Michelle Deal, PhD

assistant professor, the hunter division of humanities

Everett Mansion 353

Michelle Deal is an Assistant Professor in Composition and Communication. She is committed to creating classroom experiences that foster students’ self-awareness of the rhetorical moves they and others make in their texts. Michelle wants students to learn how to think and feel more like writers/communicators than they already do so they can more effectively participate in life and work. This goal is best achieved through a process of negotiation with interested readers who both challenge and affirm the writing choices students make in different situations. Through peer review workshops, collaborative classroom conversations, research and revision, students in Professor Deal’s classes create and analyze dynamic social relationships among authors, readers, texts and contexts. 

Before coming to SVC, Michelle taught composition, peer tutoring and/or literature courses at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Vermont and the Vermont Commons School in Burlington. Michelle has also worked as a journalist, an assistant account executive in sports marketing and advertising, a technical writer and editor, and a production manager for scholarly journals. 


  • PhD, English (Composition and Rhetoric), University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2011
  • MA, English (Literature), University of Vermont, 1996
  • BA, Journalism and Mass Communications, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1991

Courses taught

  • Learning Through Teaching
  • Tutoring Practicum
  • Basic Writing
  • College Writing
  • Society and Literature
  • American Experience
  • Peer Mentoring
  • Controversial Conversations in Civic Discourse
  • Early American Literature
  • Modern American Literature
  • Written Expression
  • Expository Writing
  • Nature and Literature 

academic Research/interests

Writing center theory and practice, student development as writers, writing across the curriculum, qualitative research methodologies, critical pedagogy, feminism, social materialism, civic discourse, communications

areas of expertise

Composition and writing-center studies, writing pedagogies, qualitative research

Why I teach

I teach because I believe in education's potential to help create socially responsible citizens - people who think critically and act ethically. In other words, I teach because I enjoy helping people reach greater understandings of themselves and others through reflection and analysis. I also teach because I learn A LOT from my students!

Favorite Book

There are WAY too many amazing books in this world for me to limit myself to just one. Here are some examples, however, of what I've most enjoyed reading and/or most influences me as a person: Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Neil Gaiman's American Gods, Gabriel Garcie Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, Isabel Allende's House of Spirits, Elif Shafak's The Bastard of Istanbul, Lorrie Moore's Self-Help, William Gibson's Neuromancer, Marge Piercy's He, She, It, Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina, Toni Morrison's Beloved, Donna Tart The Little Friend, and several others.

Favorite film

Though I love several films, I guess I'm partial to psychological thrillers (such as In her Skin) and kids' movies (such as Wall-E). I also love zombie movies - the more recent the better - and documentaries by Michael Moore. I majored in journalism because of All the President's Men.

Best part of being at SVC

I am grateful for the opportunity to make a positive difference in students' lives; SVC's teacher-to-student ratio and small class size helps me do this. I am also excited about teaching a variety of courses and collaborating with our superb faculty, staff and administrators.