The Institute of Writing and Rhetoric is delighted to announce that Professor Christiane Donahue will begin her tenure as Director of the IWR on September 1.
Christiane Donahue has been working in higher education across the cultures of France and the United States since the 1980s. She began her interest in writing and teaching writing as an undergraduate writing tutor at Northeastern University in 1981, pursued a BA degree in English and Education with plans to teach high school, and then was drawn to studying writing through the lens of linguistics and discourse analysis for an MA in Linguistics and Writing. Donahue began collaborating with French teachers and scholars during these years, beginning with a Whiting Foundation fellowship supporting a research trip that became the grounds for her doctoral work in French functional linguistics and discourse analysis at l’Université de Paris V. While in France, she found herself drawn to the work of Frédéric François, who ended up being her thesis director.
During these years, as she taught writing, carried out program development, and directed programs working with colleagues in composition and across the disciplines, Donahue was inspired by composition theory and composition-rhetoric work and saw the possibility for highly fruitful interaction between this field and her other work. At the same time she traveled frequently back and forth between France and the U.S. Donahue reports that one of the nicest parts of doing a PhD in France was the fact that she could say, “Well, I just have to go to France again this year…”
Donahue continued to collaborate extensively with colleagues in France, as well as in Germany, Brussels, the UK, Switzerland, and Canada. More recently, she has been enjoying the beautiful setting of the University of Maine-Farmington, Maine’s public liberal arts college, while continuing to pursue her research and teaching interests, guiding the development of a powerful first-year sequence of writing seminars and first-year seminars, and fostering work on writing across the disciplines through faculty development, assessment, and research activities.
Donahue is a prolific researcher. Her recent publications in English include:
- “When Copying Is Not Copying: Plagiarism and French Composition Scholarship,” in Originality, Imitation, Plagiarism: Teaching Writing in the Digital Age, U. of Michigan Press, 2008
- “Cross-cultural Analysis of Student Writing: Beyond Discourses of Difference,” in Written Communication’s special issue on research methodologies, due out in June 2008
- “Multiple Assessments of a First-year Seminar Pilot,” in the Journal of General Education, also due out in June 2008, co-authored with biology professor Andrew Barton
Finally, Donahue has recently been awarded a research Fulbright for the France-Nord Pas de Calais region for next year. She expects that this Fulbright will be a terrific “next step” in her French research.
The Institute extends its warmest welcome to Christiane Donahue.