Jeffrey Chisum

Professor (Teaching) of Writing
Jeffrey Chisum
Pronouns He / Him / His Email Office JEF 150 Office Phone (213) 740-1980


Jeffrey Chisum is Professor (Teaching) of Writing. As a teacher of writing, he specializes in curriculum development and assignment design, and was responsible for creating and implementing the General Education course, WRIT 150: Issues in Aesthetics. From 2017-2023, he served as the Associate Director of the Writing Program, and in that role, he oversaw the curriculum that is delivered to the roughly 7,500 students that enroll in Writing Program courses each year, and he led the Program as it piloted and then fully adopted the use of grading contracts. During his tenure as an administrator, the Writing Program made key revisions to the Program’s Writing 150 Course Book and added more new course offerings than at any other time in the Program’s history. 

As a writer and scholar, his work is multifaceted: in the field of Rhetoric and Composition, he was the lead researcher in a 2-year, longitudinal study aimed at examining the impact that grading contracts, teacher response styles, and semi-blind evaluation have on student learning outcomes, and on student and instructor satisfaction. The study also gained insights into the ways that grading approaches can affect inequities in grading distributions among different student demographics.

As a writer, Dr. Chisum—who is a native son of rural Nevada—has published in a variety of genres ranging from fiction to scholarship, often with a focus on the literature, mythology, and culture of the American West. Some of his more recent publications include a chapter in the Neil Campbell-edited collection, Under the Western Sky, on the author and musician Willy Vlautin (U. of Nevada Press, 2018); an annotated bibliography on Walter Van Tilburg Clark for Oxford University Press; and an article exploring the way that tragedy and “western-ness” play out in the television show, Breaking Bad, in the journal Critical Studies in Television. He frequently reviews books for Western American Literature and has an essay chapter forthcoming on the intersection of the horror and western genres in Stanley Kubrick’s film, The Shining.  

On campus, he has served extensively on a variety of committees, including the Academic Senate, the Senate Nominating Committee, the Provost’s Employee Benefits and RTPC Promotions Committees, and the Academic Senate Committee on Research, Teaching, Clinical, and Practice (RTPC) Faculty Affairs, for which he served for two years as Co-Chair and was principal author of the committee’s 2016 White Paper. From 2014-2017, he served on Dornsife College’s Faculty Council, as Secretary, Vice President, and President, and helped to lead the Council as it underwent a series of crucial changes. 


  • Ph.D. Literature & Creative Writing, University of Southern California, 2007
  • M.A. English, University of Southern California, 2005
  • B.A. English, University of Southern California, 2001
  • B.A. Cinema-Television, University of Southern California, 2001