Russell Mayo

Teaching Interests

Russell Mayo is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His teaching involves writing, rhetoric, and English education. He currently works with pre-service teachers in UIC’s English Education program, where he teachers English Education methods courses and supervises student teachers placed in Chicago Public Schools high schools. He has taught the Introduction to English Education and the Writing Methods courses, as well as the peer tutor training course in the UIC Writing Center. He has also taught courses in First-Year Writing around interdisciplinary themes of Food, Sustainability, and Technology.


Russ is originally from the Saginaw Valley area of mid-Michigan near the shores of Lake Huron. He is a father, a foodie, and an avid biker and a drummer. Before coming to Chicago, Russ was middle grades teacher of English and Social Studies in Chapel Hill, North Carolina from 2005-2014. Russ has taught and coached myriad writers from adolescence through graduate students, in and out schools.

Research Interests

Russ’s research interests involve the intersections between education and society, critical pedagogy, the rhetorics of schooling, and questions of living and learning in the Anthropocene. His dissertation research involves examining 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 published work in The Peer Review entitled “The Everyday Anarchism of Peer Tutoring” (2018). He has book chapter in-press entitled “all schooled up?: One Teacher’s Path Toward Deschooling,” included in the edited collection Unsettling Education (Peter Lang, 2019). He is also involved in three new and exciting projects: co-editor of proposed book entitled Exigence in the Anthropocene: Ecocomposition in the Age of Climate Change (currently under revision), and as PI on a longitudinal research project with diverse pre-service teachers involved climate change education in English education (currently pending IRB approval).

Awards and Honors

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 co-founder and co-chair of ELATE Commission on Climate Change and Environment, and he has served as co-editor of the ELATE Graduate Strand’s “Growing Scholars Chronicle” bi-annual newsletter.

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 at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He also holds a Masters Certificate in Gifted Education from the University of North Carolina – Charlotte in 2013. He received his Bachelor’s degree in 2004 from Eastern Michigan University, where he majored in English Education and minored in History Education.