Belinda Walzer [assistant professor/tenure]
My expertise is rhetorical theory, but with an applied social justice focus, including human rights and rhetoric, rhetorics of resistance, and rhetorical ethics from a poststructuralist and materialist/new materialist perspective. I teach graduate and undergraduate courses in rhetorical theory, rhetorical ethics, human rights and reconciliation, advocacy writing, writing for change, community writing, grant writing, transnational feminist rhetorics, and literature and mass violence. I also teach gen-ed writing courses with a focus on public genres and social justice/ human rights issues. I also have expertise in writing program administration, assessment, and curriculum development having run a writing center at Northeastern University in Boston, as well as served as interim director of composition twice here at App State.
I have several ongoing research projects in various stages of completion, mostly about human rights or social justice. My book manuscript focuses on human rights and transnational rhetoric. I am currently working on an essay from the book currently about the rhetoric of everyday violence. I have another collaborative editorial project on transnational feminist rhetorics, and a few collaborative projects on experiential international education and diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher ed. I’m also part of a big exciting project that’s hoping to get NEH funding that’s tracing political extremist rhetorical pathways and another that examines art in Guantanamo prison.
I have connections with some human rights organizations and institutes in the US and abroad, as well as local advocacy organizations. I have partnered a grant writing course with local food justice orgs including Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and FARM cafe, for whom we wrote grants that the orgs submitted for funding. I have also partnered writing courses with North Carolina Stop Torture Now where we created an advocacy video that they now use on their website. My teaching is always grounded in experiential principles and my research is always interested in real-world applications.
My classes spend a good deal of time on community building and creating a collectively brave space in order to engage with difficult issues. You’ll definitely expand your horizons and learn about international/transnational issues of social justice! A good example is the recent study abroad trip I (along with a colleague, Dr. Martell) took students on to study post-conflict reconciliation in Belfast, Northern Ireland! Reach out if you’re interested in studying abroad on issues of human rights and reconciliation!
Bethany Mannon [assistant professor/tenure]
I'm currently finishing a book about evangelical rhetoric titled, “I Grew Up in the Church”: Personal Narrative in the Rhetoric of American Evangelical Women, in which I use the framework of feminist rhetoric to theorize personal narrative as a persuasion strategy in public discourse and show that women are reshaping the cultural and political rhetoric of the evangelical movement. I’m also finishing two articles based on research here at App -- one is on online teaching and the other is on evangelical students.
I'm the director of composition and I specialize in teaching RC 1000 and RC 2001. I'll be teaching a grad course on Rhetoric and Social Movements in Fall 2023 and I'm developing an undergrad course on Writing for Change that I hope to teach in Spring 2024.
Dwight Tanner [visiting assistant professor/tenure]
Jacob Babb [associate professor/tenure]
I teach a range of courses in Writing, Rhetorics, and Technical Communication, including Business Writing and Editing as well as rhetoric and composition courses. I also teach graduate courses in composition pedagogy. Beyond Writing, Rhetorics, and Technical Communication, I teach Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature. I find a great deal of joy in teaching all of these courses, although I do particularly enjoy teaching graduate composition pedagogy, which I have taught for several years now.
I am working on several research projects at different stages in their development and completion at the moment. Although I work on my own individual projects, I find a great deal of joy and satisfaction in collaborating with other scholars. For example, I'm working with my colleague Jessie Blackburn on a study of how writing program administrators (WPAs) responded both professionally and personally to the disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been gathering survey and interview data for the past couple of years and hope to produce an article based on our research soon. We are also working on a special journal issue of WPA: Writing Program Administration focusing on that same topic.
Additionally, I have other projects on writing program administration in progress, including an article on providing feedback to graduate student writers in just and equitable ways and a chapter on emotional labor and its impact on various kinds of programs, including second language writing programs. Both of these are collaborative writing projects.
I haven't yet worked with students for internships, although I have worked with two research assistants who are graduate students in English. As I noted before, I love working with other researchers and writers, and I am pleased that I have the opportunity at ASU to work with students who are interested in learning more about conducting research.
I love talking about writing and research with others who are excited about that kind of work. I started out in this field by working as a tutor in a writing center, and I still maintain the love of talking with writers about their work that started there. I have taught and written about a wide range of things, including faculty writing practices, emotional labor, horror fiction and film, and bluegrass. I am a bluegrass musician and have been for more than 25 years, and although producing music is in many ways different from producing writing, I have always found that my thoughts on playing music inform my thinking about writing processes as well.
Jessie Blackburn [associate professor/tenure]
I teach rhetoric and composition, professional and technical writing, and cultural rhetorics courses.
I love courses anchored in cultural and feminist rhetorics.
Jacob Babb and I are currently co-editing a special issue of WPA: Writing Program Administration. This special issue explores the changes in writing programs around the nation in the era of Covid-19.
Katy Abrams [lecturer/non-tenure]
Kevin Young [lecturer/non-tenure]
I teach courses in Rhetoric and Composition.
Linda Gail York [senior lecturer/non-tenure]
In what areas do you teach at ASU?
English Department: RC 2001 (Intr Writing Across the Curriculum); RC 1000 (Expository Writing), and ENG 3100 (Business Writing).
What is your favorite course to teach?
