Montana State University

Doug Downs, Associate Professor

Ph.D. University of Utah, Salt Lake City
Rhetoric and Composition

Office: Wilson 2-272
Phone: 406-994-5193
E-Mail: doug.downs@msu.montana.edu

Office Hours: TBA

I earned my Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Utah in 2004. I’m in my sixth year at MSUin the English Department and my first year as the department’s Director of Composition, supervising the university’s First-Year Writing Program (WRIT 101 and 201) and coordinating other writing endeavors including MSU’s W (writing) core, writing major and minor, and other writing initiatives across MSU.

I’ve been teaching nonfiction writing of all kinds for over 15 years, and I’ve developed both the Writing option in the English major and a number of its courses here at MSU. I regularly teach WRIT 101 College Writing I, WRIT 205 Introduction to Writing Studies, WRIT 326 Advanced Composition, WRIT 371 Digital Rhetorics and Multimodal Writing, WRIT 372 Science Writing, WRIT 429 Professional Writing, WRIT 494 Seminar in Research and Publication, and ENGL 530 graduate seminar in Writing Theory and Practice. I also coordinate the WRIT 498 internship requirement for the Writing major.

My research interests within Rhetoric & Composition (Writing Studies) include writing-about-writing (WAW) composition pedagogy, research pedagogy and undergraduate research, reading practices in screen-literate cultures, writing instructor preparation, and writing in the disciplines — which are all more closely related than they may first appear. (All hinge on assessing and shifting both individual and cultural conceptions of writing.) My preferred research methodologies include critical discourse analysis, corpus-based textual analysis, and observational process analysis. Examples of my recent research are listed below.

On and off the job, I’m a gearhead whose personal interests include music (listening, writing, and playing keyboards), A/V systems, technology, woodworking, and cars. Like so many in Bozeman, I’m an outdoor kid, enjoying mountain biking, hiking and backpacking, skiing (nordic and alpine), snowshoeing, and off-roading.

Selected Publications

Writing about Writing: A College Reader. 2e. With Elizabeth Wardle. Bedford/St. Martins: 2014.

“What Is First-Year Composition?” A Rhetoric for Writing Program Administrators, ed. Rita Malenczyk. Parlor Press, 2013. 50-63.

“Reflecting Back and Looking Forward: Revisiting ‘Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions&sdquo; Five Years On.” With Elizabeth Wardle. Composition Forum 27 (Spring 2013). (7 pages. Online.) http://compositionforum.com/issue/27/reflecting-back.php

“What Faculty Need and Want.” With Gregory Young. Faculty Support and Undergraduate Research: Innovations in Faculty Role Definition, Workload, and Reward, ed. Nancy Hensel and Elizabeth Paul. Council on Undergraduate Research, 2012. 26-34.

“Reimagining the Nature of FYC: Trends in Writing-about-Writing Pedagogies.” With Elizabeth Wardle. Exploring Composition Studies: Research, Scholarship, and Inquiry for the Twenty-First Century, ed. Kelly Ritter and Paul Kei Matsuda. Utah State University Press, 2012. 123-44.

“Teaching First Year Writers to Use Texts: Scholarly Readings in Writing-About-Writing in First-Year Comp.” Reader: Essays in Reader-Oriented Theory, Criticism, and Pedagogy 60 (Fall 2010): 19-50.

"Writing-About-Writing Curricula: Origins, Theories, and Initial Field-Tests." WPA-CompPile Research Bibliogrpahies, No. 12. WPA-CompPile Research Bibliographies. (Sept. 2010.) http://comppile.org/wpa/bibliographies/Bib12/Downs.pdf

“Students’ Texts Beyond the Classroom: Young Scholars in Writing’s Challenges to College Writing Instruction.” With Heidi Estrem and Susan Thomas. Teaching With Student Texts: Essays Toward an Informed Practice. Ed. Joseph Harris, John Miles, and Charles Paine. Utah State University Press, 2010. 118-28.

“What Can a Novice Contribute? Undergraduate Researchers in First-Year Composition.” With Elizabeth Wardle. Undergraduate Research in English Studies. Ed. Laurie Grobman and Joyce Kinkead. Utah State University Press, 2010. 173-90.

“Undergraduate Research on Writing: Benefits to Faculty and Curriculum Development.” With ZuZu Feder. CUR Quarterly 31.1 (2010): 9-13.

“Teaching About Writing, Righting Misconceptions: (Re)Envisioning FYC as Intro to Writing Studies.” With Elizabeth Wardle. College Composition and Communication 58 (2007): 552-84.

i-Cite: Visualizing Sources. (Interactive CD-ROM.) Bedford/St. Martin's, 2006.

Current Projects

Two textbook contracts with Bedford/St. Martins (one with my regular writing partner, Elizabeth Wardle), long-term research on scaling undergraduate research in the humanities and undergraduate research ethos, and advancing writing-about-writing pedagogy.

Resources

Bits: Bedford Blog for Writing About Writing Pedagogy - http://blogs.bedfordstmartins.com/bits/author/ewardle/

CompPile: A database of composition research - http://comppile.org/search/comppile_main_search.php

Language Log - http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/

Young Scholars in Writing: Undergraduate Journal in Writing Studies - http://cas.umkc.edu/english/publications/youngscholarsinwriting/default.asp

National Conference on Undergraduate Research - http://www.ncur.org/

National Council of Teachers of English - http://www.ncte.org/

Council of Writing Program Administrators - http://wpacouncil.org/

Disclaimer: The links, opinions or statements expressed herein should not be taken as a position or endorsement of MSU-Bozeman or its affiliates.



Updated: 07/21/2014