Our faculty mentor our students to their fullest potential, offering them many opportunities to gain experience in areas such as community engagement, curriculum design, and program evaluation.   

Isabel Baca
Isabel Baca
Ph.D., New Mexico State University

Associate Professor

Office: Hudspeth Hall 312
Phone: 915-747-6245

Bienvenidos! Welcome to the Rhetoric and Writing Studies Program in the Department of English at The University of Texas at El Paso. As a native El Pasoan, I am both English-Spanish bilingual and bicultural. I received a PhD in Rhetoric and Professional Communication from New Mexico State University, and I am proud to consider myself a product of the US/México border. My scholarly areas of interest center on community writing, service-learning, and bilingual workplace communication. I created and direct The Community Writing Partners Program within the RWS program, collaborating with more than thirty non-profit organizations on both sides of the US/México border. My publications include chapters and journal articles on community-based writing and service-learning. I have presented my research and scholarly work at professional conferences and give service-learning workshops to faculty, students, and non-profit organizations. I work closely with undergraduate and graduate students in placing them with appropriate local agencies for internships, writing practicums, and service-learning projects. Being family-oriented, I cherish my time with my teenage son and enjoy networking with other scholars interested in writing studies and service-learning across the curriculum.

Beth Brunk-Chavez
Beth Brunk-Chavez
Ph.D., University of Texas at Arlington

Associate Professor

Office: Hudspeth Hall 220
Phone: 915-747-5797

I am someone who has experienced the rubber band effect of El Paso. Although each time I left I never planned to come back, I have returned to El Paso three times in my life and this time have no plans for leaving. From 2008-2013, I directed the First-Year Composition program, otherwise known as FYC@UTEP. During that time, we developed a cutting edge  curriculum, fostered a strong instructor support system, and incorporated technologies in meaningful ways. The program was awarded a Conference on College Composition and Communication Certificate of Excellence. I teach a variety of graduate course including a new course on Writing Program Administration. I'm currently serving as Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts as well as the Director of the Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies program. My research focuses on writing with technology, teaching with technology, and writing program administration. In 2009, I was awarded a University of Texas Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award in 2013. I was  named a Distinguished Teacher in the UT System. 

Carol Clark
Carol Clark
Ph.D., Texas Christian University

Associate Professor

Office: Hudspeth Hall 207
Phone: 915-747-6244

My experiences in the Middle East during Fulbright Award in Jordan in 2008-09 have redirected my scholarship within rhetoric and writing studies. Originally, I became interested in the Middle East via my work in classical rhetoric because I teach the History of Rhetoric 1 class with a multi-cultural focus. In addition to the ancient Greek and Roman, we consider historical rhetorics of cultures including Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Chinese, and Arabic. I published an article on Averroes (Ibn Rushd), a 12th century Moorish rhetorician, “Aristotle and Averroes: The Influence of Aristotle’s Arabic Commentator on Western European and Arabic Rhetoric” in Review of Communications(2007). My interest in the contemporary rhetoric of journalism related to the Middle East is reflected in two papers slated for publication. Currently, I am working on papers related to sense of place at Joseph’s Tomb, a contested heritage site in the West Bank, and the epideictic rhetoric of the kings of Jordan.

My continuing interest in the teaching of composition is evidenced by the publication in 2009 of my third first-year composition textbook, Praxis: A Brief Rhetoric (Fountainhead Press) that utilizes ancient rhetoric to frame the teaching of writing. A book on the rhetoric of journalism, Imagining Texas: Pre-Revolutionary Texas Newspapers 1829-1836, was published by Texas Western Press in 2002.

Jennifer Clifton
Jennifer Clifton
Ph.D., Arizona State University

Assistant Professor

Office: Hudspeth Hall 221
Phone: 915-747-6246

My current scholarship puts theories and rhetorics of public life, deliberative arts, and situated action to work in contexts where globalization and transnational movement complicate the conditions and consequences of engagement in public life. On the one hand, my work takes up the question, Who gets to go public? However, what’s beneath this question interests me more. The public turn implies a turn toward the commons—a contested, provisional construct that puts questions of access and self-other relations front and center. A turn toward the commons joins deliberation over situated action (What, if anything should we do? What now? What next?) with deliberation over values (Where are we going? Is this desirable? Who gains, who loses—under what conditions, to what degree, and by which mechanisms of power?) My research brings contemporary rhetorical theories of deliberative democracy and the public sphere to the design of sites and processes for collaborative inquiry, complex problem-solving, and intercultural knowledge-building that document and support people making real-time decisions under constraints not of their making and in the face of outcomes they cannot control. Such portraits offer a more accurate, more grounded vision of what it means to deliberate and take wise action in a risk-ridden world, particularly at the intersection where institutional decision-making in the form of a public policy or practice plays out in day-to-day life. In our culture, writing—and learning to put writing to new purposes—typically infuses such decision-making. 

