Stephanie L. Kerschbaum
Winner of 2021 Lisa Ede Mentoring Award
The Lisa Ede Mentoring Award was established in 2015 as a biennial award to recognize an individual or group with a career-record of mentorship, including formal and informal advising of students and colleagues; leadership in campus, professional, and/or local communities; and other activities that align with the overall mission and goals of the Coalition. In the spirit of its namesake, Professor Emerita of English, Lisa Ede, the award was designed to encourage as broad and collective an understanding of “mentoring” as possible. As a career award, it often honors those individual mentors or mentoring teams who demonstrate a breadth, depth, and longevity of mentoring that is guided by a feminist of caring and care.
On behalf of the 2021 Lisa Ede Mentoring Award Committee, I am pleased to announce this year’s winner: Stephanie L. Kerschbaum, Associate Professor of English at the University of Washington in Seattle, and formerly Associate Professor of English at the University of Delaware. While at UD, Stephanie provided stellar feminist mentoring on her campus through leadership of Faculty Success Program cohorts, organization of Write on Site groups and writing retreats, and various workshop facilitations. In 2018, she served as the inaugural Faculty Mentoring Fellow to analyze, improve, and develop resources for faculty mentoring across campus. Stephanie also coordinated funding to support the participation of 12 women faculty of color on the tenure track in Promotion and Tenure Workshops.
Truly Transformative Mentoring
At the national level, she has also influenced how we mentor in the field, through her service as CCCC Executive member and Chair of the CCCC Committee on Disability Issues; and by co-facilitating the “Making a Career in Rhetorical Studies” workshop for two different RSA Summer Institutes. More recently, she has organized online mentoring groups and virtual Write on Site groups, such as the “First Book Club,” which supported faculty composing their first academic monographs. These online opportunities, spanning more than a dozen institutions, exemplify her truly transformative mentoring practice. They signal, as one nominator wrote, how Stephanie creates “sustainable, interdependent networks between thinkers who otherwise might not ever become connected.” Another nominator suggested that, as a close mentor to so many within disability studies specifically, Dr. Kerschbaum might earn an official title of “Disability Rhetoric Field Mentor” for Rhetoric and Composition.
Dr. Kerschbaum is also a leading scholar of disability studies and rhetoric. Her first book, Toward a New Rhetoric of Difference (2014) challenges institutional diversity discourse by examining classroom interactions, marketing of higher education, and her own researcher positionality. She is co-editor of Negotiating Disability: Disclosure and Higher Education (2017) and a Special Issue of Composition Forum on “Doing Composition in the Presence of Disability” and also the author of numerous single-authored and collaboratively authored articles on disability and rhetoric in journals such as Research in the Teaching of English, Disability Studies Quarterly, Rhetoric Review, Kairos, and others. She is, as a third nominator writes, “someone dedicated to the advancement of feminist research and pedagogy through the mentorship of feminist colleagues.”
Mentoring in Invisible Spaces
The Award committee agreed, indicating that Stephanie’s nomination packet left a strong impression. Their conversation around her nomination materials was rich, noting especially her wide-ranging mentoring practice that encompasses people at all career stages, from graduate students to middle-career faculty; that she creates spaces for mentorship that are not egocentric; and that she mentors in ways that would typically be invisibilized by institutional structures.
In a typical year, the Lisa Ede Award would be conferred at the Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference, but in 2021, we look forward to featuring Dr. Kerschbaum in conjunction with one of the Coalition’s “Advancing the Agenda Workshop Series” sessions, which will occur online this fall. Watch for further announcements about this and other sessions!
In addition to congratulating Dr. Kerschbaum on her achievement, we want to acknowledge the following individuals whose mentoring careers were also illuminated and nominated for this award, evidenced by strong supporting letters: Dr. Katrina Powell (Virginia Tech); Dr. Suellynn Duffey (U Missouri-St. Louis); and Dr. Jane Greer (U Missouri-Kansas City).
— Tarez Samra Graban
Awards Chair 2020–2022
and members of the 2021 Lisa Ede Mentoring Award Committee
— Amy Lueck
— Becca Richards
— Kaia Simon
[The image at the top of this post is a head and shoulders photograph of Dr. Stephanie L. Kerschbaum.]