Elizabeth Francis, Ph.D.

Associate Professor; Thesis Advisor


Elizabeth A. Francis is an associate professor of English and judicial studies at the University of Nevada, Reno.

She came to the University of Nevada, Reno in 1978 as director of freshmen English and has maintained her interest in composition and argumentation throughout her career at the University, currently teaching English 321, Advanced Composition once each year.

She initiated the teaching of children's literature at the University, based on her work at Yale with Maurice Sendak and also teaches literature, law and ethics, an interdisciplinary course based on her work with the National Judicial College (NJC), where she founded judicial writing as a field of study in 1982. Since then she has taught thousands of judges at NJC and in court systems, agencies and conferences throughout the United States, including the National Labor Relations Board, the U.S. Office of Patents and Appeals, the Department of Defense, the American Bar Association, the Supreme Courts of Nevada, Ohio and Arizona, California administrative law agencies and many others. She recently revised all civil jury instructions for Indiana in consultation with Indiana's Judicial Branch and continues to revise civil jury instructions for Pennsylvania's civil jury instruction committee.

Francis is an integral part of the judicial studies program at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she serves as thesis adviser for judges seeking master's and Ph.D. degrees in judicial studies.

Research interests

  • Contingency and rule in judicial decision-making
  • Writing process in relation to decision-making
  • Agency as a legal concept, language and judicial process.
  • Victorian literature