Kristin Arola

288 Bessey Hall
434 Farm Ln
East Lansing, MI 48824

FacultyWriting, Rhetoric, and CulturesAmerican Indian and Indigenous StudiesRhetoric and WritingFirst Year WritingProfessional and Public Writing

Associate Professor
Gillmor Endowed Professor in Professional and Public Writing

Interim Director, AIIS


In addition to the Karen L. Gillmor, Ph.D Endowed Professorship in Professional Writing, Kristin Arola is an Associate Professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Cultures as well as Interim Chair of the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program at MSU.

Arola’s research and teaching focuses on composing as culturing. Specifically, she explores the act of writing/designing/making and the relations that bring forth these texts. By looking to the relations between land, histories, and cultures, she considers how the words, designs, and images we compose evoke the past while opening up possible futures. To do this work, she brings together composition theory, making culture, digital rhetoric, and cultural rhetoric.

Research Areas

Multimodal Composition, Cultural Rhetorics, American Indian Studies


PhD., Michigan Technological University, 2006

B.A., University of Michigan, 1998

Research and Academic Affiliation

Affiliate Faculty, American Indian & Indigenous Studies Program

Affiliate Faculty, Digital Humanities Program

Member, Multimodal Working Group


Villanueva, Victor and Kristin L. Arola. CrossTalk in Comp Theory. 3rd Edition. National Council of Teachers of English, 2011.

Arola, Kristin L. and Anne Frances Wysocki, Eds. Composing (Media) = Composing (Embodiment). Utah State University Press, 2012.

Ball, Cheryl E., Jennifer Sheppard, and Kristin L. Arola. Writer/Designer: Making Multimodal Projects, 2nd Edition. Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2018.

Arola, Kristin L. “A Land-Based Digital Design Rhetoric.” Routledge Companion to Digital Writing & Rhetoric. Eds. Jonathan Alexander & Jacqueline Rhodes. New York: Routledge. 2018.

Arola, Kristin L. “Composing as Culturing: An American Indian Approach to Digital Ethics.” Handbook of Digital Writing and Literacies Research. Eds. Kathy Mills, Amy Stornaiuolo, Anna Smith & Jessica Zacher Pandya. New York: Routledge. 2018.

Arola, Kristin L. “Indigenous Interfaces.” Social Writing/Social Media: Pedagogy, Presentation, and Publics. Eds. Douglas Walls and Stephanie Vie. WAC Clearinghouse Perspectives on Writing Series, University of Colorado Press. 2017.

Arola, Kristin L. and Adam C. Arola “An Ethics of Assemblage: Creative Repetition and the Electric Pow Wow.” Assembling Composition. Eds. Kathleen Blake Yancey and Stephen J. McElroy. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English. 2017.

Winner of the 2017 Computers and Composition Ellen Nold Best Essay or Article Award, awarded Spring 2018

Arola, Kristin L. “It’s My Revolution: Learning to See the Mixedblood.” Composing (Media) = Composing (Embodiment). Eds. Kristin L. Arola and Anne Frances Wysocki. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 2012. 115-142.

Sackey, Donnie Johnson, Casey Boyle, Mai Nou Xiong, Gabriela Raquel Ríos, Kristin L. Arola, Scot Barnett. “Perspectives on Cultural and Posthumanist Rhetorics.” Rhetoric Review, 38.4, 375-401. (2019).

Johnson, Lucy and Kristin L. Arola. “Tracing the Turn: The Rise of Multimodal Composition in the U.S.” Res Rhetorica. No.1 (2016).


WRA 260 (Rhetoric, Persuasion & Culture)

WRA 325 (Writing & Multimodality)

WRA 860 Multimodal Composing

WRA 891 (American Indian) Rhetorics

University News

Gordon Henry’s Legacy and Career Celebrated with Indigenous Literature and Song
Published November 29, 2023 in College of Arts & Letters
Gordon Henry, Professor in the Department of English and the inaugural Audrey and John Leslie Endowed Chair in North American Indian and Indigenous Literary Studies, will retire from Michigan State…Read now »
Inaugural Endowed Professor Teaches How to Connect Writing With Culture
Published November 15, 2022 in College of Arts & Letters
As the inaugural Karen L. Gillmor Ph.D. Endowed Professor in Professional and Public Writing at Michigan State University, Kristin Arola, an innovative scholar and researcher, is not only teaching…Read now »
College of Arts & Letters Faculty Honored at 2022 Investiture
Published September 29, 2022 in College of Arts & Letters
A series of six headshots arranged in rows of three by three.
The Michigan State University community gathered at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts on Sept. 14 for the investiture of the 2022 class of endowed chairs, endowed professors, and MSU Foundation…Read now »
MSU Awarded Grant to Study Renewable Energy Adoption in Michigan
Published November 19, 2019 in College of Arts & Letters
Three people standing next to each other
Michigan State University was awarded close to $1 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a five-year study of renewable energy options using a cross-disciplinary…Read now »
New WRAC Professor to Contribute to Critical Diversity in a Digital Age Initiative
Published August 4, 2017 in College of Arts & Letters
photo of someone's finger tapping on a screen
Kristin Arola has been hired as Associate Professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC), effective August 16, 2017, and will contribute to the development of the…Read now »