PhD Admissions Pause

PhD program admissions pause until December 2024 for applicants to begin work in Fall 2025

Dear friends, colleagues, alums, students, potential and future applicants:

We write to share an update regarding our PhD program in Rhetoric and Writing. 

We’ve had the pleasure and privilege of working over the past 20 years with an absolutely amazing group of faculty and PhD students. We’ve watched our alums go on to do incredible work in the field–as teachers, scholars, and leaders. We are proud of what we’ve accomplished, and even more, we’re proud of those students who have gone on to be the next generation of leaders who define the work of Rhetoric and Writing studies. 

And now, it’s time for us to take a pause.

The landscape of our field and subfields and, indeed, the landscape of our institutions and our country, have changed drastically over the past years. The PhD program we built 20 years ago is a robust one, but it’s one that needs to pause, reflect, and transform in the face of this change in order to  best imagine the futures of our field, our students, and our graduates.

Institutionally, MSU now has a shared vision for our future – a 2030 Strategic Plan. We also have a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (and Justice) Plan developed and we’re in the process of transitioning our goals to action items. 

We are pausing admissions to our PhD program for the next two years, which will give us time to do the important work of reflection, reassessment, and reinvention.  We will next invite applicants in December 2024 to begin work in Fall 2025. In Fall 2020, we relaunched our MA in Rhetoric and Writing program after some exciting revisions. We will continue to invite, support, nurture, and mentor MA students while we’re working on our PhD program.

We have, of course, reviewed and revised our curriculum, our exams, and our processes over the years, but we feel that now is the time to devote as much energy as required to rebuild who we are and what sort of experience we offer the students who join us to do their doctoral work here in the Rhetoric and Writing Studies program at Michigan State University.

We’ve already begun a process of reflection and reinvention that entails design thinking exercises, user-experience-guided research, and reflective conversations among ourselves and with our alums. We plan to continue this work over the coming year, and then to guide our program and curriculum changes through our academic governance processes.

We want to be transparent across our processes and conversations. We want to share what we’re doing, thinking, and imagining. If you’d like to hear more, if you want an update, or if you just want to check in, please feel free to do so.

The Rhetoric and Writing Graduate Advisory Committee (RWGAC) in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University

Liza Potts, Associate Chair and Director of Graduate Programs
Kristin Arola
Stuart Blythe
Julie Lindquist
Keaton Kirkpatrick
Trixie Long Smith
Ethan Voss