Dr. Kelly Sassi is a full Professor at North Dakota State University in Fargo with a joint appointment—55% in the English department and 45% in the School of Education.  She started working at NDSU in 2008, right after finishing her PhD at the University of Michigan. She served as Director of the Red River Valley Writing Project from 2014 to 2021. Dr. Sassi teaches courses in both English education and composition. Her research focuses on social justice issues, including race in the classroom, fair practices in writing assessment, feminist research methodologies, pedagogical approaches to Native American literatures, multicultural field experiences, and the high school-to-college transition in writing.

She taught high school English at West Valley High School in Fairbanks, Alaska from 1997-2003. She is passionate about rigorous and innovative preparation for future teachers, especially in terms of multicultural field experiences, often off campus, such as at Circle of Nations School or at historical sites like Fort Totten, where students have had opportunities to learn from Dakota and Ojibwe elders, as well as national scholars and local experts on North Dakota history. 

Dr. Sassi enjoys cross-country skiing, bicycling, and travel with her partner, Enrico Sassi, who directs NDSU’s Center for Writers. They have two sons, Alessandro and Massimo. You can read about their cross-cultural marriage here.

Photo of Professor Kel with the NDSU Provost and President when receiving teaching award
Dr. Sassi and Dr. Neuteboom at graduation
tips of cross-country skis against windblown snow