From the Chair

Joel Brouwer
Joel Brouwer

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 2015-2016 the English Department had 39 tenure-track faculty (12 Assistant Professors, 14 Associate Professors, and 13 Professors, 2 NTRC Assistant Professors, 46 Full-time Instructors and 27 Part-time Instructors. We hired two new Assistant Professors (L. Lamar Wilson in Creative Writing and Dorothy Worden in Linguistics), one new Associate Professor (John Estes in Creative Writing, our new Director of Undergraduate Creative Writing), and one new Professor (Michelle Dowd, our new Hudson Strode Professor in Renaissance Studies).

We had six administrative staff members serving the Department. We had 113 GTA lines and 135 graduate students overall. We had 376 undergraduate majors, 257 Creative Writing minors, 13 World/Comparative Literature minors, and 5 Interdisciplinary Linguistics minors. We produced 30,930 UG credit hours (28,719 lower division; 2,211 upper division) and 1029 grad credit hours. We awarded 85 BA, 15 MA, 14 MFA, and 3 PhD degrees. Ours is a very big boat indeed!

In addition to their teaching responsibilities, our faculty were very productive in their research and creative activities and in important service roles within the Department and the wider University and Tuscaloosa Communities. Robin Behn’s book Once Upon a Time in the Twenty-First Century: Unexpected Exercises in Creative Writing is forthcoming from UA Press. Phil Beidler’s book Beautiful War: Studies in a Dreadful Fascination, is just out from UA Press. Lauren Cardon’s book Democratic Fashion and Fictions of Self-Transformation was published by 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.

Amy Dayton served as the Director of the University Writing Center. David Deutsch was tenured and promoted last year; his book The Cultural Contexts of Classical Music in British Literature, 1870-1945 was published by Bloomsbury. Jen Drouin’s book, Shakespeare in Quebec, was short-listed for the Gabrielle Roy Prize and the SAMLA Studies Book Award. Karen Gardiner was appointed Full Professor (NTRC) and became the College’s director of academic integrity. Trudier Harris was named University Distinguished Research Professor in April 2015. Dilin Liu gave invited lectures at the 2015 Technology for Second Language Learning Conference, and at the 24th International Symposium on English Teaching in Taipei. Michael Martone’s book Winesburg, Indiana, was published by U of Indiana Press.

Luke Niiler served as Director of the First Year Writing Program. Sharon O’Dair took fall research leave to work on her book, The Eco-Bard: The Greening of Shakespeare in Contemporary Film, and completed her term as Hudson Strode Professor of Renaissance Studies. Albert Pionke was awarded a RGC grant to digitize the marginalia of John Stuart Mill at Oxford and produce related original scholarship. Wendy Rawlings published several essays and stories and was awarded a Pushcart Prize. Cassander Smith was tenured and promoted last year; her book Washing the Ethiop Red was accepted by LSU Press. 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. Heather White is the editor of The New Collected Marianne Moore, forthcoming from Faber & Faber. Patti White’s Book of Maps is forthcoming from Anhinga Press. Fred Whiting was named Assistant Director of the Blount Undergraduate Initiative.

In 2015-2016, the Department awarded 85 BA degrees. 14 students wrote Honors Theses directed by faculty and graduated with Honors in English. The Department recognized 17 students with scholarships and awards at Honors Day. Five students gave presentations at the 2016 Sigma Tau Delta International Convention in Albuquerque. One student was named a 2016 Truman Scholar. Faculty led study abroad programs in Chile, Cuba, England, and Ireland. The faculty completely revised the EN major curriculum this past year, making it more flexible and responses to the needs of our students.

The Graduate Program awarded 32 degrees (14 MFAs; 2 CRES MAs; 2 Literature MAs; 3 Strode MAs; 8 TESOL MAs; 1 CRES PhD; 1 Strode PhD and 1 Literature PhD). The Program received 369 completed applications (281 CW; 17 CRES, 54 Literature; 15 TESOL), extended 54 offers of admission (21 CW; 8 CRES; 15 Literature; 9 TESOL), and enrolled 33 students (14 MFAs; 2 CRES PhDs; 3 CRES MAs; 1 Literature PhD; 2 Literature MAs; 7 TESOL MAs; and 1 Strode MA; 3 Strode PhDs). The program submitted requests for 14 fellowships (9 GCFs; 2 Dean’s Merit; 2 McNairs; 1 Alumni Association) and received 8 (5 GCFs; 2 Dean’s Merit; 1 Alumni Association).  Nicholas Helms won the Outstanding Dissertation Award at Department, College, and University levels. Katy Rossing won Outstanding Teaching Award for a Masters Student for 2014 at Department, College, and University levels.

On the other side of the quad in Lloyd hall, the Writing Center last year recorded a total of 8422 student contacts, as measured in terms of face-to-face and online consultations (6802) and various promotions and workshops (1620). The Center participated in or sponsored 78 campus events, including resource fairs, workshops, class visits, and orientations.

The 2016-2017 school year is well underway as I write. For the first time in years, we are conducting no tenure-track faculty searches this year, so Morgan is a little quieter than usual. But we are taking advantage of the opportunity to expend our energies elsewhere. We’re particularly focused this year on English major recruiting efforts; Professor Weiss is leading an ad hoc task force designed to get the word out about our exciting new major and minor curriculum, and add to our wonderful group of majors and minors. Also new this fall is EM/MA, the English Majors and Minors Association, a new student-run group dedicated to all things English.

And of course, as always, there’s more programming coming out of the Department than anyone can possibly keep up with, including lectures, film screenings, readings, performances, and workshops. I invite you to keep up with our Department activities and accomplishments through our web site at, our Facebook page at, and through our Twitter account at Alas, we are not yet on Instagram or Snapchat.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a gentle reminder that we are always elated to receive contributions to our scholarship funds; that link for easy online giving is

Thanks for your support of the Department of English! Write Tide Write and Read Tide Read!

Joel Brouwer

Professor and Chair