Dylan B. Dryer

Associate Professor of Composition Studies
Coordinator of the Graduate Program

Neville Hall, Room 403
Orono, Maine 04469-5752 U.S.A.
Office Telephone: 207/581.3810
E-mail: dylan.dryer@maine.edu

Office Hours, Fall 2024:  Tuesdays 12:30 – 2 and Wednesdays 3-4 (though I’m usually here during business hours M-F)

Research Interests:

My home-base is in Rhetorical Genre Studies (RGS), which is a theoretical framework to investigate the ways in which recurrent textual forms reflect and sustain larger social structures through “uptake” —  the exceptionally complex historically, culturally, cognitively and linguistically shaped moments of reader/writer/genre interface.  (For an accessible overview of RGS, see my introduction to Composition Forum Vol. 31, a Special Issue on emergent trends in this field.)  From RGS, my work extends into corpus analysis, writing pedagogy and program administration, cognition, writing assessment and teacher-training, and the documentary society of land-use management.


“Tabling the Issues: Visualizing Methods and Methodologies in Contemporary Writing Studies.” The Expanding Universe of Writing Studies: Higher Education Writing Research. Peter Lang (2021): 29-41.

“Hurry Up Please It’s Time: Last Call for Writing Studies in Departments of English.” ADE Bulletin, 157. (2019): 71-77.

“Divided by Primes: Competing Meanings among Writing Studies’ Keywords” College English, vol. 81.3 (January 2019): 214-255.

Attending to Phenomenology: Rethinking Cognition and Reflection in North American Writing Studies” (with David R. Russell). Contemporary Perspectives on Cognition & Writing. Patricia Portanova, J. Michael Rifenberg, and Duane Roen, eds. WAC Clearinghouse, 2017. 57-76.

“Seizing an Opportunity for Translingual FYC at the University of Maine:  Provocative Complexities, Unexpected Consequences” (with Paige Mitchell). Crossing Divides: Exploring Translingual Writing Pedagogies and Programs. Bruce Horner and Laura Tetreault, eds. University Press of Colorado, 2017: 135-160.  (Collection) Winner : Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize, Modern Language Association

“Measuring Quality, Evaluating Curricular Change: A Seven-Year Assessment of Undergraduate Business Student Writing” (with Scott Warnock , Nicholas Rouse, Christopher Finnin, and Frank Linnehan).  Journal of Business & Technical Communication, 31.2 (2017): 135-167.  Winner: Best Article on Pedagogy or Curriculum in Technical or Scientific Communication, 2018

“Disambiguating Uptake: Toward a Tactical Research Agenda on Citizens’ Writing.” (pp. 60-79) In Genre and the Performance of Publics. Mary Jo Reiff and Anis Bawarshi, eds. Logan: Utah State UP, 2016.

“Appraising Translingualism.” College English 78.3 (2016): 274–83.

“Words Get Their Meanings from Other Words.”; “Writing is not Natural.” and “Writing Is (Also Always) a Cognitive Activity.” (pp. 23-25; 27-29; 71-74). In Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, eds. Logan: Utah State UP, 2015.

“Work.” Keywords in Writing Studies. Paul Heilker and Peter Vandenberg, eds. Utah State University Press, 2015: 173-181.

“Revising FYC Outcomes for a Multimodal, Digitally Composed World: The WPA Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition (Version 3.0) Writing Program Administration 38.1 (Fall 2014): 129-143 (with Darsie Bowden, Beth Brunk-Chavez, Susanmarie Harrington, Bump Halbritter, and Kathleen Blake Yancey).

“Social Contexts of Writing Assessment: Toward an Ecological Construct of the Rater” WPA: Writing Program Administration 38.1 (Fall 2014): 12-41  (with Irvin Peckham). Kenneth A. Bruffee Award Winner, 2014

“Scaling Writing Ability: A Corpus-Driven Inquiry.” Written Communication, 30.1 (January 2013): 3-35.

“At a Mirror, Darkly: The Imagined Undergraduate Writers of Ten Novice Composition Instructors” College Composition and Communication. 63:3 (February 2012): 420-52. Richard Braddock Memorial Award Winner, 2013

“Composing Citizens: Epistemic Work in the Interstices of Comprehensive-Planning Genres” Community Literacy Journal. 5.1 (Fall 2010): 25-56.

Review, Kelly Ritter. Before Shaughnessy: Basic Writing at Yale and Harvard, 1920-1960. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2009.  Composition Forum 22, Summer 2010. http://compositionforum.com/issue/22/before-shaughnessy-review.php

“The Persistence of Institutional Memory: Genre Uptake and Program Reform.” WPA: Writing Program Administration 31.3 (Spring 2008): 32-51.

