Major Projects

Radial hierarchical clustering of a 150-topic LDA model of 1,754 dissertations

The Making of Knowledge-Makers in Composition: A Distant Reading of Dissertations

For my dissertation at The Graduate Center, CUNY (completed in 2015), I conducted a “distant reading” study of ~2,700 doctoral dissertations in Composition / Rhetoric, 2001-2010, analyzing and visualizing clusters within and among methods, tags, and vocabulary. I find that subject matter varies widely, while dissertation methodologies collocate within a small number of clusters, and I call for increased dialogue among schools focusing on these different methods and subjects. The first publication to emerge from this work, entitled “Mapping the Methods of Composition / Rhetoric Dissertations: A ‘Landscape Plotted and Pieced’ ,” was published in the special “Locations of Writing” issue of College Composition and Communication in September 2014. Source code for these analyses is available at

In addition to my dissertation and teaching work, I have been continually involved in the following projects since their beginnings:


The Writing Studies Tree

The Writing Studies Tree is an online, is an online, crowdsourced database of academic genealogies within writing studies; in other words, it is an interactive archive for recording and mapping scholarly relationships in Composition and Rhetoric and adjacent disciplines. In my role as lead developer, I have designed the data architecture, tested a number of different platforms before settling on Drupal, built out and maintained the Drupal backend, and coordinated with programmers and my partners in directing the development of new features such as the D3 visualizations and filters. I was also the lead writer, with Amanda Licastro, on several grants, including three successful awards (in 2012, 2013, and 2014) from the Provost’s Digital Innovation initiative at the CUNY Graduate Center. Using that grant funding, I am currently seeking consultants and developers in user experience design, a subject on which I have been reading and sketching out ideas. Please contact me if you are interested in working on the Writing Studies Tree!

For a short video introduction, see this presentation from a CUNY Digital GC event in May 2014:


The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy

As part of the founding editorial team of The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, I helped to craft the mission statement and review policies of this open-access online journal, which released its first issue in February 2012. Committed to the idea that the journal should promote learning experiences throughout its processes as well as its products, as coeditor (with Joseph Ugoretz) of Issue Two I introduced the “Behind the Seams” feature, which opens a reflective space for conversation about feedback and revisions that are often hidden for publication. We envision this feature working over time to create still further transparency, with navigable drafts and reviewers’ notes. I also encouraged reviewers to use the second person in addressing authors, to build investment in their ongoing improvement as writers. An active member of the editorial collective, I have served as reviewer, copy editor, and editor for structure and style, as well as participating in collective debate and decision-making.

To view the current issue and most recent short-form pieces, visit

Leave a Reply


Need help with the Commons? Visit our
help page
Send us a message
Skip to toolbar