The Professional Writing Program @ Longwood U


Haley Vasquez, an English major with a minor in Rhetoric and Professional Writing at Longwood, got offered a fully funded M.A. position to study Rhetoric and Composition at Washington State University.

Congratulations, Haley! We are so proud of your accomplishment!


Haley Vasquez

It is my great pleasure to announce that one of our Rhetoric and Professional Writing concentrators, Garrett Badgley, was awarded the 1st place in the Humanities category among the essays submitted for the 2017 issue of Incite: Journal of Undergraduate Scholarship. Garrett wrote his winning essay entitled, “The Rhetoric of Distrust: A Dangerous Game during the 2016 Presidential Campaign,” originally for the ENGL 305: “Presidential Debates in a Global Theater” class during the fall of 2017.

Congratulations, Garrett! We are proud of your accomplishment!

Our Rhetoric and Professional Writing student, Haley Klepatzki’s essay entitled, “Hillary Clinton’s Rhetoric of Gender Inequality: The Past, Present, and The (Hypothetical) Future” has been selected to appear in the 2017 issue of Incite: Journal of Undergraduate Scholarship. Haley wrote the essay originally for the ENGL 305: “Presidential Debates in a Global Theater” class during the fall of 2017.

Congratulations, Haley!

Drs. Heather Lettner-Rust and Elif Guler of the Rhetoric and Professional Writing Program at Longwood recently presented their research at the 2017 Conference on College Composition Communication (CCCC), which took place from March 15-18 in Portland, Oregon.


Dr. Heather Lettner-Rust

Dr. Lettner-Rust (Composition Coordinator) collaborated with Dr. James Holsinger (Director of the Writing Center) in facilitating a workshop with faculty from other universities entitled, “Cultivating Consensus Among Teachers: Collaborative Leadership Strategies in Writing Program Administration.” Dr. Lettner-Rust also presented a paper entitled, “Writing our Students into the Right Places: Social Activism as the Curriculum” in the panel, “Cultivating Social Activism in the Classroom.”


Dr. Elif Guler (on the left) with scholars across the world

Dr. Guler (Coordinator of Rhetoric and Professional Writing) presented her paper entitled, “Rhetoric as the Study of Finding Happiness,” in the panel, “Searching for Global Rhetorics, Recovering Alternative Discursive Communities.” The cross-national panel included scholars from Canada, Turkey, and Ghana.

Since 1949, CCCC has been the world’s largest professional organization for researching and teaching composition, from writing to new media.

Sarah Curlee, an English major with a minor in Rhetoric and Professional Writing, successfully completed an internship with Prince Edward County Public Schools. Sarah assisted the Superintendent, Dr. Barbara Johnson, and the staff of PECPS in the creation and maintenance of the institution’s presence on social media. Sarah immediately showed an interest in the internship opportunity after she was made aware of it through the Rhetoric and Professional Writing listserv. “Once I really started to get into my tasks as an intern, I realized that the majority of what I was doing involved skills that I’ve learned in the Rhetoric and Professional Writing classes I’ve taken at Longwood,” says Sarah. “I had a blast working with [the PECPS staff]; they couldn’t have been more helpful. While I got the chance to practice the skills I’ve learned in the Rhet/PW program, I continued to learn new things as well,” she adds.

PECPS Internship Picture

Sarah Curlee with Dr. Greg Wheeler (Director of Accountability and Research) and Dr. Barbara Johnson (Superintendent) of PECPS

Sarah reflects on how the Rhetoric and Professional Writing program informed her internship experience:

One of the most important skills I’ve learned in my Rhetoric and Professional Writing classes is how to identify an audience and select the language that will be most effective in getting my point across to them. Working as an intern for Prince Edward County Public Schools helped me to further develop my communication skills in a professional setting. When I was speaking with the board members, I chose professional language that is more formal than what I’d normally use when chatting with friends. When I interviewed the high school students about the upcoming pep rally, I adopted a more relaxed tone that was more appropriate for the situation. While my classes taught me a lot about adapting my language to fit the situation, the longer I worked as an intern the more comfortable I became doing so in a professional climate.

