Profile: Sara West

by Mark Thompson

Join the College of H&A in welcoming Dr. Sara West to the Department of English, where she has joined us as a professor of professional and technical writing. Sara comes to SJSU from the University of Arkansas, where she earned her PhD in English with a specialty in technical and professional communication. Sara’s research interests include social media pedagogies and methodologies, technical and professional communication, new media studies, community formation in online spaces, digital literacy and access, and rural literacies.

Sara joins a growing technical writing program with many connections to the tech industry in the Bay Area, and credits this relationship as one of the reasons she came to SJSU. “While Silicon Valley is a hub for technological innovation, it is also a hub for technical and professional writing. I feel really grateful to be able to teach courses in my specialty to students who understand the importance and can readily see professional applications of the skills we’re practicing.”

A veteran of teaching college-level professional and technical writing, Sara has also designed and taught courses about online writing, social media writing, and multimodal composition. She plans on bringing this experience to her SJSU classroom. “I hope to soon add a course related to my specialty of social media writing, somewhat based in my social media-related research right now that, broadly stated, focuses on the functionality that platforms provide corporate users.”

“The students have really been the highlight of my time at SJSU so far,” she says. “My students are engaged and interested, not just in the content but in each other, in me, and in their futures. I’ve never seen such great discussion anywhere else, and they continually impress me.”

Sara’s move from Arkansas to San José has been a smooth one. “So far I’ve really enjoyed SJSU as a whole—the campus, the students, and my colleagues. Everyone has been extremely accommodating and welcoming, making the transition to this ‘big city’ a lot easier than I thought it would be! San José itself has been a lot of fun. I’ve explored street fairs, festivals, hiking trails, and, of course, delicious restaurants. I love that there’s always something to do.”

When she’s not teaching, researching, or exploring the city, she’s cheering on the Sharks or volunteering at The Dancing Cat, a San José institution that lets patrons come hang out with cats—or even permanently adopt them.

Welcome, Sara!