Associate ProfessorThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
University Hall 5038
(205) 934-8600

Research and Teaching Interests: Rhetoric and composition, professional writing, medical discourse

Office Hours: By appointment


  • Ph.D., Purdue University, Rhetoric and Composition

The courses I teach in the department engage students in two aspects of discourse:

  1. examining institutional and social values that influence what we think and communicate in our culture (about health and illness, politics, science, and so on), and
  2. contributing to institutional discourse in a way that accommodates those values that we support and that challenges those we do not.

My research interests include representations of breast cancer in the popular media, links between cultural studies and professional writing pedagogy and research, and urban composition. My work has appeared in journals including Journal of Medical Humanities, Journal of Business and Technical Communication, JAMA, Journal of Advanced Composition, and Journal of Business Communication.

Recent Courses

  • Editing in Professional Contexts
  • Business Writing
  • Writing and Medicine

Select Publications

Books and Book chapters

  • Cynthia Ryan and Bruce McComiskey, eds., City Comp: Identities, Spaces, Practices (SUNY Press, 2003).
  • “‘Get More From Your Life on the Land’: Negotiating Rhetorics of Progress and Tradition in a Neoliberal Environment,” in Reclaiming the Rural: Essays on Literacy, Rhetoric, and Pedagogy, Kim Donehower, Charlotte Hogg, and Eileen E. Schell, eds. (Southern Illinois Press, 2011): 52-73.

Articles and Other Pieces

  • Cynthia Ryan and Cathleen Cummings, "Reimagining Contexts: Art, Authenticity, and Identity Among Female Artisans in India,” Journal of Poverty 18 (No. 1, 2014): 30-49.
  • “India’s Rural Divide,” Cancer Today 3 (Winter 2013/2014): 38-43.
  • “Forever Young,” Cancer Today 3 (Spring 2013): 50-55.
  • “Homeless with Cancer,” CR Magazine 5 (Fall 2010): 30-37.
  • Co-Curator, Objects of Authority: Contemporary Embroideries from Western Gujarat (AEIVA, 2014).
  • Co-Producer, The Alabama Project Traveling Exhibit (2013-present).
  • Op-eds in The Birmingham News (“Pink-Ribbon Crusade Still Has Plenty of Battles to Fight,” Oct. 10, 2012), Philadelphia Inquirer (“Time to Cut the Pink Ribbons?” Apr. 26, 2012), USA Today (“Edwards’ Brave Fight Was No Doubt Wretched, Too,” Dec. 10, 2010), Chicago Tribune (“Rethink Pink,” Oct. 26, 2008).

Academic Distinctions and Professional Societies

  • Founder, Street Smarts™ Breast Cancer Education Program for Homeless Women
  • Odessa Woolfolk Community Service Award, 2014
  • Sam Brown Bridge Builder Award, 2013
  • President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2013
  • Clarion Award for Magazine Feature Writing, 2011
  • Contributing Writer, Cancer Today, published by the American Association for Cancer Research
  • Member, Conference on College Composition and Communication (and Medical Rhetoric Special Interest Group), National Council of Teachers of English, Modern Language Society

Student Groups

  • Director of Internships, Department of English
  • Faculty Advisor, Global Medical Brigades