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Michelle Filling-Brown, PhD

Dean, Academic Affairs

Professor, Writing and Narrative Arts

Michelle Filling-Brown, PhD, serves as the Dean, Academic Affairs. 

Previously, Filling-Brown served as Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences. Filling-Brown also chaired the Department of English which includes majors in English/Writing, and minors in Theater, English, Writing, and Gender and Body Studies.  In 2014, Filling-Brown received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, an honor awarded at institutions of higher education in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Filling-Brown was awarded the 2012 Rose and Raymond Green Faculty Scholars Award. 

The cornerstone of Filling-Brown’s educational approach is making the students her primary focus. She is constantly developing innovative strategies for teaching writing.   

Her article “iFeedback: Using Video Feedback for Supporting Student Revision” (coauthored with Dr. Noreen Moore, Journal of College Literacy and Learning, April 2012) highlights her use of video feedback in ECG100 as a valuable tool for engaging with students throughout the writing process. 

In addition to composition studies, Filling-Brown’s research focuses on beauty culture and 20th-century African American women writers. 

In her publication “Images that Sell: The Black Female Body Imag(in)ed in 1960s and 1970s Magazine Advertisements” in Imagining the Black Female Body: Reconciling Image in Print and Visual Culture (Carol Henderson-Belton, ed., Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), Filling-Brown examines the iconography of black beauty as it became interconnected with social and political aesthetics of the era. 

Filling-Brown started the National Body Image Conference in 2016 and has hosted the conference biennially through the ongoing support of multiple grants from the Katherine Alexandra Foundation.  In collaboration with Dr. Mark DeStephano (St. Peter’s University), Filling-Brown serves as the founding editor of the Body Studies Journal.   

Filling-Brown also has been very involved with the English Department’s Theater Program.  For many years she choreographed the Cabrini student musical productions. Additionally, she started the Department of English’s annual One-Act Play Festival, which features staged readings of students’ scripts and the presentation of the Phillip M. Cook Aspiring Playwright Awards. 

She is committed to the first-year student experience and the learning communities initiative. She serves as a Professional Mentor for the National Learning Communities Association.

Filling-Brown is passionate about our social justice curriculum.  She has taught ECG courses on foster care, urban education, race and the media, and rethinking addiction. She is particularly proud of the partnerships she has developed with the Purple Feet Foundation and Fostering Hope non-profit organizations.  She also serves as a faculty affiliate for the Jordan Center for Children of Trauma and Domestic Violence Education. 

Filling-Brown earned Doctoral and Master’s degrees in English from the University of Delaware, and a Bachelor’s in English education from West Chester University. 


Areas of Expertise

Composition studies, beauty culture, gender and body studies, 20th century African American women writers



  • Filling-Brown, Michelle and Richard Gebauer. “Writing Across the Curriculum Through Community Engagement: Exploring the Foster Care System in a Thematic Living and Learning Community.” Building Synergy for High-Impact Educational Initiatives: First-Year Seminars and Learning Communities. Lauren Chism Schmidt and Janine Graziano, Eds. National Resource Center for the First Year Experience, 2016. 
  • Filling-Brown, Michelle and Andrea Sussel. “Building a Culture on Campus: The Body Image Coalition.” Healing Magazine. Vol. 20, No. 1. KidsPeace Institute. 2015.
  • Gebauer, Richard D., Nancy L. Watterson, Eric Malm, Michelle L. Filling-Brown, and John W. Cordes. “Beyond Improved Retention: Building Value-Added Success on a Broad Foundation.” Learning Communities Research and Practice. Vol. 1. Issue 2. June 2013. 
  • Moore, Noreen S. and Michelle Filling. "iFeedback: Using Video Feedback for Supporting Student Revision.” Journal of College Literacy and Learning. Vol. 38. April 2012.
  • Filling, Michelle. “Images that Sell: The Black Female Body Imag(in)ed in 1960s and 1970s Magazine Advertisements.” Imagining the Black Female Body: Reconciling Image in Print and Visual Culture. Carol Henderson-Belton, ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. 
  • Ianetta, Melissa, Melissa Sullivan, Corey Taylor, Kathleen Slaugh-Sanford, and Michelle Filling. “A Great Divide?: Literature Graduate Students and Writing Program Administration.” Lore: An E-Journal for Teachers of Writing. Bedford / St. Martin. Spring 2009. 


