Welcome to the website for the MA major in Rhetoric and Composition! We invite you to explore our program and the opportunities it offers for advanced study in writing and the teaching of writing, including such exciting areas as minority rhetorics, digital literacies, writing theory and practice, history of rhetoric, gender and language, political rhetoric, writing centers, and more.  

If you're a prospective student, you'll find information here about admission and degree requirements, our faculty, and our students. Current students will find updated information about current and future course offerings, program announcements, and faculty and student accomplishments.

We invite you to see what we have to offer!

MA Rhetoric and Composition Brochure (PDF)

Special Events

CCCC's Reception 
Zydeco Louisiana Diner 
119 Pease Street, Houston, TX 77002

Come enjoy live zydeco music and great cajun food during the Conference on College Composition and Communication with faculty from Stanford University, Texas State University, the University of Arizona, and the University of Texas, Austin. 

Reception Invitation

The Role of Literacy in Ensuring Racial and Ethnic Equality 

Monday, April 11th, 2016, 7-9 pm, Centennial Hall, Room 157
Hosted by the Department of English

MARC Social Events

Dinner at Kent Black’s BBQ in San Marcos
Friday, March 4, 2016
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Hosted by Dr. Pimentel


Happy Hour at Grin’s Restaurant
Date, time, and place to be announced
Hosted by Dr. Jackson


MARC Workshops

Writing Conference Proposals
Thursday, April 28th, 2016
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
FH: Brasher Room
Hosted by Dr. Leake and Dr. Mejia
For a sample conference call for papers, click here!

PhD Program Workshop:
Skype Conversation with Dr. Mona Narain, Director, PhD program in English at Texas Christian University

Thursday, April 21, 2016
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
FH 253
Hosted by Dr. Jackson


Important Dates

Fall 2016

Deadline for Graduation Applications: October 7th, 2016
Final Date for Thesis Defense: November 7th, 2016 (draft due to committees October 24th, 2016)
Thesis Due to The Graduate College: November 14th, 2016
Final Thesis Approval Date: December 1st, 2016 at 5:00 pm

Spring 2017

Deadline for Graduation Application: TBD
Final Date for Thesis Defense: April 4th, 2017 (draft due to committees March 21st, 2017)
Thesis Due to The Graduate College: April 11th, 2017
Final Thesis Approval Date: April 25th, 2017 at 5:00 pm


Featured MARC Faculty

Dr. Octavio Pimentel joined faculty in the MA Rhetoric and Composition program at Texas State University in 2005. Since his arrival he has taught various classes in rhetoric and composition, including first-year composition, advanced composition, technical writing, and graduate courses that encompass issues of minority languages, rhetoric, and writing. Critically trained in rhetoric, writing, and education, Dr. Pimentel combines these fields, while addressing critical issues of minoritized individuals in the composition field.

Since his arrival at Texas State University Dr. Pimentel has and continues to publish extensively, including 2 books: Historias de Éxito within Mexican Communities: Silenced Voices (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and Communicating Race, Ethnicity, and Identity in Technical Communication, co-edited with Dr. Miriam Willlams, which won the 2016 Technical and Scientific Communication National Book Award for Best Collection of Essays (Baywood Press, 2014). His third book, Racial Shorthand: Coded Discrimination Contested in Social Media, is under review with Computers and Composition Digital Press.

Additionally, Dr. Pimentel has also published nearly 20 articles in various journals including English in Texas, Council Chronicle, Reflections: A Journal of Writing, Community and Literacy Service; Journal of Latinos in Education; Journal of Business and Technical Communication. His most recent articles include: “Learning to Write in Writing Centers: The Racial Experiences of Two Mexican Students,” published in English in Texas, 2014;  "Luchadores y Taqueros: Racist Discourses in Mainstream Television Commercials,” 2014 appearing in Communicating Race, Ethnicity, and Identity in Technical Communication, New York: Baywood Press, 2014; “An Invitation to a Too-Long Postponed Conversation: Race and Composition" printed in Reflections: A Journal of Writing, Community and Literacy Service in 2013; "The Changing Demographics of the United States: Rethinking the Academic Experience in English Language Learners" published in The Council Chronicle in 2013. Furthermore, in 2012 he co-edited (with Miriam F. Williams) a special issue of the Journal of Business and Technical Communication on Race, Ethnicity, and Technical Communication: Examining Multicultural Issues within the United States. He also co-wrote the introduction to this special issue with Miriam F. Williams. Lastly, since 2005 Dr. Pimentel has presented in over 30 national and international conferences.

