Kelly Ritter

School Chair, Professor of Writing and Communication

Member Of:
  • School of Literature, Media, and Communication
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Kelly Ritter’s scholarship focuses on archival histories of U.S. writing programs and pedagogies, and cultural-historical conceptions of social class and literacy education. Her books are Before Shaughnessy: Basic Writing at Yale and Harvard, 1920-1960 (NCTE/SIU Press, 2009), Who Owns School? Authority, Students, and Online Discourse (Hampton Press, 2010), To Know Her Own History: Writing at the Woman's College, 1943-1963 (U of Pittsburgh Press, 2012) and Reframing the Subject: Postwar Instructional Film and Class-Conscious Literacies (U of Pittsburgh Press, 2015). She is also the author of numerous articles and chapters, and editor or co-editor of four collections, including Beyond Fitting In: Rethinking First-Generation Writing and Literacy Education (Modern Language Association, 2023). She is past editor (2012-2017) of College English, a flagship journal of the National Council of Teachers of English.

Prior to coming to Georgia Tech, Ritter was LAS Alumni Distinguished Professorial Scholar, Professor of English and Writing Studies, and Interim Head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She also served there as Associate Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences (2017-2021), Provost Fellow for Undergraduate Education (2016-2017), Interim Director of the Center for Writing Studies (2014-2015), and Director of the Undergraduate Rhetoric Program (2013-2017). Before her appointment at Illinois, Ritter was faculty and writing program director at UNC-Greensboro (2008-2013) and Southern Connecticut State University (2000-2008). Beyond these institutional roles, Ritter has been a Faculty Fellow in the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) Leadership Program (2018-2019), and a fellow in the Presidential Executive Leadership Program (PELP) for the UI System (2021-2022).

  • Ph.D. in English, University of Illinois-Chicago
  • M.F.A in Creative Writing (Poetry), Iowa Writers’ Workshop
  • B.A. in English and Communication Studies, University of Iowa


  • LMC-4500: Seminar in Film Studies

Recent Publications


Internet Publications