Beth Ann Rothermel

Beth Ann Rothermel

 Beth Ann Rothermel, Professor

  Office: Bates 103
  Phone: (413) 572-5336



A graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a specialization in Rhetoric and Composition, Beth Ann Rothermel joined the faculty at Westfield State University in the fall of 1996.  Among the courses she teaches are Teaching Writing, Ethnography, Speech, English Composition, and Women Writers.  She also supervises student teachers.   She coordinated Westfield’s first-year writing program from 1997 to 2008.  Although much of her recent research focuses on the history of women's rhetorical education in America, she wrote her dissertation on the influence of multiculturalism on mother-tongue instruction in Sweden.  Inspired by her involvement in Brown University’s Project BRITE, which provides support to faculty working with future teachers of English language learners, she is again engaged in research on transnational approaches to teaching writing, especially in multilingual settings.  At Westfield, Professor Rothermel looks for opportunities to incorporate what she has learned through her research into her teaching approaches.  She strives to convince her students of the value of a good argument, stressing that writing and teaching academic writing may be as creative an endeavor as writing and teaching poetry or fiction.  She is also active in the Western Massachusetts Writing Project.

  • Ph.D. in English, The University of Texas at Austin, August 1996
    Concentration:  Rhetoric and Composition
  • M.A. in English, The University of Texas at Austin, 1991
    Concentration:  American Literature and Women’s Studies,  Minor in Education
  • B.A. in English, University of Virginia, 1988
  • High School, Walnut Hill School and School of the Performing Arts. 
    Natick, Massachusetts.  Dance Major, 1983
Courses Taught:
  • English 383 Teaching Writing: Issues in Rhetoric and Composition
  • English 101 English Composition I
  • English 102  English Composition II: Dance, Writing, and Literature
  • English 388  Special Topics in Writing: Ethnography
  • English 326  Women Writers
  • English 631 Special Studies in American Literature: American Women Writers
  • English 103 Speech
Professional Activities:


  • "'A Home for Thought Where Learning Rules': Progressive Era Students and Teacher Identity at a Historic Normal School." In the Archives of Composition: Writing and Rhetoric in High Schools and Normal Schools.  Ed. Lori Ostergaard and Henrietta Rix Wood. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015.
  • "Prophets, Friends, Conversationalists:  Quaker Rhetorical Culture, Women's Commonplace Books, and the Art of Invention, 1775-1840."  Rhetoric Society Quarterly 43:1 (2013):  71-94.
  • “High School Students Make College Connection.”  Connections:  Newsletter of the Western Massachusetts Writing Project 16.2 (Feb 2009).  Co-written with Erin Smith.
  • "‘Our Life’s Work:’  Rhetorical Preparation and Teacher Training at a Massachusetts State Normal School, 1877-1929.”  Local Histories:  Alternative Histories. Ed. Patricia Donahue and Gretchen Moon.  University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007.
  • “Acting Up:  Drama and the Training of Progressive-Era Teachers at Three Massachusetts Normal Schools.”  Advances in the History of Rhetoric, annual publication for the American Society for the History of Rhetoric.
  • “Automated Writing Instruction:  Computer-Assisted or Computer-Driven Pedagogies?” Machine Scoring of Student Essays:  Truth and Consequences.  Ed. Patricia Freitag Ericsson and Richard Haswell.  Logan, Utah:  Utah State U P, 2006.
  • “Public Portals, Catholic Walls:  Teacher Training and the Liberal Arts at Two Western, Massachusetts Colleges for Women in the 1930s, The College of Our Lady of the Elms, and The State Teachers College at Westfield.”  Rhetorical Agendas:  Political, Ethical, Spiritual.  Ed. Patricia Bizzell.  Mahwah, NJ:  Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2006.
  • “A Sphere of Noble Influence:  Gender, Rhetoric, and Influence at a Nineteenth-Century Massachusetts State Normal School.”  Rhetoric Society Quarterly 33.1 (Winter 2003):  35-64.
  • “Salad Bars and Smorgasbords:  The Management of Culture in Sweden and the United States.”  Multicultural Education 5:4 (Summer 1998).
  • “Reading and Writing Culture and Nation:  Theorizing the Teaching of Discourse in Sweden and the United States.”  Spiegel (a Dutch language-arts journal) Jaargang 14:2 (Fall 1996).