presented via recorded video, due to COVID-19.

Sauer, Geoffrey and Amanda Arp. “Completing the Circle of Composition: Using Emerging Online Tools to Integrate Writing Centers into Vibrant Content Creation.” (invited.) Presented to the ISU Writing and Media Center Online Research Summit, April 2020.

Sauer, Geoffrey. “Accompanying Usability and UX Through Its Adolescence to Maturity.” (invited.) Keynote address to World Usability Day 2019 Held at SVSU University, November 2019.

“Burying One's Head in the Cloud.” Computers and Writing Annual Conference, East Lansing, MN. June, 2019.

“Accountability to our Majors (and Prospective Majors).” ATTW Annual Conference, Pittsburgh. March 2019.

“Endowing Multimodal Rhetorics with Power: The Need for a Contemporary Inventio for Genres.” Rhetoric Society of America Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN. May 2018.

“A Domain of One's Own: A Need for Diverse Narratives About Web Composition.” Conference on College Composition and Communication, Kansas City, MO. March 2018.

Writing Interfaces.” GPACW Annual Conference, St. Paul, MN. October 2017.

Sauer, Geoffrey. “Building Digital Humanities Projects To Last: Advice from Someone Who's Run DH projects for 27 Years .” (invited.) Digital Innovation and Scholarship in the Social Sciences and Humanities Symposium 2017, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC. March 2017.

“Interface Exhaustion.” (invited.) Central Iowa Experiencing UX (User Experience), Workiva, Ames, IA. November 2016.


I love teaching. I teach courses about new media in workplace and technical communication, including courses in web design, content management systems, nonlinear video editing, film theory, social media, and usability.

Courses I Have Recently Taught

  • English 549: Multimedia Design in Professional Communication.Rhetorical principles of interactive multimedia design, such as those in DVDs, Blu-Ray videos, and streaming web multimedia. Practical understanding of computer applications used in interactive multimedia development. Focus on theoretical and practical elements of producing multimedia training in both education and industry. Work with interactive hypertext, digital audio, and nonlinear video editing.
  • English 529: Content Management.Strategies for developing and delivering multimodal content via digital media. Focus on the principles of database design, interface development, usability testing, and collaborative content management within professional communication settings.
  • English 505: User Experience Architecture and Testing.Seminar course examining user experience (UX) interface design and development in technical communication. Focus is on the UX project cycle: creating userfaces, conducting user research, system testing, and implementing data-driven results.
  • English 477: Seminar in Technical Communication. Intensive study of a selected topic that bridges theory and practice in technical communication. Required project that contributes to the understanding of an emerging issue in the profession.
  • English 411: Technology, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication.Seminar course on the implication of technologies, especially computer technology, for the writing and reading of business, technical, and academic texts. Extensive reading, discussion, and writing on selected technology-related topics.
  • English 335: Studies in Film.Seminar course on the implication of technologies, especially computer technology, for the writing and reading of business, technical, and academic texts. Extensive reading, discussion, and writing on selected technology-related topics.
  • English 314: Technical Communication.Rhetorical concepts and processes to successfully communicate technical information individually and collaboratively via written, oral, visual, and electronic modes. Emphasizes the major strategies for analyzing expert and lay audiences and adapting information to those audiences. Covers developing and designing usable technical documentation, visualizing data, and presenting technical information orally.
  • English 313: Rhetorical Website Design.Rhetorical principles of multimodal composing in hypertextual environments. Focus on writing according to web style guidelines, employing cascading stylesheets for layout and design, and using principles of information architecture to determine optimal site structure. Final project involves constructing interactive client site using latest web standards.
  • English 302: Business Communication. Rhetorical concepts and processes to successfully communicate individually and collaboratively via written, oral, visual, and electronic modes across a range of business disciplines. Covers strategies for analyzing audiences internal and external to an organization in order to communicate positive, neutral, and negative messages clearly, completely, correctly, and ethically; save an audience's time; and create goodwill.
  • English 250: Written, Oral, Visual, and Electronic Composition.Analyzing, composing, and reflecting on written, oral, visual, and electronic (WOVE) discourse within academic, civic, and cultural contexts. Emphasis on supporting a claim and using primary and secondary sources. Continued development of communication portfolio.


Chair, ISU Library Advisory Committee.When I was an assistant professor at the University of Washington-Seattle, I served on, then chaired that university's Library Committee. When I came to ISU in 2003, I joined this university's corresponding committee, which has representatives from each ISU college who consult monthly with the dean and associate deans about library policy decisions. From 2018-2003 I served as the chair of this committee, met frequently with the dean and associate deans, and served on the search committee for ISU's current Library Dean.

Director, ISU Studio for New Media.When I was a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon, I created a small multimedia lab to enable my colleagues to create and edit interactive multimedia. Then, as a young assistant professor at UW-Seattle, I created a similar multimedia studio to foster student and colleague proficiency with emerging media there. When I came to Iowa State, I founded the Studio for New Media here, and have directed the lab from then until 2023. In those  eighteen years, the Studio grew to support dozens of student and faculty members, and had a vibrant and energetic website (unfortunately only accessible from the ISU campus).

Founding Member, Open and Affordable Educational Resources Committee. The Open and Affordable Education Committee supports open-access course materials (OER) — free alternatives to traditional textbooks. The committee offers resources to help faculty and staff create free materials to support courses, and has saved ISU students over $6 million so far. I'm happy to have been part of this committee from its beginning at ISU until 2023, when I moved to TTU .

Director, ISU English Undergraduate Studies. Because of my interest in data-driven assessment, from 2018 to 2022 I served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the ISU English Department. That means I chaired a committee which supervises undergraduate teaching in the department, assessing programmatic strategies, goals, learning objectives, and how well the programs were serving students. This role also made me a part of the English Department's “administrative committee,” or leadership team.

Founding Director, EServer.org. In 1990 I founded an open-access e-publishing initiative in the arts and humanities. Over the next 28 years it grew, at its largest hosting over 35,000 works and supporting the work of 227 editors, five scholarly journals, and dozens of collections in a range of fields. At its peak it served over 500,000 hits per day to about two million readers per month. The site was retired in 2017.

Webmaster, TinyMCE Configurator. In 2015 I created a website called the ‘TinyMCE Configurator.' At the time free and open-source JavaScript libraries were becoming more important, and I'd used TinyMCE for many years inside content management systems on the EServer. The TinyMCE Configurator was written to help people who didn't fully understand JavaScript to benefit from software that (with our help) could allow them to create rich and sophisticated user interfaces for their websites.

Member, Editorial Boards, TCQ and CDQ. I currently serve on the editorial boards of two leading scholarly journals in the field of technical communication, Technical Communication Quarterly and Communication Design Quarterly. These are excellent sources for new knowledge in the fields surrounding technical communication, and I'm very proud to assist with these scholarly sources.

Faculty Advisor, Iowa State University Society for Technical Communication. From 2011-2023, I was the faculty advisor for the ISU student club, the Society for Technical Comunication. We held meetings every few weeks. The club offered social get-togethers and presentations by people in the field who can offer advice to students interested in the field. From 2021-2023, I co-advised the club with Charlie Kostelnick. (Instagram link)


Associate Professor
Technical Communication & Rhetoric

Email: geoff.sauer@ttu.edu
Office: 363-B