Welcome and Mission

Welcome from Chairperson Dànielle Nicole DeVoss

women with black shirt looking at camera

The department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures is the heart of and home for writing at Michigan State University. 

WRAC is one of MSU’s most dynamic and thought-forward environments. Across our initiatives and the courses we offer, we emphasize curiosity, insight, and the robust exchange of ideas along with attention to the importance of writing and communication—drawing across techniques and media, being attentive to audience and purpose, and sharing one’s ideas with the world. 

Our researchers—students and faculty—are national leaders in digital writing, cultural rhetorics, composition studies, and professional writing and technical communication. Our teachers are committed, creative, and above average. Every single one of them.

Every year in our first-year writing courses, we work with new students to engage them in reflecting on learning and literacy, and in transitioning to college writing. P2W and XA majors develop websites and social media campaigns, wireframes and project plans, proposals and grants, write (a lot!), and intern at businesses and nonprofit organizations. Graduate students prepare to enter professional and/or academic fields through seminars, workshops, teaching, and consulting. Our award-winning faculty write and edit books, make films and soundscapes, work on grant-funded projects, and teach and mentor students at all levels. We value community-focused work and engage with partners within and outside the university. 

Dànielle 

July 12, 2021

WRAC's Mission, Values, and Actions

Our Mission

The department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures is the heart of and home for writing instruction and research at Michigan State University. Across our programs and initiatives, we emphasize curiosity and the robust exchange of ideas along with attention to the importance of writing—drawing across techniques and media, being attentive to audience and purpose, sharing one’s ideas with the world, and working in coalition to collectively compose a better world. We engage writing as humanistic and ethically anchored work. We are committed to preparing excellent writers within the culturally, technologically, and economically dynamic environments of the 21st century and to shaping research and extending scholarly conversations in rhetoric and writing studies. 

Our faculty and graduate students engage writing studies research in areas including but not limited to disability and access; social justice; multilingualism/translingualism; asset-based and culturally supportive pedagogies; transnationalism and globalization; feminist theory; digital, cultural, and decolonial rhetorics; multimodal composing; visual rhetorics; soundwriting; composition pedagogy; writing program administration; community literacies; writing center studies; experience architecture; and professional and technical communication.

We engage and sustain practices that acknowledge differences and advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racist action. We share the College of Arts & Letters commitment to equity, openness, and community as core values. We recognize and value diversity, which includes differences of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexuality, ability, age, religion, politics, and socio-economic status. We extend this definition to include a diversity of cultural-rhetorical practices and approaches to writing.

Our Values and Actions

  • We support students in transitioning to college and specifically to college-level writing and researching; our First-Year Writing classes are not a gate, but a welcome mat; not a “weeder” course, but a seed course. Our undergraduate programs engage students in writing within the dynamic cultural, digital, innovation-driven, theoretical, rhetorical, and flexible spaces, places, and tools of today’s communication landscapes.

  • Our graduate programs aim to prepare the next generation of leaders, thinkers, teachers, and innovators in the discipline of rhetoric and writing and in related fields both inside and outside of academia.

  • We teach writing—framed by inquiry, discovery, and communication; engaged through reflective practices; focused on rhetorical and technological tools, means, and methods.

  • Our research contributes to and extends scholarly conversations and seeks to (re)shape the discipline of rhetoric and writing studies.

  • We build community; we work in and with community. We work hard to nurture an intellectual community that seeks out and welcomes all individuals and that openly makes space for the broadest possible spectrum of diversity across categories of age, home language, life experience, gender, abilities, race, ethnicity, class, religion, spirituality, sexual orientation, and geographic identification.

  • We are committed to creating, supporting, and sustaining a culture of care across our programs and among all of our faculty, students, and staff. 

  • We support all staff, students, and faculty—research-focused faculty, teaching-focused faculty, and academic specialists—in pursuing and creating meaningful pathways to intellectual and professional leadership.

  • We engage MSU’s strategic attention to values and practices of collaboration, equity, equality, inclusion, integrity, and respect.