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Susan J. Behrens


Professor of Linguistics


Joint appointment in Communication Sciences and Disorders & Psychology





Susan J. Behrens holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Brown University. At Brown, and later as a research associate at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (NY) and Cambridge University (UK), Susan conducted research on the processing of language and its neural connections. At MMC, Susan is Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders and teaches courses in linguistics and sociolinguistics. She is the chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is also the director of the MMC Center for Teaching Innovation and Excellence.

Her textbooks include An Introduction to Speech Science (with Jack Ryalls; Allyn and Bacon, 2000), Grammar (Routledge 2010), Language in the Real World (with Judith Parker, Routledge, 2010), Understanding Language Use in the Classroom (Multilingual Matters, 2014), and an expanded/enhanced version of Understanding Language Use (2018).


B.A., Queens College of the City University of New York
M.A., Brown University
Ph.D., Brown University

Recent Work

Books and Chapters:

Behrens, S.J. (2018). Understanding language use in the classroom: Including teaching materials for college educators. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Behrens, S.J. (2014). Understanding language use in the classroom: A linguistic guide for college educators. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Behrens, S.J. (2010). Grammar: A pocket guide. Oxon, UK: Routledge Press.

Behrens, S.J. and Parker, J.A. (Eds.). (2010). Language in the real world: An introduction to linguistics. New York and Oxon: Routledge Press.

Ryalls, J. and Behrens, S.J. (2005). Introduction to speech science: From basic theories to clinical applications. Translated into Chinese by Psychological Publishing.

Ryalls, J. and Behrens, S.J. (2000). Introduction to speech science: From basic theories to clinical applications. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Behrens, S. J., Kirle, B. and Gandhi-Schwatlo, N. (1997). Peterson’s GMAT success. Princeton: Peterson’s Press.

Selected Articles and Reviews

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Behrens, S.J. and Kandel, M. (2021). Deepening Metalinguistic Awareness in Developmental Writing Using The New York Times. Research and Teaching in Developmental Education.

Tropp, L. and Behrens, S. (July/October 2021). Pandemic Language: A Battle for Control over More than the Virus. ETC, 202-208.

Behrens, S.J. (Winter 2021). The Essential Self of Natalie Waite in Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson. Names, 39, 1-8. DOI: 10.5195/names.2021.2244.

Mercer, C. and Behrens S.J. (Fall 2020). Teaching Remotely in a Topsy-Turvy World: Rethinking the Accessible Classroom in the Era of COVID-19. Research and Teaching in Developmental Education.

Behrens, S. J. & Fernández, E. M. (2020). Linguistically informed pedagogy in higher education: A role for teaching and learning centers. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 31(2), 143-160. 

Behrens, S.J., Gomez, A., & Krimgold, J. (2019). Spelling counts: The educational gatekeeping role of grading rubrics and spell check programs. Research and Teaching in Developmental Education, 7-20. 

Behrens, S.J. (2016). Teaching difficult material: Lessons on Linguistic (In)tolerance. Research and Teaching in Developmental Education 31 (1), 63-71.

Behrens, S.J., Catalano, R., Perez, J., Clark, K., and Chisholm, L. (2016). Challenging linguistic stereotypes on the Internet. Research and Teaching in Developmental Education 32 (2), 62-72.

Behrens, S.J., Chirinos, Y., Spencer, M., and Spradley, S. (2016). Academic English and language-related technology, NADE Digest 8 (1), 28-34.

Behrens, S., Johnson, A., Allard, M., and Caroli, A. (2016). I know it when I see it: Uncovering college student-educator expectations about academic writing. Writing & Pedagogy 8 (2), 309-332.

Editor-Reviewed Journal Articles

Behrens, S. J. (2022). Review of A Women’s History of the Beatles. Women & Language, 45 (2), 247-252. DOI 10.34036/WL.2022.021

Behrens, S.J. (2022). The Onomastic Game Is Afoot: Naming in John Lennon’s “The Singularge Experience of Miss Anne Duffield.” In Monadnock Sherlockian Anthology. Ed. A.B. Behrens. Nine Muses Books.

Behrens, S. (2021). Review of The Address Book. Names, 69 (1), 1-9. DOI 10.5195/names.2021.228


Behrens, S.J. (Producer and Director) (2013). The three Rs: Representation of English, reality of language, and realignment of expectations: A primer for professors on the nature of language and academic discourse. United States. Plaster Bear Productions.


Student and professor expectations of academic English.

Conversational analysis of student-teacher/tutor meetings.

Linguistics and grammar as a pedagogical tool.


Courses offered:

Introduction to Linguistics

Analyzing the Structure of English across Genres


Speech and Hearing Science

The Sound of Your Voice: General Education Upper Division

Language and Culture: General Education Upper Division

Psycholinguistics: General Education Upper Division

Professional Experience

Director: Marymount Manhattan College Center for Teaching Innovation and Excellence (C-TIE)

Associate: Institute for Writing and Thinking, Bard College, NY

Free-lance Contributor: The New York Times in Education

Summer Instructor: Columbia University, High School Program and Internship in Building Community

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (2020-2021)


Carson Hall, Room 706J


Susan Behrens, Ph.D.