Below is a list of CWS alumni's dissertations, complete with dissertation titles, mention of chairs and committee members, and dates of defense.

CWS has print dissertations—defended through 2015—available to check out in our office (English Building 288). We stopped printing hard copies of dissertations in the following years, but all dissertation work listed below is available online through IDEALS.


Carrie Lynn James

A Journey of Becoming: Tracing Preservice English Teachers' Practice (Sarah McCarthey, Chair; Paul Prior; Mary Kalantzis; Michael Tissenbaum) April 2023


Logan Middleton

Literacy, Pedagogy, and Prisons: Tracing Power in Higher Education in Prison Contexts (Peter Mortensen, Chair; Josue D. CIsnero; Carolyn Wisniewski; Erin Castro) April 2022

Ryan Ware

Dialogic Tracings of Lifespan Literate Activity and/on Trajectories of Semiotic (Un)Becoming (Paul Prior, Chair; Lindsay R. Russell; Michele Koven; Kevin Roozen) July 2022


Paul Beilstein

Basic Writing Without Basic Writers (Kelly Ritter, Chair; Paul Prior; Anne Dyson; Christie Toth) May 2021

María Paz Carvajal Regidor

"I'll find a way to make my voice heard": Transformational Literacies of Latinx Students (Paul Prior, Chair; Kelly Ritter; Lindsay Rose Russell; Mark Pacheco) May 2021

Lisa Chason

Second Language Academic Writing: What's the Target? (Cameron McCarthey, Chair; Catherine Prendergast; Pradeep Dhillon; Randall Sadler) May 2021

Allison Kranek

From Dorm Room to Classroom: Writing Center and Writing Program Partnerships with Residence Halls (Kelly Ritter, Chair; Carolyn Wisniewski; Paul Prior; Peter Mortensen; Douglas Hesse, University of Denver) May 2021

Rashid Robinson

Learning On-Demand: Massive Open Online Courses and the Privatization of the Educational Experience (Christopher Higgins, Chair; James D. Anderson; Yoon Pak; Peter Mortensen) December 2021 

Niki Turnipseed

Supporting Liberatory Literate Praxis Across Disciplines and Institutions (Paul Prior, Chair; Anne Dyson; Peter Mortensen; Maisha Winn, University of California Davis) May 2021

Autumn West

Storytelling as an Epistemic Framework for Composers of Social Justice Education (Sarah McCarthey, Chair; Paul Prior; Liora Bresler; Monica Ybarra Gonzalez) May 2021


Chelsea Catt

Incarcerated Writers Search for Narrative Connections Beyond Prison Walls in Hope of Writing a More Humane and Just World (Karla Möller, Chair; Sarah McCarthey; Catherine Prendergast; Rebecca Ginsburg) December 2020

Evin Groundwater

The Divergent Archive and Androcentric Counterpublics: Public Rhetorics, Memory, and Archives (Kelly Ritter, Chair; Peter Mortensen; John Gallagher; Jessica Enoch) May 2020

Annie Kelvie

Rearticulating Religious Rhetoric: Literate Activity and Semiotic Remediation in Progressive Churches (Paul Prior, Chair; Kelly Ritter; Lindsay Rose Russell; Mary Juzwik) May 2020


Sarah Durst

Disciplinarity and Literate Activity: Tracing Pathways of Becoming, Writing, and Practice (Paul Prior, Chair; Anne Haas Dyson; Liora Bresler; Robb Lindgren) May 2019

Melissa Forbes

Architecture and the Record: Negotiating Feminism in the Jezebel Comments (Peter Mortensen, Chair; Gail Hawisher; Lindsay Rose Russell; Dànielle Nicole DeVoss) June 2019


Dominique Clayton

Language, Race, and Space: What It Means to be a Speaker of African American English in Higher Education Spaces (Adrienne Dixson, Chair; Anne Dyson; Bernice Barnett; Catherine Prendergast) April 2018


Amanda Cash

A Considerable Distance: The Role of Writing Studies in Online Learning at Community Colleges (Gail Hawisher, Chair; Peter Mortensen; Paul Prior; Burks Oakley) May 2017

