Meet the Director

John Dunn Jr. 

Ph.D. in English/Composition, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

M.A. in English/Rhetoric, Carnegie Mellon University

B.A. in English/Literature, Indiana University, Bloomington

[email protected]

Interests and Expertise

My main academic interests include the study of argumentation in public policy reform and social movements, applied rhetorical theory (especially the "New Rhetoric" era during the second half of the 20th century), the work habits of writers (both student and professional), and rhetorical criticism of nonfiction prose (focusing on political, social, and cultural commentary).

More generally, I've been involved with writing assessment, basic writing, writing across the curriculum, writing centers, ESL composition, as well as professional and technical communication. I've also directed college composition programs on several campuses including here at EMU.

One writer's advice to another: "Trust the process - something good will happen...."

At the undergraduate level, I most often teach courses in first-year (WRTG120 & WRTG121), intermediate (WRTG225), and advanced composition (WRTG301, WRTG310, & WRTG328), as well as rhetorical theory (WRTG417); and at the graduate level, rhetorical theory (WRTG500, WRTG501, WRTG505, & WRTG518), research methods (WRTG621), and writing pedagogy (WRTG514 & WRTG596).

Publications and Presentations

Presentations based on my research have been accepted at national and international academic conferences including the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC); the Educause ELI conference; the International Conference on Language and Teaching, Kaoshiung, Taiwan (invited keynote address); the International Society for the History of Rhetoric (ISHR); the annual convention of the Modern Language Association (MLA); the annual convention of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE); the Penn State Conference on Rhetoric and Composition; the Promise of Reason Conference at the University of Oregon; the biannual convention of the Rhetoric Society of America (RSA); and the Watson Conference at the University of Louisville.

My current research looks at what citizens can learn from reading about political controversies.

Selected Professional Service

I am a former co-chair of the Master's Degree Consortium of Writing Studies Specialists, the Special Interest Group of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) representing over 100 programs nationwide that offer graduate training in rhetoric, composition, and writing studies at the master's level.




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