WRAC Welcomes Five New Teaching Faculty

This fall semester, WRAC welcomes five talented teaching faculty to the department. We highlight their scholarly backgrounds, achievements, and research interests below. 

Carol Arnold

Carol Arnold

Carol Arnold joins WRAC as an Academic Specialist for the First-Year Writing (FYW) program. She draws from her experience as the Writing Curriculum Coordinator at MSU’s English Language Center, where she worked from 2010 to 2023. Arnold received her B.A. in English Literature and Political Science from Colorado State University-Pueblo, and an M.A. in English Literature and Cultural Studies from Kansas State University.

In the FYW program, Arnold applies her expertise in various areas – including curriculum development, online teaching, and ESL writing instruction – to help first-year students develop as writers and producers of knowledge. 

Most recently, Arnold was honored as a recipient of the Fintz Award for Teaching Excellence in the Arts and Humanities, awarded annually by the Center for Integrative Studies in the Arts & Humanities. The award recognizes outstanding faculty who seek to engage students with arts and humanities ways of knowing, supporting their development as critical thinkers and effective communicators. 

Sarah Pearsall

Sarah Pearsall

Sarah Pearsall joins WRAC as an Assistant Professor with a varied background in writing instruction, curriculum development, creative writing, and food journalism. She worked as a food columnist at Around Wellington Magazine for four years, reviewing restaurants and writing about the South Florida food scene. Before moving to Michigan, Sarah served as the Composition Coordinator at Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, Florida. 

In her research, Pearsall explores how teachers’ writerly identities shape their in-class instruction and curriculum choices. This topic provides the basis of her dissertation, which she is currently completing at the University of Central Florida. 

Between teaching and her own work as a student, Sarah recently managed to finish her first novel, a women’s coming-of-age fiction, and is currently seeking representation. Her past works have earned several awards, including the Literary Award in Fiction and Nonfiction from Florida International University and the Sterling Watson Fiction Award from Eckard College’s Writing in Paradise Conference. Sarah has also published in Tampa Bay Parenting, Sliver of Stone Magazine, JohnDufresne.com, and Macaroni Kids

Anne Porter

Anne Porter

Anne Porter joins the FYW program as an Assistant Professor with previous experiences as the Writing Center Director and Director of Composition at Alma College and the Writing Specialist at Providence College. Porter obtained her Ph.D. in English and Education from the University of Michigan, as well as Master’s degrees in Counseling Psychology and Comparative Literature. 

Outside of the classroom, Porter’s research has focused on civic writing, agency, assessment, and how writing tasks shape subjectivities. These interests are fueled by Porter’s past work with social service organizations, as well as her ongoing commitment to supporting students and faculty in the teaching of writing. 

Bree Straayer

Bree Strayer

Bree Straayer joins the FYW faculty as an Assistant Professor with a background in writing pedagogy, research, and mentorship. 

In 2020, Straayer graduated from MSU with a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Writing with a Cultural Rhetorics emphasis and specialization in Women and Gender. She also holds an M.A. in Critical Literacy and Pedagogy and a B.A. in English Language and Literature. 

As a student, Straayer earned the Excellence in Teaching Citation for her mentorship of new teaching assistants. As an instructor, she has worked with language learners in multiple contexts, including non-profits, community colleges, and universities.  

Straayer broadly studies the intersections of culture, gender, and education, and she has presented nationally and published widely on these topics. Some of her past projects include working with language learners and examining the role of religion in educational trajectories. 

Grace Walter

Grace Walter

Grace Walter joins WRAC as a First Year Writing Instructor. She received her M.A. in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Composition at Wayne State University in 2023, where she served as a mentor of new TAs and advocate for accessible teaching practices within the English department. She holds a B.A. in English and Secondary Education from Wheaton College, Illinois. 

Prior to joining WRAC, Walter taught writing at the secondary and college level in the Detroit area for several years, including winning the Benjamin Carson High School Teacher of the Year award for the 2019-2020 school year and advising an award-winning journalism program in Detroit Public Schools Community District. 

Her research interests center around accessibility, disability, and the rhetoric of mental illness.