Recent projects have included community think tanks to explore water resource issues and policies; Photovoice projects to explore educational and workplace issues and to cultivate participatory local publics; and student-led community film festivals to explore the risks and rewards of rural living under conditions of globalized capitalism. Importantly, this shift to take up the commons necessitates interdisciplinary collaborative research that also includes policies, laws, institutional practices, and the lives of everyday people as necessary and important considerations for deliberation about, say, water rights or immigration reform or refugee education. 

Theresa DonovanTheresa Donovan
Ph.D., The University of Texas at El Paso

Senior Lecturer
Director of RWS-Undergraduate Program

Office: Hudspeth Hall 115
Phone: 915-747-5774 

A native of New Hampshire, my career has taken different tacks, but a common theme has been one of border crossings—linguistically, physically and culturally. I fondly like to say that I was “adopted” by Puerto Rico, earning both a bachelor’s and master’s from la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras…and becoming fluent in Spanish along the way. In 2011, I received a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Writing from UTEP. My dissertation, Era[c]ing diversity: A critical rhetorical approach to race and the new citizen, is a reflection of my research interests in critical rhetoric, subject formation and rhetorics of difference. I’m also interested in rhetorics of the visual and issues in workplace writing. I teach diverse courses at the undergraduate and graduate level and am passionate about the bilingual professional writing courses.  

I’m proud to return to my alma mater as a full-time lecturer with the Rhetoric and Writing Studies Undergraduate Program.

Lucia Dura
Lucía Durá
Ph.D., University of Texas at El Paso

Assistant Professor

Office: Hudspeth Hall 319
Phone: 915-747-5199

To do rhetoric “out there” requires a shedding of academic adornments, a different professional disposition, new participatory and analytic tools, and a more grounded conception of public need. —Coogan and Ackerman in The Public Work of Rhetoric, 2010

I see a pressing need for reflexive, inquiry-based, and pragmatic rhetorical action in the world “out there.” For me this entails a deep exploration of the discursive and material practices that shape pedagogy, workplace communication, organizational leadership, and social change. It means having a profound understanding of local contexts in a global world. And it means using my bilingual, bicultural, and binational status, to listen, to negotiate and to co-construct new narratives/realities.

While what I do spans various sectors (e.g., public, private, health, education, environment, food, and art) and is broadly considered community-based work, it tends to be situated in the Rhetoric and Writing Studies sub-fields of intercultural rhetoric, risk communication, literacy studies, and discourses of health & medicine. I also find constant and important intersections with theories of invention, methodologies, rhetorics of science, rhetorics of space & place, cultural studies, rhetorics of gender & sexuality, social justice, racial justice, and pedagogy, student engagement & knowledge transfer.

For almost a decade I have been collaborating on interdisciplinary projects that emphasize participatory design, asset-based thinking, and creativity, e.g., through the use of liberating structures and positive deviance. Here are two links to select publications: Cultural Beacons as Measures of Programmatic Impact and Social Change through Intercultural, Participatory Rhetoric in the Peruvian Amazon.

One of the greatest perks of my job is the privilege of working with students! In addition to my regular teaching and mentoring duties, I am a faculty adviser for Frontera Retórica, which is the Rhetoric Society of America’s UTEP chapter, and for the Social Justice Initiative housed in UTEP’s Department of Communication.

For more information on projects, partnerships, and publications, I invite you to e-mail me ldura@utep.edu.

