Dr. Rebecca S. Nowacek

Rebecca S. Nowacek
Dr. Rebecca S. NowacekMarquette University

Raynor Library, 240

MilwaukeeWI53201United States of America
(414) 288-3590

Professor and Co-Director, Ott Memorial Writing Center


When I was a sophomore in college, my sociology professor handed back a paper to me saying, with a smile and a shake of his head, "You write like an English major." I was both confused and intrigued by that backhanded compliment, and much of my subsequent research has been devoted to understanding how students learn to distinguish and write for various disciplines and what teachers can do to facilitate that learning. I've grown especially interested in the question of "transfer"--how writers connect what they know and who they are in one context with what they know and who they are in another context.  I recently completed a book (Agents of Integration) on this subject and am beginning to examine the powerful role that peer writing tutors can play in helping writers to integrate their knowledge across contexts.

My research interests in the teaching and learning of writing energize the writing intensive classes I teach here at Marquette — including undergraduate courses on peer tutoring, advanced composition, writing for the professions, and "the Jury Project," as well as a graduate course in rhetorical theory for new teaching assistants.  In addition, I enjoy teaching classes on drama in general and the musical in particular.

Courses Taught

  • Rhetoric and Composition
  • Drama

Research Interests

  • Transfer of writing-related knowledge
  • Writing center research and administration
  • Interdisciplinary Curricula and Writing
  • Writing Across the Curriculum Programs


  • “Everyday Reflective Writing:  What Conference Records Tell Us About Building a Culture of Reflective Practice.”  Writing Center Journal, 37.2, 93-126.  Authored with graduate tutors in the Ott Memorial Writing Center: Andrew Hoffmann, Carolyne Hurlburt, Lisa Lamson, Sareene Proodian, and Anna Scanlon
  • “’Transfer Talk’ in Talk about Writing: How Writers Engage with Prior Learning.” Composition Forum, Vol. 43, Fall 2019. Authored with undergraduate tutors participating in the WRITE Fellows program: Julia Douglas, Will Fitzsimmons, Kate Hausladen, Megan Knowles, Bridget Bodee, and Molly Nugent.
  • “Grappling with threshold concepts over time: A perspective from tutor education.”  (Re)Considering What We Know, edited by Linda Adler-Kassner and Liz Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2019.  Authored with undergraduate tutors participating in the WRITE Fellows program: Aishah Mahmood, Saul Lopez, Katherine Stein, Matt Thul, and Madalyn Yarc 