Review, Elenore Long. Community Literacy and the Rhetoric of Local Publics. Writing & Pedagogy 1.1 (2009): 149-52.

“Taking Up Space: Genre Systems as Geographies of the Possible” JAC: rhetoric, writing, culture, politics. 28.3/4 (2008): 503-34.

“An ‘Unconventional’ Textbook: Re-Working Pedagogy in the Self-Reflective Classroom.” Instructor’s Manual to Accompany Writing Conventions. New York: Pearson-Longman, 2008: 126-45.

Editorial Credit:

Coeditor-in-Chief, Written Communication. With coeditor Mya Poe of Northeastern University, I am responsible for all operations at the leading empirical-research journal in Writing Studies, including working with our editorial board, vetting MSS, adjudicating peer-review, and working with the SAGE production team. There were 1293 citations to Written Communication in 2023. January 2023-present

Guest Editor, Composition Forum Vol. 31 “30 Years of Genre as Social Action: The Past, Present, and Possible Futures of Rhetorical Genre Studies.”

Editor, CWPA-CompPile Research BibliographiesDecember 2009 – 2022

Guest Editor, Composition Forum Special Issue Spring 2015: 30 Years of Genre as Social Action: The Past, Present, and Possible Futures of Rhetorical Genre Studies

Courses Taught:


Faculty Fellow, Margaret Chase Smith Policy Institute. University of Maine, 2017 Cohort.
Ph.D., Composition & Rhetoric, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2007
Dissertation: “On Possibilities of Reading and Writing:  Genre Uptake, Discursive Resources, and the Composition of Institutional Texts
M.A. (Research), English Literature, Saint Louis University, 1999
B.A., English Literature, Rhodes College, Memphis TN, 1994
Invited Lectures:

Keynote, “Academic Writing as Multidisciplinary, Interdisciplinary … Transdisciplinary? A View from North America.” European Association of Teachers of Academic Writing. Ostrava, Czech Republic, July 7, 2021.

Disarming the Language Police.” WRD Speaker Series; Writing & Rhetoric Across Borders. DePaul University, Chicago, IL, May 4th, 2021.

Keynote Speaker, Association of Rhetoric & Writing Studies Annual Conference, Austin TX, October 2018 and 2019.

Plenary Speaker, [Trans] Language/Literacy/Modality/Nationality: A Prefix to Unfix Theory, Research and Practice. Symposium, Center for Writing Studies, University of Illinois, October 6, 2017

Visiting Writing Studies Scholar, “The Present Future of Rhetorical Genre Studies: International Contexts, Emerging Research.” Illinois State University, October 2-5, 2017.

Invited Speaker, “Coming into View: Longitudinal Development of Writing Ability in US Higher Ed.” Forum on Academic Language and Literacy. King’s College – London, April 2017.

Invited Speaker, “Designing Uptakes: Rhetorical Genre Studies and College Composition” Boston Rhetoric and Writing Network; Northeastern University, November 2014

Plenary Speaker, “Genre Research in North American Contexts” Simpósio Internacional de Estudos de Gêneros Textuais, Fortaleza, CE, Brasil, September 2013.

Recent National and International Conference Presentations:

“Looking at Language with Hope: Revising our Language (Mis)understandings.” 2023 Conference on College Composition and Communication, Chicago IL. Panel sponsored by the Language, Linguistics, and Writing Standing Group.

“Those Who Fail to Learn from the ‘View History’ Page are Doomed to Reversion.” Panel “Experts, Novices, and the Promise of Public Knowledge on Wikipedia.” 2020 Conference on College Composition and Communication [rescheduled due to COVID for 2022 CCCC]

“Literature, Language, and Writing within and without the English Department.” 2019 Conference on College Composition and Communication, Pittsburgh, PA.

“Does ‘Genre as Social Action’ Hold Up Longitudinally?” 2018 Conference on College Composition and Communication, Kansas City, MO.

Respondent, “Intellectual Labor and the Academic Lifecycle,” 2018 Conference on College Composition and Communication, Kansas City, MO.

Respondent and Chair, “Research Methods in Graduate Coursework and Beyond: Challenges, Strategies, and Opportunities for Curriculum and Pedagogy,” 2018 Conference on College Composition and Communication, Kansas City, MO.

