A writing program administrator who is fascinated by the breadth, depth, and nuances of rhetoric and composition.
Adventurous | Collaborative | Inquisitive
Alexander Champoux-Crowley thinks about rhetoric differently than most people. As a translingualist, he approaches writing pedagogy in a way that valorizes the diverse linguistic backgrounds of every student. “Difference is not a deficit to be remedied, but a resource to be celebrated. Students bring vast rhetorical repertoires and language experiences with them,” which Champoux-Crowley prioritizes as an educator. He serves as director of first-year composition at McDaniel and teaches topics in rhetoric and composition.
What do you hope students will take away from their first-year writing courses?
I work with writers across the curriculum, not just in the English major, to do meaningful, thoughtful, critical communication and to analyze the world around them. I hope that from the first day, they learn that they are an active and empowered participant in the production of knowledge. That they can discover new things, make new arguments, and push the bounds. Critical thinking is not something I give them; it’s something that they’re already doing — I just help them articulate it.
What kinds of research do you do?
My research centers on the development of transformative (critical, feminist, anti-racist, decolonial, disability justice, and more) approaches to composition pedagogy. Methodologically, I mix humanistic and social scientific approaches to understand how we can translate transformative theories into teaching practices.
How does rhetoric and composition fit into the study of liberal arts at McDaniel?
Rhetoric is the art of seeing the available means of persuasion, and a liberal arts degree offers a broad array of means of persuasion across many disciplines. It is a feat of rhetoric to link disparate ideas, so learning rhetoric can help you discover new ways of thinking at the intersection of different knowledge traditions. McDaniel’s small size and liberal arts focus makes it easy to collaborate across departments and make new connections. Anybody who thinks that they have to go to a large research institution to encounter cool, innovative research is fooling themselves. You can get that here and you’ll get it in spades.