Russell Mayo

Teaching Interests

Russell Mayo is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His teaching and research involves composition/rhetoric, English education, and environmental studies. He currently works with pre-service teachers in UIC’s English Education program, where he teaches English Education methods courses and supervises student teachers placed in Chicago public high schools. Previously, he has taught courses in First-Year Writing and peer tutor training courses in the UIC Writing Center.


Russ is originally from mid-Michigan near the shores of Lake Huron. He is a father, a foodie, an avid cyclist, and a drummer. Before starting the PhD, Russ was a middle grades English and Social Studies teacher for ten years in Chapel Hill, NC. Since 2004, Russ has taught and coached thousands of writers from adolescence through graduate students, in and out schools.

Educational Background

Currently a doctoral candidate of English, his defense is scheduled for Spring 2020. Russ earned his M.Ed. in Social Studies Education in 2009 (UNC-Chapel Hill). He also holds a Masters Certificate in Gifted Education (UNC-Charlotte). He received his Bachelor’s degree in 2004 from Eastern Michigan University, where he majored in English Education and minored in History Education.

Research Interests

Russ’s research interests lie at the intersections of education and society. He’s particularly interested in the rhetorics of schooling, out-of-school literacies, and problems of living and learning in the Anthropocene. His dissertation research involves close attention to learning in a university writing center as a case study for examining education theory and practice through the lens of Ivan Illich radical social and educational theory of “deschooling.” He has recently published a chapter entitled “All Schooled Up: One Teacher’s Path Toward Deschooling,” included in the edited collection Unsettling Education (Peter Lang, 2019). Russ is currently involved in two new scholarly projects: co-editor of proposed book entitled Exigence in the Anthropocene: Ecocomposition in the Age of Climate Change (proposal in-process), and as PI on a longitudinal research project involving climate change education with diverse pre-service teachers of English.

Awards and Service

Russ was awarded the 2018 Distinguished Teaching Award by UIC’s Department of English. He is also the recipient of the 2018-2019 UIC Provost’s Graduate Research Award for an archival research project entitled “Ivan Illich and the Rhetoric of Deschooling.” He is a founder and co-chair of ELATE Commission on Climate Change and Environment, and he previous served as co-editor of the ELATE Graduate Strand’s “Growing Scholars Chronicle” newsletter.