  • “Intrinsic Assessment—Extrinsic Gains:  How Inclusive General Education Can Drive College-Wide Inclusive Excellence.” Plenary, Workshop, and Discussion. AAC&U General Education: From My Work to Our Work.  New Orleans, LA. February 18-20, 2016. 
  • “Building Assessment Culture:  A Roadmap for Improved Retention, General Education, and Student Learning through Living and Learning Communities.”  National Learning Communities Conference.  Kansas City, MO.  Nov 12-14, 2015.
  • “Raising the Bar:  The Impact of Learning Communities on First-Year At-Risk Students.”  National Learning Communities Conference.  Kansas City, MO.  Nov 12-14, 2015.
  • “Sustaining a Regional Affiliate: Writing the History of the Philadelphia WPA.”  CWPA Sustainable Writing Program Administrators.  Boise, ID, July 16-19, 2015.
  • “A Comprehensive Review Year:  Reflecting on General Education,Departmental, and Institution-wide Assessment.”  AAC&U From Mission to Action to Evidence:  Empowering and Inclusive General Education Programs.  Kansas City, Missouri, February 19-21, 2015.
  • “Interested in an Institute? Action Planning for the Future.”  National Learning Communities Conference. Bay City, Michigan.  November 6-8, 2014.
  •  “Signature Assignments:  Assessment, Faculty Development, and Institutional Reform”  AAC&U General Education and Assessment:  Disruptions, Innovations, and Opportunities.  Portland, OR.  February 27-March 1, 2014.
  • “Work Hard, Play Hard:  How Co-Curricular Programming Enhances the Living and Curricular Experiences of LLCs”  National Learning Communities Conference. Indianapolis, IN.  November 8-10, 2012.
  • “Experiencing Justice Matters:  A Case Study in Encountering Diversity Across a Core Curriculum”  AAC&U Modeling Equity, Engaging Difference:  New Frameworks for Diversity and Learning.  Baltimore, MD.  October 18-20, 2012. 
  •  “Justice and Writing Matters:  Assessing a WAC Social Justice Core.” Writing Program Administrator Conference.  Albuquerque, NM.  July 15-22, 2012.
  • “General Education Action Plan Report.”  Association of American Colleges and Universities Institute on General Education and Assessment.  San Jose University, June 2011.
  • “Ensuring Success, Extending Satisfaction:  The Impact of Living and Learning Communities on Retention.”  U.S. Department of Education Title III, Title V and Title VII Project Directors’ Conference.  Washington, DC, April 19-21, 2011.
  • Cindy Ella:  Happily Ever After for Third-Wave Young Adult Women.”  Mid-Atlantic Women’s Studies Association Conference.  The College of New Jersey, April 2011.
  • “iFeedback:  Using Video Technology for Supporting Student Revision.”  International Writing Research Across Borders Conference.  George Mason University, February 19, 2011.  
  • “Whining Across the Curriculum:  Improving Writing Pedagogy in the Wake of General Education Reforms.”  Writing Program Administrator Conference.  Philadelphia, PA, July 17, 2010.
  • “Fashioning Liberation:  Nikki Giovanni as an Icon of Beauty, Radicalism, and Change.” Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture since 1900.  University of Louisville,  February 19, 2010.
  • “Seeing through her Eyes:  Children’s Search for Justice in Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.” South Atlantic Modern Language Association Convention.  Atlanta, GA, November 6, 2009.

Awards and Recognitions

  • KatherineAlexandra Foundation Grant Recipient (2013, 2016)
  • Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (2014)
  • Jeff Choice Award for Leadership in Dance (2014)
  • West Chester University Legacy of Leadership Award (2012)
  • Rose and Raymond Green Faculty Scholars Award (2012)