PRC Research Projects

The English Department and The Program in Rhetoric and Composition are proud of their perfect placement record for graduates in the field of Rhetoric and Composition. Below is a list of dissertations completed and positions taken by our graduates, as well as research interests of our current graduate students.

PRC Students' Completed Dissertations and Accepted Positions 


Uyen Dang, now Instructor of English, Hung Vuong Specialized High School in Binh Duong province, Vietnam; Activating Schemata in ESL Writing.”

Jonathan Green, now Full-Time Lecturer, Department of English, Texas Christian University; “Best Practice : Bringing the Elements of Effective Practice to the College Writing Classroom.”

Sara West, now Assistant Professor of Professional and Technical Writing, San Jose State University; “The Challenge of Anonymous and Ephemeral Social Media : Reflective Research Methodologies & Student-User Composing Practices.”


Angela Cox, now Assistant Teaching Professor, Department of English, Ball State University, Indiana; “The Power Fantastic: How Genre Expectations Mediate Authority.”

Paige Hermansen, now Assistant Professor of English, Westfield State University, Massachusetts; “Selling College: Student Recruitment and Education Reform Rhetoric in the Age of Privatization.”

 Sarah N. (Nikki) Holland, now Writing Center Course Mentor, Western Governors University; “Designing Place-sensitive Professional Development: A Critical Ethnography of Teaching and Learning Argumentative Writing.”


Jennifer Mallette, now Assistant Professor of English, Boise State University; “Engineer as Writer and Woman: Gender, Identity, and Professional Discourse.”


James A. Anderson Jr., now Assistant Professor of English and English Education, Lander University, South Carolina; “‘We can't reclaim what we don't understand’: Teachers' Perceptions of Advocacy and Voice in a Rural Institute of the National Writing Project.”


Evelyn Baldwin, now Lecturer (Full-Time, Continuing), Program for Writing, State University of New York at Albany; “Reading and Religion: Reconciling Diverse Reading Patterns and the First-Year Composition Classroom.”

Jason (Jake) Edwards, now Assistant Professor of English, Georgia Gwinnett College; “Digital eBook Readers, Adolescent Readers, and Reading Practices: Observations on the Intersection of Technology, Identity, and Literacy.”


Robert Griffith, now Dean of Academic and Student Affairs, Ozarks Technical Community College, Table Rock Campus; “Wayfaring Strangers: A Case Study of Rural Developmental Writers in the Missouri Ozarks.”

Leslie Seawright, now Assistant Professor of English, Missouri State University; “The Literacy Practices of Law Enforcement.”


Gamil Al-Amrani, now Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, Jazan University, Saudi Arabia; “Multiple Literacies, Fragmented Identities: Arab Students at American Universities.”


Jessie Blackburn, now Associate Professor of English, Assistant Chair of the Department of English, and Director of the Composition and Rhetoric Program, Appalachian State University; “Critical Digital Literacies: Following Feminist Composition Theories into Twenty-First Century Contact Zones.”


Allison Harl, now Associate Professor of English, Ferrum College, Virginia; “Selling the Story as Souvenir: Sociocultural Uses of Print in the Literature of the American West.”


Laura Blankenship, now Dean of Academic Affairs, The Baldwin School, Philadelphia; “Interactivism: Transforming the Composition Classroom through Blogging.”

Current Ph.D. Students’ Research Interests

Meagon Clarkson-Guyll is interested in studying issues related to placement of students in writing courses via indirect measures, such as multiple choice tests, in contrast to direct measures, such as actual writing samples.  She is also interested in the conceptual and curricular connections between writing courses labeled as “remedial” or “developmental” and mainstream college composition courses.

Erin Daugherty is interested in studying shifts in composition pedagogies post-9/11, with the distinct rise of public rhetorics of fear and fear-mongering in the U.S.  She is curious about how space and place participate in student literacy acquisition and learning, with a specific interest in digital literacies and Living Learning Communities, and how composition pedagogies can use students' out-of-school translanguaging practices as course subject matter and content, at both the university and high school level.

Rachel Hancock is interested in a couple of research areas, both revolving around humor. One area is the intersection of humor and first-year composition pedagogy. More specifically, Rachel is interested in how teaching students how to analyze the structure and content of a stand-up comedy sketch, on both a macro and micro level, can help them better understand how to structure their own essays and arguments in first-year composition. She is also interested in how incorporating humor in technical documents can result in a more symbiotic relationship between the subject matter and audience, much in the way plain language does, and how that can create a more civically engaged community.

Leah Beth Johnston is interested in First-Year Composition administration and pedagogy as well as marginal rhetorics.  Her research considers how language impacts the classroom experience of first-year students, particularly those from historically marginalized populations.  Additionally, she is a Beyoncé scholar; her most recent presentation explores the incorporation of Knowles-Carter's LEMONADE in first-semester composition courses.

Sam Morris is developing a framework for studying and teaching contemporary young adult literature (YAL) in both the secondary and post-secondary classrooms. First, he locates the origins of YAL in the nineteenth-century British novel in order to attach an already-existing critical/theoretical apparatus to YAL, both in its development throughout the twentieth century and in the current twenty-first century cultural explosion. Next, he develops a casebook of examples of different ways to use that critical/theoretical apparatus to work with and better understand YAL from the viewpoint of a scholar and/or a teacher. Finally, relying on literacy and pedagogy research, he argues for significant incorporation of YAL in the secondary English curriculum to meet both the literacy and the developmental needs of adolescent learners.

Katie Wilson is interested in studying the discourse surrounding memorials and monuments in regards to heritage and public memory.  More particularly, she hopes to examine confederate memorials and monuments that shape a university’s history, specifically southern universities.  Additionally, Katie is pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Technical Writing and Public Rhetorics and is interested more broadly with a university’s relationship to their community, however that might be defined.