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“I can say with no hyperbole that Professor Sharon Crowley is the reason that I do what I do,” said Kirsti Cole, a 2008 graduate of Arizona State University’s doctoral program in English Rhetoric, Composition and Linguistics.
Cole, an Associate Professor at Minnesota State University, pointed to the strong mentorship she received from Crowley, now a Professor Emeritus at ASU, as fundamental to her current success.
“My work in feminist rhetoric and methodologies, women in the discipline, and the path that I've taken in my career thus far are all inspired by Sharon's advice, which was given with a generosity and honesty that I can only hope to pass on to my students,” Cole said.
This past March, Sharon Crowley received the 2015 CCCC Exemplar Award, a national lifetime-achievement honor from the Conference on College Composition and Communication, an arm of the National Council of Teachers of English, which is the leading professional organization of English language arts teaching.
The award recognizes a person “whose years of service as an exemplar for our organization represents the highest ideals of scholarship, teaching and service to the entire profession.”
“Sharon Crowley embodies the true spirit and practice of an exemplar, for she has done nothing less than lead a profound rethinking of our field,” said the CCCC award committee in its statement on the award.
The academic discipline of rhetorical studies examines how people communicate to persuade others or argue a viewpoint. Though many are familiar with what is now termed “political rhetoric” – speech used to win a campaign or influence the electorate – rhetoric is also employed by individuals in their everyday interactions. Rhetoric can be “broadcast” interpersonally or communally, orally or visually, bodily or textually.
Crowley’s ground-breaking scholarship in the field of rhetoric was recognized long before this most recent award. Her book, Toward a Civil Discourse: Rhetoric and Fundamentalism (2006), explored the chasm between liberalism and Christian fundamentalism, closing with her hope that a sympathetic rhetorical means could be used to open dialogue between the two camps.
Professor of English Shirley Rose, who is director of ASU’s Writing Programs, said, “Sharon Crowley has been an exemplar of how to do intellectually rigorous and fearless work that matters in the world and has served as a role model for several generations of scholars in our field, including my own.”
Photo of Sharon Crowley by Tom Story.
Header background image from 1968 or 1969: a demonstration at the ASU Administration office. UP UPC ASUG S886 1960s #1