Ella W. Kirk, Ph.D.

Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Director, School of Arts, Humanities & Politics, Professor of French

Ella Kirk


Professor Kirk has been teaching at Hiram College for nearly 25 years. During that time, she has led six term abroad programs to France. Five of these trips focused on the study of French language, literature, and culture, and the most recent examined the intersections between food, culture and ethics. She regularly teaches courses in the first year program where she enjoys discussions on French food and culture and the art of the epistolary novel. She is married to James Hightower, and together they have one daughter, Cassie, who is also a student at Hiram College. They all enjoy life near the campus with their three cats, dog Zach, two roosters and several hens.


  • Ph.D., Department of French and Italian, The Ohio State University, Columbus, March, 1992.
  • M.A., French, The Ohio State University, 1985.
  • M.A. program, Teaching English as a Second Language, Ball State University, 1982-83.
  • B.A., French, Spanish, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, 1981.
  • L’Université Laval, Quebec, Canada, summer, 1981.

Research Interests

Professor Kirk’s area of expertise is the epistolary literature of eighteenth-century (Enlightenment) France. The majority of her research has examined the ways in which the epistolary genre privileges a space where the construction of meaning relies on gender identification. She also studies the history of French cuisine, especially that of Enlightenment France, and the invention of the restaurant.

Selected Publications

  • Williams, Jessica. Teaching Writing in Second and Foreign Language Classrooms. New York: McGraw Hill, 2005. Modern Language Journal, Vol. 91 (Spring 2007) 136-137.
  • Offord, Malcolm, Nicki Hatchcott, Sam Haigh, Laila Ibnlfassi, & Rosemary Chapman. (Eds.). Francophone Literatures: A Literary and Linguistic Companion. Modern Language Journal, Vol. 87, No. 1, 2003.
  • Siskin, H. Jay, & Cheryl Krueger. Entretiens: Cours de conversation. Modern Language Journal, Vol. 86, No. 4, 2002.
  • Graffigny, Françoise de. Lettres d’une Péruvienne. The Eighteenth Century: A Current Bibliography. New York: AMS Press.
  • Bennington, Geoffrey. Sententiousness and the Novel. The Eighteenth Century: A Current Bibliography. New York: AMS Press.

Fun Facts

  • Professor Kirk completed a Bread and Pastry program at the Western Reserve School of Cooking in Hudson and created two courses “The Art of Making Dough” and “Transforming Your Dough into a Life of Sweet Success” along with the Terrier Bakery, a student-run enterprise offering high quality breads to the community.
  • Professor Kirk is an avid cyclist. She and her family have completed several long distance trips across numerous states. She also enjoys backpacking and hiking.

Additional Links

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