About Us

Ashley Bender headshot

Dr. Ashley Bender is Assistant Professor of English at TWU (Ph.D. in English, University of North Texas). Her teaching and research interests focus on work by and representations of women in Restoration and eighteenth-century British literature and culture. Her scholarship on Restoration and eighteenth-century drama explores the intersections of material culture and discourses of selfhood to analyze the ways that stage properties and characters’ bodies participate in the rhetorical construction of individual and national identities. She has published articles in Restoration, Eighteenth-Century Life, and Papers on Language and Literature. As BA Program Coordinator for English, she is strongly invested in helping students, undergraduate and graduate alike, cultivate strong professional dispositions that prepare them to excel in their lives beyond university. She brings her expertise in experiential education pedagogies to bear in her classes as a way to bridge “town and gown” and help students cultivate public humanities practices. 

From 2018-2020, Ashley co-directed “Building Global Perspectives in the Humanities” with Dr. Gretchen Busl, funded by a Humanities Initiatives at Hispanic-Serving Institutions grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. More recently, Ashley has focused her research and advocacy on improving conditions for women in academia, especially academic mothers. After completing the OpEd Project’s “Write to Change the World” and “Accelerating Ideas” workshops, she published an op-ed on the need for state-funded paid parental leave; and she has co-authored an essay with Jackie Hoermann-Elliott in The ADVANCE Journal. A strong advocate for local arts and culture, she is also board secretary for Real Waves Radio, Inc., a Denton-area non-profit that runs KUZU 92.9, a low-power FM station. 

Agatha Beins headshot

Dr. Agatha Beins (abeins@twu.edu) is an associate professor in the Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies program at Texas Woman’s University. You can find her work on feminist print cultures and social movement activism in her book Liberation in Print: Feminist Periodicals and Social Movement Identity. She has also written about the politics of archiving, feminist pedagogy, institutionalizing women’s and gender studies, and the intersections of art and activism for publications such as Feminist Studies, American Periodicals, Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy, and the edited collection Rethinking Women’s and Gender Studies II. Turning toward the generative possibilities of art, her current project explores the material, discursive, affective, and imaginative infrastructures that creative activism and activists build in their social justice praxis. You can find glimpses of her own art in literary journals: Blackbird, The Fiddleback, and Thimble.  This research and writing has been supported by grants and fellowships from institutions including the Sophia Smith Collection, the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History, the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women, Barnard College, and Tulane University.

Her interests in social justice have also included working with the education and programming area of the Denton Black Film Festival and other community projects, including the first pay-what-you-can community cafe on the East Coast, community farms projects, an LGBTQ+ youth center, and the Lesbian Herstory Archives. As part of the 2014-15 TWU Public Voices Thought Leadership program, she published an op-ed about the trend of using police body cameras and the need for more bike- and pedestrian-friendly public spaces. She also edits the online open-access journal Films for the Feminist Classroom, which serves as a resource for educators who wish to integrate film and video in their courses. 

Gretchen Busl headshot

Dr. Gretchen Busl (PhD in Literature, University of Notre Dame) is an Associate Professor and the Graduate Program Coordinator for the MA in English and PhD in Rhetoric at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX. Her scholarship and teaching combine narrative theory, rhetoric, and gender studies to examine how we communicate across borders and between discourse communities. She is the co-editor of Antiheroines of Contemporary Media: Saints, Sinners, and Survivors and has published in Modern Language Review, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, and English Studies. She is currently co-editing a volume titled Getting to the Finish Line: New Directions for the Dissertation Process for the Modern Languages Association and working on a monograph that explores framed narratives and oral storytelling in contemporary global novels. She is a passionate advocate for public humanities work, with a particular focus on the role of narratives in society.

