Dr. Lena Ampadu



Contact Information

LA 4332


Ph.D. University of Maryland College Park 1999
M.A. American University, 1976
B.A. (cum laude) Howard University, 1974

Areas of Expertise

Grammar and Composition
African American Literature
Black Women Writers


Lena Ampadu, Ph.D., is Professor in the Department of English, Towson University, where she teaches courses on grammar and composition; African American Literature; and black women writers. She served as the Assistant Chair of the Department, 2005-2010.

A presenter at national and international conferences, she continues to research black women writers, intersections of orality and literacy, and the rhetoric of nineteenth century African Americans. Her latest research centers on Frances Harper and Pauline Hopkins.  She is also an affiliate faculty member in African and African American Studies, a program she directed from 2004-2010. During the summer 2007, she was the co-principal of a Fulbright–Hays Grant, which funded a curriculum infusion project for thirteen local public school teachers to travel to Ghana, West Africa.

She enjoys helping students become learners who make connections to literature inside and outside of the classroom. Several of her classes emphasize learning beyond the classroom and often require students to visit historical sites, local museums, and off-campus plays or movies. Students enrolled in her African American Literature and Studies courses are always encouraged to make use of the rich cultural resources in the Baltimore-Washington area and beyond. In conjunction with her students’ study of A Raisin in the Sun, her classes went to a dress rehearsal for Clybourne Park, part of the Raisin sequel produced at Baltimore’s Center Stage. On other occasions, to complement their study of the Harlem Renaissance, her classes have journeyed on a day trip to visit the Schomburg Center, the Studio Museum of Harlem, Sugar Hill, the Apollo, and other historical places in Harlem.


Selected publications are  listed below.


 Nineteenth-and twentieth –century African American Literature; Nineteenth century African American women’s rhetoric; Intersections between orality and literacy


“Black Women Writers as Dynamic Agents of Change.” Cultivating Visionary Leadership by Learning for Global Success.  Eds. Donald Pardlow and Mary Alice Trent. Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015.

“Paul Laurence Dunbar’s Poetry and the Influence of African Aesthetics,” We Wear the Mask: Paul Laurence Dunbar and the Politics of Representative Reality.  Ed.Willie Harrell.  Ohio: Kent State University Press. August 2010

“Maria W. Stewart and the Rhetoric of Black Preaching: Perspectives on Womanism and Black Nationalism,” Black Women’s Intellectual Traditions:  Speaking Their Minds. Eds. Carol B. Conaway and Kristin Waters. Burlington: University of Vermont Press, 2007.

 “Gumbo Yaya:  Tapping Cultural Stories to Teach Language and Writing.”   Composition Studies, vol. 32, no.1   Spring 2004.

  “Modeling Orality:  African American Rhetorical Practices and the Teaching of Writing,” African American Rhetoric(s):  Interdisciplinary References. Eds.  Elaine Richardson & Ron Jackson. Carbondale, Ill:  Southern Illinois U. Press,  2004.


Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad to Ghana

Cultivating New Voices Grant, National Council of Teachers of English Research Foundation

Paul Cuffee Fellowship

The Frank Munson Institute of Maritime Studies, Mystic Connecticut


National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), Conference on College Composition and Communication(CCCC), Northeast Modern Language Association (NEMLA), College English Association Middle-Atlantic Group (CEA-MAG),  College Language Association (CLA), Collegium on African American Research (CAAR)



Executive Council, College English Association Middle-Atlantic Group,  1998-present; Served as President 2002-2004

Executive Committee, Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC)    2002-2005

Editorial Board, CCC Journal     2012-2015

Reader and Consultant,  Advanced Placement (AP) English Language and Composition; Literature

The College Board , Philadelphia, PA        1998-2005


Member, Friends of Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum Board, Oella, MD 2009-2011

Courses Fall 2019

  • ENGL 233 African-American Literature
  • ENGL 234 Major Writers in African-American Literature