Robert Morris University
Educational BackgroundPh.D., Writing, University of Pennsylvania, 1989Master of Arts, English, University of Pittsburgh, 1983Bachelor of Arts, English, Oral Roberts University, 1982
Professional Background2015 - present: Coordinator of Innovative Teaching, RMU's CITADEL2014: Fulbright Core Scholar Teacher and Researcher, University of Exeter, United Kingdom2013 - 2014: Coordinator of Secondary English and Communication Education, Robert Morris University. 2003 - 2007: Coordinator of Secondary English and Communication Education, Robert Morris University.2000 - 2003: Coordinator of Communication Skills I - V, Robert Morris University.1996 - 1997: Assistant Professor of English and Director of Writing, Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA. 1993 - 1996: Assistant Professor of English, Malone College, Canton, OH. 1990: Instructor of English, University of Maryland, Comiso, Italy branch campus.
Area of Expertise/Research
My latest research examines the poetry and history of the First World War, and I write weekly posts on "Behind Their Lines" (hosted on blogger), sharing my research on the lost voices of First World War poetry.
My research publications have focused on various ways in which language shapes identity, including studies of Pittsburghers' perceptions of the Pittsburgh dialect, white students' resistance to the study of multicultural literature, linguistic responses used in reacting to and coping with computer crashes, and the language of love that Starbucks Corporation uses to appeal to consumers in their advertising.
Publications"Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: Dialect, Race, and Identity in Stockett's novel The Help." Forthcoming. Journal of Popular Culture. "Software Validation and Verification." (2013). Grant awarded by National Science Foundation. Language Editor, co-authored with Sushil Acharya, Peter Wu, Greg Holdan, and Allen Lias. "I'm Complicated, Just like Feminisms: A Black and White Feminist Working It Out." (April 2013). The Feminist Wire. Co-authored with Heidi Freeman. "On-line literature: the challenge of integrating web-based materials." (June 2012). Changing English 19.2, 195-207. "The Passion of Punctuation." (2012). A theory and practice examination of punctuation conventions published by the National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Assocation on the web site ReadWriteThink."Unfinished business: the development of on-line resources for the study of English by British Library Learning." (2012). English Quarterly 43.1/2, 89 -100. Co-authored with Julie Blake, Tim Shortis, Marena Perkins, and Melissa Potts. "A Community of Mentors for Pre-service Teachers." (2011). NCTE ReadWriteThink (on-line publication). "Academic Reviews for the Pittsburgh Speaker Series." (2011 - 2012). Classical WQED FM (on-line). Reviews of presentations by Ron Chernow, Michelle Rhee, Michael Pollan, Azar Nafisi, Stanley McChrystal, Tom Brokaw. "Preschool Teacher Communication Skills Project." (2010 - 2012). Key contributor to $100,000 grant designed to research and improve communication skills of early childhood educators so as to support children's kindergarten readiness skills. "Academic Reviews for the Pittsburgh Speaker Series." (2010 - 2011). Classical WQED FM (on-line). Reviews of presentations by Thomas Friedman, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ben Carson, Mark Shields, Charles Krauthammer, Karl Rove and Howard Dean. "Choose Wisely." (2011). Allegheny County Library Summer Reading (on-line publication). "Computers, Coffee Shops, and Classrooms: Promoting Partnerships and Fostering Authentic Discussion." (May 2010). English Journal 99.5, 61-66.“A Tour of the Archive: Connie Ruzich.” (2010). One of thirteen published poetry tours on The Poetry Archive website (other published tours include those written by comedian Stephen Fry, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the poet laureate of Great Britain). “Eether, Eyether, Neether, Nyther: Accent Shifting and Authenticity.” (2010). Essay appearing in Barbarians at the Gate: Studies in Language Attitudes, Cambridge Scholars Press. “Predatory Lending and the Devouring of the American Dream” (June 2009). Journal of American Culture 32:2, 137 – 145. “Our Deepest Sympathy: An Essay on Computer Crashes, Grief, and Loss.” (2008). Journal of Interaction Studies 9:3, 504 - 517 . (Special issue “Misuse and Abuse of Interactive Technologies.”) “For the Love of Joe: The Language of Starbucks.” (2008). The Journal of Popular Culture 41:3, 428 – 442.“Standard English needs taught n’at: Students’ attitudes toward language and linguistics.” (2007). Chapter in edited, peer-reviewed collection of scholarly essays on connections between English and Education disciplines: Blurring Boundaries: Developing Writers, Researchers and Teachers. Peggy O’Neill (Ed.). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.“A Rhetoric of roads: Their eyes were watching God as pastoral.” (Spring 2004). Interdisciplinary Literary Studies: A Journal of Criticism and Theory 5.2: 16 – 28. (Co-authored with A.J. Grant.)Communications Between Cultures, 5th ed. (2004). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.Contributing author: wrote all InfoTrac College Edition research activities for each chapter of the text. “The Challenges of Negation in Searches and Queries.” (2003). The Review of Business Information Systems 7.4, 63 – 75. Co-authored with Valerie Harvey, Jeanne Baugh, Bruce Johnston and A.J. Grant."The corporate colonization of higher education: Consumer metaphors and faculty identity." (2002/2003). The Pennsylvania Communication Association Annual Vol. LVIII/Vol. LVIX. (Co-authored with Kim Phipps.) “Constructing learning communities, building relationships.” (Fall 2002). International Journal of Innovative Higher Education 16: 25 – 28. (Co-authored with A.J. Grant.)“Constructing learning communities, building relationships.” (Fall 2002). International Journal of Innovative Higher Education 16: 25 – 28. (Co-authored with A.J. Grant)“Bridges to lifelong learning: The ‘we’ in the ivory tower.” (2001). Proceedings of the International Council for Innovation in Higher Education. Toronto, ON. Student Workbook for Verderber’s The Challenge of Effective Speaking. (2000). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.“White students’ resistance to multicultural literature: Breaking the sullen silence.” (1999). Teaching English in the Two Year College 26.3: 299-303.
