Rob McAlear

Assistant Professor of EnglishDirector of the Writing ProgramZink Hall 313

My research and teaching focus on the intersection of writing studies, rhetoric and narrative. My book project, Resistance and Rhetorical Form in Post-Cold War North American Dystopias, investigates how dystopian texts use a rhetoric of narrative form to model political resistance. Because they are concerned with preserving difference while encouraging unity, I argue that these texts turn to form in an attempt to imagine alternative political configurations.

My current writing studies research focuses on how and why writers make decisions to stop writing. While the concept of “doneness” has occupied a marginal place in writing studies for both theoretical and practical reasons, the data gathered for my recent coauthored article suggest that we need to rethink our received wisdom about how new college writers decide a text is finished and that doneness needs to be incorporated into classroom pedagogy through reflection and explicit discussion. Following up on these findings, my current case study project analyzes how beginning and experienced student writers, as well as professional and academic writers, make decisions about doneness when faced with different rhetorical situations.

As Writing Program Director, my administrative work at TU has been focused on assessing and improving the ELL writing sequence, increasing instructor pedagogical training and support, and promoting the use and visibility of the Writing Center.

I always enjoy talking to students about their writing courses and writing in general. Please send me an email or drop by my office hours if you wish to meet with me.

Education and Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • M.A., University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • B.A., Tufts University

Areas of Academic Specialty

  • Rhetoric
  • Writing Studies and Composition Pedagogy
  • Narrative

Professional Affiliations

  • Council of Writing Program Administrators
  • International Society for the Study of Narrative
  • Modern Language Association
  • National Council of Teachers of English
  • South Central Writing Centers Association

Courses Taught at TU

  • Rhetoric And Composition:Theory & Pedagogy (ENGL 7403)
  • Writing Across the Curriculum (ENGL 7993)
  • Politics and Contemporary American Fiction (ENGL 3803)
  • Introduction to College Writing for International Students (ENGL 1004)
  • Utopia and Dystopia in American Literature (ENGL 3703)
  • Exposition and Argument (ENGL 1033)

Awards & Recognition

  • University of Tulsa Summer Faculty Fellowship, 2013, 2014


  • "Writing Toward the End: Student Perceptions of ‘Doneness’ in Academic Writing."
    Composition Studies. 44.2. Fall 2016. (with Mark Pedretti, forthcoming)
  • “The Value of Fear: Toward a Rhetorical Model of Dystopian Criticism.”
    Interdisciplinary Humanities 27.2 (2010): 27-35
  • “The Ideology of the Wissenvine: Critique and Closure in Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s Green-Sky Trilogy.”
    Studies in the Novel 42.1 and 2 (2010): 139-153.
  • “Hate, Narrative, and Propaganda in The Turner Diaries.”
    The Journal of American Culture. 32.3 (2009): 191-201.