College of Humanities and Social Sciences
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Donald R Gallehr

Donald R Gallehr

Donald R Gallehr

Associate Professor

brain research and the teaching of writing; portfolio assessment; writing and meditation

Donald R. Gallehr teaches advanced nonfiction writing, the teaching of writing, and theories of composition, as well as freshman and advanced composition in the disciplines. His first book is "Finished Business: Taking Care of a Loved One With a Terminal Illness," published in 2014. His articles include: "Portfolio Assessment in the College Writing Classroom," in Process and Portfolios in Writing Instruction (NCTE, 1993); "Wait and the Writing Will Come: Meditation and the Composing Process," in Presence of Mind: Writing and the Domain Beyond the Cognitive (Boyton/Cook, Heinemann, 1994); and "What is the Sound of No Hand Clapping: Using Secularized Zen Koans in the Writing Classroom," in Spiritual Empowerment and Pedagogy (Boynton/Cook, Heinemann, 1997). His research interests focus on learning beyond the cognitive and its application to the classroom, and he currently serves as a reviewer for NCTE's Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning.  In addition, he is Director Emeritus of the Northern Virginia Writing Project. He is the 2008 recipient of a Teaching Excellence Award, as well as the David J. King Award to honor significant contributions for educational excellence at George Mason University.

Current Research

His current research focuses on how meditation enables the writer, including the use of koans to write.

Selected Publications

"What is the Sound of No Hand Clapping? Using the Secularized Zen Koans in the Teaching of Writing." The Spiritual Side of Writing. Ed. Regina Foehr and Susan Schiller. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1997. 95-104.

"Wait and the Writing Will Come: Meditation and the Composing Process." Presence of Mind: Writing and the Domain Beyond the Cognitive. Ed. Alice Glarden Brand and Richard L. Graves. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1994. 21-29.

"Portfolio Assessment in the College Writing Classroom." Process and Portfolios in Writing Instruction. Ed. Kent Gill. Classroom Practices in Teaching English, vol. 26. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 1993. 75-80.

"Exploring BAWP: An Early Visit to the Summer Institute." In Teachers at the Center: A Memoir of the Early Years of the National Writing Project, by James Gray. Berkeley, CA: National Writing Project, 2000. 133.

"Reading Jim Moffett." Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning 3 (Winter 1997-98): 2-3.

Courses Taught

ENGL 309: Introduction to Nonfiction Writing

ENGL 489: Advanced Nonfiction Writing

ENGL 615: Proseminar in Composition Instruction

ENGL 600: Northern Virginia Writing Project (NVWP) Summer Institute

ENGL 695: NVWP Writing and Learning Across the Curriculum

ENGL 697: Theories of Composition

ENGH 486: Writing Nonfiction for Publication

ENGH 302: Advanced Composition