Neil Simpkins

Neil Simpkins

Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Composition and Rhetoric, UW-Madison
M.A., Literary Studies, UW-Madison
B.A., English Literature, Agnes Scott College

Office: UW1-333
Email: nfsimp@uw.edu
Phone: 425.352.3734


I explore how disabled students experience college writing, and the rhetorical tactics they use to navigate higher education. I’m also interested in how writers use planners and journaling as part of their writing process.


At UW Bothell, I primarily teach in the First Year Composition Program. In my classes, we research, critique, and write about access in higher education. Through writing and interactive classroom practices, we interrogate how we got to college, how to thrive, and how to change higher education for the better.

Recent Courses Taught

B Writ 134
B Writ 135


My current projects use qualitative interviewing methods to explore how students with disabilities navigate higher education. I describe how students learn and transfer knowledge about access and accommodations across college classrooms, particularly as they relate to college writing. I contrast the impact of set timeframes like quarters and deadlines with the crip time inherent in disabled embodiment. I also grapple with how disabled students resist, take up, and use disability identity rhetorically.

I am gearing up for a project that explores how disabled students use planning and journaling techniques as an important part of their writing process. Later down the road I’m hoping to explore how transgender people experience and navigate the literacy systems that constrain and enact trans life in the United States.

Selected Publications

"A Trauma-Informed Mentorship Model for Early Career Academics and Graduate Students Experiencing Mental Illness." With Brenna Swift. Spark: the online magazine of the National Center for Institutional Diversity.

"The Sticky Note Snap." In "Enacting a Culture of Access in Our Conference Spaces," College Composition and Communication, September 2020.

 “Weepy Rhetoric, Trigger Warnings, and the Work of Making Mental Illness Visible in the Writing Classroom.” With Sarah Orem. enculturation, December 2015.

Towards an Understanding of Accommodation Transfer: Disabled Students’ Strategies for Navigating Classroom Accommodations.” Composition Forum, vol. 39, Summer 2018.