William J. Macauley, Jr., Ph.D.



William J. Macauley Jr. is a professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he has been the University Writing Center director (2011-2015) and served as director of the Composition and Communication in the Disciplines program (2015-2019). Macauley has been teaching since 1987 and leading writing centers and programs since 1990. He has authored more than 20 professional publications and taken on leadership roles in multiple international, national, regional and local professional organizations.

Macauley completed his B.S. in English (creative writing and world literature) at Grand Valley State University (MI) in 1986, his M.A. in English (American and British literature) at Pittsburg State University (KS) in 1988 and his Ph.D. in English (rhetoric and linguistics) at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1999, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation on studio pedagogies, student empowerment and the teaching of writing. Since then, Macauley's research has been focused on student agency in writing through several lenses and now focuses on both deeper theorizing of agency/self-efficacy and constructions of agency/self-efficacy in current writing pedagogy. He has taught an array of graduate courses in theory, practice and research into rhetoric and composition. He also has taught undergraduate courses in first-year writing, professional writing, creative writing, nonfiction writing, multimedia writing, writing center theory/pedagogy, composition theory/pedagogy, community writing/publishing, writing/program assessment and writing systems histories.

He has been an editor and/or reviewer for Across the Disciplines; Composition Studies; The Journal of Teaching Writing; Open Words: College English and Open Access; IWCA Update; The JUMP: Journal of Undergraduate Multimedia Projects; and WPA: Journal of the Council of Writing Program Administrators.

Not unlike most Ph.Ds. in rhetoric and composition, Macauley has focused much of his teaching and research on first-year writing courses and students' acquisition of academic discourse. During his career, he has also focused on first-generation and working-class students, particularly on their access to the discourses of the academy. He has been involved in a number of community projects directed toward breaking down barriers between those who have access to higher education and those who do not. Currently, his focus is on researching and theorizing the mindful, agentive student writer, including through his recent research on the “Oxbridge Tutorial,” cognitive sciences and teaching his graduate and undergraduate courses. His work of late also investigates the lived working conditions of graduate students who teach writing through graduate assistantships. At the University of Nevada, Reno, he has successfully built and offered twice the Crossings: Exploring Shared Work in Writing conference, including keynote Cornel West in 2021.

Research interests

  • What facilitates deep student engagement with themselves as writers and their writing as an outgrowth of that relationship?
  • What does a pedagogy focused on supporting writers look like?
  • What does a pedagogy look like that works from confidence in students to know and access their own goals?
  • What are students learning about writing, how are they learning it and what can support both?
  • How might work in identity, pedagogy and practice improve student engagement and ownership of their writing?
  • How do student agency and self-efficacy interact with academic writing, operationalize theories of student relationships to academic writing that are reflective of state-of-the-art writing theory, create advances in cooperation with related fields and extant empirical research into these relationships?

Courses taught

  • ENG 100J: Composition Studio
  • ENG 101: Composition I
  • ENG 102: Composition II
  • ENG 400A: Topics in Writing
  • ENG 401B/601B: Advanced Nonfiction
  • ENG 408B/608B: Tutoring Student Writers (3)
  • ENG 499A: Independent Study Writing Center Marketing
  • ENG 499A: Independent Study Interactive Media as Literature
  • ENG 729: Problems in Contemporary Rhetoric and Composition
  • ENG 730: Introduction to Graduate Study in Rhetoric and Composition
  • ENG 731: Research in Rhetoric and Composition
  • ENG 732: Problems in Writing
  • ENG 735: Seminar in Rhetoric and Composition
  • ENG 736: Internship, Job Market and as Field Predictor
  • ENG 736: Internship, Service-learning and Community-based Education
  • ENG 736: Internship, Writing Fellow, Community Health Sciences
  • ENG 736: Internship, Writing Specialist, Judicial Management Online Program
  • ENG 736: Internship, Writing Specialist, Community Health Sciences
  • ENG 736: Internship, Writing Center Archive Research
  • ENG 736: Internship, Writing Center Corpus Analysis
  • ENG 736: Internship, Agency/Self-Efficacy Literature review
  • ENG 736: Internship, Writing Fellow, Community Health Sciences
  • ENG 737: Teaching College Composition
  • ENG 791: Special Topics Rhet/Comp Research
  • ENG 795: Comprehensive Examinations
  • ENG 799: Dissertation


  • Macauley, Jr., William, J., Leslie Anglesey, Brady Edwards, Kathryn Lambrecht, and Philip Lovas, Eds. (2021). Standing at the Threshold: Working through Liminality in the Composition and Rhetoric TAship. Louisville, CO: Utah State University Press.
  • Schendel, E., & William J. Macauley, Jr. (2012). Building Writing Center Assessments that Matter. Logan: Utah State University Press.
  • Mauriello, N., William J. Macauley, Jr., & Robert T. Koch, Jr., Eds. (2011). Before and After the Tutorial: Writing Centers and Institutional Relationships. New York: The Hampton Press, Inc.
  • -, & Nicholas Mauriello, Eds. (2007). Marginal Words, Marginal Work? Tutoring the Academy in the Work of Writing Centers. New York: The Hampton Press, Inc.


  • Ph.D., English (rhetoric and linguistics), Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 1999
  • M.A., English (American and British literature), Pittsburg State University, 1988
  • B.S., English (creative writing and world literature), Grand Valley State University, 1986