Provost Briefs

Writing and Rhetoric Program

This past year the Writing and Rhetoric Program has made strides in many areas. With a fast-growing number of majors and minors, the curriculum has been restructured to afford more choice to majors, with three concentrations: Journalism and Professional Writing, Theories of Writing and Rhetoric, and Language as Social Action. Beginning with the class of 2014, all majors and minors will also complete a portfolio as seniors to represent their achievements as writers and scholars, and to aid them as they pursue careers and graduate study. This portfolio initiative forms part of the program’s assessment of the curriculum, piloted during the summer of 2012 and to become standard practice as of spring 2014. The Program has also introduced a First Year Writing Prize, to be awarded for the first time this April.

Writing and Rhetoric faculty have had an active year professionally. Hannah Dickinson is a Fisher Fellow for the 2012-13 year, with the theme of “Gender, Collectivity and the Commons.” She and Maggie Werner were awarded a Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) Teaching Innovation grant for their project, Comic Conversations: Multimodal Scholar-Dialogue in Inquiry Based Research. (Click here for the story).

Hannah Dickinson and Alex Janney with Caitlin Caron of CTL presented at the International Writing Centers Association Conference (IWCA) in San Diego in October. Four Writing and Rhetoric faculty attended the College Composition and Communication Conference in Las Vegas in March; Hannah Dickinson and Benjamin Ristow presented papers while Alex Janney and Maggie Werner participated in the Research Forum. Maggie Werner also recently presented at the Queering Spaces/Queering Borders: Queer Studies Conference at the University of North Carolina Asheville. Sean M. Conrey’s book of poetry, The Word in Edgewise, has been accepted for publication by Brick Road Poetry Press, forthcoming in early 2014. Lastly, Acting Chair Margueritte Murphy’s book, Material Figures: Political Economy, Commercial Culture, and the Aesthetic Sensibility of Charles Baudelaire, appeared in 2012 (Rodopi) as well as her essay, “The Prose Poem: A Modernist Genre” as the introduction to Family Portrait: American Prose Poetry 1900-1950 (White Pine Press) and in The Writer’s Chronicle (Oct/Nov 2012).


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.