Dr. Julia Combs is an assistant professor of English at Southern Utah University and directs the SUU Writing Center. Her research focuses on the history of rhetoric, particularly feminist rhetoric of the seventeenth century, the rhetoric of place and space and writing in the disciplines.
As the Writing Center Director, Dr. Combs trains students to act as a campus resource, coaching and encouraging successful writers across all disciplines. Together with students, Dr. Combs proposed and collaborated an extensive remodel and move of the Writing Center in 2018.
She also proposed and developed the Technical Writing Certificate and developed the Writing Fellows, a program for faculty-nominated students to support specific classes in majors like biology, business, history and engineering.
Each May, Dr. Combs takes four writing center tutors to China for a month to provide writing center services for SUU's partner university in China. SUU students are among the first and only writing center tutors in China.
Dr. Combs earned a bachelor’s degree in language with an emphasis in German from Southern Utah University. At the University of Nevada Las Vegas, she earned a master’s degree in English with an emphasis in medieval literature and her Ph.D. in rhetoric and writing.
Industry Expertise (4)
Writing and Editing
Areas of Expertise (15)
Rhetoric of Place
Creative Writing Techniques
Creative Writing in Higher Education
History of Feminist Rhetoric
Professional Writing and Presentations
International Writing Centers
Southern Utah State College: B.A., Language, German Emphasis
University of Nevada Las Vegas: M.A., English
University of Nevada Las Vegas: Ph. D., Rhetoric and Writing
Community Engaged Scholar Award
Southern Utah University, 2016
Writing Fellows Program
Funded and approved at SUU in 2015
Technical Writing Certificate
Collaborated with Jon Smith. Approved in 2015
Writing Tutor Practicum Course
ENGL 3890 - Approved in 2015
Southern Utah University English Department, 2013
- The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi
- Wooden O Symposium
- International English Honor Society
- Rhetoric Society of America
- Teaching Academy Training Program, SUU Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning
- National Council of Teachers of English
- Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association
- Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association
- Southern California Writing Center Association
- Rocky Mountain Writing Center Association
- International Writing Center Association
- National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing
Media Appearances (2)
The Writing Center: Am I “Write?”
SUU News online
“It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a biology summary, a personal statement, or a dance essay-writing is writing, and we can help you with it.” Julia Combs, assistant professor of English and director of the Writing Center, said.
Southern Utah University continues to expand global partnership with Chinese university
St George News online
Julia Combs, director of the SUU Writing Center, traveled to China over the summer with five of her student workers to open a writing center at WPU. They were able to implement the program and train the Chinese students to keep it running. It is one of the first English writing centers in China. “We care about these international students and we want them to succeed,” Combs said. “We’re hoping the center will help them practice their English and become more comfortable with the language.”
Research Grants (4)
Writing Fellows Program Expansion
Southern Utah University Provost $21,000
Writing Fellows Pilot Program
Southern Utah University Provost $17,000
Writing Fellows Program Development
Southern Utah University Provost $12,000
SUU English Department Concurrent Enrollment Conference
SUU Success Academy $2,100
Fountains of Love: The Maternal Body as Rhetorical Symbol of Authority in Early Modern England.Journal of Early Modern Studies
For Erasmus, the two fountains streaming milky juice--a new mother's breasts--represent powerful symbols of love and authority. Erasmus describes the mother's breasts as fountains oozing love to the sucking child. Elizabeth Clinton extends the image of Mother to represent God, reminding the nursing mother that when she looks on her sucking child, she should remember that she is God's new born babe, sucking His instruction and His word, even as the babe sucks her breast. Dorothy Leigh extends the image of the nursing mother to an image of Christ himself. Mother's love, especially a breast-feeding or "lying in" mother's love, is one of the most authoritatively gendered representations of love. Issues of gender and authority converge often around the image of the breast-feeding mother. Drawing on the image of the nursing mother, Dorothy Leigh and other early modern writers actively engaged in the most contentious and public debates of their day, including the authority of men, preachers and kings.
"Me thinks if I Were a Man": An Analysis of Dorothy Leigh's Mother's Blessing as a Response to Joseph Swetnam.Quidditas
As one of the first and most popular female-male authored conduct manuals of the seventeenth century, Dorothy Leigh's The Mother's Blessing is usually placed in the company of private, domestic literature. However, it does not sit comfortably there. Leigh claims to forget herself, as she rhetorically navigates her way through the constraining but enabling genre of the conduct manual. In this paper, I position Leigh as one of the initial respondents to Joseph Swetnam's pamphlet The Arraignment of Lewd, idle, froward and unconstant women.
There's No Place like Home: Constructing Ethos in Dorothy Leigh's Seventeenth-Century Conduct ManualBen Jonson Journal
Stephen Greenblatt has famously argued that Renaissance individuals refashioned themselves. Somewhat less well known, however, is that Renaissance individuals also refashioned their spaces, both public and private. For instance, in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, church pews were redesigned, seating men and women side-by-side rather than seating men on one side and women on the other side. This change in public spaces mirrored changes in private, domestic spaces. Protestant clergy rejected celibacy in favor of marriage; the parson lived in a home with his wife and family. The physical construction of the family home changed.
ENGL 1010 Intro to Academic Writing
The first of the required GE writing courses introduces students to academic composition. Students will engage in writing as a process, pre-drafting strategies, multiple drafts, peer review, and large and small-scale revisions.
ENGL 2010 Intermediate Writing
The second of the GE writing courses emphasizes the development of an effective academic style in argumentative essays that makes use of traditional rhetorical patterns, culminating in a major research paper.
ENGL 3120 Writing in the Sciences
Students will develop skills for writing about the sciences in different contexts, for various purposes. Students will write technical papers about science for professional audiences. They will also write about scientific issues for general audiences, clarifying relevant cultural issues.
ENGL 3120 Grant and Technical Writing
Students will use time-tested rhetorical strategies to identify new opportunities and solve problems. They will develop plans for action, organize ideas, improve the clarity of their writing, and communicate scientific information in a way that a general audience can understand. Students will have the option to work with a community partner in a project-based technical writing experience.
ENGL 3890 Writing Tutor Practicum
Explores current theory and research on the writing process, analyzes disciplinary writing conventions, and teaches strategies for helping writers review their work. Students will help their peers improve their writing in courses across the curriculum through twenty hours practicum in peer tutoring.