Brian Graves

First-Year Writing Coordinator & Senior Lecturer of English

Contact Information

  • 251-6410
  • 214 Karpen Hall

Office Hours

  • Monday 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
  • Wednesday 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
  • Friday 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
  • Note: And by appointment



Questions about language drive most of my teaching and research: how does language affect our thinking, our learning, and our relationships with others? How can we learn to attend more critically to the ways that we and others use language, so that we can listen, understand, and disagree more honestly and constructively? The questions root deeply in my own story, from learning three (English, Greek, and Hebrew) alphabets simultaneously as a toddler, to interrupting a Southern Appalachian upbringing with a three-year sojourn in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic when I was a teenager. My efforts to make sense of this cross-cultural mishmash have carried me through academic studies in US, Western, Latin American, and ancient Near Eastern history; Spanish language and literatures; biblical languages and literatures; religion and theology; and writing studies (rhetoric and composition). I have also worked as an ESL teacher with refugees; a bilingual social worker with mostly undocumented immigrants; a hospital chaplain intern; and an adjunct instructor of humanities, history, religion, and basic writing at several NC community colleges. I joined the English Department as a lecturer in 2012.


  • MA, Western Carolina University
  • MDiv, Wake Forest University
  • MA, Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Texas at Austin
  • BA, Mars Hill College

Recent Teaching

  • HUM 124: The Ancient World
  • LANG 120: Academic Writing and Critical Inquiry
  • LANG 395: Contemporary English Grammar
  • LIT 328: Ethnic Literatures: U.S. Latinx Writers
  • LIT 369: World Literatures: The Hebrew Bible
  • AMS 365: Intro to the Hebrew Bible

Select Presentations and Publications

  • "Specifications Grading to Promote Student Engagement, Motivation, and Learning: Possibilities and Cautions." Assessing Writing, vol. 57, July 2023.
  • "What We Say When We Talk about Writing: Seeking Common Ground across the Curriculum." Presented with Jessica Pisano at the International Writing Across the Curriculum Conference, August 6, 2021.
  • “What We Say When We Talk about Writing: Seeking Common Ground across the Curriculum.” Presented at Conference on College Composition and Communication, March 15, 2018.
  • "Trees and Forest: Developing a Sustainable Assessment of First-Year Writing for Transfer." Presented at 2017 Conference on College Composition and Communication, March 17, 2017.
  • "Reestablishing WAC/WID: Grassroots Campus Activism." Presented with Jessica Pisano and Patrick Bahls at Eleventh Annual Fall Conference of the Carolinas Writing Program Administrators, September 13, 2016.
  • "Supporting and Sustaining Our Faculty and Ourselves." Presented with Jessica Pisano at Tenth Annual Fall Conference of the Carolinas Writing Program Administrators, September 15, 2015.
  • "But I thought we couldn't do that!": Using the Corpus of Contemporary American English in First-Year Composition Classes." Presented at 37th Annual Philological Association of the Carolinas Conference, UNC Asheville, March 22, 2013.
  • "Manipulating Language in Meaningful Contexts: Reconsidering Grammar in Basic and First-Year Composition Instruction." Presented at Ninth Annual TESOL/Applied Linguistics Graduate Students Conference, UNC Asheville, February 18, 2012.