Allison D. Carr

Associate Professor of Rhetoric, Director of Writing Across the Curriculum

CarrWebEdit.jpgB.A., Coe College
M.A., Ph.D., University of Cincinnati 
Phone: 319.399.8707
Email: ACarr@coe.edu
Dr. Carr teaches courses that push students to discover and interrogate the ways language shapes our understanding of the world, both in terms of our personal experiences and how we interpret patterns, events and tensions in our shared social and political spheres. She teaches courses in nonfiction writing, critical/rhetorical theory and environmental rhetoric, among others. She also directs the college’s Writing Across the Curriculum program.
As a researcher, Dr. Carr is interested in the affective/emotional dimensions of teaching and learning. Her dissertation studied the role of failure in the writing process, ultimately arguing for a conceptualization of failure as integral to the scene of writing, an intensive and intentional activity that produces discomfort and, from that, more inventive, wandering, and wondering ways of moving and being in the world. Her writing on this and other subjects has appeared in Composition Forum, Harlot of the Arts, Pedagogy, Computers and Composition Online, and two edited collections: Naming What We Know (Adler-Kassner and Wardle, eds.) and Bad Ideas About Writing (Ball and Loewe, eds.). Most recently she has edited with Laura Micciche a book on failure, Failure Pedagogies: Learning and Unlearning What It Means to Fail (2020). Her creative nonfiction has appeared in Quail Bell Magazine, The Rumpus, Apple in the Dark, and CRAFT Literary.
She enjoys hiking, cycling, swimming, rec softball, cooking and watching her toddler chase the dogs.

Theresa Donofrio

Esther and Robert Armstrong Associate Professor of Rhetoric

Terri-Donofrio_SmWeb.jpgB.A., Miami University (Ohio)
M.A., Ph.D. University of Maryland
Phone: 319.399.8688
Email: TDonofrio@coe.edu

Dr. Donofrio teaches courses in rhetorical theory and criticism, media studies, political discourse and pop culture. She has taught a First-Year Seminar entitled "Memorials, Museums, and Mausoleums: Marking Sites of Tragedy" and a special topics course on "Rhetorics of Atrocity: Genocide, War, and National Anxieties over Violence."

Her research largely focuses on the discourses surrounding public tragedies — the various ways they are rhetorically constructed, remembered and memorialized. This line of research has resulted in publications on "Take Back the Memorial" rhetoric concerning the 9/11 World Trade Center memorial and a rhetorical analysis of Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson's opening statements at the 1945 International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany. She has also published research on the raced and gendered symbolism of the viral "Notorious R.B.G." meme; civic-engagement and service-learning in universities; and the performance of sexuality, politics and identity in the academy.

Dr. Donofrio is a former Iowa Campus Compact Engaged Scholar Fellow, Coe College Faculty Fellow for Community Engaged Pedagogy and was the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding New Teacher Award by the Iowa Communication Association.

On sabbatical leave through December 2020.

Shawn Harmsen

Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Studies

HarmsenWebEdit.jpgB.A., Wartburg College
M.A., University of Northern Iowa
Ph.D., University of Iowa
Phone: 319.399.8758
Email: SHarmsen@coe.edu

Before deciding to pursue his Ph.D., Dr. Harmsen spent over a decade as a professional broadcast journalist, working in both local radio and television news. His areas of study include scholarship on journalism, mass communication, social and racial justice, political economy and cultural theory. Harmsen teaches both practical and theoretical based courses, including Journalism Writing, Multimedia Journalism, Digital Storytelling and Advanced Production, as well as Media Analysis, New Media Studies and sometimes Cultural Theory and Rhetorical Theory. Harmsen coauthors a textbook on the mass communication industry, Media Essentials, and is the faculty advisor for the student newspaper Cosmos and student radio station KCOE. He is also the faculty advisor for the newly formed e-Sports club on campus.  

Nathan Hodges

Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Department Chair

HodgesWebEdit.jpgB.S., Manchester College
M.A., Central Michigan University
Ph.D., University of South Florida
Phone: 319.399.8654
Email: NHodges@coe.edu

Dr. Hodges teaches courses that encourage students to discover and develop their voices, build better relationships (with themselves and others) and understand how their “self” is shaped and reshaped by their relationships, social institutions, and cultural narratives. He teaches public speaking, interpersonal/intercultural communication, auto/ethnographic research methods and persuasion, among others. 

He is a qualitative researcher specializing in auto/ethnography, a self-reflexive approach to research that connects the autobiographical to the cultural and political. He has published a variety of autoethnographic essays on topics ranging from America’s cultural desire for straight, white teeth to how our obsession with bodyweight and scales is weighing us down. To read his work, click here for downloadable files

He has two broad areas of scholarly interest: 1.) How individuals understand and communicate about social class; and 2.) How comedy can be used to communicate about, cope with and critique personal/cultural experiences. 

He examines social class through lived experiences and is particularly interested in ways we might narrow the cultural gap between academia and working-poor families, especially for first-generation college students. His dissertation is an auto/ethnography of his experiences as a first-generation college student from a white, working-class family. 

His scholarly interest in comedy is informed by his own experiences performing standup comedy at clubs and open mics. He is finishing a book chapter on “Comedic Autoethnography” and teaches a seminar entitled, Comedy and The Good Life, which examines how we can use comedy to live better lives. 

Jane Nesmith

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Director of the Writing Center

NesmithWebEdit.jpgB.A., College of Wooster
M.A., Indiana University
Ph.D., University of Iowa
Phone: 319.399.8036

Email: JNesmith@coe.edu

Dr. Nesmith teaches creative nonfiction, journalism, rhetorical theory and professional writing. Her feature writing has appeared in local and regional publications, including the Cedar Rapids Gazette and Iowa History Journal. She also directs the Coe Writing Center and teaches the staff development course for consultants. She collaborates on writing center research projects with consultants, including a study of the evolution of consultants’ conferencing practices and an inquiry into consultant-alumni career paths. 

When she is not teaching at Coe, Dr. Nesmith enjoys making music, making things with yarn and looking at birds.

Danette M. Pugh-Patton

Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Studies

Danette Patton_WEB.jpgB.A., Allegheny College
M.A., California State University-San Bernardino
Ph.D., (ABD), Southern Illinois University-Carbondale 
Phone: 319.399.3269
Email: DPatton@coe.edu

Prof. Pugh-Patton teaches courses in communication and rhetoric. Recently, Danette served as the Faculty Diversity Fellow at Ursuline College outside of Cleveland, OH. Her primary areas of study are centered around race, gender and sexuality in various aspects of communication including rhetoric, media, and performance. She has a co-authored article in Black Journal on social media videos focused on Sandra Bland. She has another co-authored book chapter that explores ratchet feminism. Her dissertation is an autoethnography of a queer Black woman in academia, which is the foundation for a broader research project examining the lives of queer women of color in academia. She also likes to create documentaries as a form of social justice. In addition, she writes creative pieces of poetry and afrofuturism.

For fun, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen with new recipes adding her own twists of flavor.

Emeritus and Retired Faculty

Robert L. Marrs

Armstrong Professor of Rhetoric, Emeritus

B.A., Kansas State University
M.A., Ph.D., Washington State University
Email: RMarrs@coe.edu

Susanne Gubanc

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Rhetoric

B.A., University of Illinois-Springfield
M.A., Miami University (Ohio)
M.A., University of York, England

Mary Taylor

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Rhetoric

B.S.N., University of Iowa
J.D., University of Iowa
M.A., University of Iowa