Student Spotlight: Adrienne Jones Daly



Adrienne Jones Daly is a fourth year PhD student in the English department, specializing in Rhetoric and Composition. Before coming to URI, Adrienne earned a BA in linguistics from William & Mary in Virginia, taught English in Japan, completed her Masters in Linguistics from the University of Ottawa, and worked in a variety of positions in New Orleans, such as Admissions at a law school and in Loyola University’s Writing Program. Her background is in sociolinguistics and writing program administration. She is currently using translingualism to consider how language is treated in the writing classroom, and specifically how the teacher interfaces with language. She received a Dissertation Fellowship from the URI Graduate School for the coming academic year to work on her project Practicing Translingualism: Faculty Conceptions and Practices.

One of her long-term interests is how we can expand the definition of “good writing.” This includes how we treat language, as well as visual, information, and digital literacies. Her current focus on the translingual approach seeks to make the composition classroom multilingual and to reward fluid language use and code-switching, which is common at universities today. Rather than treating language as a stable ideal, Adrienne considers language a shared resource that is affected by context and works in extremely powerful ways. Instructors in writing and English act as gatekeepers and she hopes that translingualism can offer an affirmative power for students.

Specifically in her dissertation, she will reach out to instructors who align themselves with the translingual paradigm to see what the teacher is doing in the classroom; how are these scholars using language in their courses and how this relates to the translingual approach. Language is an important element of identification and it will be interesting to see the results of her research in better understanding not only how we can create multilingual composition classrooms, but also how instructors present themselves through language use in the classroom.

Adrienne also teaches courses for the Writing and Rhetoric department. This semester, while teaching WRT 304: Writing for Community Service, she experienced an interesting intersection between her life outside of the university and her teaching. Currently, the South Kingstown school district is working towards a “newer and fewer” school model put forth by the Rhode Island Department of Education, which has set off debate in the local community about the fate of several small elementary schools. As a parent in the community, Adrienne has been personally engaging with what she teaches through this current discussion. This includes letter writing and making public comments, but also parsing the arguments of others and highlighting the rhetorical techniques being used on both sides. This carryover from her academic work to her personal life has offered Adrienne a new perspective on both the course she is teaching and how these discussions occur.

In addition to her work at URI, Adrienne has been working as a freelance editor since her time in New Orleans. Her projects have included many dissertations, a full-length book, and numerous publications for the Office of English Language Programs in the U.S. State Department. She also has three daughters, ranging in age from 2 to 7 ½. Just as her academic work informs her personal life, her personal life sometimes appears in her scholarly work, such as in a Digital Humanities project that mapped where a family car had taken her and how the physical appearance of the car told its own story. Adrienne will be the final student concentrating in Rhetoric and Composition to graduate from URI in the coming years, and we wish her luck in writing her dissertation!

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