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Robert J. Bonk, PhD

  • Professor of Professional Writing

Education

  • PhD, Health Studies - Pharmacy Administration (1995)
    University of the Sciences (PA)
  • MS, Technical and Science Communication (1989)
    Drexel University (PA)
  • BS, Biology and Chemistry with Highest Honors (1979)
    University of Delaware (DE) 

About Me

Since joining Widener University in 2001, I've had the pleasure to reinvigorate and develop the Professional Writing Programs. Our courses and curricula focus on applied writing in fields as varied as nursing, business, publishing, and science. All our courses share one commonality-writing for a target audience to achieve an identified goal in a realistic context. My personal background reflects this teaching strategy. 

In college, I was one of those students who liked too many majors, so I eventually earned a BS in Biology and Chemistry, an MS in Technical and Science Communication, and a PhD in Health Studies. Initially, I worked as a biochemist in an international pharmaceutical firm, eventually managing the publishing function. Our group, in fact, wrote scientific documents as small as one-paragraph abstracts and as large as reports over 18,000 pages! Off campus, I've trained for years as an ice dancer. I also enjoy watercolor painting. Both of these activities help me to remember what it's like to be a student.

Research Interests

My research focuses on writing techniques in healthcare. I've published three books in this area, as well as numerous journal articles, such as analyses of Medicare manuals for their targeted audience of senior citizens. I am also active in the open education movement. Because many of my courses have experiential components, I've also published and presented on applied projects that benefit our community. Fortunately, my research interests have allowed me to travel throughout Europe—from Spain and Italy in the southwest to Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland in central and Eastern Europe. Just like my courses, my research emphasizes the applications of writing in professional contexts.

Publications

  • Bonk, R.J. (2015). Writing for Today's Healthcare Audiences. Toronto: Broadview Press.
  • Bonk, R.J. (2011). Enhancing comprehension through suitability: An analysis of the U.S. Medicare plan handbook. Journal of Communication in Healthcare 4(3), 178–85.
  • Bonk, R.J. Experiential Education and Community Engagement in Professional Writing. 1st Global Conference on Writing: Paradigms, Power, Poetics, Praxes. Session: Critical Thinking Across Dimensions. Prague. 12–14 Nov. 2011.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

American Medical Writers Association (AMWA)

Awards

  • Editorial Board Member of the Journal of Communication in Healthcare (2018)

  • Academic Member of the Communication Institute of Greece (2018)

  • Fitz Dixon Innovation in Teaching Award Nominee (2014)

  • Fellow of the American Medical Writers Association (2009)

  • Clarence R. Moll Professor of the Year Award (2007)

Noteworthy

  • Professor Named to Communication Institute of Greece Position and Publishes Pieces Related to COVID-19

    Dr. Robert Bonk, a professor of professional writing who is internationally known for his research, workshops, and presentations, was recently named Honorary Vice President Collaborative Writing Initiatives by the Communication Institute of Greece (ComInG). This honor recognizes his most recent accomplishment serving as lead researcher and lead author for an international project examining the responses of higher education to the COVID-19 pandemic in seven nations.

    The article, titled "Pedagogy in the Time of Pandemic: From Localisation to Glocalisation," is currently in press at the Journal of Education, Innovation, and Communication. He also served as guest editor and co-authored the preface for the June 2020 special issue of the journal.

    Active as an Ambassador and Academic Conference Committee member, Bonk presented at the ComInG 2019 Conference and had been invited to lead writing workshops at the 2020 Conference. He was previously honored as a Fellow of the American Medical Writers Association. Bonk also recently edited and provided a poem and photo for the ComInG motivational book "Why is it worth waking up every morning? Impressions and reflections on inspiration, motivation, and collaboration."

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