Writing 50E, Spring 2022


Welcome to Writing 50E: Research Writing for Engineers.

You can find the syllabus and schedule on the menu above. I look forward to a wonderful quarter with you!

Frequently Asked Questions


Who are you?

I’m Kevin Rutherford (he/him). I’d prefer you call me Kevin. If you need to address me by a title, you can call me Dr. Rutherford, Professor Rutherford, Professor, Professor Kevin, or Dr. Kevin. (Though, honestly, I’d prefer just Kevin.)

That said, please don’t call me “Mr. Rutherford.” (I realize it might sound silly, but I worked for years to get my PhD.)

I have been teaching at UCSB since Summer 2019. I’ve taught a variety of classes here, including multimedia writing, writing for engineers, first-year writing, and business writing.  At other universities, I’ve taught a variety of courses (too many to list) covering professional, technical, and scientific communication.

I currently live in Santa Barbara with my spouse and my kittens, Peter and Diana, who are nearly a year old. I play a lot of video games, and enjoy hiking and cooking.

Before starting at UCSB, I worked at a school in the State University of New York system. Before that, I got my PhD and MA from Miami University (in Ohio). Before starting grad school, I received a BA in English and a BA in History from the University of Southern Indiana. And many years before all of that, I was born in east Tennessee. I’ve lived in a lot of different places – sometimes for school, sometimes for work, sometimes because my family moved, and sometimes for reasons I don’t fully understand.

What is this class about?

This class is about research and writing in engineering. “Research” is a pretty thorny concept, although it might not seem like it at first. We often think about research for school in very particular ways, and that approach to research (especially the kinds of thinking you’ve likely done about it in high school) bears little resemblance to the kinds of research that professionals do to solve actual problems. This class is an important part of a much longer journey that will help you think differently about what real research (and writing about it) looks like. (And, for that matter, whether there’s actually a difference between “doing research” and “writing about research.”)

When and how are we meeting?

This class is a hybrid course, which means we’re only meeting in person as a class on Mondays, from 5:00-6:50pm in HSSB 1206.

However, we will be incorporating regular small group meetings throughout the quarter. You’ll be meeting as groups to discuss material, review your peers’ work, provide support, etc. Additionally, part of your grade in the course will come from working with your group members on a major project. 

Finally, you’ll also be meeting with me over Zoom – one mandatory individual conference during Week 3, and again optionally with your groups during weeks 6 and 8. (And/or during my office hours each week, if you decide to attend.) Taken together, I hope these things help you feel connected to me and to the other students in the course.

When are your office hours?

I will be holding scheduled office hours on Wednesdays from 3-5pm over Zoom. You can also always get in touch through email to schedule another time to meet. (My Zoom ID is: 676 383 1237.)

What should I do if I have other questions?

You are welcome to email me (kjr@ucsb.edu). Typically, I will get back to you within 24 hours (if not sooner). This quarter, I’m trying to keep slightly more regular working hours, so don’t expect to hear from me immediately if you email at 11pm (or 3am). However, if you don’t hear back from me within 24 hours, please follow up. (I mean this!)