Peggy Herring
Administrative Assistant
English, Rhetoric, & Humanistic Studies

P: (540) 464-7240
F: (540) 464-7779

227 Scott Shipp Hall
Lexington, VA  24450 

email to:

Robert L. McDonald, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

English, Rhetoric, & Humanistic Studies

Ph.D. - Texas Christian University
M.A. - East Tennessee State University
B.A. - Winthrop College

210 Smith Hall
Virginia Military Institute
Lexington, VA  24450
P:  (540) 464-7212
F:  (540) 464-7719

Colonel Rob McDonald joined the VMI faculty in 1992. While serving as Associate Dean of the Faculty since 2001, he has continued to teach in the department as a professor of English and fine arts. Recent offerings include Southern literature, creative writing (nonfiction), and a special seminar—developed by cadet request—entitled Text + Image.

Colonel McDonald is a widely published scholar whose books include Reading Erskine Caldwell: New Essays; Teaching Writing: Landmarks and Horizons (ed. with Christina Russell McDonald); Southern Women Playwrights: New Essays in Literary History and Criticism (edited with Linda Rohrer Paige); Erskine Caldwell: Selected Letters, 1929-1955; The Critical Response to Erskine Caldwell; and Teaching Composition in the 90s: Sites of Contention (edited with Christina G. Russell). Since 2005, he has been editor of the journal Studies in American Culture.

For more than a decade, Colonel McDonald has been exploring photography as a creative extension of his academic interests in the literature and culture of the South. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and in four books: Birdhouses (2007), Birth Place (2008), Poplar Forest (2010), and—with Even Rogers (VMI ’10) and Sally Mann—Cy’s Rollei (2011).

Colonel McDonald’s photographs are in the collection of numerous private and public collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth. In 2013, he became the Institute’s first recipient of a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

VMI has recognized Colonel McDonald with several awards, including the Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award (1997), the Matthew Fontaine Maury Award for Excellence in Faculty Research (1998); the VMI Distinguished Teaching Award (2001), and the Wilbur S. Hinman, Jr. Award for Undergraduate Research (2009 and 2010). 

In 2007, the Superintendent presented Colonel McDonald with the VMI Achievement Medal in recognition of his contributions to the Institute.