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Chancellors Club Teaching Professor expands reach through blog

Professor Amy Devitt

Amy Devitt, professor of English, has taught writing, rhetoric and English language studies at the University of Kansas for over 30 years. As a Chancellors Club Teaching Professor, she says it is an honor that her teaching and research are appreciated by supporters of the university.

Professor Amy Devitt

“The Chancellors Club Teaching Professorship has contributed to my staying at KU as long as I have, both through its financial benefit and its proof that teaching has long mattered here.”

Devitt’s passion for teaching stems from her enjoyment of working with students and sharing her perspective in order to help them see new things. “I love working with students who are discovering new perspectives on the world — first-year college students, first-time graduate teaching assistants, graduate students discovering their own research areas.”

Devitt sees her blog, Genre-Colored Glasses, as an opportunity to share knowledge outside of the academic community. It started as a way for her to practice writing for a wider audience. “The Department of English and KU have been supportive of my desire to reach outside the university, through permitting me time for giving seminars at workplaces and universities around the world and through recognizing my blog as important scholarly work.”

Devitt set out to write once a week for a total of six months in order to establish the habit and improve her writing in what she refers to in her blog as her ‘public adventure.’ “When six months passed, I didn’t even notice it. I just kept going.”

The blog focuses on the different genres of writing — from literature to greeting cards to Twitter profiles to jury instructions — and their effects on how people read and write. “I’ll take current events, something that’s going on right now, and see it through Genre-Colored Glasses.”

Devitt believes that the study and implementation of language in our daily lives is crucial to our interaction with the world. “Language shapes the way we see the world or the way other people see us. If we don’t pay attention to the words that we use, then the words are manipulating us, and we don’t even notice that.”

Devitt received her bachelor’s in English from Trinity University in 1977; master’s in English Literature and Composition at the University of Kansas in 1979; and doctorate in English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan in 1982. She has published four books: Writing Genres, Scenes of Writing: Strategies for Composing with Genres, co-authored with Mary Jo Reiff and Anis Bawarshi, Standardizing Written English: Diffusion in the Case of Scotland 1520-1659, and Landmark Essays in Rhetorical Genre Studies, co-edited with Carolyn R. Miller. You can visit her blog at

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