Previous Projects

Daniel Kenzie and Mary McCall. “Teaching Writing for the Health Professions: Disciplinary Intersections and Pedagogical Practice.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 27, no. 1, 2018, pp. 64-79,

Abstract: This article outlines an approach to teaching a Writing for the Health Professions course and situates this approach within the aims of and tensions between the medical humanities, the rhetoric of health and medicine, and disability studies. This analysis provides a pragmatic walkthrough of how assignments in such courses can be linked to programmatic outcomes (with SOAP [Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan] note and patient education assignments as extended examples) as well as an interdisciplinary framework for future empirical studies.

Article: Kenzie and McCall, Teaching Writing for the Health Professions Disciplinary Intersections and Pedagogical Practice

Gracemarie Mike Fillenwarth,Mary McCall, and Catherine G.P. Berdanier. “Quantification of Engineering Disciplinary Discourse in Résumés: A Novel Genre Analysis with Teaching Implications.” IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, vol. 61, no. 1, 2018, pp. 48-64, 10.1109/TPC.2017.2747338

Abstract: Background: Undergraduate engineering students often receive insufficient support when crafting résumés. Most notably, there is often a lack of disciplinary-specific instruction and a lack of emphasis on the persuasive function of résumés. Ultimately seeking to strengthen instructional materials, this study investigates a way to quantify the quality of engineering résumés, focusing specifically on the use of disciplinary discourse. Research questions: How do engineering résumés exhibit disciplinary discourse? How can disciplinary discourse be quantified as a way of promoting strong engineering résumé writing and professional development skills? Literature review: This project builds on research exploring the qualities of effective résumés. It extends on work establishing disciplinary differences in desired résumé qualities, as well as work characterizing résumé writing as an opportunity for professional identity development. Grounded in activity theory, this project seeks to elucidate the “rules” of effective engineering résumés at the lexical level. Methodology: This project analyzed a corpus of 31 engineering résumés through both qualitative and quantitative means. Résumés were initially ranked via a rubric, then coded for disciplinary discourse according to the American Association of Engineering Societies’ Engineering Competency Model. Disciplinary discourse scores were then analyzed through descriptive statistics. Results and conclusion: Significant differences in the use of disciplinary discourse were found among strong, moderate, and weak résumés. Though these results are not generalizable due to the small corpus size, they indicate that disciplinary discourse may be a fruitful area for future research on résumés and the development of pedagogical materials.

Article: Quantification of Engineering Disciplinary Discourse in Resumes

Catherine G.P. Berdanier, Mary McCall, and Gracemarie Mike. “A Degree is Not Enough: Promoting Engineering Identity Development and Professional Planning through the Teaching of Engineering Résumé Writing.” Proceedings from the Frontiers in Engineering Education Conference, 12-15 October 2016, Erie, PA, 2016, 10.1109/FIE.2016.7757711

Undergraduate engineering students are often taught to create their engineering résumés early in their academic careers as part of first-year composition or technical writing classes. Often, these classes are not taught by engineering faculty, and few resources exist for engineering-specific résumé development. A corpus of 31 engineering résumés was collected, representing engineers across experience levels and engineering fields and analyzed through genre analysis methods in order to understand the linguistic mechanisms by which engineers present the merit of their work in a condensed résumé format in order to develop an intervention to help instructors of technical writing and first year engineering develop engineering résumés in a disciplinary context. The intervention facilitates student reflection on authentic engineering résumés leading them toward their own learning regarding effective presentation of engineering experiences on a résumé, as well as to encourage engineering students to plan effectively for the experiences that will help them achieve their desired careers.

Paper: FIE paper

Catherine G.P. Berdanier, Mary McCall, and Gracemarie Mike. “Résumés in the Development of Undergraduate Engineering Identity: A Genre Analysis with Teaching Implications.” Proceedings from the IEEE ProComm 2016: Communicating Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 2-5 October 2016, Austin, TX, 2016 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, 10.1109/IPCC.2016.7740488

Undergraduate engineering students are often instructed to write engineering résumés working from models that come from different fields. As part of a project to develop stronger disciplinary instructional materials for engineering résumé writers, this study investigates a way to quantify the quality of engineering résumés based both on established rubric methods and on a new “scoring” mechanism by which significant differences in the types of disciplinary discourse enacted strong, moderate, and weak engineering résumés. This study is guided through Activity Theory, such that the “rules” of writing an engineering résumé are mediated not only by the general design, content, and style principles of written and visual communication, but are also mediated by the community in terms of what language and activities are most demonstrative of engineering expertise. Findings indicate that a blended approach to scoring engineering résumés may be a promising way to investigate the problem of teaching and evaluating engineering discourse by non-engineering faculty.

Note: This conference paper was presented at ProComm 2016 and won the Hayhoe Award for the best graduate student submission.

Paper: ProComm Paper

McCall, Mary. “Bridging the Divide: Integrating Composition and Second Language Writing Approaches to Transfer.” Double Helix: A Journal of Critical Thinking and Writing, vol. 4, 2016, pp. 1-14

In this article, I address recent calls within composition studies to expand the focus on how students recontexualize or transfer their prior knowledge in first-year composition classes and later coursework. These calls indicate how most of the current empirical research about transfer within the first-year composition (FYC) classroom considers the writing practices of a mostly privileged, homogeneous group of students to the exclusion of underprepared, working class, and/or first-generation students. I add that much of this research implicitly evokes the ideology of monolingualism by paying little attention to how language use can similarly be a transformative practice as well as writing. Combining language practices with writing, then, can offer a fuller version of the critical thinking process behind transfer acts. I offer one way of supporting such work by contextualizing much of the transfer research that takes place within composition studies within the more global aspects of language learning and acquisition that are studied by the second language writing discipline. Not only does such an approach advance the cognitive scope of transfer research, but it also supports instructors in addressing the learning experiences of different types of students within the increasingly globalized university.

Article: McCall_Bridging the Divide

Allen, Matthew, Mary A. McCall, and Gracemarie Mike. “First Year Composition through a Global Engineering Perspective.” Connexions: International Professional Communication Journal, vol. 1, no. 2, 2013, pp. 109-133.

This teaching case describes three sections of first-year composition taught within a Global Engineering Cultures and Practices Learning Community. As members of a learning community, students were concurrently enrolled in two first-year engineering courses and one first-year composition course, while also participating in cocurricular events. These composition courses were designed to achieve the goals of the composition program while simultaneously supporting the goals of the learning community and meeting the needs of the first-year engineering students enrolled in the course.


Boquet, Elizabeth, Betsy A. Bowen, Catherine Forsa, Devin Hagan, and Mary A. McCall. “Record and Reflect: iPod Use in Writing Center Staff Development.” Praxis: A Writing Center Journal, vol. 6, no. 1, Fall 2008

Collaborating with the then current writing center director, former writing center director, and peer tutors at my undergraduate institution, I conducted research using iPod technology to both record and reflect on tutorial sessions. In this article, we discuss how recording tutorial sessions via iPods allows tutors to practice professional development by learning from sessions, assessing these tutorials more objectively, and incorporating this knowledge into subsequent tutorials. We end the article with a discussion of how iPod tutorial recordings can used to support student writing as well as faculty development.