Elizabeth Wardle

Roger and Joyce Howe Distinguished Professor of Written Communication
Director, Howe Center for Writing Excellence

King 133


  • PhD, Rhetoric and Professional Communication, Iowa State University, 2003
  • MA, English, University of Louisville
  • BA, Philosophy, University of Louisville

Research Interests

  • transfer
  • threshold concepts
  • first year writing as writing studies
  • writing program administration
  • composition theory
  • genre theory
  • activity theory
  • writing across the curriculum 
  • faculty development

Selected Publications


  • Changing Conceptions, Changing Practices: Threshold Concepts and Innovative Learning Across the Disciplines. With Ann Updike, Caitlin Martin, Angela Glotfelter, and Mandy Olejnik. Under advanced contract, Fall 2020.
  • Adler-kassner, Linda and Elizabeth Wardle. (Re)Considering What We Know: Learning Thresholds in Writing, Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy. Utah State University Press, 2019.
  • Rita Malenczyk, Susan Miller-Cochran, Elizabeth Wardle, and Kathleen Blake Yancey. Composition, Rhetoric, and Disciplinarity. Utah State University Press, 2018.
  • Adler-Kassner, Linda, and Elizabeth Wardle, eds. Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies. Utah State University Press, 2015. Winner, WPA Outstanding Contribution to the Discipline award. 
  • Wardle, Elizabeth and Doug Downs. Writing About Writing: A College Reader. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. Second edition, January 2014. Third edition, October 2016. Fourth Edition, 2019.

Articles and Chapters

“‘Something Invisible… Has Been Made Visible for Me’: An Expertise-Based WAC Seminar Model Grounded in Theory and (Cross) Disciplinary Dialogue.” With Angela Glotfelter and Ann Updike. In Diverse Approaches to Teaching, Learning, and Writing Across the Curriculum: IWAC at 25. Lesley Bartlett, Sandra Tarabochia, Andrea Olinger, and Margaret Marshall, eds. WAC Clearinghouse, 2020. 167-92.

“Naming What We Know (In Writing Studies): Engaging Troublesome Trends in Educational Policy and Practice.” Threshold Concepts on the Edge. Ray Land, and Julie Rattray, eds. Sense Publishers, 2019. 313-26

Using a Threshold Concepts Framework to Facilitate an Expertise-Based WAC Model for Faculty Development. In (re)Considering What We Know: Learning Thresholds in Writing, Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, eds. Utah State University Press, 2019. 297-312.

“Recognizing the Limits of Threshold Concept Theory.” With Linda Adler-Kassner, Jonathan Alexander, Norbert Elliot, James Hammond, Mya Poe, Jacqueline Rhodes, and Anne-Marie Womack. In (re)Considering What We Know: Learning Thresholds in Writing, Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, eds. Utah State University Press, 2019. 15-35.

“Building a Twenty-First-Century Feminist Ethos: Three Dialogues for WPAs.” Michelle LaFrance and Elizabeth Wardle, eds. WPA: Writing Program Administration 42.2 (2019): 13-36.

“Teaching and Learning Threshold Concepts in a Writing Major: Liminality, Dispositions, and Program Design.” With Mikael Romo and R. Mark Hall. Composition Forum, Spring 2018.  

“Understanding the Nature of Disciplinarity in Terms of Composition’s Values.” With Doug Downs. In Composition, Rhetoric, and Disciplinarity. Utah State University Press, 2018. 

“You Can Learn to ‘Write in General.” Bad Ideas about Writing. Cheryl Ball and Drew Lowe, eds. Fall 2017.

"‘The Hardest Thing With Writing is Not Getting Enough Instruction’: Helping Educators Guide Students Through Writing Challenges.” With Nicolette Mercer Clement. Understanding Writing Transfer and Its Implications for Higher Education. Jessie Moore and Randy Bass, eds. Stylus: January 2017. 131-143.

“What Are Threshold Concepts (And Why Are They Useful for Writing Programs)?” With Linda Adler-Kassner. A Rhetoric for Writing Program Administrators, 2nd ed. Rita Malenczyk, ed. Parlor Press, 2016. 64-77.

