Faculty and Staff


Theresa L. Burriss has a BA from Emory University in Atlanta, an MS from Radford University, and a PhD from the Union Institute and University in Cincinnati. She serves as the Chair of Appalachian Studies and Director of the Appalachian Regional & Rural Studies Center at Radford University. Additionally, she is Radford University’s Director of Academic Outreach for the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon. She teaches undergraduate and graduate multidisciplinary classes on Appalachia.

Theresa has published literary criticism on the Affrilachian Writers, including chapters in An American Vein: Critical Readings in Appalachian Literature (Ohio UP 2005) and Appalachia in the Classroom: Teaching the Region (Ohio UP 2013), for which she served as co-editor with Patricia Gantt. Her chapter, “Ecofeminist Sensibilities and Rural Land Literacies in the Work of Contemporary Appalachian Novelist Ann Pancake,” is part of the collection, Ecofeminism and Literature: Intersectional and International Voices (Routledge 2018), edited by Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey. Her photos and contextual essay, “Benham, Kentucky, Coalminer and Wise County, Virginia, Landscape” are included in Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy (West Virginia UP 2019), edited by Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll. “Raven, Woman, Man: A/Religious Ecocritical Reading of Jim Minick’s Fire Is Your Water” will appear in Appalachian Ecocriticism (West Virginia UP 2019), edited by Jessica Cory and Laura White.

She was awarded an NEH Summer Institute Grant for the 2015 Transcendentalism and Reform in the Age of Emerson, Thoreau, and Fuller, in Concord, MA. As the U.S. co-chair for the 2019 Appalachian-Carpathian Mountain Conference, she is working with her Transylvania University colleague, Dr. Georgeta Moarcas, to plan the conference in Brasov and Petrila, Romania. Theresa is a board member for the nonprofit organization Appalachian Sustainable Development, and serves on the steering committee for Opportunity SWVA.

In her spare time, she enjoys running, hiking, and kayaking throughout the Appalachian region. Theresa lives on a nontraditional 123-acre farm and artist retreat, Gwendolyn Ridge, in Washington County, VA, with her two sons, Paul and Campbell, her husband, Dr. James L. Werth, Jr., their nine rescue animals, and various wild animals.



Ricky Cox has an MA in English from Radford University, a BA in History from Radford, and an AAS in Machine Technology from New River Community College. A native of Floyd County, VA, he teaches, American Literature, an introductory course on the Appalachian region, and Appalachian Folklore. He is also Coordinator of the Farm at Selu, a replicated 1930s farmhouse at Radford University’s Selu Conservancy. His research interests include the history of technology in the U.S., and the literature, music, and folk culture of the Appalachian South. His publications include short fiction, reviews, literary criticism, and essays on various topics, many related to Appalachian culture. He is a coeditor of A Handbook to Appalachia: An Introduction to the Region (UT Press 2006) and co-author ofThe Water-Powered Mills of Floyd County, VA: Illustrated Histories, 1770-2010 (McFarland Publishers, 2010).

Contact: rcox@radford.edu