In Spring 2016 Dr. Pimentel was elected to join the editorial board for the College Composition and Communication, and in Fall 2015 he was nominated by the Department of English for the Presidential Distinction Award for Scholarship. In 2014-2015 Dr. Pimentel was selected as the Faculty Recipient of the Excellence in Diversity Award for Texas State University and in 2013 he was elected to serve on the CCCC/NCTE National Executive Committee. In 2010 and 2011 Dr. Pimentel was Runner-Up for the Presidential Distinction Award for Excellence in Service at Texas State University and in 2008, he was Runner-Up for the Presidential Distinction Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Featured MARC Alumni

Spring 2012 MARC graduate Michelle Overman, who currently works at Sam Houston High School in San Antonio, Texas, will be fulfilling a longstanding desire to teach overseas later this year when she begins teaching at Qingdao Amerasia International School. Michelle has been the reading teacher at Sam Houston High School since she completed her degree and, in a school like Sam Houston, where 85% of the student body reads below their grade level, Michelle admits that this job has been a huge, but intensely rewarding, undertaking.

After completing her degree in 2012, Michelle joined Teach for America, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing the country’s promising future leaders and strengthening the movement for educational equity and excellence. She really wanted to bring something to the table when she started her search for a position at an international school, and her experiences in the MARC program, with Teach for America, and at Sam Houston have all contributed to her ability to pursue her three-year commitment at Qingdao Amerasia International School in Qingdao, China starting this year. Michelle is especially motivated to work in an International Baccalaureate school like Qingdao because of her commitment to educating our next generation of world leaders both abroad and at home. Michelle dearly hopes that after her three year contract ends she’ll be able to bring what she learns back to Texas and influence our public school system in order to better serve our state’s students. Michelle believes that “what we are doing only works for a portion of the children in our state” and that “something has to change.”

Michelle’s research interests in the MARC program contributed to her work at Sam Houston High School and, now, at Qingdao Amerasia. She was “very interested in how we close some people out of academia when they do not fit the standard student mold like working mothers or students from different cultural backgrounds.” She gives credit to her work with the MARC program for teaching her what rhetorical devices are at work in writing and in life and who does and who does not benefit from the current systems those devices support. These tools she developed in the MARC program, she states, have been integral in “helping students break down walls that have been built around them” by cultural and educational institutions.

Michelle’s best advice for current MARC students is to not forget that these walls have been built up around all of us. She asks current MARC students to “not forget once they leave the program that the social justice issues we wrestled with in class are real world experiences for much of the population.” She reminds us that these issues were not just topics of conversation. “The kinds of positions the MARC program prepares you for will invariably put you in a position to either be an agent for change, or a part of the problem. Stay mindful of that power and use it!"


2016 MARC graduate Kristin Milligan successfully defended her thesis in July and has accepted the position of Associate Director of the Learning Center at East Central College in Union, Missouri. 

2016 MARC graduate Clare Murray successfully defended her thesis, "Being Right or Doing Right? Employing Virtue Theory in Response to Religious Student Discourse in First-Year Writing," in the spring and has accepted a lecturer position in Rhetoric and Composition at St. Edward's University. 

2016 MARC graduate Edward Garza successfully defended his thesis, "The Public Pochx: Rhetorics of American-Born Latinxs," in the spring and has also accepted a lecturer position in Rhetoric and Composition at St. Edward's University. 

MARC student Andrew Booth has been awarded the Ralph and Francys Houston scholarship for the 2016-2017 academic year. MARC Graduate Assistant, Shane Teague, has been awarded the Ione Dodson Young scholarship for the 2016-2017 academic year. 

Dr. Octavio Pimentel has won the 2016 Conference on College Composition and Communication's Technical and Scientific Communication Award in the category of Best Original Collection of Essays in Technical or Scientific Communication for Communicating Race, Ethnicity, and Identity in Technical Communication. 

