Feb 28, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication

Michael Smith, Director
Phone: (540) 568-6004
Email: smithmx@jmu.edu
Location: Harrison Hall, Room 2252
Website: http://www.jmu.edu/wrtc/index.shtml

J. Almjeld, M. Klein, S. Lunsford, S. McCarthy, M. Smith, T. Zimmerman

Associate Professors
S. Aley, A. Crow, L. De Hertogh, S. Ghiaciuc, E. Gumnior, A. Parrish, E. Pass, L. Schubert, J. Zimmerman

Assistant Professors
H. Comfort, J. Wourman

Senior Lecturers
C. Martin, K. McDonnell

D. DeRise, M. Hickman, K. Jefferson, A. Johnson, J. Varner

Mission Statement

We guide and inspire writing professionals.


Changing how the world values writers.

Career Opportunities

In the WRTC major, students learn the kinds of research, analytical and reasoning skills that will allow them to become successful professionals in a wide range of fields. WRTC graduates can expect career opportunities in writing, editing or production positions with a variety of business, educational or industry employers, including the computer hardware and software industry, law firms, journalism, health care providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, education, engineering companies, publishing houses, environmental organizations, not-for-profit or political organizations, and technical translation groups of multinational corporations. WRTC graduates also choose to further their studies in MA, MS, MBA, MFA, PhD and law school programs.

Professional Activities and Organizations


The WRTC internship is a requirement for all B.A. and B.S. students. It allows students to utilize preparation from their WRTC coursework to design, write, edit and produce professional documents for internship providers in academia, business, industry and government. Information about internships may be obtained through the WRTC website.

RhetTech Journal

RhetTech is WRTC’s student-run, online journal. It publishes high-quality compositions in a variety of genres from students working in the disciplines of writing, rhetoric and technical communication across the country. RhetTech is created and managed by students enrolled in WRTC 328 . These practicum students develop evaluation criteria, read and discuss each submission, and work individually with winning writers to prepare their work for publication.


The James Madison Undergraduate Research Journal is a peer-reviewed academic journal dedicated to promoting, publishing and sharing the text- and media-based research and scholarship created by undergraduate students in all JMU disciplines. JMURJ editorial board members collaborate within and across teams and coordinate the efforts of students, faculty and administrators in a university-wide effort to advance JMU undergraduate scholarship, research and intellectual work.


Pre-law at JMU is not a major, but a number of WRTC students elect to pursue law school after graduation. WRTC Professor and Associate Dean Traci Zimmerman serves the College of Arts and Letters as a pre-law adviser and can assist students in selecting courses that will best provide the intellectual challenge and skills necessary for success in law school.

Service to the University

Honors College

WRTC faculty regularly offer honors seminars and mentor students as they complete their honor’s thesis projects.

Madison Writing Awards

The Madison Writing Awards (MWA) is a university-wide competition that celebrates writing across the curriculum in all undergraduate academic programs, regardless of medium and genre, from traditional papers to multimodal productions. These awards reflect the commitment of James Madison University, the College of Arts and Letters, and the School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication to prepare students for educated and enlightened global citizenship through the outlets of writing and rhetoric. The MWA biennial awards ceremony features a showcase of winning pieces as well as the presentation of cash prizes.