The faculty and staff of the English Department are dedicated to serving Washburn University’s students and larger community through excellence in teaching, innovative scholarship and creative work, and by providing students from diverse backgrounds with critical reading and writing skills for their personal and professional futures.
Dr. Vanessa Steinroetter
Associate Professor & Chair
Morgan Hall, Room 237A
Mr. Michael Vollbrecht
Senior Administrative Assistant
Karen L. Barron, Lecturer
Morgan Hall, Room 131
MFA, Fiction, Bennington College; B.A., Kansas State University.
Specialties: Fiction, belles lettres, women's literature, creative non-fiction, poetry. View faculty profile
Melanie Burdick, Associate Professor and Director of C-TEL
Morgan Hall, Room 204
Ph.D., University of Kansas; M.A., University of Missouri-Kansas City
Specialties: Teaching of writing in high school and college; relationship and overlap of creative and academic forms of writing; preparation of secondary English teachers; composition and rhetoric; service learning. View faculty profile
Erin Chamberlain, Assistant Professor
Morgan Hall, Room 235
Ph.D., Purdue University; M.A., Ohio University; B.A., Hanover College
Specialties: Romantic and Victorian literature, especially the fiction of Charles Dickens, the Brontë sisters and George Eliot; portrayals of servants, women, class, space, and working class literacy in 19th-century British literature. View faculty profile
Liz Derrington, Lecturer
Morgan Hall, Room 232
M.F.A., University of New Mexico; B.A., Boston University.
Specialties: Creative writing (fiction and nonfiction), composition, women’s literature, Queer literature, and popular culture. View faculty profile
Dennis Etzel, Jr., Lecturer
Morgan Hall, Room 236A
MFA, University of Kansas; M.A., Kansas State University
Specialties: Experimental/conceptual poetry and poetics, feminist poetry and poetics, poetry as survival, political American poetry, ancient and contemporary mythology. View faculty profile
Morgan Hall, Room 115
Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago; MFA, University of Alabama; MA, University of Tennessee; BA, Kent State University
Specialties: Fiction writing, playwriting, screenwriting, creative nonfiction writing, absurdist fiction, postmodern fiction, cult films, film noir, neo-noir. View faculty profile
Karalyn Kendall-Morwick, Assistant Professor
Morgan Hall, Room 231
Ph.D., Indiana University Bloomington; M.A., Indiana University Bloomington; B.A., St. Olaf College.
Specialties: 20th-century British and American literature, transatlantic modernism, animal studies, environmental studies, literature and science, queer and gender studies, postcolonial and critical race studies. View faculty profile
Louise Krug, Assistant Professor
Morgan Hall, Room 132
Ph.D., University of Kansas; MFA, University of Kansas; B.A., University of Kansas.
Specialties: Memoir, essay, experimental forms of nonfiction, hybrid forms of fiction/nonfiction. View faculty profile
Eric McHenry, Assistant Professor
Morgan Hall, Room 113
M.A., Boston University; B.A., Beloit College
Specialties: Contemporary poetry in English, poetry in translation, literary criticism, literary journalism. View faculty profile
Mary Sheldon, Associate Professor
Morgan Hall, Room 111
Ph.D., Purdue University; M.A. and B.A., Gannon College
Specialties: World literature, Buddhism in Asian Literature, liberation theology in Latin American literature, business writing. View faculty profile
Bradley Siebert, Assistant Professor
Morgan Hall, Room 117
Ph.D., University of Arizona; M.A., University of Arizona; B.A., Bethel College
Specialties: Composition theory and pedagogy, rhetorical theory and ethics, religious rhetoric. View faculty profile
Vanessa Steinroetter, Associate Professor and Department Chair
Morgan Hall, Room 237A
Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln; M.A., Catholic University of Eichstaett, Germany
Specialties: Nineteenth-century American literature and print culture, especially of the antebellum era and Civil War; periodical literature; book history; women's literature; American ethnic literature; transatlantic literary studies and translation studies. View faculty profile
Danny Wade, Associate Professor
Morgan Hall, Room 114
Ph.D., University of Oklahoma; M.Ed. and B.S., University of Oklahoma
Specialties: English education, the teaching of poetry, adolescent literacy, trends and issues in young adult literature, and the preparation of elementary and secondary writing teachers, fictional research writing. View faculty profile
Muffy Walter, Assistant Professor
Morgan Hall, Room 112
Ph.D, University of Missouri, Kansas City; MA, University of Missouri, Kansas City; BA, University of Kansas
Specialties: Rhetoric and composition, disability studies, memoirs/life writing, feminist rhetoric, composition pedagogy. View faculty profile
Morgan Hall, Room 134
MFA, University of New Mexico; B.A., Washburn University
Specialties: Creative writing (poetry and fiction), composition, the graphic novel, literature and film, poetics, speculative fiction, gender studies. View faculty profile
Morgan Hall, Room 133
Ph.D., Arizona State University; M.A., Clemson University; B.A., Virginia Tech University
Specialties: Shakespeare, Renaissance Drama, Digital Media Studies, Digital Humanities, Performance Studies, Early British Literature. View faculty profile
David Weed, Lecturer
Morgan Hall, Room 233
Ph.D., Syracuse University; M.A. and B.S., University of Kansas.
Specialties: Eighteenth-century literature and culture, composition and composition theory, literary and critical theory, gender and sexuality theory, history of the novel. View faculty profile
Corey Zwikstra, Associate Professor
Morgan Hall, Room 116
Ph.D., University of Notre Dame; M.A., University of Notre Dame; B.A., University of Alberta, Canada.
Specialties: Old English poetry, Middle English (esp. Chaucer), medievalism, Old Norse language and literature, English linguistics, book history, authorship, genre and canon. View faculty profile
Thomas Fox Averill
Specialties: Fiction, essay, poetry on various topics; food studies, garden literature, Scotland and Scottish culture, Kansas literature and culture.
Specialties: English Education.
Specialties: British Renaissance literature, especially Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Donne in historical contexts; the connection between concealment and creativity; women’s spheres of influence and authority as rulers, writers, and patrons.
Specialties: Creative writing (poetry and nonfiction), contemporary American literature.
Specialties: Modern novel and short story, especially the fiction of Joseph Conrad.
Specialties: Medieval Studies.
J. Karen Ray
Specialties: Restoration and Eighteenth-Century British drama; Kansas history and literature.
Specialties: Fantasy and science-fiction literature and film, Modern British Literature, Nineteenth-century American Literature, Advanced Composition--Business Writing Emphasis, and Individualized Instruction (Tutoring & supervising tutors).
Karen was employed from 1993 to 2017, and during her tenure provided administrative assistance to the Kinesiology Department, and the Center for Learning and Student Success, in addition to her time in the English Department.
Specialties: Chair, Honors Dean, Victorian Studies.
Specialties: American Literature, Nature Writing.