Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Humanities

Advisor 1

Karla S. Kitalong

Committee Member 1

Michael Bowler

Committee Member 2

Ramon Fonkoue

Committee Member 3

Jonathan Robins


A grave concern in communication education scholarship is that research in practice plays second fiddle to theory. Little is known about the phenomenology of practice in communication pedagogy, and how it shapes and is shaped by programmatic assessment in particular. This dissertation attempts to explore the complexity of practice in communication education in a non-Western culture. The project demonstrates that the organizational culture that gives rise to the work of communication program administrators is always filtered and enacted through the interplay of institutional politics, the global knowledge economy, and state power. Using two public universities in Ghana, I argue, based on interpretive ethnographic fieldwork, that communication education is undergoing a shift from an instrumentalist, objectivist paradigm to a humanistic pedagogy of critical awareness. The latter, however, remains, largely unmapped in the field. Using ideas of practice that meet at the intersection of phenomenology and critical theory, I show how discursive practices of communication faculty as well as regimes of control owned by the state shape knowledge work in this epistemic community. The crystallized data, i.e., direct participant observations, in-depth interviews with faculty, minutes, memos, and curricula of two communication departments, accreditation manuals, and legal and policy documents about higher education in Ghana, raise concerns to make communication education in that cultural space more Afrocentric. This move, I argue, is crucial for engendering the strategic partnership of African communication researchers in the web of global scholarship. To this end, I call for a pedagogy of transcultural competence informed by a dialectical calculus between local interests and global exigencies.