Helen Foster
Helen Foster
Ph.D., Purdue University

Associate Professor

Office: Hudspeth Hall 115
Phone: 915-747-6623

Welcome; I’m glad you’re here. My Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition, with a secondary concentration in cultural studies, was earned at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. My primary research focuses on composition history and theory and disciplinarity, using the methodology of institutional critique. In addition to various journal articles in this area, I have also published a book, Networked Process: Dissolving Boundaries of Process and Post-Process, and I’m currently co-authoring an upcoming composition textbook, Explorations: A Guided Inquiry into Writing. I serve at the national level on the executive committees for the Consortium of Doctoral Programs in Rhetoric and Composition as well as the newly formed Consortium of Undergraduate Programs in Rhetoric and Writing. My current research interest is trained on the area of undergraduate majors in rhetoric and writing studies, and I am currently working with others to build a national infrastructure for this emerging field. Last, my sustained interest in postmodern issues and rhetoric and writing studies is now morphing into a focus on globalization, particularly with an eye to rhetorical interventions that support sustainability and peace. I’m faculty advisor to Frontera Retorica and I’m into social networking; you can find me on Facebook and living in Yoville

Kaleb Heinemann
Kaleb Heinemann
Ph.D., New Mexico State University

Visiting Assistant Professor

Office: Hudspeth Hall
Phone: 915-747-5731

I am excited to be a part of the progressive rhetoric and writing program at UTEP. 
After teaching business writing, technical communication, legal rhetoric, literature, and composition courses for nearly a decade, I have becoming comfortable emphasizing collaborative, critical thinking over prescriptive, rote genre application in writing. My goals are to teach adaptable and transferable communication skills that foster communication efficacy under changing rhetorical situations. My goal is to grow pedagogical strategies for course and assignment development that promotes student understanding of rhetoric as a valuable resource in all aspects of their lives. As a result, I have come to enjoy seeing students develop a critical understanding of how rhetoric, research, and the knowledge of discourse communities apply beyond the classroom.

Although I have taught for several years, I have always had multiple interests, which influence my approach to research and writing instruction. I studied biology and physics. I am a professionally trained chef and former brewer, and I have worked in the entertainment industry for nearly twenty years, both as a writer and technician. I have worked for several well known international organizations, including ABC, Disney, and the Environmental Protection Agency. What I noticed along the way is that the people and places always have stories to tell, and each is told in a different way. My interest in rhetoric stems from a curiosity in how we each glean and impart meaning, how stories inform our lives, how each of us comes to know the world. As a researcher, I have a keen interest in what stories do rhetorically, studying the reflexive connections between rhetorical choices, agency, and social conditions. My interdisciplinary research is deeply connected to this observation and incorporates – narratology, multimodality, identity studies, regressive philosophy, theories on agency, and intercultural communication. I believe that cross-disciplinary research is integral to continued, innovative research, but also pedagogical development that considers how changing modalities, technologies, and socio-cultural conditions contribute to communication.  

When I have a free moment, I restore old cars, travel as to places I’ve never been, and help with regional community theater. 
Go Miners!
Kate Mangelsdorf
Kate Mangelsdorf
Ph.D., University of Arizona

Director of RWS and of English Education

Office: Hudspeth Hall 315
Phone: 915-747-5543

My main focus in Rhetoric and Writing Studies has been on educational equity, and as a result my work has examined the ways that people maneuver within social and educational contexts to gain authority and voice. In the last few years I have concentrated on the reworking of English within the field of Rhetoric and Composition: the contradictions between dominant monolingual language ideologies and lived languages, particularly those on the borderlands. My research has been oriented toward students, and I have focused on topics such as peer review interactions between monolingual and multilingual students, students’ codemeshing, and the impact of assigning labels to non-traditional students.

In my view, changes in the field of Rhetoric and Writing Studies happen on the ground, in classrooms and communities, so in addition to publishing traditional scholarship I have focused on co-authoring textbooks that I believe have helped to push the field forward. Evelyn Posey and I have co-authored a high-level Basic Writing textbook, Choices, that soon will be released in its 6th edition by Bedford/St. Martins. We have also published a first-year composition textbook with Pearson, The World of Writing, which is the first of its kind because it is based on the idea that all students are multilingual.

I have been fortunate enough to teach a variety of courses throughout my career, and my most recent new course is one of my favorites. With Dr. Char Ullman, I am teaching a graduate class in which students conduct ethnographic research in first-year writing classes, focusing in particular on identity formation, language ideologies, and texts. I’ve also had the opportunity to work as an administrator at UTEP, and currently am directing two programs: English Education and Rhetoric and Writing Studies (which includes our Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition). I have served on the Executive Committee of the Conference on College Composition and Communication and have been the principle investigator of a $400,000 writing program grant from the Sid Richardson Foundation. In 2012 I won the Outstanding Faculty Award from the College of Liberal Arts.

