Ms. Rita Treutel holds an MA in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her graduate work includes courses in literature, linguistics, classical and modern rhetoric and research methodology. She brought an extensive teaching background to the university with her, having taught at the high school level and abroad before joining the faculty at UAB. She teaches English composition, American Literature, Introduction to Literature and U101, a course in critical thinking for UAB’s freshmen. She was fundamental in developing UAB’s first online English Composition courses which she piloted for department in 2001. Her research interests are pedagogy for online/distance learning English education, visual rhetoric and society, and student success initiatives such as Freshman Year Experience courses and learning communities. She has authored and/or coauthored several articles on these subjects and has been an invited presenter at both national and international conferences, focusing heavily on the development of effective teaching strategies for freshmen. Ms. Treutel was nominated for the conference USA Outstanding Teacher Award in 2002 in recognition of her expertise in teaching effectiveness. She has recently taken a leadership role in the U101 program, conducting part of the annual training session sponsored for University 101 faculty. She is a member of the Creative Writing Advisory Board for the Alabama School of Fine Arts and also volunteers with numerous organizations in her community of Oneonta, Alabama, where she lives with her husband and three children.