Composition & Rhetoric
The graduate curriculum provides a solid foundation in English studies. The doctoral program is designed for those seeking academic positions as composition specialists (researchers, teachers, or administrators) or generalist positions in postsecondary English departments that emphasize writing instruction. The newly formed (in 2006) MA program is ideal for practicing teachers wishing to improve their credentials by developing a specialty in the teaching of writing as well as for BA graduates who plan to go on for the Ph.D.
The CRES graduate curriculum provides a solid foundation in English studies as well as elective opportunities for those who wish to develop secondary specializations in literary theory, creative writing, African-American rhetoric and literature, linguistics, and other areas. CRES students have opportunities to teach first-year writing, advanced expository writing, technical writing, and sophomore literature surveys. We also offer opportunities to gain experience in writing center work and writing program administration work through our Composition Committee. In fall 2006, the program began collaborating with the College of Commerce and Business Administration (CBA) to offer opportunities to teach professional writing and pursue directed studies in professional writing pedagogy.
Our graduates have obtained tenure-track positions at community colleges and four-year institutions such as Judson College (Marion, AL), Charlotte School of Law (NC), Stillman College (Tuscaloosa, AL), the University of Houston, Itawamba Community College (Fulton, MS), Chattanooga State Community College (TN), Hinds Community College (Jackson, Mississippi), Marion Military Institute (Marion, AL), Louisiana Tech, Murray State, the University of Alabama-Birmingham, the University of Texas-El Paso, Alabama A&M, St. Louis Community College (Meramec Campus), LaGrange College (GA), East Tennessee State, the University of South Alabama, Eastern Illinois University, and the University of North Alabama.
Doctoral students in other areas of the department may wish to pursue composition-rhetoric as a secondary area of interest. Students who complete twelve approved hours of CRES coursework and the written section of the CRES preliminary exam can request a letter from the program documenting their successful completion of this option.
Within the past five years, the CRES program has welcomed several new faculty members who bring a renewed sense of excitement and expanded possibilities for graduate study in composition and rhetoric. Particular areas of specialization now include composition theory and pedagogy, writing program and writing center administration, digital rhetoric, technology and writing, literacy studies, critical race theory, African-American rhetoric, and curriculum development and design. Please click on the links below for more information about individual faculty members.
Carolyn Handa, Professor (PhD UCLA): Visual and digital rhetoric; computers and composition; composition pedagogy; basic and developmental writing; writing program administration; contemporary American poetry
Luke Niiler, Associate Professor and Director of the Writing Center (PhD SUNY Buffalo): Writing center administration; composition theory; composition pedagogy; quantitative and qualitative research; the personal essay, J.R.R. Tolkien
Amy Dayton, Associate Professor and Field Advisor (PhD University of Arizona): Composition theory & pedagogy; community literacy and histories of literacy; ethnic rhetoric; qualitative research; ESL writing
Michelle Robinson, Assistant Professor (PhD University of Louisville): African-American Literacy; African-American Rhetoric; Critical Race Theory; Historiography; Composition Pedagogy; Curriculum Development and Design; Program and Student Assessment
Ralph Voss, Emeritus Professor (PhD University of Texas, Austin): Composition theory; composition pedagogy; memoiristic prose; twentieth-century American drama; William Inge; Tennessee Williams
Catherine Davies, Professor (PhD UC Berkeley): English Linguistics; dialectology
Nikhil Bilwakesh, Assistant Professor (PhD Graduate Center, CUNY): The essay, Asian American literature, nineteenth-century American literature, film studies