Christopher Burnham


  • Ph.D. English Literature and Language, University of Rhode Island, 1980; Dissertation: “An Examination and Description of Walt Whitman’s Composing Process”
  • NEH Postgraduate Seminars in linguistics and rhetoric: Rutgers University Graduate School of Education and University of Nevada, Reno
  • M.A. in English, University of Rhode Island, 1974
  • B.A. in English with Honors in American Studies, Rutgers College, 1972

Biographical Statement:

Dr. Burnham joined the English faculty in 1981 as Composition Coordinator after spending six years teaching writing and literature and developing writing programs at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Now a Regents Professor of English, Dr. Burnham has served as Department Head, Associate Department Head, and Writing Program Director. His specialties include writing and the teaching of writing, writing across the curriculum, rhetoric, and assessment. He has conducted Writing Across the Curriculum seminars for university faculty at NMSU since 1981.  As the Executive Director of the Borderlands Writing Project, a National Writing Project affiliated site, Dr. Burnham works to provide professional development for teachers from kindergarten through university levels. His pedagogy is inquiry-based, and his current research involves Teacher Inquiry, a form of reflective practice applied to classroom teaching. NMSU has allowed him to cultivate my interests in rhetoric, public discourse, and pedagogical theory. Dr. Burnham’s primary pedagogical and scholarly objective is encouraging the ethical and civic development of students and assisting teachers in this same work. 

Courses Commonly Taught:

  • ENGL 263: History of Argument
  • ENGL 311G: Advanced Composition
  • ENGL 4/551: Practicum in American Grammar
  • ENGL 4/552: History of the English Language
  • ENGL 518: The History of the Rhetoric
  • ENGL 519: Modern Rhetorical Theory
  • ENGL 530: Argument Theory and Practice
  • ENGL 5/664: Composition History and Theory
  • ENGL 5/673: Assessment

Teaching and Research Interests: 

Inquiry-based approaches to

  • composition theory and pedagogy
  • assessment and Teacher Inquiry
  • rhetorical and argument theory and practice
  • expressive discourse and reflective practice 

Selected Recent Publications:

  • Burnham, Christopher, and Rebecca Powell. “Expressivism: Practice/Theory, Theory/Practice.” A Guide to Composition Pedagogies, 2e. Eds. Brooke Hessler, Amy Rupiper-Taggart, and Kurt Schick. Oxford University Press, projected publication 2013.
  • Burnham, Christopher, Rebecca Powell and Susan Wood. “Practicing What We Teach: Telling Stories, Building Knowledge, Implementing Change.” Literacy, Learning, and Knowledge at the Community College. Eds. Heidi Johnsen and Heather Ostman. New York: Hampton Press, publication in 2013.
  • Burnham, Christopher and Susanne Green. “WPAs and Identity: Sounding the Depths,” Interrupting the Program: Critical Questions in Writing Program Administration, Donna Strickland and Jeanne Gunner, eds.  Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook Heinemann, 2009, 175-185.
  • Nadya Shalamova, Chris Burnham, Michele Auzenne, and Ricardo Jaquez. “Soft Approaches and Hard Results: Assessing Engineering Student Communication Skills.” IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, Special Issue on Assessment, August, 2009.
  • Auzenne, M., Burnham, C., Hansen, A., Jacquez, R., Engineering as a Rhetorical Activity,” Proceedings (electronic) of the Science, Engineering, & Technology Education (SETE) Conference, NMSU, Las Cruces, NM, January 12, 2005.
  • “Still Uptaught After All These Years: Reflections in Appreciation of Ken Macrorie,” Writing on the Edge. 15 (Fall, 2004) 35-42.
  • “Reflection, Assessment, and Articulation: A Rhetoric of Writing Program Administration,” The Writing Program Administrator’s Guidebook, Theresa Enos and Stuart Brown, eds. NY: Erlbaum, 2002, 303-314. 
  • Writing From the Inside Out, San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989.

Contact: or 575-646-7993