When not hard at work, I can be found hiking the trails of West Texas and southern New Mexico with my husband and our very energetic dog.

For more information about my work, see my portfolio at http://works.bepress.com/kate_mangelsdorf/

Evelyn Posey
Evelyn Posey
Ph.D., New Mexico State University

Director of TPW Program

Office: Hudspeth Hall 316
Phone: 915-747-8487
Email: eposey@utep.edu 

I am currently the Director of the UTEP online Technical and Professional Writing Certificate program, where I also I teach Grant Writing. My experience as the Principal Investigator of a 3.4 million National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant for the advancement of women in science and engineering helped me to learn the ins and outs of grant writing and management.

In addition to directing the certificate program, I have been active in the computers and writing community, writing articles and presenting papers on using technology in the composition classroom and serving on the CCCC Computer Committee. My colleague Kate Mangelsdorf and I have authored three first-year composition textbooks: Choices: A Basic Writing Guide with Readings, 5th ed. and Discoveries: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Paragraphs and Essays for Bedford/St. Martin’s and The World of Writing: A Guide for Pearson/Longman.

The strongest assets I bring to Rhetoric and Writing Studies are my love of teaching and research, broad experience in university administration, and my years of working with faculty development and information technology on campus. In addition to my work, I spend weekends in High Rolls, NM where my husband and I have a cabin.  

Maggy Smith
Maggy Smith
Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institutute

Chair of The Department of English

Office: Hudspeth Hall 107
Phone: 915-747-6642

If you really want to make a difference, work with interesting and motivated students, and chat with warm and welcoming colleagues, UTEP is the place for you!

I have been at UTEP since 1987. During my years at UTEP, I served both as an English professor and an administrator. Between 1987 and 1995, I was a fulltime English faculty member teaching professional writing and rhetoric classes at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, directing thesis projects, and serving in departmental leadership roles, including Directing Composition for a time.

Between 1995 and 2008, I served in a number of UTEP administrative positions, including being the founding Dean of UTEP’s University College which housed all of UTEP’s first-year experience programs (a first-year seminar, learning communities, student leadership education, and peer leader training). Most of my work in administration was focused on student engagement, satisfaction, retention, and success. This is an area to which I have dedicated my time consulting and publishing.

I rejoined the Rhetoric and Writing Studies faculty in Fall 2009 where I will be teaching a broad range of undergraduate and graduate courses. My scholarly interests will remain focused on academic leadership and student success.

Gustav Verhulsdonck
Gustav Verhulsdonck
Ph.D., New Mexico State University

Visiting Assistant Professor

Office: Hudspeth Hall 117
Phone: 915-747-6243

I am excited to join as a visiting assistant professor and proud to be part of UTEP’s program in Rhetoric and Writing.I was born and raised in the Netherlands. I moved to New Mexico in 2000, received my Master’s degree in Literature and received my Doctorate in Rhetoric and Professional Communication from New Mexico State University. A self-admitted “tech-geek”, my research is focused on the areas of digital rhetoric, professional and technical communication, virtual reality, human-computer interaction, interface/interaction design, video game theory and new forms of digital rhetoric created by various technologies. 

In the past, I worked as an information developer and technical writer for International Business Machines (IBM) at their Silicon Valley Laboratory and as a researcher and consultant for the U.S. Army and the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA). I also was a visiting researcher at the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California doing experiments in virtual reality environments.
I have authored and co-authored a number of conference papers on virtual worlds, non-verbal and verbal communication in virtual negotiations, issues of identity related to avatar interaction, and interactive narratives. I am currently co-editing a book on Digital Rhetoric and Global Literacies.
One thing I feel very strongly about is helping students get to the next level, whether it is helping them get into conferences, publishing in journals, and developing as professionals in general. Feel free to drop by my office as I enjoy discussing new ideas and perspectives. In my spare time, I read, watch movies, play video games, hike near the Organ Mountains, enjoy spending time with my wife and our cat, and volunteer as a projectionist at a local movie theater.

Dr. Isabel Baca has been elected to the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) College Section Steering Committee. 

Dr. Lucia Dura was on the editorial team for a special issue of Rhetoric, Professional Communication, and Globalization Vol 6 (2014) on Spanish and English in the Americas.

Dr. Carol Lea Clark has been awarded a resident scholarship in October at the Gladstone Library in Wales, UK, to do research for a book on Lawrence of Arabia and Lowell Thomas, the American journalist who made Lawrence famous.


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