Presentations2013 - "World War I in language and literature: Commemoration and innovation." Three-hour workshop presented at National Association of Teachers of English (NATE) annual conference: Stratford upon Avon, UK. 2012 - "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: Enregisterment and Identity in The Help. American Culture Conference: Boston, MA. 2011 - "Reviving the Romantics: Connecting Texts of the Past with Readers of the Future." National Council of Teachers of English: Chicago, IL. 2011 - "'I would build that dome in air': Innocent and Experienced visions of websites, teaching, and learning." National Association for the Teaching of English: London, England. 2010 - On-air WQED radio academic reviewer for the Pittsburgh Speaker Series: Thomas Friedman, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ben Carson, Greg Mortensen, David Brooks, Mia Farrow, Robert Reich. 2009 - On-air WQED radio academic reviewer for the Pittsburgh Speaker Series: Laura Bush, Jean-Michel Costeau, Pervez Musharraf, David McCullough, Jane Goodall, Bob Woodward, Anna Quindlan. 2009 - "Virtual Communities and Vigorous Questions," panel presentation "Stop the Summer Slide." National Council of Teachers of English, Philadelphia, PA. 2009 - "Stop the Summer Slide: Strategies for Motivating Summer Readers." National Association of Teachers of English, Hinckley, Leicestershire. 2009 - "Designing Curricula to Address Aliteracy." College English Association, Pittsburgh, PA. 2008 - On-air WQED radio academic reviewer for the Pittsburgh Speaker Series: Garrison Keillor, Paul Rusesabaginga, Steve Forbes, The Capitol Steps, Frank McCourt, Salman Rushdie, Madeleine Albright. 2008 - "Asking Good Questions and Motivating Non-Readers," panel presentation "Downshift into Summer: Reading Goes on Vacation." National Council of Teachers of English. San Antonio, TX. 2008 - "Predatory Lending: A Metaphorical Analysis of Bloody Maws and the Devouring of the American Dream." American Culture Conference, San Francisco, CA. 2007 - On-air WQED radio academic reviewer for the Pittsburgh Speaker Series: Christiane Amanpour, George Will, Aron Ralston, Ari Fleischer, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Michael Medved, Paul Bremer.
2007 - "I Know What You Did Last Summer," panel presentation "Off the Map: Motivating Summer Reading." National Council of Teachers of English, New York, New York. 2007 - "Eether, Eyether, Neether, Nyther: Accent shifting and authenticity." American Culture Conference, Boston, MA. 2006 - On-air WQED radio academic reviewer for the Pittsburgh Speaker Series: Colin Powell, James Lovell, Nora Ephron, Christine Todd Whitman, Mark Russell, Robert Ballard, John Major. 2006 - "The Thrill is Gone: Assessing Summer Reading," panel presentation "To Everything there is a Season: The Challenges and Rewards of Summer Reading."
National Council of Teachers of English, Nashville, TN. 2006 - "With Deepest Sympathy: Understanding Computer Crashes, Grief, and Loss." International Computer Human Interaction (CHI) Convention, Montreal, Canada. 2005 - On-air WQED radio academic reviewer for the Pittsburgh Speaker Series: Robert Redford, Bill Moyers, Beck Weathers, Dave Barry, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Frank Abagnale, Ehud Barak. 2005 - "In Deepest Sympathy: Grief, Loss, and Computer Crashes." American Culture Conference, San Diego, CA.2005 - "Using Technologies to Motivate Summer Reading," panel presentation "Summer Reading Challenges: Selection, Setbacks, Censorship." National Council of Teachers of English, Pittsburgh, PA. 2004 - On-air WQED radio academic reviewer for the Pittsburgh Speaker Series: Mary Higgins Clark, Henry Kissinger, David McCullough, David Gergen, Cokie Roberts. 2004 - "Wooing Conflicted Consumers: Language, Love and Starbucks Coffee." Pennsylvania Communications Association, Sewickley, PA. 2004 - "For the Love of Joe: The Language of Starbucks." American Culture Conference, San Antonio, TX.
2003 - On-air WQED radio academic reviewer for the Pittsburgh Speaker Series: Amy Tan, Elie Wiesel. 2003 - "A knapsack of privilege or cultural baggage: White double consciousness." Thirty-fourth Annual Writers Workshop Conference Celebrating the Centennial of W.E.B. DuBois' The Souls of Black Folk. Sponsored by the Georgia Humanities Council and Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA.2002 - "The Privilege Walk: Minority Literatures and the American Dream." National Council of Teachers of English, Atlanta, GA. 2002 - "The Corporate Colonization of Higher Education: Consumer Metaphors and Faculty Identity." American Culture Association, Toronto, Canada. 2001 - "Bridges to Lifelong Learning: The 'We' in the Ivory Tower." International Council for Innovation in Higher Education, Rome, Italy. 2001 - "Begging for God: The Language of Panhandlers and Faith." American Culture Association, Philadelphia, PA. 2000 - "Standard English Needs Taught N'at: Pittsburgh Students' Attitudes Towards Language and Linguistics." American Culture Association, New Orleans, LA.
Schedule of CoursesSchedule Book for All Active and Available Future Terms, Connie
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