Scott Filkins

Understanding the Transition from High School to College for Eight Student Writers (Mark Dressman, Chair; Sarah McCarthey; Chris Mayo; Catherine Prendergast) May 2017

Katherine Flowers

Local Language Policy: Shifting Scales in the English-Only Movement (Paul Prior, Chair; Dennis Baron; Spencer Schaffner; Michele Koven) May 2017

Katrina Kennett

Experienced Teachers' Planning Practices: Orienting, Inventing, and Envisioning (Sarah McCarthey, Chair; Paul Prior; Liora Bresler; Emma Mercier) July 2017

Jennifer Ann (Jenn) Raskauskas

"We gotta put our name on it": Second and Third Grade Writers' Negotiations of Authorship and Ownerships (Anne Dyson, Chair; Catherine Prendergast; Patrick Smith; Addrienne Lo) August 2017

Pamela Saunders

Navigating 'Normal': The Writing Lives of Students on the Spectrum (Catherine Prendergast, Chair; Cara Finnegan; Lindsay Rose Russell; Melanie Yergeau) May 2017

Maggie Shelledy

Against Social Death: Rhetorical Resilience at the Intersection of Higher Education and the Prison (Spencer Schaffner, Chair; Paul Prior; Rebecca Ginsburg; Kate Viera) July 2017

Kaia Simon

Rewriting Hmong Womanhood: Literacy that Mediates Borders (Catherine Prendergast, Chair; Susan Koshy; Eric Darnell Pritchard; John Duffy) May 2017


Yu-Kyung Kang

English—Only When Necessary: Literacy Practices of Korean Undergraduate Students at a 'Global' University (Paul Prior, Chair; Gail Hawisher; Peter Mortensen; Nancy Abelmann) May 2016

Thomas McNamara

Dreams and Disappointments: Chinese Undergraduates and Investment in the US Writing Classroom (Cathy Prendergast, Chair; Kelly Ritter; Susan Koshy; Nancy Abelman; Soo Ankwon) May 2016


Alexandra Cavallaro

The Curriculum of Coming Out: Queer Pedagogies, Literacies, and Rhetorics in LGBTQ Lives (Peter Mortensen, Chair; Richard Rodriguez; Gail Hawisher; Kate Vieira) May 2015

Eileen Lagman

Literacy Remains: Learning and Loss in the Brain Drain of Filipino Migrant Labor (Cathy Prendergast, Chair; Martin Manalansan; Mary Arends-Kuenning; Kate Vieira) May 2015

Kaitlin Marks-Dubbs

Recruiting Composition: Examining the Social Relations in Promoting Text Circulation (Paul Prior, Chair; Gail Hawisher; Spencer Schaffner; Peter Mortensen) June 2015

Jonathan Stone

Listening to the Lomax Archive: The Sonic Rhetorics of American Vernacular Music in the 1930s (Peter Mortensen & Spencer Schaffner, Co-Chairs; Cara Finnegan; Ned O'Gorman) May 2015


Sonia Kline

Offline Mediators Online: Writing Activity in Two Middle School Classes (Sarah McCarthey, Chair; William Cope; Jennifer Greene; Paul Prior) August 2014

Ligia Mihut

"Stories from Our People": Immigrants, Brokers, and Literacy as Affinity (Catherine J. Prendergast, Chair; Anne Haas Dyson; Keith Hitchins; Kate Vieira) May 2014

Andrea Olinger

Styling Academic Discourse: A Sociocultural Account of Writing Styles Across Disciplines (Paul Prior, Chair; Peter Mortensen; Gail Hawisher; Michele Koven) May 2014

Julia Smith

"My Makyng Thow Wryte More Trewe": Rhetorical Chorus in Medieval and Digital Spaces (Martin Camargo, Chair; Dennis Baron; Ned O'Gorman; Spencer Schaffner; Bonnie Mak) October, 2014


