Michigan State University
Michigan State University
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Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
Department of Writing
Rhetoric & American Cultures

Meet WRAC-Alum-Turned-Professor Matt Gomes


This fall, the student has become the teacher. Matt Gomes, who completed his Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Writing at MSU this past summer, is now officially part of the WRAC faculty as an assistant professor.

Originally from, Fresno, California, Matt came to Michigan State specifically for the department’s Ph.D. program. “The WRAC department had a good reputation around its rhetoric and writing program. There was a lot of strong critical work coming from the program,” he says.

Assistant Professor Matt Gomes

Matt contributed to that work with his dissertation, which focused on MSU’s First Year Writing (FYW) placement process. He looked at the history of the process and how it has affected different groups in light of Michigan State’s ever-changing student population. Recently, these courses have enrolled more international and multilingual students.

Now an assistant professor, Matt is continuing his research with the FYW program. Specifically, he is studying how FYW students and instructors perceive the helpfulness of FYW courses. Defining helpfulness as the positive outcomes experienced by the FYW community, his research also seeks to provide “a deeper understanding of how outcomes cohere into distinctly helpful FYW experiences,” he explains. In addition to conducting research, Matt is also teaching several FYW classes, including Preparation for College Writing and Writing as Inquiry.

Outside of WRAC, he has worked with the Writing Center and MSU’s Lyman Briggs College to build and evaluate a writing studio for Briggs’s students. The writing studio allows Briggs’s students to meet with writing consultants on a weekly basis. Matt is also creating a mix of spiritual jazz music, which will be available in November 2016. The mix showcases jazz and soul music from the 70s and 80s, including Archie Shepp, Alice Coltrane, and Carlos Santana.

Not surprisingly, Matt feels he is making a smooth transition to his new role in WRAC. “As a student I developed a lot of good relationships with the faculty here,” he says. “Many of the faculty members I am working with now are people who advised me through the dissertation process, so they are familiar with my work and what I am interested in.”


Written for WRAC by Suzanna Smentowski