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Rhetoric & Composition Faculty

As an interdisciplinary area of study, rhetoric and composition draws on faculty and courses from English, Communication Studies, Education, Linguistics, American Studies, and other programs that help students develop their particular areas of expertise. Faculty who teach courses in the English Department most directly relevant for students in rhetoric and composition appear below.

Amy Devitt


3131 Wescoe Hall

Ph.D. (Michigan)

An internationally recognized scholar in Genre Studies, Professor Amy Devitt is the author of Writing Genres and Standardizing Written English: Diffusion in the Case of Scotland, 1520-1658. Along with Anis Bawarshi and Mary Jo Rieff, she is also author of Scenes of Writing: Strategies for Composing with Genres. Her work has appeared in College Composition and Communication, College English, American Speech, Issues in Writing, and in several edited collections. She has helped to direct KU's writing-across-the-curriculum program and directed KU's first- and second-year writing program, and she frequently teaches the practicum for new Graduate Teaching Assistants, along with undergraduate and graduate courses in writing, English language, composition, and rhetoric. She is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, and has recently completed a term on the Executive Board of CCCC.

Frank Farmer

Associate Professor

3123 Wescoe Hall

Ph.D. (University of Louisville)

Frank Farmer is an associate professor of English at the University of Kansas. He is the author of Saying and Silence: Listening to Composition with Bakhtin (Utah State, 2001) and editor of Landmark Essays on Bakhtin, Rhetoric, and Writing (Routledge, 1998). His most recent book, After the Public Turn: Composition, Counterpublics, and the Citizen Bricoleur (Utah State, 2013), explores the relationship of counterpublics to emergent forms of democratic citizenship, and how this relationship bears upon the teaching of writing.
He received his PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Louisville, and has published in several of the leading journals in the field, including College Composition and Communication, College English, JAC, Rhetoric Review, Written Communication, Rhetoric Society Quarterly and others. He has received a number of awards for his teaching, and most recently has served as chair of the Modern Language Association's Division Executive Committee on Language and Society.

Peter J. Grund

Assistant Professor

3111 Wescoe Hall

Ph.D. (Uppsala, Sweden)

Assistant Professor Peter Grund’s research falls within English language studies. More specifically, he focuses on the interconnection between sociohistorical context and linguistic usage. His recent book “Misticall Wordes and Names Infinite”: An Edition and Study of Humfrey Lock's Treatise on Alchemy (Arizona State University Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2011) provides an edition of and explores an alchemical tract in light of the vernacularization of science and the widespread fascination with alchemy in the 16th and 17th centuries. His co-authored book (with Merja Kytö and Terry Walker) on Early Modern English witness depositions, accompanied by a 300,000-word electronic edition/corpus of depositions, explores the connection between communicative setting, scribal identity, and linguistic strategies (John Benjamins, 2011). He is also associate editor of Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt (Cambridge University Press, 2009), and he currently serves as the co-editor of Journal of English Linguistics. His articles have appeared in (among others) American Speech, Journal of English Linguistics, Anglia, Studia Neophilologica, and Review of English Studies. He teaches courses on the history of English, stylistics, English grammars, and World Englishes.

James Hartman

Professor Emeritus

3060 Wescoe Hall

Ph.D. (Michigan)

Professor Emeritus James Hartman, former director of the Writing Center (KU’s writing across the curriculum program), is the author of several articles on American English and consultant to several commercial and scholarly dictionaries. He is also the American English editor of the English Pronouncing Dictionary 15th,16th,17th editions (Cambridge); and pronunciation editor of the Dictionary of American Regional English (Harvard University Press--Belknap); formerly Associate Editor of American Speech and editor of Publications of the American Dialect Society. He is a recipient of a Kemper Teaching Award and is a former Conger Gabel Teaching Professor.

Mary Jo Reiff

Associate Professor

3067 Wescoe Hall

Associate Professor Mary Jo Reiff has published books and articles on audience theory, public rhetoric, and rhetorical genre studies, with a recent book entitled Genre: An Introduction to History, Theory, Research, and Pedagogy (Parlor Press, 2010, with Anis Bawarshi). She has also published a book on audience, Approaches to Audience: An Overview of the Major Perspectives (2004), and is currently working on a book, entitled Audience: History, Theory, Pedagogy, that updates perspectives to include digital and new media audiences, audiences as publics, and interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approaches to audiences. In addition, Reiff is completing a co-edited collection on writing programs entitled Ecologies of Writing Programs: Profiles of Writing Programs in Context (Parlor Press) and is also working on a collection (co-edited with Anis Bawarshi) called Genre and the Performance of Publics (Utah State University Press). Reiff has co-authored textbooks (with Amy Devitt and Anis Bawarshi) entitled Scenes of Writing: Strategies for Composing with Genre (2004) and Rhetoric of Inquiry (2009, with Kirsten Benson). Articles related to her research on writing programs, writing knowledge transfer, audience, critical ethnography, and public genres have appeared in Written Communication, Composition Studies, College English, JAC, and WAC Journal.

Terese Thonus

Director, Writing Center

Wescoe Hall

Associate Professor (by courtesy) Terese Thonus directs the KU Writing Center. She currently teaches ENGL 400, Teaching and Tutoring Writing, and mentors students who work as writing consultants. Her research explores the intersections of oral interaction and writing, particularly in writing center contexts. Her work has appeared in Assessing Writing, Discourse and Society, Journal of Second Language Writing, Linguistics and Education, and Writing Center Journal. With Rebecca Babcock, she co-authored Researching the Writing Center: Towards an Evidence-Based Practice (Peter Lang, 2012). Her current research examines speaking-writing relationships in second language acquisition theory and second language writing.

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