Meet the Faculty

Dr. William Kelly

William B. Kelly, PhD, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Director of the Writing Excellence Program, attended Eckerd College, where he majored in chemistry, earning the BS. A stint as a chemist in an analytical chemistry lab, one year bartending, and eight months as a head chef propelled Kelly back into the academy, this time for graduate study in English at the University of South Florida, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation on the English renaissance dramatist Christopher Marlowe. A frequent participant in the college’s general education freshman first year program and the senior capstone course, Kelly also teaches courses in composition and propaganda. His scholarly interests are in medieval and early modern British literature, contemporary culture, propaganda and persuasion, and the teaching of writing. Kelly has published articles on both Marlowe and fire ants, and he has presented conference papers at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Kelly and his wife Judi enjoy travelling, crafts (woodworking for him; jewelry design for her), cooking, and spending time with their four children and seven grandchildren. He has been known to swing a golf club.

Dr. Erika Spohrer

Erika Spohrer, Associate Professor of Rhetoric, received her B.A. in English from the University of Florida and her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Penn State University. At Eckerd, she teaches writing (including “Writing the Environment,” “Writing in the Garden,” “Writing Processes,” and "Yoga and the Limits of Language") and serves as the director of Eckerd’s Writing Center. Her current research focuses on the rhetoric used by the Church of Scientology. Her loves include her family and Virginia Woolf; she also loves doing yoga, gardening, painting, and practicing Zen.

Dr. Zachary Dobbins

Zachary Dobbins is an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric at Eckerd College. He earned his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, where as a doctoral student he received the Maxine Hairston Prize in teaching excellence from the Department of Rhetoric and Writing. His courses include “Satire and the Art of Protest,” “Punk Rock and the Art of Dissent,” “Storytelling and the Art of Empathy,” and of course “Art and the Art of Art” (just kidding about the last one). He regularly teaches “Analytic and Persuasive Writing” and “Writing the Environment,” both exciting rhetoric courses.

He enjoys teaching also in the General Education program at Eckerd College. In his research he examines empathy and its contested relationship to narrative, democracy, inquiry, and critical thinking, with some detours into satire and punk rock. At work on a project focused on novelist Russell Banks, he encourages more folks to read this great American author. His most recent publication is a co-authored article in Composition Studies, on scholar Wayne Booth, empathy, and argumentation. He’s a musician and an avid music fan, and he often forgoes sleep for a good novel or collection of short stories. He and his wife Tracye enjoy playing tennis, hearing live music, watching great TV shows like Broad City and Curb Your Enthusiasm, etc. If their kitchen were larger, they would also enjoy cooking together, probably something delicious like migas with cheese.

Dr. Alexis Ramsey-Tobienne

Dr. Alexis E. Ramsey-Tobienne is an Associate Professor of Rhetoric who regularly teaches courses in analytic and persuasive writing (CO 122), advanced research methods (CO 328), and social change and grant writing (CO 202). S

he also serves as Chair of the Academic Honor Council. Her courses tend to integrate a lot of technology--everything from facebook and twitter analysis to website creation. She is the co-editor of the collection Working in the Archives: Practical Research Methods for Rhetoric and Composition, the co-author of “"In, Through, and About the Archive: What Digitization (Dis)Allows” from the recent collection Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities and author of “Archives 2.0: Digital Archives and the Formation of New Research Methods” in Peitho 15.1 among other publications. If you bring a dog to campus and walk by her office, she will probably run out to pet and play with the puppy. She loves chocolate, high heels, and exploring Florida playgrounds with her husband and two young children.