Neil Simpkins

Assistant Professor

Neil Simpkins

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

Office: UW1-333
Phone: 425.352.3734


Most of my research focuses on how marginalized people shape systems through the unique communication practices they use within them. I’m currently working on a book project titled Accommodation Work: The Rhetorical Practices of Disabled College Students. Accommodation work is the complex, unrecognized communication work that disabled college students do to attend college and participate in college classrooms. It encompasses work to describe their unique writing processes, emotional labor with their peers and instructors, and advocacy work to support fellow and future disabled students.

I also am part of a team of researchers examining the leadership experiences of BIPOC writing center professionals. Previously, my co-researchers and I completed a racial climate survey for writing center professional gatherings.

Additionally, I’m interested in incorporating fiber arts into arts based methods, the history and impact of trans-exclusionary rhetorics in the field of Gender and Women’s Studies, and transgender literacies and rhetorical practices more broadly.


I mostly teach first year writing, especially our research class B Writ 135. I also teach courses in our GWSS 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, why we’re here, and how to change higher education for the better.

Recent Courses Taught

B Writ 134 Composition
B Writ 135 Research Writing


My current projects use qualitative interviews 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 unique experiences of time inherent in disabled embodiment. I consider the emotional labor disabled students do when communicating with faculty and fellow students about their disability. I also grapple with how disabled students resist, take up, and use disability identity rhetorically.

Selected Publications