Another skill I’ve acquired in my Rhetoric and Professional Writing classes is how to properly format documents. A large portion of my internship centered around writing articles for the Prince Edward County Public Schools’ website and Facebook page, but I was also given various other responsibilities that required me to compose (or edit) formal documents. I spent a few weeks revising the school profile, which interconnected many of the things I’ve learned in the Rhetoric and Professional Writing program. For example, I was given numerous statistics and percentages that made up PECPS and was required to create charts and graphs that would make the document more readable for a wider audience. In my classes, I’ve learned what type of information should be used with which chart or graph, so going into this project with that prior knowledge was incredibly beneficial.


Chris Crider, a Rhetoric and Professional Writing concentrator, has recently received a CURIO program grant from The Student Research Advisory Council at Longwood University. As part of CURIO (The Collegiate Undergraduate Research and Inquiry Opportunities), Chris will assist Dr. Elif Guler on her rhetorical research during the Spring of 2017. As a CURIO researcher, Chris will also develop a proposal for his own upcoming research project on the relationship between Edgar Allan Poe’s life and his literary works. Congratulations, Chris!

Sarah Curlee and Chelsea Smith of the Rhetoric and Professional Writing Program were appointed as two of the ambassadors to represent the Department of English and Modern Languages (EML) at Longwood’s Admissions Open House on November 12, 2016. Sarah and Chelsea shared their experiences in EML and successfully informed the attendees about the premise of The Rhetoric and Professional Writing Program at Longwood University.


EML Ambassadors at the Admissions Open House – November 12, 2016

From Left: Daniela Hernandez, Taylor Embrey, Sarah Curlee, and Chelsea Smith

*Photo Courtesy of Derek Taylor

Longwood Students: Our updated program handout is ready! For information about the Rhetoric and Professional Writing Program, be sure to check out the most recent handout here:

If you would like to declare Rhetoric and Professional Writing as a concentration (for English students) or a minor (for all other majors), please fill out this form and take it to the Registrar’s Office:

Looking forward to having you on board!

Don’t miss this intriguing “History of Rhetoric” course with Dr. Heather Lettner-Rust in Spring 2017!


After a successful semester of discussing cross-national leadership rhetoric, ENGL 305: Rhetoric and Public Culture students are currently working on their conference papers for Longwood’s Spring Conference of Undergraduate Research. The students also delivered a panel presentation as part of the vice presidential debate-week activities last month at Longwood University.

20161006_162143On October 6, 2016, Haley Vasquez, Chris Crider, Emi Peterson, Garrett Badgley, Colin Deans, Haley Klepatzki, and Zach Carmon presented to the campus community their collaborative statement on “An Effective Rhetoric for Global Peace and Understanding: Students’ Insights for the Presidential Candidates.” Sponsored by Longwood’s Office of International Affairs, the interactive session aimed to promote an understanding of how our presidential candidates can and should function on a world stage when the goal is to foster global peace and understanding. Following students’ presentation on the current climate of U.S. presidential rhetoric, Dr. Elif Guler engaged the audience in a discussion of how the principles of rhetoric can be shared on a global, regional, and local stage.


Haley Vasquez introducing the panel presentation

Some excerpts from the students’ insights shared with the Longwood community:

“Rhetoric refers to the purposeful use of language and the classic art of making effective arguments. Plato suggested that rhetoric should be used to find the truth and achieve justice. Aristotle defined it as the use of the available means of persuasion.  Quintilian said only good and virtuous men should practice the art of rhetoric. Various other key figures across cultures and nations also studied rhetoric and offered their own definitions and interpretations of this art.”

“The presidential candidates seem to make various arguments. The question is: are these effective arguments?”

“Jay Heinrichs, a persuasion guru who has applied rhetorical principles, from business transactions to family quarrels, observes that ‘We need to distinguish rhetorical argument from the blame-shifting, he-said-she-said squabbling that defines conflict today. In a fight, each disputant tries to win. In an argument, they try to win over an audience’ (Thank You for Arguing).”

“Albert Einstein once said: ‘The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.’ We concur with this statement, but we also contend that the world is a dangerous place because of those who say nothing or say the wrong thing. We hope that our presidential candidates work to achieve global peace and understanding by awakening the idea that it all begins with their use of language. Rhetoric is more than a tool of persuasion–it is the fundamental difference between conflict and progressive argument.”


From Left: Dr. Emily Kane (Office of International Affairs), Haley Vasquez, Colin Deans, Haley Klepatzki, Dr. Elif Guler (Deparment of English and Modern Languages), Zach Carmon, Emi Petterson, Garrett Badgley, and Chris Crider

*Photos courtesy of Shirley Blackwell and Elif Guler.