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Joint PhD Program in English and Education

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Anne Ruggles Gere, Co-Chair

Anne Ruggles Gere holds an appointment in the Department of English as well as in the School of Education, and she is co-chair of the Joint PhD Program in English and Education. Her research interests include literacy, composition studies, and teacher education. She regularly teaches courses on composition studies and methods of teaching English, and her current project is a book about the literacy practices of Native American women who taught in boarding schools at the turn of the last century. She has served as President of the National Council of Teachers of English and as Chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication. A graduate of the program she now serves, Gere was on the faculty of the University of Washington from 1975-1987. You can learn more about Anne by visiting her Web site at http://www.sitemaker.umich.edu/argere/home .

Anne Ruggles Gere's office is located in room 4204E SEB or 1310 North Quad and can be reached by phone at (734) 647-2529, or by e-mail at argere@umich.edu

Anne Curzan, Co-Chair

Anne L. Curzan holds an appointmentin the Department of English. She also has faculty appointments in the Department of Linguistics and the School of Education. Professor Curzan currently serves as Director of the English Department Writing Program and Co-Director of the Joint Ph.D. Program in English and Education. She received the University's Henry Russel Award for 2007, as well as an Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship. Professor Curzan's research interests include the history of English, language and gender, corpus linguistics, historical sociolinguistics, pedagogy, and lexicography. In addition to her teaching, research, and administrative posts in the English Department, Professor Curzan is co-editor of the Journal of English Linguistics. She and her co-author Lisa Damour also run T.A. training workshops around the country.

Professor Curzan's expertise includes:

Primary Interests:

History of English, language and gender, corpus linguistics, historical sociolinguistics, lexicography, pedagogy

Secondary Interest:

Composition and Rhetoric, Old and Middle English language and literature

For her professional profile, vita, course syllabi, and publications, please refer to her website located at http://www-personal.umich.edu/~acurzan/.

Other faculty closely associate to the Joint Program are:

Chandra Alston

Barry Fishman

David Gold

June Howard

Scott Lyons

Elizabeth Moje

Alisse Portnoy

Mary Schleppegrell

Meg Sweeney

Melanie Yergeau


JPEE at the University of Michigan gives you many opportunities to work with faculty members who are leaders in English and Education.

Students have opportunities to participate in research projects with faculty in both the School of Education and the Sweetland Center for Writing.  Currently students are working on the following:

Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of First Year Writing:  Working with some 5000 essays written by entering first-year students at the University, this study employs both qualitative move analysis and corpus linguistics to identify language features that characterize the writing of more and less successful students.

Policy Research:  Students help to produce the Research Briefs that appear in the Council Chronicle published quarterly by the National Council of Teachers of English.

Assessment of Writing:  Directed self-placement, an assessment of writing currently employed at the University, is the subject of multiple studies of undergraduates’ development as writers as well as transfer from high school to college writing.

The iterative development of modules to support teachers' engagement in exploring language and meaning in text with English language learners. Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

In the research for their dissertations, students typically integrate methods and perspectives from both English and education, as the following titles and descriptions of dissertations indicate.

David Brown - Curricular Approaches to Linguistic Diversity: Code-Switching, Register-Shifting and Academic Language
Chair: Anne Curzan
David’s doctoral research addresses the need for implementable models of curricula informed by linguistic knowledge and research. The project was carried out in a high school in the Washington, D.C. area. Almost all of the participating school’s students spoke nonstandard varieties of English in their homes and communities—and most were struggling with academic language, particularly in their writing. The dissertation, first, describes the process of creating a language curriculum designed to increase teachers’ and students’ awareness of the logic and systematicity of nonstandard and standard varieties of English and aims to develop students’ facility with academic written English by having them explore some of the linguistic features that are privileged in the kinds of texts they are frequently asked to produce in school. The study evidences important changes in the metalinguistic awareness of the teacher and her students—development that can promote students’ academic achievement. The study’s attention to students’ language use and the language expectations of teachers and schools has implications for linguists, educators and compositionists interested in developing language and grammar curricular materials—whether those materials are designed for nonstandard English speakers, English Language Learners or a more general population.

Jill Lamberton - Claiming an Education: The Transatlantic Performance and Circulation of Intellectual Identities in College Women's Writing, 1870-1900
Co-Chairs:  Yopi Prins and Anne Ruggles Gere
This dissertation surveys nine different archives of late nineteenth-century college women’s writing to illuminate the significant role that student writing played in establishing women’s university education on both sides of the Atlantic.  More than we have previously understood, college students' writing was *the* forum for circulating methods of securing access to, and succeeding in, the elite higher education newly opened to women.  In letters, diaries, campus-based magazines, and writing published in popular nineteenth-century periodicals, college women continuously discussed what it meant to be an educated woman in the late nineteenth century--how the college-educated woman was received in her family and in her old social circles after college; what effects her public behavior and academic performance had on the future of women’s higher education; and what social responsibilities were implicit in her privileged study.  When we look closely at the rich variety of writing that college women circulated, we see that they were savvy rhetorical agents, constituting their own intellectual identities through language, and collaborating to claim an education through persuasive performances of their own intellectual abilities.

Jennifer Buehler - Words Matter: The Role of Discourse in Creating, Sustaining, and Changing School Culture 
Chair: Lesley A. Rex
This three-year ethnographic study analyzes how “toxic” school culture was produced through interactions among staff members at Centerville High School, an under-resourced high school where I conducted fieldwork from 2004-2007.  Using discourse analysis, I examine adults’ competing beliefs about low-income and minority students, and I analyze how differences in belief immobilized the staff.  Against this backdrop, I trace the attempts of one small group of teacher-leaders to change their discourse interactions as they grappled with difficult questions about race and class in the context of school reform.  This study shows that the widespread helplessness and frustration which plagued Centerville staff members developed in part because adults were unwilling to talk publicly about the dilemmas that shaped their work.  When staff members admitted what they did not know about teaching low-income and minority students, they opened up a productive space for exploring the challenges of work in urban and under-resourced settings.

James Edward Beitler III - Rhetorics of Interdependence: Composing the Ethos of the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Chair: Anne Ruggles Gere
This dissertation explores the rhetorical performances surrounding the operation of the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission in order to demonstrate how its members and advocates attempted to establish authority to carry out the Commission’s mandate and legitimate its claims about killings that took place in Greensboro, North Carolina on November 3rd, 1979. The study argues that they did so, in part, by drawing upon the rhetorical traditions circulating within the field of transitional justice. These traditions provided rhetorical resources that the Commission’s members and advocates reaccentuated in their own performances to construct the Commission’s ethos. The dissertation also attests to the role that performances of ethos play in positioning individuals and constituting community, highlights how the field of transitional justice is developing in the United States, and suggests ways that truth commissions may be implemented more effectively in the future.

Students' Publications and Research

2013-JPEE Publications

Dimensions and Directions (newsletter)


Dept. of English Language and Literature

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