Erin Vearncombe

Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream (LTA)
Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy

Erin earned her Ph.D. in the Study of Religion from the University of Toronto in 2014. Upon graduation, she accepted a postdoctoral lectureship at Princeton University which she held until 2019. While at Princeton, Erin taught within the Princeton Writing Program, the Freshman Seminar Program, and the Freshman Scholars Institute (FSI), a program designed to support first-generation students from backgrounds typically under-recognized within institutions of higher education as they began their life and work at Princeton. Erin’s experience with first-year writing instruction and support led to her return to the University of Toronto St. George as an Assistant Professor with the Office of the Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science in 2019. Erin designed and led first-year writing initiatives such as Arrive Ready to Write and developed peer-based writing resources for the First-Year Learning Communities (FLC) program. She also taught within the First-Year Foundations Seminar program on topics related to gender, religion, and popular culture. 

Erin’s teaching is built upon a rigorous insistence that university learners - undergraduate, graduate and faculty - are all collaborators in the production of academic meaning-making. We have a responsibility to each other, to our programs of study, and to the objects of our study to first understand how knowledge is produced within our programs of study, to ask questions about these processes, and then to develop our role within this ongoing production. Erin wants each person in her classroom to leave our shared space knowing that their voice matters, that they are a critical, dynamic thinker with the power to take our knowledge and our ways of knowing significant steps forward.

Erin’s current research examines perceptions of writing failure in post-secondary writing instruction. Working within ISP100: Writing for University and Beyond’s pedagogy of “writing about writing,” the project builds from the premise that reflecting upon writing failure can give writers more control over and intentionality towards their writing processes and our writing frameworks – our own frameworks, but also those imposed upon us, such as curricular, linguistic, or institutional frameworks. Erin’s research is an outcome of her teaching (and vice versa), and a separate teaching project will build on ISP100’s emphasis on cohort-building to examine the role of curricular community in writing development and transfer. Erin has also published a number of academic articles on the study of religion and was lead author on the 2021 HarperOne book After Jesus Before Christianity.

Erin tries to stay outdoors as much as possible. She loves birdwatching, canoeing, kayaking and hiking. She also claims to hold the world’s best recipe for pancakes.


Ph.D. (Study of Religion, University of Toronto)
M.A. (Theology (New Testament Studies), University of Toronto)
B.A. (Hons.)(Religious Studies, Queen's University)