Jeffry C. Davis, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair of English; Director of Interdisciplinary Studies
On Faculty since 1990

Office: Blanchard Hall 313
Phone: (630)752-5786


Ph.D. English: Language, Literacy and Rhetoric, University of Illinois at Chicago

M.A. English: Composition and American Literature, Northern Illinois University

B.A. English Literature: Wheaton College

About Jeffry C. Davis

I spend much of my time writing and teaching about education. In particular, I focus on the literacy skills that are central to the liberal arts: reading, writing, speaking and listening. As the director of Interdisciplinary Studies, I work with students whose particular interests involve merging academic fields to attain their interdisciplinary goals. I am also involved in the preparation of college students who intend to teach high school English.

In my spare time, I enjoy manual labor, whether it involves splitting wood for the fireplace or planting flowers in my garden. As Wendell Berry writes in The Unsettling of America, "While we live our bodies are moving particles of earth, joined inextricably both to the soil and to the bodies of other living creatures." Not unrelated, I often listen to country music. The lyrics of Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, and Alan Jackson are a few of my favorites.

Courses Regularly Taught

  • ENGL 101 – Classics of Western Literature
  • ENGL 494 – Senior Seminar in English Literature (Varied Topics)
  • ENGW 444 – Special Topics in Writing
  • ENGW 471 – Composition Theory, Practice, and Pedagogy
  • IDS 494 – Senior Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies
  • IDS 495 – Independent Study: Advanced Research

Teaching Awards

  • Senior Teaching Achievement Award, Wheaton College: 2015
  • Leland Ryken Humanities Teacher of the Year Award, Wheaton College: 2006
  • Junior Teacher of the Year Award, Wheaton College: 1998
  • Teacher of the Year Award, St. Francis College Preparatory: 1990


Much of my scholarship focuses on rhetoric, especially the work of Quintilian, the first-century Roman orator and teacher. I believe that the discipline of English finds its roots in the rhetorical tradition, which historically emphasizes more than a narrow focus on the belles lettres. In this light, English study ideally should fit one to use words well in a variety of situations and circumstances, for purposes in the academy and beyond. Consequently, my work embraces and promotes liberal arts learning, which has as its end the development of whole people who can serve the common good.

Selected Publications

Articles—Peer Reviewed

“Albert Camus as Rhetorical Playwright: The Embodiment of His Ethic in Drama.” Journal of Camus Studies (2014) 23-43. Print.

“Novel Interdisciplinary Rhetoric: Chimeras and the Possible World of H. G. Wells.” Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 25:1-2 (2013): 105-136. Print. Winner of the journal’s 2013 Oleg Zinam Award for Best Essay.

“The Rhetorical Power of Heuristic Quotations: Incorporating the Wen Fu into the Writing Center.” Praxis: A Writing Center Journal 10:2 (2013). Web.

“A Profession of Blended Beliefs.” Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture 10.2 (2010): 317-344. Print.


Liberal Arts for the Christian Life. Edited with Philip G. Ryken. Wheaton, IL: Crossway (2012).

Reading for Life: 100 Christian College Teachers Reflect on the Books That Have Shaped Their Lives. Edited with Lee Ryken and Tom Martin. Philadelphia, PA: Xlibris (2001).


“Censorship”; “Latin”; and “Vatican Library.” Entries for the Encyclopedia of Christian Education. Editors George Kurian and Mark Lamport. New York, NY: Scarecrow Press (2015).

“Canaan”; “Elijah”; “Exile”; “Flood”; “Joseph, husband of Mary”; “Joseph, son of Jacob and Rachel”; “Noah”; “Samaria, Samaritans”; “Shepherd”; “Sodom”; “Star of Bethlehem”; “Vine, Vineyard”; “Wilderness”; and “Zion.” Entries with Literary Significance from the Bible. for The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity. Editor, Daniel Patte. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press (2010).


Enhancing Communication & Collaboration in Interdisciplinary Research, by eds. Michael O’Rourke et al. Integrative Pathways: A Publication of the Association of Interdisciplinary Studies 36:4 (2014).

Why Choose the Liberal Arts?, by Mark William Roche. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 26:1-2 (2014).

The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age, by Randall J. Stephens and Karl W. Giberson. Christian Scholars Review 41:4 (2012).

The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 23:1-2 (2011).

Selected Presentations

Selected Conference Presentations – Refereed

“Ethics and the Encounter of Christian Identity in the Writing Center.” Panel with Two Wheaton Writing Consultants. ECWCA Conference. University of Notre Dame. Notre Dame, IN: Apr. 2015.

“Embodying the Pedagogical Rhetoric of Hospitality in the Classroom.” Panel Presentation with Jim Beitler and Alison Gibson. College English Association Conference. Indianapolis, IN: Mar. 2015.

