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Professor Mary Schuster Retires

May 29, 2020

The Department of Writing Studies is pleased to honor and recognize Professor Mary (Lay) Schuster, who retired from the University of Minnesota in May 2020. Professor Schuster joined the faculty at University of Minnesota in 1991; in 2007 she joined the Department of Writing Studies in the College of Liberal Arts. She served as a graduate faculty member in the Rhetoric, Scientific and Technical Communication program (1993-present) and Communication Studies (2001-present). Professor Schuster was also an Affiliate Faculty member of the School of Law (2000-present) and Affiliate Faculty member in the graduate program in Feminist Studies (1996-present). Prior to her time at University of Minnesota, she served as Supervising Technical Copyeditor at John Wiley and Sons (1970-1971) and Associate Editor at IEEE (1968-1970), both in New York City. She earned her MA (1972) and PhD (1975) in English from University of New Mexico, Albuquerque and joined the faculty at Clarkson University in 1976. She became Chair of the Department of Technical Communications at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY (1981-1991). 

Professor Schuster’s many contributions at the University of Minnesota include serving as Director of Graduate Studies in Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication (1997-2001), Director of the Center for Advanced Feminist Studies (1994-1997), and Deputy Director of the Office for Conflict Resolution (2006-2007). In 2014 she received the Arthur “Red” Motley Award for Exemplary Teaching in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota. She also served as editor of the academic journal Technical Communication Quarterly (1990-2003) and President of the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (1988-1990). Professor Schuster was a dedicated volunteer for WATCH, a volunteer-based court monitoring and research organization that follows cases of family and sexual violence and provides feedback to the justice system. In 2004, she was recognized by WATCH as Volunteer of the Year. Professor Schuster currently volunteers as a Legal Counseling Advocate for Tubman, Family Crisis and Support Services (2017 to present). 

Professor Schuster is an active scholar whose work in the last decade has examined victim advocacy and persuasive practices. Past books include Victim Advocacy in the Courtroom: Persuasive Practices in Domestic Violence and Child Protection Cases with Amy Propen (Northeastern University Press series on Gender, Crime, and Law, 2011); Rhetoric and Communication Perspectives on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault: Policy and Protocol Through Discourse, with Amy Propen (Routledge Press, 2017). She is currently working on an upcoming book project tentatively titled: Homeless Voices: Stigma, Space, and Social Media.

In addition to her many accomplishments, Professor Schuster has positively influenced her colleagues and students through the years, providing both friendship and mentorship.  We are deeply grateful for her service, leadership, and friendship. We congratulate Mary and wish her all the best in her retirement.