Dr. Lisa Ede, Emerita Professor of English at Oregon State University, passed away on September 29, 2021, and with her passing, the writing center, rhetoric, and composition communities lost a profound teacher, mentor, scholar, activist, and friend. Early this summer, the PNWCA will gather virtually to celebrate Lisa’s life and work and to share ideas about the work of writing centers and the teaching of writing that intersects with the body of scholarship produced by Lisa, or by Lisa and co-authors, over the course of her nearly 40-year career.
Professor Lisa Ede earned her PhD from The Ohio State University and started her career at SUNY Brockport in 1976 as Director of Composition before moving to Oregon State University in 1980. At Oregon State, Lisa took on the role of Director of the Communication Skills Center, (later the Center for Writing and Learning); founded OSU’s Writing Intensive Curriculum; and taught a variety of classes ranging from composition, composition pedagogy, rhetoric, literacy, and Victorian literature. During her career, Lisa was honored numerous times, including the 1984 Mina P. Shaughnessy Award (with Robert J. Connors and Andrea Lunsford) for outstanding research publication in the field of teaching English language and literature for Essays on Classical Rhetoric and Modern Discourse; the 1985 Braddock Award for the CCC article (co-authored with Andrea Lunsford) “Audience Addressed/Audience Invoked: The Role of Audience in Composition Theory and Pedagogy”; and the 1989 National (now International) Writing Centers Association’s outstanding scholarship award for her Writing Center Journal article “Writing as a Social Process: A Theoretical Foundation for Writing Centers.”
As the selected bibliography demonstrates, Lisa’s scholarship ranged widely, bringing feminist rhetoric into conversation with composition studies; interrogating the process and post-process turns in the teaching of writing; studying, advocating for, and putting into practice theories of collaborative authorship; investigating the role of audience in the context of composing practices; and taking stock of the landscape of writing centers as a discipline. Lisa worked in other areas, as well, but these are the subjects she investigated that will have most fundamentally shaped the thinking and daily practice of many in the Pacific Northwest and international writing center and composition communities. In the months since her passing, others within these broader scholarly communities have celebrated Lisa’s life, scholarship, mentoring, and friendship—the Fall 2021 issue of Pleitho, the journal of the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition, for example, begins with a series of pieces celebrating several of Lisa’s relationships with colleagues and former graduate students.
The Pacific Northwest Writing Centers Association, and its precursor the Pacific Coast Writing Centers Association, benefited from Lisa’s leadership for much of her career and after her retirement. And thus we honor Lisa and her ideas in the summer following her passing.