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

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


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 new full-time lecturer with the Centennial Writing Program and to serve as the associate director for the Rhetoric and Writing Studies

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

Assistant Professor

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

I am proud to be the newest member of the Rhetoric and Writing program faculty. My dissertation,Phronesis through Praxis: Cultivating the Habit of a Rhetorical Disposition for Positive Deviance Action Research, is a reflection of my research interests in methodology, rhetoric for social and organizational change, and intercultural/global rhetoric. I am also interested in rhetorical ethics, medical rhetoric, issues in technical and professional writing, and design.

I believe in the creative genius of the collective; hence; my approach to academic work is decidedly collaborative, interdisciplinary, and, in today’s world, distributed. I like to work with other faculty, students, designers, artists, healthcare providers, producers, and practitioners. On campus, I am committed to Frontera Retórica, which is the Rhetoric Society of America’s UTEP chapter, and I work as an Associate Facilitator of the Social Justice Initiative, housed in the Department of Communication. Off campus, I collaborate with local, national, and international organizations. Most recently, I have been collaborating on projects that combine in some way complexity theory, liberating structures, positive deviance, serious games, and participatory design. For more information on projects, partnerships, and publications, I invite you to visit my blogluciadura.wordpress.com or to e-mail me.

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
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
Ph.D., University of Arizona


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

UTEP is a wonderful place to study and work—I know because I’ve been here since 1990. My primary scholarly focus has been on global rhetorics and second-language issues, and I also have published on writing program administration. My current projects include an analysis of the development of the term “Generation 1.5” and a collaborative study on how students in multilingual classrooms interact in peer review groups. In addition to publishing articles and book chapters, I’ve co-authored with Evelyn Posey a couple of Basic Writing textbooks with Bedford/St. Martin’s. One of these textbooks, Choices, just came out in a 5th edition. Two years ago we published a first-year composition textbook for Pearson, The World of Writing, which is the first of its kind—a composition text written for globalized, multilingual, technologically adept 21st century students.

In addition to teaching a wide variety of graduate and undergraduate courses, I’ve done quite a bit of administrative work at UTEP. Currently I am Director of two programs in the English Department:  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.   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.

Evelyn Posey
Ph.D., New Mexico State University


Office: Hudspeth Hall 316
Phone: 915-747-8487

A former UTEP student who believes that “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage,” I started as a Writing Center tutor and am now a Professor of English. 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. For the past three semesters, I have taught completely online and spent time consulting with other universities interested in recruiting women faculty. In addition to my work, I spend weekends in High Rolls, NM where my husband and I have a cabin.  

Maggy Smith
Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institutute


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
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.


Join us for
our next 
Mining Books

Half of a Yellow Sun
Ngozi Adichie

Discussion led by
Dr. Charles Ambler
Dr. Kathy Staudt

Tuesday, 10/28
6 p.m.
Blumberg Auditorium