A literacy scholar, my work explores the types of change possible at the intersection of community, digital, and institutional reading and writing practices. My professional work stems from a Cherokee ethic of reciprocity ᏕᏣᏓᎵᎨᎤᏗᏍᎨᏍᏗ (responsibility for each other).
My research enriches my teaching and faculty development with university colleagues. As Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Diversity and Inclusion at Northeastern University, my goal is to facilitate the hiring, retention, and promotion of colleagues and to provide leadership in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities at Northeastern University through initiatives designed to promote and sustain a diverse, inclusive, and civil campus. I am a Cherokee Nation citizen and have served as a Cherokee Nation Sequoyah Commissioner.
I'm developing a Digital Archive for Ojibwe and Cherokee Manuscript Translation that aims to create an online resource to support the translation process of American Indian manuscripts housed in museums and archives around the country. This project was generously supported with an Institute for Museums and Library Services Sparks! Ignition Grant and is part of ongoing research project in support of language perseverance and decolonial life ways. I'm also working on two edited collections: Literacies: A Critical Sourcebook, 2nd edition, with co-editors Christine Haas and Mike Rose, in press with Macmillan; and Landmark Essays on Rhetorics of Difference, under contract with Routledge, and part of the Landmark Essays series edited by Krista Ratcliffe and James Murphy.
The Cherokee Syllabary: Writing the People’s Perseverance (paperback, Oklahoma UP 2012) was based on six years of ethnohistorical research with my tribe. It received Honorable Mention for the 2012 MLA Mina P. Shaughnessey Prize and was selected as an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice. The book explores the evolution and historical importance of the Cherokee writing system. Recent essays from this research have been published in Ethnohistory, Wicazo Sa Review, College English, and Written Communication. Reviews of the book have appeared in Indian Country Today, Ethnohistory, College Composition and Communication, and Language. With Mary Juzwik, I served as Co-Editor of Research in the Teaching of English, the premiere research journal of the National Council of Teachers of English from 2012-2017.
My early work in literacy studies earned both in 1997 the National Council of Teachers of English CCCC James Berlin Outstanding Dissertation of the Year Award and the Richard Braddock Award. This activist ethnographic research focused on a number of families, particularly the Cadenses, living in a medium-sized, inner city in upstate New York (see The Struggle and the Tools: Oral and Literate Strategies in an Inner City Community, SUNY 1998). My subsequent research and teaching explored the idea of literacy and rhetoric scholar as a public intellectual, one who weaves the roles of research, teaching, and service in an effort to address needs identified by community members and teachers. To develop this line of research on community literacy programs and service learning classes, I've published research from my own public engagement classes, essays on the changing shape of academic knowledge making, and essays on the nature of meaning making with various media and across languages.