RC 1000, RC 2001, and Business Writing. I enjoy teaching all of the aforementioned courses.
I strive for the courses I teach to be interesting, engaging, interactive, and fun. Additionally, I believe it is important for courses to be learning communities where students learn to become independent learners who are critical readers and thinkers.
Melissa Stone [assistant professor/tenure]
I teach in the WRTC, RC programs, and the graduate program in the English Department. So far I have loved teaching ENG 3090 and ENG 4300. I love the fact that I can teach students at both the beginning and end of the program. In ENG 3090 I love introducing students to how technical communication is related to rhetorical theories and issues of social justice. In ENG 4300 I love that I get to help graduating students prepare for the job market. Right now I am also really enjoying teaching the graduate level technical writing course, ENG 5520. I am doing a "technology of cooking" theme in that course, which is meant to offer students tangible examples of technical writing in action through a concentration on the challenges of home cooking, recipe writing and development, the usability of kitchen-oriented technologies, and the analyses of digital technologies like mobile recipe apps.
As far as research goes, I am currently working on a few interrelated projects that build off research from my dissertation. One of those projects is about the technical-rhetorical history of mass produced menstrual health technologies. The second is a project about navigating mobile menstruation and fertility tracking apps in a post-Roe vs. Wade landscape. These tracking apps provide an on-the-go ability for people to track their menstrual and ovulation cycles making them a convenient modern technology; however, many of these apps do not prioritize data consent and safety. With the Dobbs vs. Jackson Supreme Court decision that came down in the summer of 2022 these issues of data consent and safety issues are a concern now more than ever. The third is a case study about Rely Tampons, a type of tampon made by Proctor and Gamble in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Due to faulty scientific research and testing, lack of knowledge about menstrual health, and a reliance on outdated Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards the use of Rely tampons quickly became unreliable and very dangerous for people who used tampons. Rely tampons led directly to the outbreak of menstruation-related toxic shock syndrome in 1980 that affected 1,365 women and killed 38 in the U.S. My planned article will detail this case study with a feminist perspective in mind and through a rhetorical materialist approach. Finally, I am working with a peer scholar at another university on an article about how women use mobile safety apps. Our article seeks to understand the stakes of using mobile safety apps to coproduce women’s mobilities, particularly insofar as these apps attempt to contend with the precarity implicit within women’s mobilities due to pervasive rape culture within our societies.
This semester I am working with my ENG 3090 students on their professional materials to prepare them for the professional writing internship program. It's my hope that this project will allow them to prepare high quality professional materials like a résumé, cover letter, and even a LinkedIn profile so they are prepared to apply for their required internships.
Student mentorship is extremely important to me. I want to help students with their academic and professional goals as much as I can. I am always happy to help hard working students with drafting and writing and professional advice or anything else that helps them advance their goals.
Sarah Hopton [associate professor/tenure]
I teach primarily in the new Writing, Rhetorics, and Technical Communication program, which is the result of merging the Professional Writing and Rhetoric and Composition programs, but my training and experience is in Technical Writing, specifically.
I don't have a favorite course to teach because I truly love teaching them all! That said, I enjoy certain courses, like ENG 3695 Technical Writing for Computer Science because it is a class that keeps me on my toes, as technology is ever changing. I also enjoy teaching the ENG 4100 and ENG 4900 the Capstone Experience and Internship Experience because it's thrilling to see students move from theory to practice, to, as they say, "launch."
Current research projects include a remote usability study in Vietnam of a beekeeping application. The University Research Council generously funded this study and me and my research team will look at the ways that localizing and customizing this application can help fight climate-related pollinator declines and improve the livelihoods of beekeepers. Most of my scholarly research focuses on the intersections of environment and technology but I am also a creative nonfiction writer and currently have a memoir and a second creative nonfiction book under contract.
I manage the internship program for the department. Internships are open to all ENG students, regardless of major, and we've successfully placed students from every concentration in internships that have strengthened their portfolios and employment opportunities after graduation. More information can be found on our internship page (Click here for more information on ENG 4900).
Choosing a university and a program of study is one of the most important decisions a college student will make. It sets the trajectory of their work life. When I went to college, I chose my university based on geography (I wanted to be within driving distance home), affordability (I was offered a full ride), and opportunities to study with specific professors who not only knew the subject well but also had worked in the field and therefore had connections that would benefit me as I entered the workforce. So, when students are thinking about campuses and majors, I always encourage them to visit our campus, which practically sells itself, and then to meet with a few professors in their prospective course of study to see if it's a good fit and to better understand what will be expected of them and what the program can offer in terms of scholarship or job opportunities and specific training. I would say this is especially important for graduate students or for students who are considering graduate school, whether here or at another institution.
Savannah Paige Murray [assistant professor/tenure]
I teach widely across the WRTC curriculum and the RC Gen-Ed program as well as the English MA degree with the Rhetoric and Composition concentration. I enjoy teaching business writing, technical writing, and editing. I am working on several projects within my primary area of focus which is environmental rhetoric and more specifically exploring the ways in which grassroots activist organizations use their rhetorical savvy to advance environmental and climate justice.
As a writing teacher, I am deeply committed to helping students grow, evolve, and enhance their work. Writing is not only an important life skill for your professional career, but is also a powerful tool for civic engagement, social and environmental justice, and securing climate justice in the future.