Deborah Rossen-Knill Headshot

Deborah Rossen-Knill, MFA, PhD

  • Professor
  • Executive Director, Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program

PhD, University of Minnesota

Office Location
G-122NC Rush Rhees Library
(585) 273-3583

Office Hours: By appointment

Curriculum Vitae


Deborah Rossen-Knill is the founding and executive director of the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program. She earned an M.F.A. in fiction writing from the University of Michigan, a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science at the University of Pennsylvania, and worked as a technical, professional, and freelance writer. Her articles have appeared in such journals as Poetics, The Journal of Pragmatics, The Journal of Basic Writing, WPA: Writing Program Administration, Language and Literature, and Journal of Teaching Writing. She has co-authored several books on different topics including writing pedagogy, flow in writing, and grammar. Her teaching and research focus on writing, writing pedagogy, and more generally, on describing and explaining how communication works.

Selected Honors, Fellowships, and Professional Activities

  • “Flow and the Principle of Relevance: Bringing Our Dynamic Speaking Knowledge to Writing,” selected for publication in The Best of Independent Rhetoric and Composition Journals 2011, edited by Stephen Parks, Parlor Press (2013): 209-232.
  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Teaching Writing
  • College Teaching and Learning Technology Roundtable Grant, Co-Investigator Ted Pawlicki, 2010
  • The Goergen Award for Curricular Achievement in Undergraduate Education: Program Award to the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program, 2001
  • Chair, Special Interest Group on Language, Linguistics, and Writing, Conference on College Composition and Communication, 2009-2013

Courses Offered (subject to change)

  • WRTG 251:  The Playful Sentence

Selected Publications


  • Rossen-Knill, Deborah F. and Rei R. Noguchi. Grammar and the Teaching of Writing: An Updated and Integrated Approach. Urbana: NCTE, in production.
  • Rossen-Knill, Deborah F., Katherine Schaefer, Matthew Bayne, Whitney Gegg-Harrison, Dev Crasta, and Alessandra Dimauro. A Multidisciplinary Investigation into Flow in Writing. New York: Routledge, 2024.
  • Paraskevas, Cornelia C. and Deborah F Rossen-Knill.  A Guidebook to Academic Writing: Communicating in the Disciplines. New York: Routledge, 2024.
  • Rossen-Knill, Deborah and Tanya Bakhmetyeva. Including Students in Academic Conversations: Principles and Strategies of Theme-Based Writing Courses across the Disciplines. New York: Hampton, 2011.


  • Rossen-Knill, Deborah. "Refining the Given-New Expectation for Classroom Use: A Lesson in the Importance of Audience." Journal of Teaching Writing 28.1 (2013): 21-51.
  • Rossen-Knill, Deborah. "Flow and the Principle of Relevance: Bringing Our Dynamic Speaking Knowledge to Writing." Journal of Teaching Writing 26.1 (2011): 39-67.
  • Rossen-Knill, Deborah. “How dialogue creates opposite characters: An analysis of Arthur & George.” Language and Literature 20.1 (2011): 43-58.
  • Bedore, Pam and Deborah Rossen-Knill. “Informed Self-Placement: Is a Choice Offered a Choice Received?” WPA: Journal of the Council of Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program Administrators, Fall (2004): 55-78.
  • Rossen-Knill, Deborah and Kim Lynch. “A Method for Describing Basic Writers and Their Writing: Lessons from a Pilot Study.” Journal of Basic Writing 19.2 (2000): 93-123.
  • Rossen-Knill, Deborah. “Creating and Manipulating Fictional Worlds: A Taxonomy of Dialogue in Fiction.” Journal of Literary Semantics. XXVIII/1 (1999): 20-45.
  • Rossen-Knill, Deborah, and Richard Henry. "The Pragmatics of Verbal Parody." Journal of Pragmatics 27(1997): 719-759.
  • Rossen-Knill, Deborah. "A Pragmatics for Literary Interpretation." Poetics: Journal for Empirical Research on Literature, The Media and The Arts 22 (1994): 423-445.