Wardle, Elizabeth and Nicolette Clement Mercer. "Double Binds and Consequential Transitions: Considering Matters of Identity During Moments of Rhetorical Challenge." Critical Transitions: Writing and the Question of Transfer. Jessie Moore and Chris Anson, eds. Parlor Press/WAC Clearinghouse (Perspectives on Writing Series), 2016. 163-181.

Wardle, Elizabeth and J. Blake Scott. "Defining and Developing Expertise in a Writing and Rhetoric Department." WPA: Writing Program Administration, 2015. 72-93. 

Scott, J. Blake and Elizabeth Wardle. "Using Threshold Concepts to Inform Writing and Rhetoric Undergraduate Majors: The UCF Experiment." Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, eds. Utah State University Press, 2015. 122-139.

"Easing the Transitions: Finding Ways to Work in Solidarity Across the High School/College Divide." Crosspol 1.1 (Fall 2014). 1-10. http://www.crosspol-journal.com/ 

"Considering What It Means to Teach ‘Composition’ in the 21st Century." College Composition and Communication 65.4 (2014): 659-71. 

Wardle, Elizabeth and Doug Downs. "Looking Into Writing about Writing Classrooms." In First-Year Composition: From Theory to Practice. Deborah Coxwell Teague and Ron Lunsford, eds. Parlor Press, 2014. 276-320.

"What is Transfer?" A Rhetoric for Writing Program Administrators. Rita Malenczyk, ed. Parlor Press, 2013. 143-155.

"Reflecting Back and Looking Forward: Revisiting ‘Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions’ Five Years On." Composition Forum 27 (2013). http://compositionforum.com/issue/27/reflecting-back.php

"Creative Repurposing for Expansive Learning: Considering ‘Problem-Exploring’ and ‘Answer-Getting’ Dispositions in Individuals and Fields." Composition Forum 26 (2012). http://compositionforum.com/issue/26/creative-repurposing.php"

Wardle, Elizabeth and Doug Downs. “Reimagining the Nature of FYC: Trends in Writing-about-Writing Pedagogies." Exploring Composition Studies: Sites, Issues, and Perspectives. Kelly Ritter and Paul Kei Matsuda, eds. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 2012: 123-44. 

Wardle, Elizabeth and Kevin Roozen. "Addressing Multiple Dimensions of Writing Development: Toward an Ecological Model of Assessment." Assessing Writing 17.2 (2012): 106-19.

Editorial Positions

  • Founding Series Editor, Writing Research, Pedagogy, and Policy Series. Southern Illinois University Press. January 2017-present.
  • Retrospective Editor, Composition Forum. 2013-present. 

Grants and Awards


  • Miami University Distinguished Scholar Award, 2020.
  • Council of Writing Program Administrator’s Outstanding Contribution to the Discipline Award, July 2016, for Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies.
  • NCTE 2006 Best Article of the Year in Teaching of Technical and Scientific Communication for “Building Context: Using Activity Theory to Teach About Genre in Multi-Major Professional Communication Courses.” With Donna Kain. Technical Communication Quarterly 14.1. (2005): 113-139.
  • Iowa State University Distinguished Alumni Award. October 25, 2012. 
  • University of Central Florida Teaching Incentive Program (TIP) Award. August 2012. 
  • University of Central Florida Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) Award. August 2012.


  • Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA) Research Grant. “Affordances, Constraints, and Roadblocks to Writing Transfer: A Longitudinal Study.” With Stacey Pigg, Angela Rounsaville, Mark Hall, and Kevin Roozen. March 2012-March 2013.
  • Next Generation Learning Challenge Grant. “UCF/AASCU—Expanding Blended Learning Through the Creation of a Blended Learning Toolkit and Example Blended Courseware to be Widely Distributed Nationwide.” $250,000. With Thomas Cavanagh (UCF Assistant Vice President, Distributed Learning), George Mehaffy (AASCU Vice President for Academic Leadership and Change), Deborah Weaver, and Tammy Mughs. May 2011-May 2012. 
  • Elon/AAC&U Research Seminar on Writing and the Question of Transfer. 2011-2013. Competitive two-year research seminar with travel support. 

Work in Progress

Writing Expertise: A Research-Based Approach to Writing and Learning Across Disciplines. With Linda Adler-Kassner. Under advanced contract with WAC Clearinghouse, Summer 2021.