English Ph.D. Alumni Spotlight: Emily Pitts Donahoe ('21)

Author: Blake Holman

Emily Pitts Donahoe

Emily Donahoe is Associate Director of Instructional Support with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and a Lecturer in Writing & Rhetoric at the University of Mississippi. 

After graduating with her Ph.D. in 2021, Emily took on a 5+1 postdoctoral internship with the Kaneb Center to launch the university’s first student-instructor partnership program, the Inclusive Pedagogy Partnership, which is still running today and which she's recently described in The International Journal for Students as Partners .

This experience led her to the University of Mississippi’s teaching center, where she focuses on working with instructors develop innovative and effective teaching practices in light of rapid changes to the higher education landscape, including helping instructors navigate the emergence of generative AI. She has contributed to several university initiatives on AI in teaching and learning. Following a viral Twitter thread about how she addressed generative AI in her first-year writing classroom, she has been quoted a variety of publications, including the MIT Tech Review, Inside Higher Ed, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. As she collaborates with instructors exploring alternatives to traditional grading, she writes about her experiences on her Substack “Unmaking the Grade,” which has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education teaching newsletter, John Warner’s Inside Higher Ed blog “Just Visiting,” and the podcast Tea for Teaching

Through service placements and the dissertation process, the English program at Notre Dame enables Ph.D. students to think and work beyond disciplinary and departmental boundaries, and it strongly emphasizes teaching expeirence. This has made all the difference for Emily. Describing the program, she writes:

The opportunities to teach both writing and literature in the program were key to my success as a graduate student and as I launched my career in educational development.