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News and Announcements

Shauna Edson Helps Pioneer Adult Digital Literacy with the Salt Lake City Public Library

Shauna Edson, an MA student in Communication and Writing & Rhetoric Studies, has been working with the Salt Lake City Public Library to help make our local communities more digitally inclusive.

Read the full story here.

 Max Werner has received the U's John R. Park Fellowship.

Charissa Che Interview with Ashley J. Holmes

Charissa Che's interview with Studies in Writing and Rhetoric book series author Ashley J. Holmes (Public Pedagogy in Composition Studies) is available at

Congratulations, Charissa!

 Max Werner has received the U's John R. Park Fellowship.

Congratulations to Max who received this fellowship for research related to his project, "Wolf and Human Management: A Longitudinal Study." He will receive funding from the University of Teaching Committee for travel, study, and course development during Summer and Fall.

Nona Brown and Maureen Clark have been awarded Professional Equity Program grants by CCCC.

Congratulations Nona and Maureen! These grants help defray conference cost for highly motivated non-tenure line faculty members/instructors.

Nina Feng, a Ph.D student in Writing and Rhetoric Studies has won a 2017 CCCC Scholars for the Dream Travel Award.

Congratulations to Nina for winning this very prestigious national award for emerging grad student scholars in the field!

 Charissa Che, a third-year Ph.D student in Writing and Rhetoric Studies is featured in Writing and Rhetoric Studies is featured in the Humanities Newsletter. 

read article here

 The University Writer (vol. 5)

We just released our latest newsletter with updated information and articles written by our students and staff.

Clark and Brown Receive Travel Awards to National Conference

Writing & Rhetoric Studies Instructor-Lecturers Nona Brown and Maureen Clark have received the Professional Equity Project travel grant from the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC).

The award covers registration and defrays other travel costs related to the Conference's annual convention, to be held in Portland, OR, in March 2017.

CCCC awards the grant to part-time, adjunct, and other non-tenure line faculty members and instructors "exhibiting a sustained interest in the teaching of writing" and who are motivated to network with colleagues across the country and internationally. Both Brown and Clark, longtime WRS instructors and faculty members, are highly engaged with students through courses including first-year writing, professional writing, writing in the social sciences, and writing about popular culture.

Shauna Edson named Digital Inclusion Fellow

Shauna Edson was named one of a small handful of national Digital Inclusion Fellows. The program is a partnership between Google and the Nonprofit Technology Network that focuses on increasing digital inclusion in cities where Google Fiber is providing Internet infrastructure. Shauna will work with the Salt Lake City Public Library to increase adult digital literacy.

 2016 Thomas G. Stockham Medal for Conspicuously Effective Teaching

Congratulations to Heather Stone on being awarded the U's 2016 Thomas G. Stockham Medal for Conspicuously Effective Teaching. Heather is a doctoral candidate with dual appointments in Communication and Writing and Rhetorical Studies.

Excellence in Writing Awards

Congratulations to our outstanding students and instructors for the 2015-2016 academic year!
This years awards went to:
Cael Campbell for Best Paper Lower Division (1010)
K. Beau Freckleton for Best Paper Lower Division (2010)
Amber Sandberg for Best Paper Upper Division (4200)
Ian Sohl for Best Paper Upper Division (3014)
Nathan Overturf-Lacy for Best Multimodal Composition (3870)
Charissa Che for Graduate Student Writing
Rhett Cooper for Excellence in Teaching
Natalie Stillman-Webb for Excellence in Teaching

2016 Excellence in Global Education Award

Congratulations to Jay Jordan for receiving the 2016 Excellence in Global Education Award! He was recognized for his outstanding contribution to advancing the global mission of the University of Utah.

Award for Thomas G. Stockham Medal for Conspicuously Effective Teaching

Heather Stone, a doctoral candidate with dual appointments in Communication and Writing and Rhetoric Studies, was awarded the U's 2016 Thomas G. Stockham Medal for Conspicuously Effective Teaching. this coveted award recognizes her excellence and dedication as an instructor for undergraduate students at the U, and comes with a $1,000 cash prize and engraved medal.

New Department Chair

Jay Jordan, our new department chair, is Associate Professor of Writing & Rhetoric Studies and of English. He's been a faculty member at the U for nine years, and he spent 2014-15 at the U's new Asia Campus in Korea. He'll be researching how students at the new campus learn to write across the curriculum. He'll be teaching Writing Across Borders (Spring 2016) as well as courses in composition pedagogy and histories of rhetoric. And he'll work with colleagues to continue to attract the best students to our major and our graduate programs.


Outgoing chair, Maureen Mathison, will be on sabbatical writing a book on persuasion and science. the book examines not only the nature of persuasion inscience, but also its rhetorical counterpart, dissuasion. Professor Mathison is also completing an edited volume, Sojourners and Third Cultures; the volume is based on her twenty years' experience working in interdisciplinary seettings, and offers theoretical and practical insights into working across disciplines. Mathison served as the director of the University Writing Program for nine years, and as inaugural chair for one. Previously, she was the Associate Dean of the College of Humanities. Courses she teaches include the Rhetoric of Science and Technology, Visual Rhetoric, Research Methods, and Writing in the Public sphere.

New Book Published

Professor Jenny Andrus recently published her book "Entextualizing Domestic Violence," with the Oxford University Press Studies in Language and Law.

Award for 2015 Mark Reynold Teaching English 

Faculty memeber, Christie Toth, was the winner of the 2015 Mark Reynolds Teaching English in the Two-Year College Best Article Award for her article "Unmeasured Engagement: Two-Year College English Faculty and disciplinary Professional Organizations" published in the journal, Teaching English in the Two-Year College.

Tranformative Research in the Humanities Grant

The Department of Writing and Rhetoric Studies received a Transformative Research in the Humanities Grant to establish a Research Center focused on critical areas of writing research. The grant provides funding to foster synthesis across the combination of Writing and Rhetoric Studies individual faculty research efforts, and to support graduate research assistants. Areas of study include first-year writing assessments; a longitudinal study of transfer students; multilingual WAC; and a science communication.

Usability Testing Community Partnership

During Fall semester, Dr. Natalie Stillman-Webb’s Document Design and Usability Class partnered with the Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts (SPA) to conduct usability testing on the charter high school’s website.  Writing students gathered user feedback about the website in the usability lab at the Marriott Library, employing specialized software that tracks people’s mouse clicks and reactions as they interact with a website.

According to SPA principal, Dr. Susan Brady, “The class, through in depth analysis and usability testing, was able to make recommendations that will improve our site. The group looked at our targeted needs such as ease of website navigation, number of clicks to access information, location of important information, and appearance of the website as a recruitment tool for prospective parents/students.  The class produced a report of troubled areas that we targeted, suggestions for fixing them, as well as other concerns the test subjects and focus groups brought up that were beyond our initial focus.  We are developing a plan to implement the changes that these wonderful students from the U suggested based upon their research and findings.”

Last Updated: 11/13/17