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)

MARC Social Events | Spring 2016

Historias de Éxito within Mexican Communities: Silenced Voices

Dr. Octavio Pimentel will read from his new book on January 27th, 2016

3:00 p.m. reception, 3:30 p.m. reading, Comal, Room 116

Presented by the Center for the Study of the Southwest

Graduate College Events

Shop Talks

Research Development
Preparing for the 3MT, 
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2:30-3:30 or 5:00-6:00
3:30 Registration | 5:00 Registration
IRB Survival Skills, Monday, February 15th, Register Here
Graduate Students Library Survival Guide, Monday, February 22nd, 4:00-5:00, Register Here
Copyright Issues for Grad Students, Tuesday, March 8th, 5:00-6:00, Register Here

Career Preparation
Preparing to Enter the Global Marketplace, Wednesday, March 2nd, 1:00-2:00, Register Here
Preparing for Research Conference Presentation, Tuesday, April 5th, 10:00-12:00, Register Here
Take Control of Social Media for Your Career, Thursday, April 7th, 10:00-11:00, Register Here

Degree Success
Strategies for a Successful Thesis/Dissertation, 
Thursday, February 4th, 5:00-6:15, Register Here
Formatting Your Thesis/Dissertation, February 4th & 11th and April 7th (Round Rock) 
February 4th, 3:30-4:30 Registration | February 11th, 5:00-6:00 Registration | April 7th (Round Rock), 5:00-6:00 Registration 

MARC Workshops & Meetings | Spring 2016

Graduate and Professional School Fair 

This event provides prospective students with an opportunity to meet and interact with Graduate Advisors and to explore programs from various schools and departments across campus.

Monday, February 15th, 2016 at the LBJSC Ballroom from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Important Dates

March 1st: Last day to complete Graduate College & Celebrity Classic Scholarships applications 
March 11th: Last day to apply for Spring 2016 graduation
April 7th: Final date for thesis/dissertation defenses
April 14th: Thesis/Dissertation due to the Graduate College
May 2nd: Comprehensive exam paperwork due to the Graduate College
May 12th-14th: Commencement

Featured MARC Faculty

Dr. Octavio Pimentel joined the Masters in Rhetoric and Composition Program housed in the Department of English at Texas State University in 2005. Since his arrival he has taught various classes in the rhetoric and composition field including first-year composition courses, advanced composition, technical writing, and various critical 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, which won the 2016 Technical and Scientific Communication National Book Award for Best Collect of Essays (Baywood Press, 2014). Currently, Dr. Pimentel is working on his third book, Racial Shorthand: Coded Discrimination Contested in Social Media, which 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 (he was a finalist for NCTE’s 2009 article of the year in technical communication), among others. 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, which included co-writing (with Miriam F. Williams) the introduction. 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 Journal, 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!"


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. 

Spring 2015 MARC graduate Colin Couey is currently teaching Rhetoric and Composition courses at both St. Edward's University in Austin and at Texas State. In addition, he currently works as a tutor in the St. Edward's Writing Center. 

Spring 2015 MARC graduate Jeffery Downs currently teaches freshman Rhetoric and Composition courses at St. Edward's University in Austin and is applying for Ph.D. programs in Rhetoric and Writing. 

Spring 2015 MARC graduate Melissa Heidelberg has continued her employed with a global consulting firm, Accenture, as a Technology Consultant. 

MARC student Shaun Bryan has been accepted into the M.A. in Applied Philosophy and Ethics (MAAPE) program at Texas State for fall 2015. He plans to study the philosophy of cognition, logic, the philosophy of language and its connection to cognition, the philosophy of education, and the mind/body connection in continuation of his research into disability studies. 

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, has been nominated by the National Council of Teachers of English for Best Book in Technical or Scientific Communication, 2016.


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 forthcoming in spring 2015.

Dr. Eric Leake's coauthored chapter with Cydney Alexis and Scot Barnet, titled "Composing Place, Composing Las Vegas," is due to be published in 2015 in Star Vanguri's Rhetorics of Names and Naming. 

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

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.

The MARC program was well represented at the 2015 South Central Writing Centers Association Conference (“What Starts Here Writes The World”) at the University of Texas-Austin this February. Presenters included current students, graduates, and faculty: Cresta Bayley: “Re-Writing Wikipedia in the Writing Center: A Retrospective and How-To”; Collin Couey: “Tutoring on the Margins: Helping Students with ADHD”; Shaun Ford, Nancy Wilson, and Rachel Snow: “Welcome to the Tea Party: Process vs. Product in the Writing Center Wonderland”; Rebecca Jackson: “‘Feeling Rules,’ Outlaw(ed) Emotions, and the Affective Landscape of Writing Center Tutoring”; Kristin Riggs: “Prompting Change in the Writing Center: A Writing Instructor’s Perspective”

Dr. Rebecca Jackson presented "Text Affiliations, Program Strengths, and the (Re)Making of MA Writing Studies Identity" at the 2015 CCCC in Tampa, Fl. She spoke as part of a panel on MA Writing Studies programs titled "Masters of Risk: MA Writing Studies Programs as Sites of Innovation."

MARC student Colin Couey presented "You and Your Crew: A Critical History of Rap Groups" at the Popular Culture Associate conference in New Orleans, LA, April 2015.

Dr. Octavo Pimentel and MARC students Edward Garza and Melinda Ingersoll presented "Cuentos  Exitosos: Success  Stories of Hispanic Developmental Students" at the 2015 Texas State University Student Success Symposium in January.

MARC student Nathaniel Hagemaster presented "Constructing the "Spooky Queen:" Hyper Gender Portrayals and Androgyny in Horror Movies Contributing to Alternative Drag Identities" at the 2015 Southwest Popular American Culture Association Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He also acted as session chair.