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>  News Releases >   2008 >   May

Dartmouth appoints first director of its Institute for Writing and Rhetoric

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 05/28/08 • Media Contact: Latarsha Gatlin • (603) 646-3661

First lecturer in speech and rhetoric also appointed
Christiane Donahue
Christiane Donahue
Josh Compton
Josh Compton

Dartmouth's Office of the Dean of Faculty has announced that University of Maine Professor Christiane Donahue has been appointed to serve as the inaugural director of the new Institute for Writing and Rhetoric at Dartmouth (related press release). It was also announced that Josh Compton from Southwest Baptist University has been appointed as a lecturer in speech and rhetoric for the Institute. They will start their new positions Sept. 1 and July 1, 2008 respectively.

Donahue, an associate professor at the University of Maine at Farmington, has more than 25 years experience in higher education with an emphasis on writing and linguistics. She has been with the university since 2002, serving as director of the Composition Program where she is responsible for coordinating UMF's writing requirement, and as a consultant to the Writing Across the Disciplines program in which she is responsible for the writing component of faculty development projects. She was also co-director of Project Maine - France, an initiative between the University of Maine system and several French universities that create opportunities for student exchange, faculty exchange and research collaboration.

A Fulbright Scholar, Donahue has a Ph.D. in linguistics from the Université Rene Descartes, Paris, a master's in linguistics/writing from Northeastern University and a bachelor's from Simmons College in Boston. She will also be an associate professor of linguistics at Dartmouth.

"My goals for the Institute include supporting the excellent work in place at Dartmouth, exploring new ways to extend that work, supporting the expansion of writing and rhetoric instruction across students' Dartmouth careers, collaboratively implementing assessment of students' progress, and fostering faculty members' discussions about their own and their students' work in writing and scholarly presentation" said Donahue.

Donahue will report to Associate Dean for International and Interdisciplinary Programs, Lindsay Whaley. "Dr. Donahue was selected as the candidate who best fit the current needs of the Institute," he said. "She brings both experience in writing program administration and strong credentials as a teacher and a scholar. Dr. Donahue's background in examining writing from a cross-cultural perspective connects well with Dartmouth's commitment to diversity and to excellence in our efforts at writing instruction."

Josh Compton has been chair of the School of Communication Arts at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo., since 2005. He's also served as an assistant professor and associate forensics coach at the university since 2004.

Compton has a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Oklahoma, a master's degree in communication from Missouri State University and a bachelor's from Southwest Baptist University. In addition to his teaching and administrative credentials, he has published articles in such publications as Journal of Applied Communication Research, The Forensic of Pi Kappa Delta and Communication Quarterly.

While at Dartmouth, Compton will teach public speaking during fall, winter and spring terms; persuasive public speaking in the winter term and speechwriting in the spring.

"I approach the re-launch of speech at Dartmouth with enthusiasm, excited by the opportunity to add my voice to the continuing conversation," Compton said. "Speech instruction must go beyond a simple list: stand up straight, speak up, slow down. The best public speakers have a nuanced view of what constitutes good public speaking, reflecting rhetorical principles and theory. I design my courses as forums to grapple with the complexities of speaking well. My courses provide forums for the study and practice of public speaking. By the end of the course, students are better speakers. That's a simple goal. The process of reaching it is difficult, but worth it."

The Dartmouth Institute for Writing and Rhetoric was launched in January 2008 and will combine the existing Writing Program with new courses in speech, rhetoric, and advanced writing. It will also continue to enhance writing support services for students. Dean of Faculty, Carol Folt says, "The Institute will provide wonderful opportunities for Dartmouth students in the coming years. The commitment of our faculty to teaching writing and critical thinking across the curriculum, and the efforts of dedicated program members, current Director, Tom Cormen, and his staff have ensured that the Institute will be a success."

The regular slate of first-year writing courses will be available at the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric along with upper level courses such as Writing with Media, Composition Theory and Practice and The Art of Science Writing.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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