Aetna Chair of Writing
Established in the 1980s, the Aetna Chair of Writing draws from the Aetna Life and Casualty Foundation’s Aetna Endowment to initiate, enhance, and otherwise further University of Connecticut writing programs.
Programs and Initiatives
The Aetna Chair of Writing and its associated funds support initiatives that promote writing initiatives for students, educators, and the UConn community. Examples include:
- Aetna Celebration of Student Writing, a poster fair and awards celebration that showcases student work and writing-related research.
- The UConn Writing Center provides tutoring and writing support for students at all levels and oversees the annual Aetna Writing in the Disciplines prizes.
- Numerous Aetna Writing Prizes recognize writing excellence among UConn undergraduate and graduate students.
- Long River Review, a literary and arts journal produced annually by UConn undergraduate students.
- Poetic Journeys, a literary public art project that features work by UConn students, faculty, and staff.
- Aetna writers-in-residence, who give readings and work with students in one-on-one tutorials.
- A host of other visiting authors, speakers, and teachers. Recent examples include the Pandemic Journaling Project and Racisms in the Margins initiative.
- The Connecticut Writing Project Summer Institute, which supports professional resources for teachers, schools, and school districts.
- First-Year Writing’s Annual Conference on the Teaching of Writing
- Avery Point writing retreats
The Terra Foundation has awarded a $50,000 grant to Professor Brenda Jo Brueggemann and her team for their exhibit/curation project, Shaped by the American Dream: Deaf History through Deaf Art.[Read More]
Aetna Chair of Writing Brenda Brueggemann, along with graduate students Margaret McFarlane, Emily Tarconish, and Kathryn Warrender-Hill, created an online survey in academic year 2020-2021 for graduate students, focusing on how the pandemic has influenced their education experience.[Read More]
Meet the Aetna Chair
Aetna Chair of Writing and Professor of English
Brenda Jo Brueggemann is Professor of English and Aetna Endowed Chair of Writing at the University of Connecticut; she also teaches at the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College during the summer. She has been deaf (genetic) from birth. After college, she taught high school in her rural Kansas community for five years before going to graduate school. In the mid-1990s, bolstered by the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, she helped conceptualize the new field of Disability Studies.
She has written, co-written, edited, or co-edited 16 books, including nine memoirs in the “Deaf Lives” series she created for Gallaudet University Press, and more than 70 essays and articles at the intersections of Deaf/Disability Studies and writing/art. Her current research centers on disability and deafness in the visual and literary arts.
Past Aetna Chairs
Lynn Z. Bloom
Professor Emerita of English
2021-2022 Advisory Board
Assistant Professor-in-Residence of English
Director of the First-Year Writing Program
Associate Professor of English
Assistant Director of Digital Humanities and Media Studies, UConn Humanities Institute