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Lois Agnew Awarded the Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award

The Writing Program is pleased to announce that Lois Agnew has been awarded the Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award by the Graduate School at Syracuse University.

The Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award honors faculty members whose dedication to graduate students and commitment to excellence in graduate mentoring have made a significant contribution to graduate education at Syracuse University. Award recipients will be honored at an April 28 reception from 4:00-5:30 in the Goldstein Alumni Faculty Center.

The nominating letters show that CCR graduate students are impressed by Agnew's intellectual engagement of them in graduate seminars, by her timely written feedback on their drafts and seminar papers (she responds often within days to long seminar papers and dissertation chapters) and by her unfailing commitment to them in all walks of their lives as scholars and future faculty members.

A scholar of 18th century British rhetorics, Agnew offers thoughtfully planned, absolutely crucial graduate seminars in rhetorical histories and theories. She is truly a "jack of all rhetorical trades," covering many of our pivotal rhetorical theory and historical rhetoric classes. Since joining our faculty in 2004 she has regularly taught our graduate seminar in modern receptions of Ancient Rhetorics, a pivotal anchor course in our curriculum that informs students of the classical roots of rhetoric in the Greco-Roman tradition while emphasizing how ancient rhetorics are appropriated and remixed in the 20th and 21st century. She also has worked very hard to include revisionist texts and contexts in this course—texts that challenge the geopolitical positioning of Greece and Rome as the birthplace of rhetoric; she has introduced other cultural contexts and traditions along with the voices of women rhetors challenging the rhetorical tradition. More recently, she oversaw the revision of this course for our core curriculum, and she has contributed graduate seminars in 18th/19th century rhetorics and also in the social histories of rhetorics.

Composition and Cultural Rhetoric students Candace Epps-Robertson, Justin Lewis, Amber Luce, and Zosha Stuckey nominated Agnew; excerpts from their letters illuminate their appreciation for her teaching and mentoring:

As my dissertation chair, she has been nothing less than spectacular. Dr. Agnew reviewed and read several versions of my prospectus draft, always offering feedback on both the writing and ideas. She is a listener and responder with sublime skill . . . . Dr. Agnew’s responses to my writing have helped me become both a better writer and thinker. She is a patient reader who offers thoughtful, critical responses to my writing. (Candace Epps-Robertson)

I can say in all sincerity that Dr. Agnew deserves the Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award because she contributes in all of the ways the committee has encouraged applicants to demonstrate mastery: she provides a supportive environment for graduate students, she is a superior model of conduct in terms of professional, administrative and scholarly roles, she continually enhances her students academic and professional skills, she is a invaluable sponsor into our discipline and scholarly community, she guides students in any and all matters that they inquire about, she helps students achieve professional success and superb employment, and finally, she is one of the most effective mentors in our field. (Amber Luce)

By drawing out explicit relationships between composing practices and ancient rhetorical theory Lois provided me with a new approach to my own teaching practice—an approach grounded in the contextual, contingent nature of literacy across disparate spatial-temporal sites of engagement . . . . Lois has been instrumental in my own professionalization and her admirable ability to connect rhetorical theory to teaching practice continues to influence my own, as well as my fellow graduate students, teaching philosophies. (Justin Lewis)

Her reputation precedes her, I believe, because she is one of the hardest working teachers and mentors at the university and because she is one of the most organized, sincere, dedicated, and intellectually challenging teacher-scholars . . . . She is funny, challenging, and fully engaged in person and in writing . . . . She has offered me a model to emulate in that she is kind and gracious but also demanding and rigorous; honestly, I owe much of who I have become in the last five years to her. (Zosha Stuckey)

Other CCR faculty who have received the Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award in past years include Collin Brooke, Margaret Himley, and Eileen Schell.