Deborah Rossen-Knill Headshot

Deborah Rossen-Knill, MFA, PhD

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

PhD, University of Minnesota

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

Office Hours: By appointment

Curriculum Vitae


Deborah Rossen-Knill is the founding director of the Writing, Speaking, and Argument Program at the University of Rochester. She teaches writing and pedagogy courses, and studies real and fictional texts, drawing on work in linguistics, philosophy of language, literary studies, cognitive science, and composition. Her early research focuses on describing and explaining dialogue in fiction, verbal parody, and interactions around yes-no questions in natural language. More recently, she has brought knowledge from linguistics and dialogue studies to her interest in writing program administration and writing instruction. Her work in these areas focuses on the function of student input in writing placement conversations, the identification of dialogically-based principles of academic writing and corresponding teaching strategies, and rhetorical grammar.

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)

  • WRT 245:  Advanced Writing and Peer Tutoring
  • WRT 571:  Writing Pedagogy
  • WRT 572:  Practicum in the Teaching of Writing

Selected Publications

  • 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 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. “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.