Kelly Ritter

Profile picture for Kelly Ritter

Contact Information

2090 Lincoln Hall

Office Hours

By appointment


Kelly Ritter is Associate Dean of Curricula and Academic Policy and Professor of English and Writing Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. From 2013 to 2017, she was Director of the Undergraduate Rhetoric Program, and in 2014-2015, was also Interim Director of the Center for Writing Studies. Ritter also served as editor of College English, a flagship journal of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), from 2012 to 2017.

Research Interests

My research focuses on archival histories of composition pedagogy and writing programs, in particular how these histories reveal patterns of social stratification in literacy education and schooling that persist today. Hear me talk about aspects of this work on Backstory with the American History Guys, on this CCCC podcast, and in this Studies in Writing and Rhetoric interview.


Ph.D. in English, University of Illinois at Chicago (1997)
M.F.A. in English/Poetry, University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop (1994)
B.A. in English and Communication Studies, University of Iowa (1991)

Courses Taught

  • English 593: Rhetoric Proseminar
  • English 582: Historiographies of Writing
  • English 583: Writing Program Administration

Additional Campus Affiliations

Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Highlighted Publications

Beyond Fitting In: Rethinking First-Gen Writing and Literacy Education. Kelly Ritter, Ed. Under contract with
Modern Language Association (MLA), anticipated publication Spring 2021.

Reframing the Subject: Postwar Instructional Film and Class-Conscious Literacies. Pittsburgh, PA: University
of Pittsburgh Press, 2015. 353 pp.  

To Know Her Own History: Writing at the Woman’s College, 1943-1963. Pittsburgh, PA: University of
Pittsburgh Press, 2012. 256 pp. 

Who Owns School? Authority, Students, and Online Discourse. New Dimensions in Computers and
Composition Series. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2010. 212 pp.

Before Shaughnessy: Basic Writing at Yale and Harvard, 1920-1960. CCCC Studies in Writing and Rhetoric
Series. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 2009. 192 pp.

Recent Publications

Landmark Essays in Writing Program Administration. Kelly Ritter and Melissa Ianetta, Eds. New York:
Routledge, 2019. 356 pp. 

“Making (Collective) Memory Public: WPA Histories in Dialogue.” WPA: Writing Program Administration
41.2 (2018): 35-64.

“With ‘Increased Dignity and Importance’: Re-Historicizing Charles Roberts and the Illinois Decision of 1955.”
College Composition and Communication 69.3 (2018): 458-93.

“A Question of Mimetics: Graduate Student Writing Courses and the New ‘Basic’.” Economies of Writing:
Revaluations in Rhetoric and Composition
Bruce Horner, Susan Ryan, and Brice Nordquist, Eds. Logan, UT:
Utah State University Press, 2017. 112-30.

“Journal Editors in the Archives: Reportage as Microhistory.” Microhistories of Composition. Bruce
McComiskey, Ed. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 2016. 90-115.