Tennyson L. O'Donnell
Director, Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric and Allan K. Smith Senior Lecturer in English Composition
Phone: (860) 297-2206 Office Location: 115 Vernon Street 215
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Trinity College faculty member since 2012
General ProfileTeachingResearchPublications/PresentationsHonors/Awards
Ph.D., Syracuse Univ.
M.A., Cal. Polytechnic State Univ.
B.A., Brigham Young Univ.-Hawaii

Dr. Tennyson O’Donnell is an experienced administrator and teacher. He leads the Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric in an endowed position, which offers a minor in Rhetoric, Writing and Media Studies, administers Trinity’s writing requirements and writing assessment program, and provides special programming for student-writers and faculty.

Dr. O’Donnell is the Senior Director at the Center for Academic and Experiential Advising, the central hub for the Trinity Plus curriculum, where he coordinates many academic resources on campus as part of the Academic Resource Collaborative.

Dr. O’Donnell also directs the First Year Seminar Program, which offers small, discussion-rich classes, created out of a faculty’s passion for a subject, where all First Year students read critically and engage intellectually with a diverse group of peers to write regularly and develop research skills becoming enculturated into the behaviors of successful student-writers and college learners.

Dr. O’Donnell is also the Faculty Lead in the Trinity-InfoSys Partnership, which provides new Business Analysts at InfoSys with eight weeks of training, uniquely fusing business analysis, design thinking, liberal arts skills, and foundational technology.

His expertise in composition and cultural rhetoric informs his approach to teaching beginning and advanced writers to see writing and research beyond simple vocational skill sets.  O’Donnell believes student-writers can learn to ask questions about the function of writing that will serve to sharpen their awareness of the discourse of their discipline and explore how that discourse participates in meaning-making.

O’Donnell and Jack Dougherty are co-editors of Web Writing: Why and How for Liberal Arts Teaching, a book that explores integrating web tools into what we value most about a liberal arts education: the intensified learning opportunities presented by writing across the curriculum.