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Nancy Nester

Nancy Nester, Ph.D.
Professor of Writing Studies, Rhetoric and Composition

B.A., M.A., Ph.D. University of Rhode Island

Contact Information
GHH 238
Areas of Expertise: 
Public Rhetoric; Civic Engagement and Service Learning; Composition Studies; Utopian Studies

Dr. Nester teaches first year writing courses such as Expository Writing as well as advanced Writing courses including Writing for Social Change.  Her work in the classroom is interconnected with her scholarship and professional activitiesIn 2010, she was selected as a Rhode Island Campus Compact Presidential Faculty Fellow for a Writing for Social Change course project entitled From the Podium to the Pavement: the Praxis of Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility. She presented a paper of the same title at the Convention of the Conference on College Composition and Communication in March 2012.  Visit  for an overview of the civic engagement project she highlighted in this presentation.    

In addition, Dr. Nester is Chair of the University’s Interdisciplinary Core Curriculum Committee and teaches in the Core Program.  Her work with her Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar entitled Visions of Utopia:  Dreams and Delusions, a course she designed and began teaching in 1999, inspired her scholarship on empathy, research she has presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Utopian studies in 2012 and 2009. Her current project is entitled the Empathetic Turn:  the Relationship of Empathy to the Utopian Impulse, based on the paper she delivered at the annual meeting in 2012. 

Nester has presented papers on civic engagement, social capital, and writing pedagogy as well as on the Martha Nussbaum’s Central Human Functional Capability theory.  Nester has also published articles on drama and fiction.

Dr. Nester currently serves on the University’s General Education Committee; the Steering Committee for the Feinstein Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, and the Celebration of Writing Committee.

She is a member of several professional organizations including the National Council of Teachers of English; Conference on College Composition and Communication; Society for Utopian Studies; Human Development and Capability Association; and a supporter of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture.  She is a Friend of the Coventry Public Library and a member of the Social Justice Committee at Sacred Heart Church in West Warwick, RI.