Shelli Fowler

Shelli B. Fowler, PhD

Associate Professor

(804) 827-8226

Anderson House, 913 W. Franklin St., room 209

19th Century

Composition, Linguistics

Literature of Diversity

Research Interests

  • African American Literature
  • Critical Pedagogy/Culturally Inclusive Teaching 
  • Rhetoric/Composition

Shelli Fowler’s research and teaching areas focus on African American literature, critical pedagogy/inclusive teaching, and active learning. She analyzes the connections between cultural identity and (mis)readings, and explores resistance and agency in texts by black women writers, especially in 19th-c. narratives. She also focuses on how reinventing and reshaping a Freirean pedagogical praxis can help us better address teaching and learning in our contemporary cultural contexts. Her teaching is centered around interactive, inclusive, discussion-based engagement. She teaches a range of courses, including English 215, and cross-listed courses on African American authors and topics. Professor Fowler earned her PhD at The University of Texas at Austin.

Select Publications


  • Included in English Studies: Learning Climates That Cultivate Racial and Ethnic Diversity, co-edited with Victor Villanueva. Washington, DC: NCTE / AAHE Press, 2002.

Select Presentations

  • “Disrupting the Default Mode of Passive Knowledge Consumer: Fostering Critically Engaged, Self-reflexive Learners via Interdisciplinary Curriculum and an Inclusive Pedagogical Praxis,” Association for Interdisciplinary Studies (AIS), Detroit, October 2018.
  • “Creating Spaces for a Liberatory Praxis in General Education Curriculum,” Freire@50 Pedagogy Conference, University of South Carolina, October 2018.


  • “Innovative Pedagogies: cActive Co-Learning’ to Create Agentes de Cambio,” USFQ, ESPOL, UACh Latin American Faculty Institute, Blacksburg, June 2022.
  • “Faculty and Student Roles in Increasing Student Engagement” IDEA Institute (Instituto de Enseñanza y Aprendizaje), Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), Quito, Ecuador, November 2019.
  • “Redesigning Our Pedagogical Praxis for Inclusive Excellence in STEM-H,” Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Summer Institute, Blacksburg, June 2019.
  • “A Freirean Praxis for All Disciplines: From the Humanities to the Social Sciences to STEM,” GRAD 5114, Contemporary Pedagogy, Virginia Tech, October 2019.
  • “Innovation and Learning,” Montgomery College Teaching Forum, Rockville, MD, Feb., 2015.