From 2018-2020, Gretchen co-directed the “Building Global Perspectives in the Humanities” project with Dr. Ashley Bender, funded by a Humanities Initiatives at Hispanic-Serving Institutions grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is currently the co-PI (with Dr. Danielle Phillips-Cunningham and Julie Libersat) of another NEH-funded project, a Humanities Connections project called “Quakertown Stories” that will integrate the history of Denton’s displaced freedmen community into courses at TWU. As a Public Voices Thought Leadership fellow with the OpEd Project in 2015, she published op-eds drawn from her scholarly expertise in women writers, language learning, and humanities research. Most recently, she published an essay on the popular website Tor.com which applies her research in narrative theory to understanding grief. Gretchen is also a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee of the International Society for the Study of Narrative and a founding co-host of the Narrative for Social Justice podcast

Jackie Hoermann-Elliott headshot

Dr. Jackie Hoermann-Elliott is an Assistant Professor of English and the Director of First-Year Composition at TWU, where she teaches and researches how writers write through and with their bodies. Her scholarship has appeared in national journals—such as The ADVANCE Journal and Composition Forum—as well as in several edited collections. Her book—Running, Thinking, Writing: Embodied Cognition in Composition—was published by Parlor Press in 2021, and in that same year she shared the message of her book through various media outlets, including podcasts and her own writing. Prior to coming to TWU, she was a regular reporter for several newspapers and magazines in the D-FW area, including The Fort Worth Weekly, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Dallas Morning News, and Madeworthy Magazine. Although she has a little less time to write journalistically these days, she still tries to author an op-ed or two each year while maintaining an active lifestyle through running, walking, yoga, and chasing her three children around.

Danielle Phillips-Cunningham headshot

Dr. Danielle Phillips-Cunningham is the program director and associate professor of Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies (MWGS) at Texas Woman’s University (TWU). The history of Quakertown is especially important to her as someone who teaches and writes about African American women’s history during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She is also working closely with TWU students on archival projects to preserve African American history.

Danielle won the 2020 National Women’s Studies Association’s Sara A. Whaley Book Prize for Putting Their Hands on Race: Irish Immigrant and Southern Black Domestic Workers (Rutgers University Press, 2020). As a fellow of the OpEd Project’s Public Voices of the South, Phillips-Cunningham is writing about the connections between African American women’s labor organizing history and the recent elections in the United States. Her article “The Long History of Black Women Organizing Might Decide Senate Control” appeared in The Washington Post.

She is also working on a book-length study about the early twentieth-century labor organizing history of African American educator Nannie Helen Burroughs’ National Trade School for Women and Girls in Washington D.C. The project is supported by an American Philosophical Society Franklin Research Grant and a TWU Creative Arts and Humanities Grant. She recently published a co-authored article about Burroughs with TWU student Veronica Popp. They also have a forthcoming article that will appear in the Journal of Women, Gender, and Families of Color.


Jennifer Judd headshot

Jennifer Judd is a Ph.D. candidate in Rhetoric, a First-Year Composition instructor at Texas Woman’s University, and a Technical Writing instructor at the University of North Texas. Her research interests include writing across the curriculum, invitational rhetoric, gender studies, and disability studies.  She is particularly interested in developing accessible learning environments that nurture trust and a diversity of perspectives.

Jennifer’s writing experience extends to a background in professional and creative writing. Her children’s books and poems have been published by Two Lions Publishing, Highlights for Children group, and Cricket Media group, among others. She has served in leadership roles with the North Texas chapter of The Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and is passionate about community involvement and intersectionality, actively participating in local women’s service organizations, the newly formed DFW-Metro chapter of the NAACP, and grassroots advocacy for autistic individuals.

Gabriella Sanchez headshot

Gabriella V. Sanchez is a Ph.D. Candidate and undergraduate instructor in the Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies program at Texas Woman’s University. As a teacher/learner, she recognizes that students possess a wealth of experiential, ancestral, and cultural knowledge and creates a space for critical thinking that connects course content to larger society and our own lived realities. Her dissertation examines intersectional consciousness -- ways of knowing and being that reject colonial, imperialist, and capitalist ideologies and structures -- and the multiple, everyday strategies women of color provide that are necessary for individual and collective liberation.

Gabriella was recently awarded the WoMentoring in Graduate Education -- a grant that will support her work with Chicana activist-scholar and professor emerita, Josie Méndez-Negrete. Under the WoMentorship of Dra. Méndez-Negrete, Gabriella will learn a publishing and editing process rooted in Chicana feminist practices, critical conciencia (consciousness) and care as she helps grow Méndez-Negrete’s Conocimientos Press


Page last updated 4:52 PM, September 29, 2021