Erik Ellis has been teaching for the Program in Writing and Rhetoric since 2011. He holds a BA from Beloit College, an MA in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder, an MFA in creative writing from New York University, and a Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English from the University of Arizona.

Erik's PWR 1 course, “Prowling Toward Certainty: Exploration as Argument,” challenges students to research and write about controversial issues about which they feel ambivalent. Students get to practice writing as a way of thinking—an authentic, exciting quest for meaning that values intellectual discovery over formulas.

Students in Erik's PWR 2 course, “Once Upon a Cause: Producing Picture Books for Local Children,” not only analyze picture books and write essays about them but collaborate closely with a group of classmates to create an original, compelling, and educationally appropriate picture book for children at Lucille M. Nixon Elementary (a short bike ride from campus). During a series of field trips to the school, the kids offer inspiration and constructive criticism to PWR 2 students as they develop and revise their picture books, which also reflect individual research projects. Needless to say, Erik loves picture books and considers this multimodal genre not only fun--though not always--but rhetorically sophisticated and powerful. You can read a Stanford News story about the PWR 2 picture book project here:

Erik has written about style, the essay, the multimedia essay, and is currently working on a project about picture books.

Academic Appointments

  • PWR Advanced Lecturer, Writing and Rhetoric Studies

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

SPECIALIZATION: Multimodal Composition, Visual Rhetoric, The Essay, Style, Picture Books

All Publications

  • Completely Out of My Domain: An Institutional Narrative of Multimedia Collaboration Kairos Ellis, E., Underwood, D. 2015; 20 (1)
  • Back to the Future?: The Pedagogical Promise of the (Multimedia) Essay Multimodal Literacies and Emerging Genres Ellis, E. edited by Bowen, T., Whithaus, C. University of Pittsburgh Press. 2013
  • Toward a Pedagogy of Psychic Distance The Centrality of Style Ellis, E. edited by Duncan, M., Medzerian Vanguri, S. The WAC Clearinghouse and Parlor Press. 2013
  • Shushes in the Parlor: Reclaiming the "Conversation" Metaphor Disrupting Pedagogies in the Knowledge Society: Countering Conservative Norms with Creative Approaches Ellis, E. edited by Faulkner, J. IGI Global. 2012