I am Reverend John E. Brooks Professor of Humanities at the College of the Holy Cross, where I have taught since 1978.
Here I founded and directed
the Writer's Workshop (a peer tutoring facility), and
a writing-across-the-curriculum program. I have also directed
the College Honors and English Honors programs, chaired the English Department, and served as Speaker of the Faculty. I teach first-year composition, rhetoric and public speaking, nineteenth-century American literature and women's literature. I am presently developing courses in Jewish literature.
I received the Exemplar Award from the Conference on College Composition and Communication in 2008. Among recent professional service: President, Rhetoric Society of America, 2004-2006; member, RSA Book Award Committee, 2007; Mina Shaughnessy Prize Committee, 2008-2010 (Chair 2009). I serve on the editorial board of Voices of Democracy: The U. S. Oratory Project, a website project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, presenting authenticated texts, interpretive essays and teaching apparatus for important speeches in American history. Please see www.voicesofdemocracy.com for more information.
current research links religion and rhetoric in various ways. I am interested in women’s rhetoric,
particularly in nineteenth-century America, and co-directed a workshop for the 2009 RSA Institute: "Women, Religion and Social Action, 1820-1940." Also, I received a Masters in Jewish Liberal Studies from Hebrew College in June 2010, and am continuing graduate studies there; I'm interested in Jewish rhetoric (see my work on medieval Jewish-Christian disputation and the civil rights rhetoric of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel).
I have also addressed the question of how the increasing
diversification of academic discourses affects the teaching of writing
to college students; see ALT/DIS, co-edited with Helen Fox and Christopher Schroeder,
and my essay in that volume.