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  • Stephanie Kerschbaum
    Stephanie Kerschbaum
    Associate Professor
    Faculty Success Program Coordinator
    University of Delaware
    Department of English
    320 Memorial Hall
    Newark, DE 19716


    ​Stephanie Kerschbaum (B.A. The Ohio State University, M.A., Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison) conducts research focused on diversity issues and the teaching of writing. She teaches undergraduate courses in the UD Writing program and special topics courses on diversity and higher education. She also teaches graduate seminars in composition theory and pedagogy.​

    Professor Kerschbaum is a 2014-2015 Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellow for the American Association of University Women and will not be holding office hours during the 2014-15 academic year. If you have advising questions, please contact Professor George Miller or Ms. Susan Donley in the English Department Main Office.


  • Ph.D., Composition and Rhetoric, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2005
  • M.A., English, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2000
  • B.A., English, The Ohio State University, 1999

Research Projects 

  • Composing Disabled Faculty
    Kerschbaum, Stephanie
    In collaboration with Margaret Price at Spelman College
    Funded by the CCCC Research Initiative, this project investigates the experiences of disabled faculty in higher-education settings, focusing specifically on the rhetorical event of disability disclosure. We understand disclosure as a multi-layered process constituted through the verbal, visual and temporal interactions of a rhetorical situation, rather than as a one-time, verbal utterance such as “I am disabled.” The way disabled faculty compose themselves and are composed by others is complex, and engages questions that have long occupied scholars with regard to issues of identity and positionality in classrooms and professional exchanges. Despite the apparent obviousness of signs of disability, faculty members must negotiate complex rhetorical positions in which they have to explain—repeatedly and for various purposes and audiences—what their disability means in the workplace, and their students and colleagues will need to learn over time what sorts of gestures and situations may impede this faculty member’s access. Research questions include:
    1. What linguistic, rhetorical, and interactional choices are involved in a faculty member’s disclosure of disability?
    2. In what ways are disabilities perceptible—or not perceptible—to others?
    3. How is disability perceptibility accomplished, avoided and/or negotiated by faculty in various locations?
    4. How does a richer understanding of disability perceptibility productively impact the professional and social environments of higher education? That is, how might policies and/or professional practices adjust in response to a deeper, broader and more nuanced understanding of disability perceptibility?
    [Image Description] The accompanying image is of the redesigned wheelchair logo showing a white stick figure against a blue background. The figure is in a wheelchair leaning forward with their arms at the wheels as if propelling themselves.
  • Broadening UD's Disability Studies Minor: Building Sustainable Interdiscplinary and Cross-College Engagement
    Kerschbaum, Stephanie
    In collaboration with Laura T. Eisenman
    DIST is the largest minor at UD. This project will expand the minor’s current focus to include courses on humanistic disability studies and to build connections with faculty across campus. Two leading disability studies scholars will visit campus in Fall 2015 to consult and deliver public lectures. The image above shows a close up of part of a colorful quilt, dominated by a red hand shape stitched onto colorful background fabric using light purple/blue thread. The same thread was also used to stitch the words “nothing about us without us” onto the palm of the hand. Image credit: Amy Selders.


  • Toward a New Rhetoric of Difference
    Kerschbaum, Stephanie
    Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 2015.

    ​Unlike much current writing studies research, Toward a New Rhetoric of Difference addresses conversations about diversity in higher education, institutional racism, and the teaching of writing by taking a microinteractional look at the ways people define themselves and are defined by others within institutional contexts.

    Focusing on four specific peer review moments in a writing classroom, Stephanie L. Kerschbaum reveals the ways in which students mark themselves and others, as well as how these practices of marking are contextualized within writing programs and the broader institution.

    Kerschbaum’s unique approach provides a detailed analysis of diversity rhetoric and the ways institutions of higher education market diversity in and through student bodies, as well as sociolinguistic analyses of classroom discourse that are coordinated with students’ writing and the moves they make around that writing.

    Each of these analyses is grounded in an approach to difference that understands it to be dynamic, relational, and emergent-in-interaction, a theory developed out of Bakhtin’s ethical scholarship, the author’s lived experience of deafness, and close attention to students’ interactions with one another in the writing classroom.

    Toward a New Rhetoric of Difference enriches the teaching of writing by challenging forms of institutional racism, enabling teachers to critically examine their own positioning and positionality vis-à-vis their students, and highlighting the ways that differences motivate rich relationship building within the classroom.

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