Raymond Keith Gilyard is a prominent writer and American professor of English who teaches and researches in the fields of rhetoric, composition, literacy studies, sociolinguistics, and African American literature. Interested in the complex interplay among race, ethnicity, language, writing, and politics, Gilyard's work investigates the differences between authentic student voice and the dominant discourse of the academy. His primary interest lies in identifying intersections of African American English and composition practices. Advocating African American English as a legitimate discourse, Gilyard is a prominent voice in the movement to recognize ethnic and cultural discourses other than Standard English as valid. As a literary scholar, his interests have been in the interplay between African American literature and rhetorical criticism and in bio-critical work.
Gilyard received his Bachelor of Science degree from City University, his Masters of Fine Arts from Columbia University, and his doctorate at New York University, this last degree under the mentorship of Gordon M. Pradl. His first college teaching appointment was at LaGuardia Community College in 1980. In 1981, Gilyard became a faculty member at CUNY, Medgar Evers College, where in 1986 he helped to launch the National Black Writers Conference series. He continued at CUNY as a teacher and writing program administrator until 1994, when he took a position as professor of writing and English and director of the writing program at Syracuse University. Since 1999, he has been a professor of English at Penn State University.