To the English Department Community,
Greetings from Morgan Hall! I welcome this opportunity to share with you the current situation of the Department and our accomplishments over the past year.
In 2014-2015 the English Department had 35 tenure-track faculty (10 Assistant Professors, 11 Associate Professors, and 14 Professors), two NTRC Assistant Professors, 44 Full-time Temporary Instructors and 27 Part-time Temporary Instructors. One Associate Professor served the College as Associate Dean. We hired four new TT assistant professors in 14-15 and added a new Front Office Coordinator staff position, bringing our total number of office staff to six. We had 114 GTA lines and 125 graduate students overall. We had 396 undergraduate majors and 220 Creative Writing minors. We produced 30,609 undergraduate credit hours (27,993 lower division; 2,616 upper division) and 993 graduate credit hours. We awarded 114 BA, 17 MA, 15 MFA, and 4 PhD degrees.
Our faculty had a very productive year. Robin Behn’s book Once Upon a Time in the Twenty-First Century: Unexpected Exercises in Creative Writing and Phil Beidler’s book Beautiful War: Studies in a Dreadful Fascination, are both forthcoming from UA Press. John Burke was President of the South Central Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and Program Chair for the 2015 SCSECS conference. Lauren Cardon’s book Democratic Fashion and Fictions of Self-Transformation is forthcoming from U of Virginia Press. Andy Crank’s books Understanding Randall Kenan (U of South Carolina Press), The Morning Watch and Selected Short Prose of James Agee (U of Tennessee Press), and New Approaches to Gone With the Wind (LSU Press) are forthcoming. Catherine Davies is the co-editor of New Perspectives on Language Variety in the South: Historical and Contemporary Approaches, published last year by UA Press. Amy Dayton is the editor of Assessing the Teaching of Writing: 21st Century Trends and Technologies, published last year by Utah State U Press. David Deutsch’s book The Cultural Contexts of Classical Music in British Literature, 1870-1945 was published by Bloomsbury. Jen Drouin was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor. Karen Gardiner completed her term as Director of First Year Writing; she moves on next year to work as the College’s director of academic integrity. Trudier Harris’ book Martin Luther King, Jr., Heroism, and African American Literature, was published by UA Press. Professor Harris was named University Distinguished Research Professor in April 2015. Dilin Liu gave invited lectures at the 2015 Conference of the American Association for Applied Linguistics in Toronto, and at the 23rd International Symposium on English Teaching in Taipei. Michael Martone’s book Winesburg, Indiana, was published by U of Indiana Press. Albert Pionke directed our English Symposium in spring 2015; he was also awarded a CARSCA grant to digitize the marginalia of John Stuart Mill at Oxford University and produce related original scholarship. Heidi Staples is the co-editor of Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene, forthcoming from BlazeVox Books. Kellie Wells’ book God, the Moon, and Other Megafauna is forthcoming from U of Notre Dame Press. Professor Wells was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor last year. Heather White is the editor of The New Collected Marianne Moore, forthcoming from Faber & Faber. Patti White’s chapbook of poetry, Kontakion, was published in 2015. Emily Wittman is the co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Autobiography and Modernism and Autobiography, both published by Cambridge in 2014.
Our First Year Writing Program continues to serve the University by teaching composition courses to the vast majority of first year students. The Department offered 437 sections of First Year Writing, serving 9,681 students. The Department has a robust English major, and last year awarded 114 BA degrees. Seventeen students wrote Honors Theses directed by faculty and graduated with Honors in English – a record number. The Department recognized fourteen students with scholarships and awards at Honors Day. Eleven students gave presentations at the 2015 Sigma Tau Delta International Convention in Albuquerque. Four of the fourteen UA students who won Fulbright Fellowships were English majors. Two students were among the Randall Research Program Honorees. Faculty led study abroad programs in Chile, Ireland, and Zanzibar.
On the Graduate Studies side, the Department awarded 17 MA, 15 MFA, and 4 PhD degrees. The department accepted PhD/MA literature/CRES/TESOL students for F15, and they were offered 15 fellowships: 13 Graduate Council, 1 McNair, and 1 National Alumni Association. Accepted MFA creative writing students for F15 were offered four fellowships: 3 Graduate Council, 1 McNair. Brandi D. Easter (Award for Outstanding Master’s Thesis – Department, College (A&S), and University levels in 2014) was awarded the College of Southern Graduate School’s Master’s Thesis Award. Stephen Jarrett, MFA student, received a Graduate Council Thesis Fellowship for 2015-16. Ryan Learmouth, MFA student, received a National Alumni Fellowship for 2015-16. Christopher McCarter received the 2015 Excellence in Teaching by a Master’s Student Award. Stephanie Parker took second place in the Graduate School’s Three Minute Thesis competition. Jessica Porter won the 2014 College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Thesis Award.
Our Writing Center did huge service to the UA community, recording a total of 8000 student contacts, as measured in terms of face-to-face and online consultations (7000) and various promotions and workshops (1000).
The 2015-2016 school year is well underway as I write. We have an usually large number of faculty out on research leaves this fall, working hard on their current projects, but there’s still plenty of activity in Morgan. Three separate faculty job searches – in Renaissance Studies, Creative Writing, and Linguistics – are underway. The faculty have set for themselves the goal of instituting some revisions to the requirements for the English major, so we’re having many provocative and searching conversations on that subject. We recently added a page to our web site that makes it easier than ever for friends and alumni of the Department to make their gifts to our scholarship fund — https://english.ua.edu/give — and we’re particularly focused this year on raising funds for the new Elizabeth Meese Endowed Scholarship fund, which was created just this fall to honor our former colleague, who passed away in 2010.
And of course as always there’s more programming coming out of the Department than anyone can possibly keep up with. Lectures, film screenings, readings, performances, workshops, and on and on. I invite you to keep up with our Department activities and accomplishments through our web site at https://english.ua.edu, our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/uaenglish, and through our brand new Twitter account at https://twitter.com/BamaEnglish.
Thanks for your support of the Department of English!
Professor and Chair