Carnegie Mellon Press Release: March 8, 2004
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Press Release

Contact:
Jonathan Potts
412-268-6094

For immediate release:
March 8, 2004

Carnegie Mellon Reappoints Kaufer Head of English Department

PITTSBURGH—David S. Kaufer, professor of English and rhetoric at Carnegie Mellon University, has been reappointed to another five-year term as head of the Department of English.

Kaufer has been at Carnegie Mellon since 1980 and has been head of the English Department since 1994. Under Kaufer's leadership, the English Department has lured several strong junior and senior faculty members to the university.

"Everything we have accomplished as a department is the result of the talent and hard work of all our faculty, staff and students," Kaufer said. "Much of English's focus in the coming years will be to support university initiatives in the humanities, arts and society, and internationalization, three initiatives that centrally involve the leadership of an outstanding faculty in literary and cultural studies along with the faculty in rhetoric and creative writing."

Kaufer is co-director of the master's program in communication planning and information design, an interdisciplinary program between the Department of English and the School of Design in the university's College of Fine Arts. This is the only program in the world in which writers and designers train together.

Kaufer is one of four appointed members on the Rhetoric Society of America's National Steering Committee, a committee that sets the agenda for conferences and workshops across the various disciplinary boundaries in which research in rhetoric is done.

Kaufer's primary research area is rhetorical theory, the relationship of language to audience effects, a study to which he has devoted three of the five books on which he has been the lead author. He applies his work on language both to the analysis of texts and to writing education. With Pantelis Vlachos, a research scientist in the Department of Statistics, and Jeff Collins, a Ph.D. student in rhetoric, he recently published an article in the journal Computers and the Humanities that considers a new interpretation of the disputed Federalist Papers based on the characteristic actions of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison as writers.

Kaufer previously taught at the State University of New York in Albany. He holds a Ph.D. in rhetorical theory from the University of Wisconsin. "David Kaufer has a superb record of accomplishment during his first two terms as department head. He has been instrumental in overseeing the department's rise to prominence," said John Lehoczky, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

"David has been especially effective in recruiting and mentoring new faculty. He also plays an important role at the college and university level in representing English and in helping to develop the new Humanities Initiative," Lehoczky said.

The Department of English boasts nationally and internationally known programs in creative writing, rhetoric, and literary and cultural studies. The Department's Creative Writing Program is recognized as one of the best in the country. Its programs in technical and professional writing—which were among the first in the country—still rank among the best, and its Ph.D. program in rhetoric is one of the best known and most successful in the country.

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences is the second-largest academic unit at Carnegie Mellon and offers more than 60 majors and minors. The college emphasizes interdisciplinary study in a technologically rich environment, with an open and forward-thinking stance toward the arts and sciences.

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