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Dr. Rebecca Gerdes-McClain - Columbus State University

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Columbus State University

headshot of Rebecca Gerdes McClain

Rebecca Gerdes McClain

Associate Professor

English, Department of

Education and Certifications

  • Ph.D. English, University of Oklahoma, 2012–2017
    • Primary Area: Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy
  • M.A. English, Indiana University South Bend, 2006–2009
    • Area of Specialty: Eighteenth-Century British Literature
  • B.A. English, Honors Certificate, Indiana University South Bend, 2002–2006
    • Dual Focus: English Literature and English Writing
    • Minor: Film Studies


Dr. Rebecca Gerdes-McClain graduated from the University of Oklahoma in May 2017 with a Ph.D. in Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy. Her dissertation, Pivotal Moments: Personal Histories of Labor in First-Year Composition, studies significant first-year writing teachers in the history of American higher education and how their labor conditions supported and complicated their work. She is currently revising her dissertation into a book project focusing on labor, embodiment, and ethics in the history of labor practices in first-year composition.

As a teacher, her interests include responding to student writing, cultivating meaningful writing projects for students, and preparing students to effectively respond to the range of writing situations they will encounter in the classroom, the workplace, and their public lives. She enjoys meeting with students during office hours, learning from and about her students, and watching her students progress toward graduation and achieving their professional goals.

As a scholar, her interests include the history of first-year composition, academic labor, feminist rhetorical practices, revisionist historiography, embodiment, and ethics. Additionally, she enjoys using real-life administrative and pedagogical questions, failures, and successes to inspire her conference presentations, writing, and collaborations.

As an administrator, her goals in include raising the profile of student writing across campus, building partnerships with faculty in all disciplines,and --most importantly--supporting the teachers and students involved in first-year composition. If you ever want to talk about first-year writing at CSU, she is your go-to professor!

Of course, even professors are more than their professional roles. Rebecca is "mom" to 3 cats, 5 parrots, and 2 bunnies. She also enjoys traveling (most recently to Shanghai) and knitting.

Academic Areas

  • Research and Teaching Interests
  • Labor in First Year Composition
  • Writing Program Administration
  • History and Historiography in Writing Studies
  • Feminist Rhetorics
  • Assessment
  • Visual/Film Rhetoric

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