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Prof. Shannon Brennan named new director of writing development

  • Shannon Brennan


David Steege

July 11, 2019

I am pleased to announce that Shannon Brennan, assistant professor of English, is our new director of writing development. A Carthage faculty member since 2016, Prof. Brennan earned her bachelor’s degrees in English and theater from the University of Maryland, her master’s in English from Fordham University, and her Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Prof. Brennan is highly qualified to be the director of writing development, having taken two years of graduate course work in writing pedagogy and co-taught graduate courses and graduate workshops in that field.

In addition, she served as an advisory board member of the composition studies branch of Bedford/St. Martin’s. Her research in writing pedagogy has included discipline-specific and institution-centered research on the relationship between writing and academic subject areas, as well as on students’ understanding of disciplinary “threshold concepts” in relation to writing, which she has presented at the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the UC Writing Conference, and the International Writing Across the Curriculum Conference.

Prof. Brennan writes that her aim as director of writing development “is to support faculty as they work to make our students stronger, more enlightened, more strategic writers. The definition of ‘good writing’ isn’t stable. The conventions that make for an effective grant proposal are different from those that make for a good literary analysis; different from those that make for an effective internal memo, or company mission statement, or lab report. These differences reflect our disparate methods, values, and epistemologies. Thus, teaching writing is a way of helping students to understand our disciplines; it’s deeply connected to practice (and, thus, to content). As director of writing development, this is what I see as the foundational way that we can approach writing together. I’m looking forward to supporting faculty as they develop time-efficient methods for helping our students to develop as writers, thinkers, and practitioners of our various areas of study, allowing them to become more knowledgeable and effective communicators in every area of their lives.”

I also want to thank the outgoing director of writing development, Professor Rick Matthews, for his long and exceptional service in that role. He facilitated the implementation of our current Writing Intensive program, provided leadership to the Writing Across the Curriculum Committee, planned and helped lead trainings for faculty so that they could teach Writing Intensive sections, and brought in a truly distinguished series of writing pedagogy experts for our annual writing workshop in August.

If you have questions for Shannon, please don’t hesitate to contact her at And if you see her, congratulate her on her new position!

David Steege
Senior Associate Provost