Lois Agnew

Interim Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Lois AgnewLois Agnew is Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S). Before being named to this position in July 2022, Agnew served as A&S associate dean of curriculum, innovation and pedagogy from 2017-22 and as chair of the Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition from 2012-17. A professor of writing and rhetoric and a gifted leader, scholar and teacher, Agnew has been a member of the Syracuse University community since 2004.

In her role as A&S’ associate dean of curriculum, innovation and pedagogy, Agnew helped lead key initiatives to enhance and strengthen the liberal arts at Syracuse University. She is among a team currently updating the liberal arts core to ensure that the curricular requirements for undergraduate students in A&S | the Maxwell School make visible the important role of the liberal arts in addressing urgent issues such as social justice, climate change, medicine and health. Agnew also assisted in providing support for an interdisciplinary team-teaching program, coordinated the development of health humanities and digital humanities integrated learning majors, and organized the College’s annual undergraduate research festival.

A faculty member in A&S’ Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric and Composition (WRC) since 2004, Agnew has held several administrative positions at Syracuse University, including interim chair of African American Studies (2021-22), chair of WRC (2012-17) and director of undergraduate studies for the Writing Program (2007-12).

Among Agnew’s academic honors and awards received at Syracuse are the 2015 William Wasserstrom Prize for Graduate Teaching, recognizing exceptional teaching and mentoring of graduate students; the 2011 Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award; and the 2007 Meredith Teaching Recognition Award.

Agnew’s research specializes in rhetorical history, with a primary focus on British rhetorical theories. She has published over 25 journal articles and book chapters and is author of two books: “Thomas De Quincey: British Rhetoric’s Romantic Turn.” Rhetoric in the Modern Era Series (Southern Illinois University Press, 2012), and “Outward, Visible Propriety”: Stoic Philosophy and Eighteenth-Century British Rhetorics (University of South Carolina Press, 2008) and a book manuscript in progress, “War, Positivity, and Prevention: Eugenic Reverberations in 20th Century U.S. Cancer Rhetorics” (under advanced contract with University of Alabama Press).

Before working at Syracuse University, Agnew was an assistant professor of English at Rockford University (formerly Rockford College) in Illinois. There she served as chair of the Department of English and director of the Writing Center.

Agnew received a Ph.D. in English from Texas Christian University and a B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of Texas at Arlington.