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Nathan Shepley

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Associate Professor

Head shot of Dr. Shepley
Selected Publications
Grants Received
Research Interests  
Classes Taught
Phone: (713) 743-1573
Office: Science Bldg.

cover image of book placing the historyNathan Shepley, a rhetoric and composition scholar, specializes in local histories of composition and in ecological and place-based theories of writing. His research is driven by the desire to understand how writing affects and is affected by social norms and circulating ideologies. He has studied sites in Houston and in northern Appalachia to better understand the work off college student writing—and related educational support systems—to preserve or change postsecondary institutions as well as local or regional cultures. Much of his historical research focuses on writing during the Progressive Era, when many national and community organizations viewed their civic duty as increasing the public’s literacy rates and educational attainments, among other goals.  In addition to his book, Placing the History of College Writing: Stories from the Incomplete Archive (Parlor Press/WAC Clearinghouse, 2016), he has articles published or forthcoming in Pedagogy, Composition Forum, Enculturation, Open Words, Reflections, and Composition Studies. Also, he contributed a chapter to Re-Reading Appalachia: Literacy, Place, and Cultural Resistance, edited by Sara Webb-Sunderhaus and Kim Donehower. In 2020, he co-created a collection of open educational resources for UH’s Lower Division English classes. Before then, he directed the English Department’s Lower Division Studies Committee and oversaw the Department’s preparation of graduate teaching fellows.



  • Ph.D., Ohio University
  • M.A., University of Alabama
  • B.A., Berry College

Selected Publications

  • “Spatial Knowledge-Making from Writing about Appalachia outside Appalachia.” Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Language, Literature, Composition, and Culture, vol. 22. Forthcoming. 
  • “‘They Want to Tell Their Story’: What Folklorists and Sociologists Can Teach Compositionists about Linking Scholarly Research to Nonacademic Communities.” Reflections: A Journal of Public Rhetoric, Civic Writing, and Service Learning, vol. 17, no. 1, 2017, pp. 11-35.  
  • Placing the History of College Writing: Stories from the Incomplete Archive. The WAC Clearinghouse and Parlor Press, 2016. 

Grants Received

  • Alternative Textbook Incentive Program Grant, University of Houston, 2018. 
  • Teaching Innovation Program Grant, University of Houston, 2016. 
  • Hobby Center for Public Policy GrantUniversity of Houston, 2016. 

Research Interests

  • History of Composition 
  • Composition Theory and Pedagogy 
  • Qualitative Research in Rhetoric and Composition 

Classes Taught

  • ENGL 1303: First Year Writing I 
  • ENGL 1304: First Year Writing II 
  • ENGL 3340: Advanced Composition 
  • ENGL 3341: Business and Professional Writing 
  • ENGL 4342: Gender and Writing 
  • ENGL 6300: Seminar in College Teaching of Language and Literature in English 
  • ENGL 7370: History of Rhetoric 
  • ENGL 7374: Critical Pedagogy 
  • ENGL 7396: History of Composition 
  • ENGL 8318: Research Seminar in Rhetoric and Composition 
  • ENGL 8395: Selected Topics in Rhetoric and Composition: Places of Composition 

Affiliations and Links

  • National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) 
  • Rhetoric Society of America (RSA) 
  • Modern Language Association (MLA) 
  • Association of Rhetoric and Writing Studies (ARWS) 
  • Open Educational Resources Guide for English, a Pressbooks-published guide 
  • Hospitality Site, 2016 4 Cs Subcommittee: Information, Hospitality, & Special Events 

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