Faculty & Staff Biographies

CHAIR

DEBORAH MARROTT

(Ph.D. University of Utah) is Professor of Basic Composition. Dr. Marrott has taught composition and literature at the college level for over 20 years. She is in her second term as BC/ESL Department Chair and has served on numerous institutional committees, including chairing the UVU Faculty Excellence Committee and the UVU Tenure Board of Review.  Based on student ratings, she won the 1997-1998 University College Faculty Excellence Award and has since been nominated 12 additional times for that award.  Her scholarship focuses on basic writing pedagogy, social justice in education and educational linguistic anthropology. She is passionate about researching how people use language and seeing the ways in which gaining confidence in reading and writing can change students’ lives.  She loves her large family, the beach, NFL football and spending time with her husband and her two Miniature Schnauzers, Wolfgang and Hank. 

FACULTY

MELINDA BENDER

(M.A.I.S. Oregon State University) is Professor of Basic Composition. She serves on numerous department, school, and university committees. She has published articles in several refereed journals, including Journal of College Teaching and Learning, The Journal of Learning in Higher Education, Western Journal of Communication,  Journal of Business and Economic Research, and Teaching Journal of the ooi Academy.  Her primary research interests are Interdisciplinary Project-Based Learning, Civic Engagement, and Arts Integration. She loves animals, enjoys hiking in the mountains, and walking on the beach.


CHITRALEKHA DUTTAGUPTA

(Ph.D. Arizona State University) is an Assistant Professor of Basic Composition. Currently, she also serves as a member of the UVU IRB. She is co-editor of The Bedford Bibliography for Teachers of Basic Writing and co-author of Everyday Writing, a textbook for basic and ESL writers. Her research interests are basic writing, English as a Second Language and using technology in writing. She loves reading and traveling.


THOMAS HENRY

(Ph.D. Michigan Technological University) is an Assistant Professor of Basic Composition. Dr. Henry has served as Chair of the UVU Academic Standards Committee, Chair of the UVU Faculty Development Committee, and Vice-President of the Utah Council of Teachers of English. As a scholar, his work appears in Computers and Composition Online, Utah English Journal, and the Basic Writing e-journal. He is a contributor to the Bedford Bibliography of Basic Writing (Bedford/St. Martin's Press) and Basic Writing Online (McGraw-Hill Companies). In Spring 2011, he was awarded the UVU Faculty Excellence Award. His research interests include: Rhetorical Style, Rhetorical Grammar, Lexicology, and Technology. On a personal note, he is married to Marianna Henry, the UVU International Studies Program Coordinator, and they have three wonderful children.


JOSHUA HILST

(Ph.D. Clemson University) is an Assistant Professor of Basic Composition. He is also currently the Faculty Director of the UVU Writing Center. His principal research interests are post-process composition, rhetorical memory and technology, and the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze; his work has been published in Enculturation, JAC and the JBWe. He enjoys spending time with his wife and their daughter, and their entire family enjoys being involved in the local theater.


JACQUELINE PRESTON

(Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, Madison) is an Assistant Professor Basic Composition. Dr. Preston holds a Doctorate in Composition and Rhetoric. Her teaching interests include Rhetorical Approaches to First Year Composition, Project-based Learning, and Community Based Research and Learning. In addition to teaching basic composition courses, Dr. Preston teaches undergraduate research as part of the Honors in Action program at UVU. Her research interests include, Rhetorical Ethnography, Qualitative Methods, and Rhetorical Hermeneutics. Her work has been published in First YearComposition, an Instructor's Guide for the University of Wisconsin's FYC program and Community Literacy Journal. She currently serves on the Faculty Senate and is the In-service Coordinator for the Basic Composition Department. Jacque and her husband are avid hikers and campers and enjoy spending their weekends exploring Utah.


SHERI RYSDAM

(Ph.D. Washington State University) is an Assistant Professor of Basic Composition. Her PhD is in Rhetoric and Composition. She has been teaching college writing since 2003. Composition Theory is her specialty, and her scholarly publications are in political economy, contingency studies, responding to student writing, and women's rights and advocacy . In her free time, she teaches and practices many forms of yoga.


ELENA GARCIA

Elena G. Garcia (Ph.D. Michigan State University) is an Assistant Professor of Basic Composition. She earned her PhD in Rhetoric  and Writing, with a  concentration in literacy and pedagogy, from MSU in 2012. She also has a BA and MA in education. In addition to the study of teaching, she also conducts research on graduate student and faculty writing, writing in industrial spaces, and reimagining composing practices. She loves working in the same department with her partner, Benjamin Goodwin, and they both enjoy being new Utahns.


PACE GARDNER

(M.A. Chapman University) Pace Gardner is a lecturer for the Department of Basic Composition and ESL. He received his Master’s of Arts in English from Chapman University in 2011. In addition to his MA, he also possesses a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Chapman University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Utah. Before beginning his lectureship, Mr. Gardner taught as an adjunct faculty member at both at Utah Valley University and Salt Lake Community College. The focus of his research, publication and presentation history is multifold; Mr. Gardner has studied and presented comparative literature papers on the formative genesis of mid-20th century American authors, he has also crafted and published several works of creative short fiction, and he has worked previously as a freelancer sports reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune. Despite these pursuits, Mr. Gardner possesses a significant background in composition and rhetoric, honed through his substantial experience as both writing tutor and writing teacher.

STAFF


GAYLA AMOSA

Our new Academic Advisor for Basic Composition and ESL, is Gayla Amosa. She is from the North Shore of Oahu, in Hawaii. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Design/Art from California State University Dominguez Hills, a teaching degree from Brigham Young University Hawaii in secondary education and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of Phoenix. She taught art at Kahuku High in Hawaii for eight years and was a counselor there for the last ten years. Gayla enjoys spending time with family, camping, swimming, and hiking. She also loves reading good books and writing. What she likes best about working at UVU with the ESL and basic comp students and staff and faculty is the great friendly atmosphere. She says, “Everyone is so welcoming and helpful. It just feels like home.”


ELIZABETH NIELD

(B.M. La Salle University, Cancun) is the Basic Composition/ESL Department and the ESL Community Ed Coordinator. Elizabeth is from Cancun, Mexico. She earned her Bachelor’s of Business Management from LA SALLE CANCUN University. She has experience in human relations, customer service, and quality control for 8 years at hotels in Mexico and in United States. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, snowmobiling, swimming, camping, hiking, and watching movies. Also, Elizabeth likes to work for Basic Composition and ESL department because she gets to meet interesting students and the different cultures that they are from.


LAURIE TORO

Laurie grew up in California and lived in NYC for several years before settling here in Utah. She received her B.A. in English from UVU, with a  literature emphasis and is currently working on her Master's in Business Administration. Laurie is fascinated by and loves to research the way language, cultural and media formulate our perceptions of the world around us. She is also incredibly passionate about all forms of art and can be found at galleries, museums, theatre's, reading a good book or with friends and family during her free time.