Vanessa Isabel Rouillon Calderon

Reconfiguring Racial Uplift: Church-Sponsored African American Rhetorical Work in the Early Twentieth Century (Catherine Prendergast & Peter Mortensen, Co-Chairs; Alice Deck; Gesa Kirsch) June 2013

Heather Blain Vorhies

A Physiological Definition of Style: Science, Religion, and Women's Writings in the Early American Republic (Peter Mortensen, Chair; Ted Underwood; Bob Markley; Ned O'Gorman) January 2013

Rebecca Woodard

"Writing Teachers Must Write": Tracing Trajectories of Teacher Participation Across Professional and Everyday Practices (Sarah McCarthey, Chair; Anne Haas Dyson; Paul Prior; Kevin Roozen) June 2013


Jessica Bannon

Capitalizing on Literacy: Federal Adult Education Policy in the 20th Century (Peter Mortensen, Chair; Cathy Prendergast; Paul Prior; Kate Vieira) March 2012

Lauren Marshall Bowen

Rewriting the Aging Body: Literacy, Technology and History (Peter Mortensen, Chair; Paul Prior; Gail Hawisher; Melissa Littlefield) April 2012

Amber Buck

Life, Learning, and Literacy on the Social Network: Digital Participatory Culture (Gail Hawisher, Chair; Paul Prior; Spencer Schaffner; Lisa Nakamura) April 2012

Michael Burns

The Rhetorics of Community Space: Critical Events in Champaign-Urbana's Black Freedom Movement (Cathy Prendergast, Chair; Peter Mortensen; Rebecca Ginsburg; Clarence Lang) December 2012

Amelia Herb

Disciplinary Discourse: Explicating Rhetorical and Sociolinguistic Networks in the Archive and Library (Peter Mortensen, Chair; Gail Hawisher; Janet Keller; Kathryn Labarre) December 2012

Cory Holding

Rhetorical Gestures in British Elocutionism (Debbie Hawhee, Chair; Gail Hawisher; Paul Prior; Rick Powers; Ted Underwood) July 2012

Martha Webber

Crafting Citizens: Material Rhetoric, Cultural Intermediaries, and the Amazwi Abesifazane South African National Quilt Project (Peter Mortensen, Chair; Catherine Prendergast; Spencer Schaffner; Mimi Thi Nguyen) December 2012


Hannah Bellwoar

Sociocultural Studies of Biomedicine and Healthcare in Everyday Literate Lifeworlds (Paul Prior, Chair; Peter Mortensen; Debra Hawhee; Melissa Littlefield) May 2011

Patrick Berry

Beyond Hope: Rhetorics of Mobility, Possibility, and Literacy (Peter Mortensen, Chair; Gail Hawisher; Paul Prior; Cathy Prendergast; Anne Dyson) April 2011

Rebecca Bilbro

Engineering Literacy: The Practice of Discipline (Paul Prior, Chair; Spencer Schaffner; Dale Bauer; Robert Markley) June 2011

Samantha Looker

Enacting and Interrogating the 'Academic' in Undergraduate Language and Literacy Practices (Paul Prior, Chair; Gail Hawisher; Spencer Schaffner; Sarah McCarthey) March 2011


Young-Kyung Min

Culture, Cognition, and Context: Situated Literacy Practices of L1 and L2 Writing Programs (Paul Prior, Chair; Sarah McCarthey; Fred Davidson; Gail Hawisher) May 2010

Christa Olson

Constitutive Visions: Indigeneity, Visual Culture, and the Rhetorics of Ecuadorian National Identity (Debra Hawhee & Ralph Cintron, Co-Chairs; Peter Mortensen; Cara Finnegan; Amalia Pallares) May 2010. Winner of the 2011 RSA Dissertation Award

Nicole Walls

Where Language is Made: Language Planning at the Intersections of National and International Literacy and Language Work (Catherine Prendergast, Chair; Peter Mortensen; Dennis Baron; Cameron McCarthy) May 2010


Steven Fraiberg

English, Israel, and Globalization: A Sociohistoric Study on Language and Cultural Shift (Paul Prior, Chair; Gail Hawisher; Michele Koven; Ralph Cintron) October 2009

