Dana Driscoll

Dana Driscoll


driscoll photo


Dana Driscoll
Assistant professor
Department of Writing and Rhetoric

Dana Driscoll, Ph.D., teaches a variety of courses within the writing and rhetoric major and in the general education sequence. These courses include Basic Writing, Composition I and II, Peer Tutoring in Composition, Global Rhetorics, Special Topics, and Literacy, Technology, and Civic Engagement. She also teaches a course in the Bachelor of Liberal Studies program, Interdisciplinary Approaches to Liberal Studies.

Dr. Driscoll joined the Oakland community in 2009 after completing her Ph.D. in the rhetoric and composition program at Purdue University. She also holds an M.A. in linguistics from State University of New York-Stony Brook and a B.A. in English from California University of Pennsylvania.

In addition to teaching, she directs Oakland's embedded writing specialist program, a joint initiative between the Writing Center and Department of Writing and Rhetoric that places tutors into basic writing courses. Her leadership roles include serving as co-chair of the OU Writing Assessment Committee and serving on the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Advisory Board. 

Dr. Driscoll’s research focuses on two primary areas: transfer of learning (the ability of students to adapt and apply knowledge learned in one context to other contexts) and research in writing centers. She specifically studies learning transfer as it relates to writing, and seeks to better understand challenges with transfer and how to develop more effective pedagogies to encourage transfer.  Her second research focus – research in the writing center – examines how writing centers conduct research and seeks to develop best practices for writing center researchers.

Dr. Driscoll was recognized – with departmental colleague Sherry Wynn Perdue – with the 2012 Outstanding Article of the Year Award from the International Writing Center Association. The article, “Theory, Lore and More: An Analysis of RAD Research in the Writing Center Journal, 1980-2009,” analyzed 290 articles in a leading writing journal to determine how much research was replicable, aggregable and data-supported.     

Along with publishing articles, Dr. Driscoll has pursued numerous grants to support research into writing and learning at Oakland and beyond. She was part of a cross-institutional team of researchers recently awarded a $40,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation to fund work on the Writing Transfer Project, a two-year project involving four universities that encourages students to apply knowledge gained in writing classes across a variety of professional and academic settings.

In 2011-2012, the project’s first year, data were collected from 41 sections across the four universities with varying student demographics. The universities were OU, Wayne State University, Seton Hall University (New Jersey) and The George Washington University (Wash. D.C.) The team met in August, 2012 for four days to analyze 176 student papers and 381 reflective papers from all four universities, and presented the preliminary results of their study at the College on Composition and Communication in March 2013.

Later that year, Dr. Driscoll again traveled to Washington, D.C. to analyze longitudinal follow-ups with study participants to gauge the effectiveness of the study’s pilot courses in encouraging transfer of learning. The Spencer Foundation grant and a $10,000 Research Initiative grant from the Conference on College Competition and Communication funded the trip and will support further data analysis.

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