Andrew’s Intro

Hello everyone. I think I know everyone in class, but as a refresher, my name is
Andrew Durand. This is my fourth semester in the Written Communication program and I have two more after this. I am working through the professional track in the program as well as the certificate for the teaching of writing. After graduation, I hope to be working as a professional in the TC field along with picking up occasional adjunct positions at whatever college I end up close to. A bit of personal information, I have four children and the two youngest recently got guinea pigs as pets. I’m not sure how I feel about this.

I have been eager to take this class and am excited to dive into visual rhetoric. My provisional definition for visual rhetoric was as follows:

The study of images, graphics, and visuals, how and why they are made, their effects, and how they circulate.

I wonder where visual rhetorics could be applied. When I develop a resume, does its visual appeal carry a rhetorical apparatus? Is this what we are referring to as visual rhetoric? I look forward to answering questions like this during the semester.


Hi, I’m Kristie.

Hello classmates!

My name is Kristie Plantinga. I am a first year student studying technical communication. In college, I studied music and psychology. I happened upon the WRCM when I Googled teaching of writing, but after conversing with Dr. Benninghoff, I made the switch to tech comm. I loved the idea of a career that allowed me to be practical, but also pursue my creative interests.

Speaking of interests, I have many! I currently aspire to be a UX designer, content strategist, or creative director. Last semester in 505, I conducted research on tacit knowledge shared in mutidisciplinary teams; specifically, I examined the shared tacit knowledge of UX designers. My future research may include the tacit knowledge involved in higher-level activities or processes and how they are communicated through writing. This semester, I hope to learn more about design principles and usability.


Hi all!

My name is Geneva Korytkowski, and I am in my last semester at EMU for my master’s in the teaching of writing. Currently, I am working as a high school English teacher at Carlson High School (Downriver area) and as a graduate assistant for Dr. Tucker with the Eastern Michigan Writing Project. Unfortunately for you,  you’ll have to listen to bad stories about my daughter or my school kids. Enjoy!

Cortney’s Intro

Hello all!  Quick synopsis about myself: this is my second semester in Graduate School, I’m currently a substitute teacher, I like lesson planning and integrating outside material into what has to be taught, but I get frustrated with classroom management so I’m getting out of physically teaching students, and I hope that I can use my Written Communication degree to get into writing textbooks, publishing, or making standardized testing more accessible to all students.

What  is visual rhetoric?

The impact that media which is experienced completely or mainly through the eyes of an audience.


Thomas’s Intro

Hi, everyone! My name is Thomas Passwater. I am a fourth semester grad student in the Written Communication program, on the teaching of writing ‘track’. I am a graduate assistant: in that role, I teach one section of WRTG 121 and work in two satellite locations of the writing center. Before coming to Eastern, I did my undergrad at East Carolina in English studies. There I was able to work as an undergrad writing consultant in their writing center and study abroad in London.

As I am trying to complete my MA here, my project takes on inflections of material, spatial, and visual rhetorics. I’m excited to have the opportunity to study visual rhetoric now. After completing my MA, I’m hoping to pursue a Rhetoric and Composition PhD.

Rachel’s Intro

Hello everyone,

My name is Rachel, and this is my second to last semester, as I’ve elected to complete my master’s project over the spring/summer semester. I’m in the Professional Writing track of the Written Communication MA program.

I work full time as a staff auditor at the moment. I also have a fiance who’s already my husband, as we’re doing our belated bigger ceremony in March. I’m also woefully behind in learning more Chinese.

The focus of this class is very intriguing, and I look forward to experiencing this semester with you all!


Hi All!

I’m Meg, and this is my final semester as a graduate student. I plan to graduate this April with an MA in Written Communication, specializing in the Teaching of Writing. Currently, I teach First-Year Writing (FYW) and work in the University Writing Center (UWC) here at EMU. When I grow up, I want to teach FYW at EMU.

I have three daughters and three cats. Like Aristotle, I support compiling many facets of my life into groups of three. I love to cook and bake because I come from a long line of feeders, and I might also be secretly obsessed with movies based on Jane Austen stories…maybe.

This semester, I’m completing work on my MA project, which concerns instructor/student rapport in a FYW classroom and the impact of that rapport on students’ cognitive learning. Though I’m still working through my data, this project has provided me with much insight on my innate ability to procrastinate. I’m hoping to escape from the procrastination abyss soon.

I look forward to spending the rest of the semester with you who I’ve come to know and love, as well as with my future friends in this class.




Hello, everyone. My name is Justin and I am in my second semester of the Written Communication MA program, with a professional writing focus. I am an EMU alumnus – I graduated in 2013 with a BS in English and a Philosophy minor. Prior to my pursuit of higher education, I was on a special duty in the Marine Corps, guarding embassies abroad.

It seems as though I am in good company; I too identify as a nerd! I especially enjoy tabletop gaming, and have a particular love for Dungeons & Dragons. Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time to play as I would like; on top of taking two courses this semester, I work full time at the University of Michigan Health System doing communications work for the IT department, am a new home owner, have a seven-month old puppy, and am planning my wedding for this August.

As I mentioned in my in-class introduction, I do a good deal of design work in my career; however, I have had little formal or theoretical training in visual rhetoric. I look forward to exploring this topic and getting to know all of you better throughout these next few months!

Intro, Head Map, Definition

As follow-up to the call for a blog entry in the closing minutes of Monday night’s class, here goes.

Derek Mueller is Associate Professor of Written Communication and Director of the First-year Writing Program at Eastern Michigan University, where he regularly teaches courses in visual rhetorics, writing pedagogy, and research methods. His research attends to questions concerning networked writing practices, rhetorical aspects of computational methods (e.g., data mining and visualization), and discipliniographies or field narratives related to rhetoric and composition/writing studies. Mueller’s work has been published in Kairos, Enculturation, Computers and Composition, Present Tense, Composition Forum, and JAC. For more, visit

Head Map

Head Map - WRTG540
Head Map – WRTG540

Visual Rhetorics Definition
Study of images, graphics, and visuals, how and why they are made, what are their effects, and how they circulate. But “study” is dissatisfying because rhetoric requires action and “study” hints at knowing too passively.

Hello World: An Introductory Note from Natasha

As I’m sitting here trying to compose an introductory blog post about myself, I’m having mildly traumatic flashbacks to the seven-or-so drafts of an Introduction Memo that I wrote for WRTG 424 when completing my bachelor’s degree at EMU, majoring in both written communication and speech communication. Just as a heads up… you’re only getting one draft. Sorry, friends.

I’m Natasha, and I am enrolled in EMU’s Written Communication MA program, concentrating my studies in the Teaching of Writing. As a graduate assistant, I teach in EMU’s First-Year Writing Program and consult in the University Writing Center. However, I’m feeling a bit more than a little bitter-sweet, since this is my last semester in the program, and I know that I’ll deeply miss my friends, colleagues, and faculty here–and the weekly snacks in class.

Like Cortney, I also identify as a nerd, though not quite as strongly as I did a few years ago when I attended anime/comic conventions and sewed my own cosplay costumes. Now, when I’m not researching the ways that written self-advocacy practices influence student agency and responsibility, I spend most of my free time crafting, assembling puzzles, watching musicals–can we just talk about Hamilton for a second?–reading, and developing travel plans. It’s a bit old-lady-ish, but that’s okay by me.

I’ll close by saying that I’m really excited for this class and interested to see the visual rhetoric designs that everyone creates. And, if we don’t yet know each other well, I look forward to correcting this circumstance soon! 🙂