Melissa Tombro

Performance Studies and the Reinvention of "I" in Composition: Moving Myself Beyond a Textual Model (Debra Hawhee, Chair; Spencer Schaffner; Julia Walker; Norman Denzin) December 2009


Marcia Buell

The Interplay of Voice, Identity, and Response Among Five EAL University Writers (Paul Prior, Chair; Gail Hawisher; Sarah McCarthey; Peter Mortensen) May 2008

Kory Ching

Out of the Shadows: Rethinking Response Through the Instructor-Led Peer Conference (Paul Prior, Chair; Gail Hawisher; Peter Mortensen; Sarah McCarthey) May 2008

Carrie Lamanna

Disciplining Identities: Feminism, New Media, and 21st Century Research Practices (Gail Hawisher, Chair; Paul Prior; Nan Elizabeth Googin; Ramona Curry) December 2008

Derek Van Ittersum

Reassembling Writing Technologies: Historical and Situated Studies of Rhetorical Activity (Gail Hawisher, Chair; Paul Prior; Chip Bruce; Peter Mortensen) August 2008


Elizabeth Baldridge

Medicalized Illiteracies: Learning Disabilities, Contentious Histories, and Writing Studies (Peter Mortensen, Chair; Gail Hawisher; Spencer Schaffner; Cathy Prendergast) May 2007

Katherine Gossett

From Manuscript to Multimedia: Illuminating Memory and Re[image]ning Composition (Gail Hawisher & Martin Camargo, Co-Chairs; Anne Hedeman; Joseph Squier; Joyce Walker) August 2007

Kim Hensley Owens

Rhetorical Labor: Writing, Childbirth and the Internet (Debbie Hawhee & Peter Mortensen, Co-Chairs; Gail Hawisher; Cathy Prendergast; Leslie Reagan) May 2007

John Hudson

Silent Readers, Silenced Readers: LGBT Student Perceptions of LGBT Representation in Composition Readers (Peter Mortensen, Chair; Gail Hawisher; Cathy Prendergast; Cheryl Cole) May 2007

Janine Solberg

Pretty Typewriters: Gender, Technology, and Literacy in Career Advice Literature for Women (Peter Mortensen & Gail Hawisher, Co-Chairs; Paul Prior; Debbie Hawhee) May 2007

Amy Wan

Producing Good Citizens: Literacy and Citizenship Training in Anxious Times (Peter Mortensen, Chair; Gail Hawisher; Paul Prior; Debbie Hawhee) May 2007.


Sunday Cummins

Examining the Complexities of "Kidwatching" in a Context for Teacher Inquiry (Sarah McCarthey, Chair; Karla Moller; Bonnie Armbruster; Janet Gaffney) December 2006

James P. Purdy

Digital Archives and the Turn to Design (Gail E. Hawisher, Chair; Cara Finnegan; Debra Hawhee; Peter Mortensen) May 2006


Lance M. Massey

Using Complexity Theory to Investigate Disciplinarity: A Historical, Theoretical, and Ethical Inquiry into Composition’s Ethical Turn (Peter Mortensen, Chair; Debbie Hawhee; Cathy Prendergast; Gail Hawisher) May 2005

Kevin Roozen

Mapping Critical Connections: Tracing Undergraduates’ Literate Lives (Gail Hawisher, Chair; Paul Prior; Peter Mortensen; Catherine Prendergast) May 2005

Jody Shipka

Remediating Rhetoric and Composition: An Activity-Based Multimodal Framework for Composing (Paul Prior, Chair; Gail Hawisher; Peter Mortensen; Geoffrey Sirc) May 2005


Steven J. Lamos

Sponsoring Educational Opportunity: Race, Racism, and Writing Instruction at the University of Illinois (Cathy Prendergast, Chair; Paul Prior; Robert Jimenez; Laurence Parker) May 2004

Faye Spencer-Maor

Lifting Word by Word: Ideologies of Literacy, Education and Feminism in the Rhetoric of Two Nineteenth Century African-American Women (Gail Hawisher, Chair; Chester Fontenot; Cathy Prendergast; Peter Mortensen) May 2004