Dr. Rebecca Jackson was named an Alpha Chi "Favorite Professor" in 2014 and 2015.

Dr. Octavio Pimentel has been named the faculty recipient of Texas State’s Excellence in Diversity Award.

Dr. Octavio Pimentel and MATC director Dr. Miriam Williams' coedited collection, Communicating Race, Ethnicity, and Identity in Technical Communication, was awarded "2016 Best Book in Technical or Scientific Communication" by the National Council of Teachers of English.


Reflections has published MARC student Shane Teague's review of Aja Martinez and Vershawn Ashanti Young's edited collection, Code-meshing as World English: Pedagogy, Policy, and Performance, in its Spring 2016 issue. 

MARC student Kristin Milligan's piece "Formal Outlines and Their Limitations" will be included in the forthcoming publication Bad Ideas About Writing, a collection co-edited by Cheryl Ball and Drew Loewe. 

Dr. Eric Leake's coauthored chapter with Cydney Alexis and Scot Barnet, titled "Composing Place, Composing Las Vegas," has been published in Star Vanguri's edited collection Rhetorics of Names and Naming, part of the Routledge Studies in Rhetoric and Composition series. 

Dr. Eric Leake's article "Empathizer-in-Chief: The Promotion and Performance of Empathy in the Speeches of Barack Obama" has been published in Volume 6, Issue 1 of the Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric

Dr. Rebecca Jackson's book (with Nicole Caswell and Jackie Grutsch McKinny), The Working Lives of New Writing Center Directors, will be published by Utah State University Press in 2016.

Dr. Deb Balzhiser’s article, "Participatory Design Research for Curriculum Development of Graduate Programs for Workplace Professionals,” written with Paul Sawyer (Southeastern Louisiana University), J Smith (MATC), and Shen Womack (MATC), will appear in Programmatic Perspectives 7.2 (Fall 2015). Web.

Dr. Octavio Pimentel's book--Historias de Éxito within Mexican Communities: Silenced Voices (Palgrave Macmillan a division of St. Martin’s Press)--is now in print.

Second-year MARC student Edward Garza has published a letter to the editor, "End Rhetoric," in the January 5th issue of the Houston Chronicle. "End Rhetoric" is Garza's fourth letter published in the Chronicle

Conference Presentations

MARC student Nathaniel Hagemaster presented his paper "Playing 'Fishy' Drag in Digital Spaces: Creating Queer Gaming Identities that Resist Monstrous Forms of Queerness" at the 2016 PCA/ACA conference in Seattle, Washington. 

MARC student Kristin Milligan presented "Discussions of Racism and White Privilege: Can Writing Centers Afford to Ignore Them?" at the SUNY Conference on Writing 2016 on March 5th, 2016 in Albany, New York. 

The MARC program was well represented at the third annual Trends in Teaching College Composition Conference hosted by Collin College in Mckinney, Texas. Dr. Jaíme Mejia presented "Using Sociology to Assess Audience Awareness in FYC Classes." Clare Murray presented "'This I believe': Latin@ Narratives in Freshman Student Writing" and Edward Garza presented "...And El Español Did Not Devour Them: Crossing Composition Borders with LatinX Literature." 

Dr. Eric Leake will present "Recovering Empathy with Things" at the 2016 Rhetoric Society of America conference in Atlanta, Georgia. 

The MARC program will be represented at the 2016 Conference on College Composition and Communication in Houston, Texas by Dr. Octavio Pimentel, Dr. Eric Leake, and Dr. Rebecca Jackson. Dr. Pimentel will present "Opening the Gateway: The Power of Dual Language Composition Courses"; Dr. Leake will present "Empathy and the Essay: Writing in Response to Perspective-Taking Prompts"; and Dr. Jackson will act as a respondent to speakers on a panel about MA programs sponsored by the Master's Degree Consortium of Writing Studies Specialists. (MDCWSS). As co-chairs of the Master's Degree Consortium of Writing Studies Specialists, Dr. Leake and Dr. Jackson will also conduct the consortium's annual business meeting at 4Cs.