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About Kathleen F. McConnell

Kathleen F. McConnell is currently an Associate Professor of Rhetorical Studies in the Department of Communication Studies San José State University.
She teaches communication theory, rhetorical criticism, writing, and gender studies, and is the course coordinator for COMM 100W: Writing for Influence and COMM 41: Critical Decision Making. Her courses, all of which build skills in writing and argumentation, are a good match for students interested in public policy work, social advocacy, cultural criticism, and education.
Her scholarship explores the relationship between universities and invention. Joining others who have conceptualized higher education as a rhetorical practice, she extends an analogy between the rhetorical situation and the university to show how educational institutions prompt us to think in terms of situations and help us to practice situated invention. Arguing by analogy, she critiques the reform efforts underway that threaten to consolidate resources at fewer institutions and erase differences between schools. Those efforts promise to dull the situational properties of universities and will deepen educational inequities by reducing the number of students who have the opportunity to navigate the uncertainties and impermanency of situated invention.
She writes about the university and invention in the essay, “Imbalances and Inequities: The Structure of Inquiry and Its Place in Rhetorical Studies,” (Rhetoric Society Quarterly, 2015), and the essay "In Appreciation of the Kind of Rhetoric We Learn in School," (Quarterly Journal of Speech, 2010). Her book in progress, Nothing Beyond Us But Ocean: Invention at the Edges of Higher Education, is an ethnographic study of invention at two regional public universities.
In a second project, she draws on a queer ethics to re-imagine the professional conventions that govern academic life. The project began with the essay “Connective Tissue, Critical Ties: Academic Collaboration as a Form and Ethics of Kinship” (Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, 2012), and continues in an essay-in-progress about the ethics of academic publishing.
This year she is serving as Chair of the Rhetoric and Public Address Interest Group for the Western States Communication Association 2016 Convention.
Ph.D., Rhetoric and Public Culture, Indiana University (2008)
M.A., Popular Culture, Bowling Green State University (2003)
B.A., The Evergreen State College (1997)


Present Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies, San Jose State University

Curriculum Vitae



2015 - 2016 Curriculum Development related tot he General Education Pathways Initiative
SanJose State University
2013 College of Social Sciences Research Fellowship
San Jose State University
2011 California State University Research Fellowship
San Jose State University
2007 Dissertation Year Research Fellowship
College of Arts and Sciences and Robert H. Ferrell Endowed Fellowship, Indiana University
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Professional Service and Affiliations

2018 - Present Representative-at-Large, Legislative Assembly, Western States Communication Association
2017 - Present Member, National Communication Association Community College Task Force
2012 - Present Member, Western States Communication Association
2004 - Present Member, National Communication Association
2018 Member, Rhetoric Society of America
2016 Editorial Board, Communication Teacher
2015 - 2016 Chair, Rhetoric and Public Address Interest Group, Western States Communication Association
2015 - 2016 Committee member, WSCA Teaching Award
2014 Reviewer, Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture
2014 Reviewer, Rhetoric Society Quarterly
2014 Reviewer, Western Journal of Communication
2006 - 2014 Member, Rhetoric Society of America
2008 Editorial Assistant, Quarterly Journal of Speech
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Honors and Awards

  • Distinguished Alumni Lecture, Department of English, Indiana University, October 12, 2017
  • Virginia La Follette Gunderson Award for paper: “Notions of Freedom, Responsibility, and the Role of Race in High School Protest Rhetoric.” American Studies Program, Indiana University, 2004


  • COMM 41: Critical Decision-Making
  • COMM 100W: Writing Workshop


2008 Ph.D., Indiana University Bloomington ‐ Rhetoric and Public Culture, Department of Communication and Culture
2003 M.A., Bowling Green State University ‐ Popular Culture
1997 B.A, Evergreen State College

Contact Information


Books (1)

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles (8)

Invited Articles and Edited Volumes (7)

Book Reviews (1)