A native of Cleveland, Ohio, I attended Giddings, John Burrowes, and George Washington Carver elementary schools; Central Jr. High and East Technical High School. I earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English Composition from Cleveland State University (1991 & 1993). I earned a Ph.D. in English and Applied Linguistics in 1996 from Michigan State University. Before joining the faculty as Professor of Literacy Studies at The Ohio State University, in 2007, I taught at the University of Minnesota (1996-1998) and Pennsylvania State University (1998-2007).
I currently teach in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education and Human Ecology. My research interests include the liberation and critical literacy education of people of the Black African Diaspora. I have 3 single authored books: PHD (Po H# on Dope) to Ph.D.: How Education Saved My Life, 2013, New City Community Press; Hiphop Literacies, Routledge, 2006; African American Literacies, Routledge, 2003). PHD to Ph.D.: How Education Saved My Life is my memoir that chronicles my journey and recovery from abuse, addiction, and sex trafficking as a young teen and young adult to the mother, mentor professor, performer and woman I am today. Hiphop Literacies is a exploration of Hiphop language use as an extension of Black folk traditions, while African American Literacies focuses on teaching writing from the point of view of African American Language and Literacy traditions. With my colleague, Ronald L. Jackson III, I co-edited two volumes on African American rhetorical theory, Understanding African American Rhetoric: Classical Origins to Contemporary Innovations (2003, Routledge) and African American Rhetoric(s): Interdisciplinary Perspectives (2004, Southern Illinois University Press). With my colleagues, Drs. Gwen Pough, Aisha Durham and Rachel Raimist, I co-edited a book on Hiphop Feminism—Home Girls Make Some Noise (2007, Parker Publishing).
Courses that I teach: Critical Discourse Analysis; Language and Society; Concepts of Literacy/New Literacies; African American Literacies; Hiphop Literacies; Sociolinguistics and Education.
Awards that I have been blessed to receive: Distinguished Diversity Enhancement College of Education and Human Ecology The Ohio State University April 4, 2014; Community Cultural Icon Office of Diversity and Inclusion/Frank Hale Center The Ohio State University December 3, 2013; 25 Influential African American Women of Cleveland, Ohio 93.1 FM/WZAK, Radio One & Heineken November, 2013; Outstanding Woman of Columbus City of Columbus, Ohio February 19, 2011; Cleveland State University Distinguished Alumni Award (for outstanding contributions to the profession, community and Cleveland State.) College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Cleveland Ohio, 2007; TRiO Achiever Award, Mid-America Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (MAEOPP), 2006; Indianapolis, Indiana; 2005 Edward Fry Book Award, National Reading Conference for, African American Literacies (Routledge, 2003); Fulbright Scholar Award for Lecturing/Research, University of the West Indies, Mona September, 2004-December; National Communication Association, 2004, Book Award for edited collection, Understanding African American Rhetoric: Classical Origins to Contemporary Innovations.
My professional memberships include the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), The Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), as well as Committee of Linguists of African Descent (CLAD), National Women’s Studies Association, Society for Caribbean Linguistics.
In 2011, I founded Ohio State University’s Hiphop Literacies Conference, as well the SisterFriends Afterschool Program, focusing on the literacy education of Black girls in Columbus, Ohio, co-funded by the Battelle Endowment for Technology and Human Affairs.
Board memberships include the Foundation for the African Diaspora; Greater Possibilities, LLC.
I am also a performing and recording artist. I use the arts in my teaching, research and outreach to empower myself and my community. Music is a universal language. What comes from the heart reaches the heart!