Hart-Davidson Appointed Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education

headshot of man in pink button down with glasses

Bill Hart-Davidson recently took over as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education and now oversees all activities associated with Research and Graduate Education in MSU’s College of Arts & Letters. This new appointment became effective August 16, 2017.

“I am looking forward to helping continue an exciting transformation of the research culture in the College of Arts & Letters to embrace collaborative and interdisciplinary work,” Hart-Davidson said. “I have my predecessor, Dr. David Prestel, to thank for getting this ball rolling, providing invaluable mentoring, and also setting expectations very high.”

A Professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, Hart-Davidson is a co-founder and Senior Researcher in the Writing in Digital Environments Research Center. He previously served as Associate Dean for Graduate Education for the College for three and a half years.  

“Dr. Hart-Davidson has a wealth of experience as an administrator, researcher, and scholar. He is a leading figure in his field of Rhetoric and Writing,” said Christopher P. Long, Dean of the College of Arts & Letters. “Bill is a visionary, empathetic, and collaborative leader who will elevate our scholarly reputation, broaden the influence of our research, and advance our graduate and research programs.”

A key part of his new responsibilities are to “be a thinking partner with research center directors and department chairs as they set and work to achieve research goals with their associated faculty and graduate students,” Hart-Davidson said. “I will also be working on building a strategy for encouraging more externally funded research in CAL, with two big goals for the coming year: submitting more competitive proposals for external grants and fellowships and setting each funded research project up to succeed from the moment we receive an award notice.”

Hart-Davidson’s research interests include technical communication, rhetoric, human-computer interaction, and user experience design. This research lies at the intersection of rhetoric theory and user experience, with an emphasis on developing software resources that visualize and provide feedback for learners in informal and formal environments.

His more recent work focuses on computational rhetoric and its applications for both rhetorical scholars and non-specialists working in a variety of domains including informal learning, public policy, and health care.

Dr. Hart-Davidson has a wealth of experience as an administrator, researcher, and scholar. He is a leading figure in his field of Rhetoric and Writing.


Hart-Davidson is co-inventor of Eli Review, a software service that supports writing instruction, and co-founder of the spinoff company, Drawbridge Inc., a learning technology company that provides Eli and other learning and research services. He also was part of the research team that developed the Faciloscope app, which provides rapid, real-time analysis of online conversations as they develop, giving moderators the tools they need to keep conversations moving along in a productive way or the insight to know when a conversation is not worth continuing.

Hart-Davidson earned his Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition from Purdue University and has published more than 50 articles and book chapters.