Ila M. McCracken
Assoc Professor of English
Dr. McCracken is an Associate Professor of Writing and Rhetoric and Director of the First-Year Writing Program.
Dr. McCracken directs the First-Year Writing Program, which includes a two-semester sequence with a rhetorical focus and an emphasis on critical thinking and moral reasoning as well as engagement in writing as a process and academic rigor. Required of all students at the university, these courses aim to strengthen the writing skills students will need to succeed at St. Edward’s University and beyond. She also teaches courses in the Writing & Rhetoric major, including American Grammar, Document Design, and Current Theories of Rhetoric & Composition.
From first-year courses to senior seminars, my classes focus on writing as a noun and a verb. I want students to gain declarative knowledge about how writing works (relying on theory and research) and procedural knowledge about their reading and writing practices (what they can do and how to do it).
Associate Professor, 2015-present
Assistant Professor, 2012-2015
Ph.D. in English at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas, 2008
M.A. in English at Texas State University – San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas, 2004
B.A. in English at Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, 2002
2012, UTPA Teaching Excellence Award, University of Texas—Pan American
2006, TCU Composition Instructor of the Year, Texas Christian University
Council of Writing Program Administrators
College Composition and Communication
National Council of Teachers of English
Writing about Writing Network (WAWN)
Writing-about-Writing Network Consultant
Rhetoric Society of America
Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition
“Programmatic Transparency: Developing a LOOC, or Writing Open Online Course (WOOC).” 2014 Conference on College Composition and Communication. Indianapolis, IN.
“Resisting Document Design: Learning from Student Perceptions about the Value of Design in a Writing Major.” 2013 Council of Writing Program Administrators Conference. Savannah, GA.
My research interests include transfer of writing knowledge, specifically from first-year writing courses using a writing-about-writing pedagogy (WAW), which I have studied in collaboration with SEU students. I am also interested in the role of threshold concepts in the transfer of writing knowledge and information literacy, a project I'm working on with my colleagues in the Munday Library. I also study rural literacies, and the literacy practices of 4-H clubs in particular.
“‘I Pledge My Head to Clearer Thinking’: The Hybrid Literacy of 4-H Record Books” in Reclaiming the Rural: Essays on Literacy, Rhetoric, and Pedagogy. Eds. Kim Donehower, Eileen Schell, and Charlotte Hogg. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 2012.
“Latino/a Student (Efficacy) Expectations: Reacting and Adjusting to a Writing about Writing (WAW) Curriculum Change at an HSI” with Valerie A. Ortiz. Composition Forum: A Journal of Pedagogical Theory in Rhetoric and Composition 27 (Spring 2013): n. pag. 1 May 2014.
“Discursive Gender Performances in 4-H Clubs: A Case Study of 1960s South Texas” in Queen: A Journal of Rhetoric and Power. November 2009.
“Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming: Sustainable First-Year WPA Work” to be delivered with Brittney Johnson at 2015 Council of Writing Program Administrators Conference (CWPA). Boise, ID.
“Programmatic Transparency: Developing a LOOC, or Writing Open Online Course (WOOC)” delivered at 2014 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). Indianapolis, IN.
“Curating Pedagogy with Big Data: Learning to Work with Data and Not Hide from It” delivered at 17th Annual Association of Teachers of Technical Writing Conference (ATTW). Indianapolis, IN.
“Resisting Document Design: Learning from Student Perceptions about the Value of Design in a Writing Major” delivered at 2013 Council of Writing Program Administrators Conference (WPA). Savannah, GA.
“Not Your Normal English Major: What Should the Undergraduate Writing Major Look Like?”delivered at 2013 Council of Writing Program Administrators Conference (CWPA). Savannah, GA.
“Failure, Discomfort, and Pushing Through” delivered at 2013 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). Las Vegas, NV.
“Interrogating the Blind Review” delivered at 2012 Council of Writing Program Administrators Conference (WPA). Albuquerque, NM.
“Undergraduate (WPA) Researchers” delivered with Angelica T. Nava at 2012 Council of Writing Program Administrators Conference (WPA). Albuquerque, NM.
“Reading Required, Core Courses for Disciplinary (Trans)Formations in Local Contexts” delivered at 2012 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). St. Louis, MO.
“FYW Researchers in Action: Piloting a Multi-Section Researchers in Action Network Forum (RANF) in FYW Courses” delivered at 2011 Council of Writing Program Administrators Conference (WPA). Baton Rouge, LA.
I expect students to take responsibility for their own learning, and this includes asking them to do research about topics they are interested in and asking them to reflect on their performance. I am not here to transfer what I know about writing, rhetoric, literacy studies, and research to students simply so they can give it back to me. Instead, I want to work with my students to make new knowledge, to see what answers we might find to these questions. Together. As collaborators.
I teach because there are still things that I don't know about how writing works and how we learn to write. I teach to engage students in these conversations and to learn from them.