“Turning Daily Work into Funded Research Projects: Toward a Model of the WPA-Research in Action.” (with Charles Paine and Kristi McDuffie). Annual Conference, CWPA, Knoxville, TN; July 2017

“Incomes and Outcomes: Disciplinary and the First-Year Writing Program” CCCC Sponsored Panel, 2017 Modern Language Association, Philadelphia, PA

“Faculty Selection of Evidence in the Scoring of Student Writing” General Education and Assessment: Design Thinking for Student Learning. AAC&U, Phoenix, AZ, February 2017.

Featured Presenter, “Writing Studies 2016: A Table of Methods, A Crowd-Sourced Exercise in Demarcation, a Difference Engine.” 50th Anniversary Dartmouth Institute & Conference, Hanover, NH, August 2016.

“A Disciplinary Federation or a Big Tent? A Comparative Keyword Analysis of 12 Writing Studies Research Journals.” 2016 Conference on College Composition and Communication, Houston, TX, April 2016.

Speaker, “Construct Representation and the GTA Practicum: Do Revision Practices Predict Teaching Ability?” 2015 Conference on College Composition and Communication, Tampa, FL March 2015

Featured Panel, “Voices from the Secondary/Postsecondary Transition: Continuing the Conversation from the CCCC Listening Tour” 2014 NCTE Annual Convention, Washington, DC, November 2014

Respondent, “The Living Nature of Genres” 2014 Conference on College Composition and Communication, Indianapolis, IN, March 2014

Featured Panel, 2013 Conference on College Composition and Communication. “Revising the WPA Outcomes Statement for a Multimodal, Digitally Composed World.” Las Vegas, NV, March 2013.

Featured Speaker, “Corpus Analysis and the ‘Expert Reader’: Hesitating on the Cusp of a New Methodology” Economies of Writing. 9th Biennial Thomas R. Watson Conference, University of Louisville, October 2012.

“Central Problems in Uptake Studies: A Critique and Two Proposals.” Genre2012: An International Conference on Genre Studies; Carleton University, Ottawa, CA.

“The Genre-System and its Agent: Taking Up Cooper’s Invitation to Rethink Agency as Embodied Process” Conference on College Composition and Communication, St Louis, MO, April 2012.

“Failing to Account for Agency: Redesigning our Assessments to Account for Resistant Writers” Conference on College Composition and Communication, Atlanta, GA, April 2011.

“Measuring quality, tracking curricular changes: Methods and results of a large, four-year assessment undergraduate business student writing” (with Scott Warnock, Frank Linnehan, and Chris Finnin) Writing Research across Borders February, 2011.

“The Social Systems of Writing Assessment: Interpreting Raters’ Scores as Articulations of Activity Systems” (with Irvin Peckham and Norbert Elliot, respondent) Council of Writing Program Administrators, Philadelphia, PA, July 2010

“GxB (Genres across Borders):Developing an International Online Academic Resource for Genre Researchers”(with Carolyn Miller, Chris Minnix, and Matt Morain) Research Network Forum, Conference on College Composition and Communication, Louisville, KY, March 2010.

“Taking Up Teaching: Genre-Affiliations and the Work of TA Training.” Conference on College Composition and Communication. San Francisco, March 2009.

“On Going Big (and How): A Dialectic of Assessment Plans and Institutional Realities” (in collaboration with Dr. Scott Warnock of Drexel University) Conference of Writing Program Administrators, Denver, CO, July 2008.

“Composing Citizens: Comprehensive City Planning and the Uptake of Participatory Genres” Conference on College Composition and Communication, New Orleans, LA, April 2008.

“When ‘That’s the Way It Is,’ Isn’t Enough: A Rhetorical Strategy for Keeping Space Visible” Conference on College Composition and Communication, New York, NY, March 2007.

University Workshop Presentations:

Engaging the AAC&U VALUE Rubric for Written Communication:

  • “Frameworks for Assessing Student Writing in the Disciplines” (November 16, 2015), Fogler Library
  • “Content, Sources, Evidence” (January 27, 2016), Fogler Library.
  • “Context, Purpose, Genre, Discipline” (April 20, 2016), Fogler Library.

Invited Speaker, “Being a Teaching Assistant” (in collaboration with Dr. Jeffery St. John); Graduate Teaching Assistant Orientation, University of Maine, August 27th, 2008.

Guest Lecture, “Designing Visual Arguments” Engineering 101, Drexel University, November 7th, 2007.

Invited Speaker, “On Getting What You Ask For: Assignment Design and Curricular Interventions” University Writing Program Faculty Forum Series, Drexel University, October 17th, 2007.


I’m a member of CCCC, CWPA, and ISAWR, and currently serve on the Editorial Board of College Composition and Communication and the Research Committee of the Conference on College Composition and Communication.