“Juan Luis Vives on the Greatest Goods of Liberal Arts Instruction—Piety, Paper and Ink.” The Gaede Institute: Liberal Arts and the Social Good. Westmont College. Santa Barbara, CA: Feb. 2015.

“The Decline of Liberal Arts Colleges in America: A Loss of Interdisciplinary Diversity in America.” Association of Interdisciplinary Studies. Michigan State University. Ann Arbor, MI: Oct. 2014.

“Quintilian’s Agonistic Account: Negotiating Personal and Political Parameters in His Rhetoric.” Rhetoric Society of America Conference. San Antonio, TX: May 2014.

“Practicing the Progymnasmata: Appropriating the Pedagogy of the Institutio Oratoria.” Midwest Conference on Christianity and Literature. Wheaton College. Wheaton, IL: Mar. 2014.

“From Transitory to Transformational: Writing Center Praxis as Travel.” Session with Jim Beitler. International Writing Centers Association Collaborative at the CCCC. Indianapolis, IN: Mar. 2014.

“’Angels on the Head of a Pin’: A Story Promoting Interdisciplinary Thinking.” Association of Interdisciplinary Studies National Conference. Miami University. Oxford, OH: Nov. 2013.

“Using Ancient Wisdom to Promote Inventive Thinking in the Writing Center.” Midwest Writing Centers Association Conference: “Writing the ‘L.’” Chicago, IL: Oct. 2013.

“Interdisciplinary Teaching and the Future of Liberal Arts Education.” Annual Conference of the International Christian Studies Association. Pasadena, CA: Aug. 2013.

“Mediated Dialogism in Academic Writing Evaluation: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Action.” The Midwestern Conference on Literature, Language & Media. Dekalb, IL: Mar. 2013.

“Albert Camus’ Response to a War-Torn World: The Embodiment of His Ethic in the Liberating Art of Drama.” The Gaede Institute: War and Peace as Liberal Arts. Santa Barbara, CA: Feb. 2013.

“A Conceptual Basis for Praxis in the Writing Center.” Presentation with Two Wheaton Writing Center Consultants. National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing. Chicago, IL: Nov. 2012.

“The Role of the Christian Liberal Arts College in Interdisciplinary Conversations About Higher Education.” Association of Integrative Studies National Conference. Detroit, MI: Oct. 2012.

“New Knowledge and Human Potential: A Lesson From H. G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau.” Annual Conference of the International Christian Studies Association. Pasadena, CA: Aug. 2012.

“Tertullian’s Prescription Against the Heretics and Liberal Learning.” Association of Core Texts and Courses. Sponsored by Carthage College. Milwaukee, WI: Mar. 2012.

“Education that Aims Higher: The Christian Liberal Arts College.” The Quest for Excellence. Association of Core Texts and Courses. Sponsored by Yale University. New Haven, CT: Apr. 2011.

“The Necessity of Wisdom in Christian Liberal Arts Learning.” Educating for Wisdom in the Twenty-First-Century University. Sponsored by Baylor University. Waco, TX: Oct. 2011.

“A New(Man) Idea: The Christian Liberal Arts College.” Annual Conference of the International Christian Studies Association. Pasadena, CA: Aug. 2010.

Selected Academic Presentations – by Invitation

“A Critical Response to Mark Roche’s ‘The Three-Fold Value of a Liberal Arts Education.’”  Interdisciplinary Studies Annual Lecture at Wheaton College. Wheaton, IL: Apr. 2014.

“Your Destiny, Your Destination: Reaching Beyond Your Grasp.” Keynote Address. The Upstate Eight Conference and Literary Festival. St. Charles, IL: Apr. 2013.

“The Liberal Arts and Christian Schooling.” Plenary Address. Council on Educational Standards and Accountability Fall Symposium: Intellect, Service and Christian Character. Chicago, IL: Oct. 2012.

“Pursuing the Best Quest: Learning from Virgil Via Vicarious Experience.” The Pierson Curtis Plenary Lecture. The Stony Brook School. Stony Brook, NY: Feb. 2012.

“Responding to The Scandal at Wheaton College Today.” Response to Dr. Timothy Larsen’s Paper. Sponsored by the Center of Applied Christian Ethics. Wheaton College. Wheaton, IL: Mar. 2011.

Membership in Professional Societies

  • Member of the Albert Camus Society
  • Member of the Association of Christian Writing Centers
  • Member of the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Member of the Association of Core Texts and Courses
  • Member of the College English Association
  • Member of the Conference on Christianity and Literature
  • Member of the International Christian Studies Association
  • Member of the International Writing Centers Association
  • Member of the Modern Language Association
  • Member of the National Council of Teachers of English
  • Member of the Rhetoric Society of America

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