This academic year brought students and faculty back to campus, even as we’ve continued to negotiate the many challenges brought by new stages of the pandemic. In the fall, I began my first term as Department Chair, joined by Elizabeth Lopez (Associate Chair), Tanya Caldwell (Director of Graduate Studies), Josh Russell (Director of Creative Writing), Mark Noble (Director of Undergraduate Studies), and Michael Harker (Director of Lower-Division Studies and the Writing Studio). We welcomed three new Lecturers to our faculty: Shannon Finck, Nick Sturm, and Anna Barattin.
In the spring, several members of our faculty received impressive recognition: Beth Gylys was named a Distinguished University Professor; Elizabeth West was appointed as the John B. and Elena Diaz-Verson Amos Distinguished Chair in English Letters; and Gina Caison was appointed appointed to the Kenneth England Professorship in Southern American Literature. The Field School and Study Abroad courses offered in the spring and May semesters provided students with opportunities to study publishing in NYC, Shakespeare in Italy, and South African literature with writers and faculty at the University of the Southern Cape.
We look forward to sustaining these successful programs while expanding our course offerings at the undergraduate and graduate levels to include global and indigenous literatures, archival research, teaching in English studies, and African American folklore and foodways. As the restrictions imposed by the pandemic ease, we anticipate establishing a speaker series for the next academic year.
Professor and Chair