  • "Transfer and WAW." Next Steps: New Directions for/in Writing about Writing. Eds. Barb Bird, Doug Downs, Moriah McCracken, and Jan Rieman, Utah State University Press, 2019, 201-208.
  • "Building Mental Maps: Implications from Research on Reading in the STEM Disciplines." Deep Reading: Teaching Reading in the Writing Classroom, Eds. Patrick Sullivan, Howard Tinberg, and Sheridan Blau, NCTE, 2017, 291-312.
  • “Reading Rhetorically, Reading Personally: College-Level Reading in the STEM Disciplines” in Writing Teachers Teaching Reading. NCTE. Eds. Patrick Sullivan, Howard Tinber, and Sheridan Blau. Co-authored with Heather James. 2017.
  • “Don’t Retreat. Teach Citizenship.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 17, 2017. http://www.chronicle.com/article/Don-t-Retreat-Teach/238923. Co-authored with Jeff Bernstein and Michael Smith.
  • "Rehabilitating Citizenship: Lessons from Across the Curriculum." Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation, Fall 2017. Co-authored with Jeff Bernstein and Michael Smith.
  • "Assessing the Affective." In The Future Scholar: Researching and Teaching the Frameworks for Writing and Information Literacy. Eds. Randall McClure and James P. Purdy. Information Today, Inc. (2016): 251-272. Co-authored with Heather James.
  • “Going Global, Getting Digital: Case Studies in Contemporary Jesuit Rhetoric Education.” Cinthia Gannett and John Brereton (eds.), Traditions of Eloquence: The Jesuits and Rhetorical Studies. (2016). Fordham University Press. Co-authored with Jenn Fishman.
  • "Mass Literacy and Writing Centers: Deborah Brandt’s The Rise of Writing” (book review). Writing Center Journal 35.2, Spring/Summer 2016. Co-authored with Brad Hughes and Julie Christoph.
  • “Transfer and Translingualism.” College English, Vol 78.3 (2016): 258-64. Co-authored with Rebecca Lorimer Leonard.
  • "Everyday Genres,” (book review). Composition Forum, 31. Spring 2015.
  • “Threshold Concepts in Writing Center Work.” Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle (eds.), Naming What We Know. (2015). Utah State University Press. Co-authored with Brad Hughes.
  • Literacy, Economy, Power: Writing and Research After Literacy in American Lives. Co-edited with John Duffy, Julie Nelson Christoph, Eli Goldblatt, Nelson Graff and Bryan Trabold. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 2014.
  • "Beyond Teachers Telling Stories: Scaffolding a SoTL Inquiry Project for Graduate Students in the Humanities." MountainRise: The International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 7.2, 2012. Co-authored with Emily Blaser, David Harden and Sarah Nestor.
  • “Reflection in Action: A Signature Ignatian Pedagogy for the 21st-Century,” Nancy Chick, Aeron Haynie, and Regan Gurung (eds.) Exploring More Signature Pedagogies. Stylus Press.Co-authored with Susan Mountin, 2012.
  • Agents of Integration: Understanding Transfer as a Rhetorical Act. Southern Illinois University Press, 2011.
  • "The Citizenship Imperative and the Role of Faculty Development." To Improve the Academy, Vol. 30, 54-70, 2011. Co-authored with Jeffrey L. Bernstein and Michael B. Smith
  • Citizenship Across the Curriculum. (2010) Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Co-edited with Michael B. Smith, Rebecca S. Nowacek, and Jeffrey L. Bernstein.
  • “Three Models of Mentorship: Feminist Leadership and the Graduate Student WPA,” Krista Ratcliffe and Rebecca Rickley (eds.), Performing Feminism and Administration in Rhetoric and Composition Studies. Hampton Press (2010). Co-authored with Julie Christoph, Mary Lou Odom, and Bonnie Smith.
  • “Why Is Being Interdisciplinary So Very Hard to Do? Thoughts on the Perils and Promise of Interdisciplinary Pedagogy.” College Composition and Communication. 60.3 (February 2009): 493-516.
  • “Toward a Theory of Interdisciplinary Connections: A Classroom Study of Talk and Text,” Research in the Teaching of English. 41.4 (May 2007): 368-401.
  • “A Discourse-Based Theory of Interdisciplinary Connections.” JGE: The Journal of General Education. 54.3 (2005): 171-195.
  • “Negotiating Individual Religious Identity and Institutional Religious Culture." Negotiating Religious Faith in the Composition Classroom. Ed. Elizabeth Vander Lei and Bonnie L. Kyburz. Boynton/Cook (2005):155-166.
  • “Making Space for Collaboration: Physical Context and Role Taking in Two Singing and Songwriting Groups.” Writing Groups Inside and Outside the Classroom. Eds. Beverly J. Moss, Nels P. Highberg, & Melissa Nicolas. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004: 169-186. Co-authored with Kenna Del Sol.

Honors and Awards

  • Outstanding Article Award, International Writing Centers Association. For “Threshold Concepts in Writing Center Work: Scaffolding the Development of Tutor Expertise.” In Naming What We Know. Eds. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle. Utah State University Press (2015): 171-185. Co-authored with Brad Hughes.
  • Robert and Mary Gettel Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence, Recipient, 2012
  • Klingler College of Arts and Sciences Excellence in Faculty Advising, Recipient, 2011

  • Excellence in Advising Award, Nominee 2008

  • Faculty STAR 2009

  • Faculty Excellence in Advising Award, Nominee, 2006
  • CASTL Scholar, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 2005
  • Manresa Writing/Research Award, 2005
  • Faculty STAR Award, Residence Hall Honor Society, 2003
  • Marquette University Manresa Program Course Development Grant, 2002
    Marquette University, Summer Faculty Fellowship and Research Funds, 2002

Additional Information

Office Hours

Spring 2024

  • MW 12:00-1:30 (Raynor 240)

Teaching Schedule

Spring 2024

  • 4230/101 MWF 11:00-11:50 O'Brien Hall 203 (lecture)
    • Writing Center Theory, Practice and Research
  • 4230/601 Fri 12:00-12:50 O'Brien Hall 150B (discussion)
    • Writing Center Theory, Practice and Research

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