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Faculty/Staff Detail

Laura Dunbar

I joined the writing program at SUNY Cortland in the fall of 2018 as a scholar-teacher of writing. Of all the things I find rewarding about Writing Studies, one of my favorites is being privileged, as I am now, to work with developing writers from every discipline who are at the beginning of their writing journeys. Previously, I taught in and coordinated Canadian Composition and Professional Writing programs, experience that currently guides my mixed methods research into Professional Writing programs in North American higher-education. I also work on local historiographies of writing programs. My approach to teaching and research in writing is informed by Community of Practice theory, aspects of Rhetorical Genre Theory, and Cultural-Historical Activity Theory. I am a member of the Canadian Society for Discourse and Writing and the (North American) Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication.


Doctoral student, Applied Linguistics & Discourse Studies, Carleton University (present)

Ph.D., English Literature, University of Toronto (2016)

M.A., English Literature, Carleton University (2010)

B.A., (Honors), Trent University (2009)


CPN-100, “Writing Studies I”

ENG-306, “Advanced Writing Workshop”


““No one who can’t write can get a degree here”: The story of a Canadian university writing test” (in progress)

“Instructional Note: Using Real Manuscripts to Teach Professional Editing,” Teaching English in the Two-Year College, March 2017

“Best Practices in Peer Review: A Guide for New Teachers,” Reflections on Academic Lives: Identities, Struggles, and Triumphs in Graduate School and Beyond. NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

“I Can Soljer With Any Man: The post-911 Renaissance of James Jones," War, Literature, and the Arts,

Creative non-fiction:

 “Shelter in Place," Care Home Stories. Eds. Sally Chivers and Ulla Kriebernegg.  View the Shelter in Place chapter (PDF)



"Shiver me timbers: what does it mean to talk like a pirate?"

"Academic Jargon" (interview):

"Seriously. Is it Feb-rew-ary or Feb-oo-rary?"

"The 2015 Oxford Dictionaries 'word of the year' is an emoji. Does that make it fair game for essays?"

"5 grammar tips that could improve your grades."

Conference papers:

Congress 2018, University of Saskatchewan, Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing, “Characteristics of Professional Writing programs in Canadian post-secondary education: A mixed methods study”

Congress 2017, Ryerson University, Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing, “No one who can’t write can get a degree here: The story of a university writing test”