Dr. Casey McArdle is an Assistant Professor and Academic Specialist in the WRAC department. In addition, he serves an administrative role as program liaison for the new Experience Architecture (XA) major. In all of these roles, Dr. McArdle draws on both his experience in industry and his academic training.
Growing up, Dr. McArdle was surrounded by teachers in his family, and many even suggested he become one himself. At first, he didn’t take their advice; instead, he ended up with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. From there, he moved to New York City, where he worked in project management and user experience. After this, he was inspired to go back to school and to pursue a graduate degree. While earning a master’s degree in English at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Dr. McArdle also got his first opportunity to teach. “And it just took,” he says.
After completing his MA, Dr. McArdle went on to Ball State University to earn his PhD in Rhetoric and Composition. From there, he landed his first faculty position with Michigan State University, where he began teaching WRA 101 Writing as Inquiry, the first-year writing course. His industry experience in web development then led him to teach WRA 210 Web Authoring, a course currently required for both Professional Writing (PW) and Experience Architecture majors. He has gone on to teach a number of other courses in the PW and XA programs, including WRA 482 Information and Information Design and AL 242 Introduction to XA.
Beginning this semester, Dr. McArdle took over the role of program liaison for the Experience Architecture program. Some of his responsibilities include organizing days of professionalization and visits from industry speakers and working with XA majors as they complete their capstone requirement. A growing part of his role in the XA program also entails dealing with companies that are interested in hiring XA grads. “We have more and more industry people who want to hire our students,” he says. “Every day people are emailing me wanting to connect with our students, which is fantastic.”
One of Dr. McArdle’s favorite courses to teach is AL 242 Introduction to XA because the students are able to figure out what experience architecture is and where they might fit into various jobs related to XA. He also loves how the course content is constantly changing and students get to work with real clients on projects. Dr. McArdle notes that the course is “indicative of the Experience Architecture [program] as a whole. In one semester, I get to see a small version of the journey that [students] are going to take throughout the rest of their academic space. It’s pretty cool.”
Dr. McArdle’s research interests focus on digital rhetoric, instructional design, rhetorical theory, and user experience. He is particularly interested in accessibility, which is the way online courses and other digital content is made usable for all MSU students, including those who may have learning impairments or other challenges. “We’re making sure we become compliant,” he says, “not just as a program but also as a department and university to making our content and courses accessible to our students.” Dr. McArdle believes it is irresponsible to create digital learning spaces without accessibility in mind and that doing so “limits our chances of truly reaching out to students and helping them.”
In addition to the knowledge and experience he brings as a teacher and researcher, Dr. McArdle has become a great spokesperson and champion for the XA program. “It’s a fantastic resource for producing amazing students that go on to do amazing things when they leave here,” he says.
Written by Caroline Johnson