Tom Lugo

Working-Class Black Male First-Year Writers and Their Composition Teaching Assistants: Negotiating Power and Authority in the Basic Writing Classroom (Gail Hawisher, Chair; Emily Watts; Jim Hurt; Chester Fontenot, Jr.) May 2003

Karen J. Lunsford

Distributed Argumentative Activity: Redefining Arguments and Their Re-Mediation from a Sociohistoric Perspective (Paul Prior, Chair; Peter Mortensen; Gail Hawisher; Chip Bruce) May 2003

Joyce R. Walker

Standing at the End of a Road: Death and the Construction of Cyborg Relationships (Gail Hawisher, Chair; Joseph Squier; Andrea Press; Catherine Prendergast) May 2003


Elizabeth E. Rohan

Imagined Communions: One Woman's Spiritual Journey (Gail Hawisher, Chair; Peter Mortenson; Paul Prior; Bill Kelleher) July 2002

Jo Williamson

Teachers as Change Mediators in Educational Reform (Chip Bruce, Chair; Liora Bresler; James Levin; Paul Prior) October 2002


Kimberly K. Gunter

Queering Composition and Identity: Moving Beyond Inclusion in Composition Classrooms and the Field (Paul Prior, Chair; Amanda Anderson; Ann Blakeslee; Gail Hawisher; Peter Mortensen) May 2001


Mary P. Sheridan

Discourse and Subjectivity in the GirlZone: How Literate Activities Construct a Community Organization (Paul Prior, Chair; Gail E. Hawisher; Cathy Prendergast; Amanda Anderson) August 2000

Gregory Waddoups

Deploying Identities in E-Worlds: K-12 Teachers Extending, Adopting, and Defending Their Practitioner Identities (Jim Levin, Chair; Gail Hawisher; Jacquetta Hill; Sandra Levin) May 2000


Maureen Hogan

What is C.A.R.E.? The Birth and Identity Formation of an Alternative Public Middle School (Chip Bruce, Chair; Cameron McCarthy; Paul Prior) December 1999

Kevin Leander

Classroom Discourse, Identity, and the Production of Social Space (Chip Bruce, Chair; Jim Wertsch; Peggy Miller; Paul Prior) May 1999


Kerry Ose

The Educational Experiences of Evangelical College Students: An Ethnographic of Pedagogy, Literacy and Learning (Dennis Baron, Chair; Greg Colomb; Chip Bruce) May 1998

Patricia Webb

Computing Cultures:Information Technologies and Narratives of Self (Gail Hawisher, Chair; Paul Prior; Amanda Anderson) May 1998


Caroline Cole

Woman, Feminist, Lesbian: Negotiated Identities in Working With Man Made Academic Discourse Conventions (Cheris Kramarae, Chair; Gail Hawisher; Ann Blakeslee) May 1997

Kathy Evans

Teacher Response to Student Writing: Communication, Context & Pedagogy (Greg Colomb, Chair; Gail Hawisher; Paul Prior) October 1997

Guy Moyer

The Practical Application of Bakhtin & Related Theory to Language Education (Clifford Christians, Chair; Bertram Bruce; Bonnie Armbruster) May 1997

Joyce Simutis

Toward a Writing Theory of Transition (Gail Hawisher & Greg Colomb, Co-Chairs; Paul Prior; Ann Blakeslee) October 1997


Philip Eubanks

A War of Words in the Discourse of Trade: A Case Study of Metaphor (Greg Colomb, Chair; Nina Baym; Dennis Baron; Paul Prior) October 1996

Sibylle Gruber

Contextualizing Nontraditional Students' Appropriation of Virtuality and Reality (Gail Hawisher, Chair; Alice Deck; George Hendrick) October 1996


Mary Hocks

Technotropes of Liberation: Reading Hypertext in the Age of Theory (Robert Parker & Gail Hawisher, Co-Chairs; Greg Colomb; S. Star) October 1994