Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Illinois Department of English Blog


Welcome to the Department of English blog.

My name is Vicki Mahaffey and I took over as
head of the department on July 1, 2016. I'll be using this site to post updates and information of interest to our faculty, students, and alumni,
along with reflections about our discipline(s) in particular and the humanities in general. As anyone who has ever worked or studied here knows, the Department of English is a vibrant place. If you have something you'd like to see posted here, or if you want to contact me about the content of this blog, drop me an email at

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) Awards

I just received the good news that Lauri Harden has won an LAS Staff Award in this year's competition, and that Jodee Stanley has been awarded an LAS Academic Professional Award. I'm very, very pleased by both pieces of good news, each of which comes as yet one more reminder of how many excellent people--faculty, staff, APs, lecturers, instructors, TAs--we have working here in the English Department in all capacities.

First let me say a few words about Lauri Harden's award. Staff members who have won this award are not eligible to be nominated again for it for ten years. Not coincidentally, Lauri last won this award in Fall of 1998. You can probably just go ahead and pencil her in now for the LAS Staff Award ca. Fall 2020 (I'm kidding, but only sort of: Lauri tells me that she plans to retire before 2020 but otherwise she would win the award then). She is that good at what she does. Lauri is the manager of our undergraduate studies office, and to understand what this means you have to understand that she is (among a great many other things!) one of the primary caretakers of our whole enormous, messy, complex, ever-changing scheduling process. Nobody but Lauri really knows how we pull this into shape every year, and it is truth universally acknowledged over here in the English building that Lauri's mastery of the ins and outs of the undergraduate schedule is the glue that holds our entire operation together. You might think this is hyperbole on my part, but, well, you'd be wrong.

Jodee Stanley is the editor of our award-winning literary journal Ninth Letter, which is published under the auspices of our MFA in Creative Writing Program in collaboration with the School of Art and Design. As I hope all of you already know, Ninth Letter is a kind of unique publication, marrying the very best in contemporary prose and poetry with the work of leading edge grapic designers and other visual artists. Jodee's job involves all the administrative work of an editor as well as fund-raising and grant writing and overseeing student editors and so on, and the quality of each edition she oversees testifies yet once more to the special mix of vision and hard-headed competance she brings to her task. Check out Ninth Letter by clicking on the link at the top of this paragraph, and you'll see what I mean. Subscribe, and you'll see what I mean twice a year.

Congratulations to Lauri and Jodee! Truth be told, I kind of expected them both to win. I mean really, how could they not? Nobody could be more deserving of either award.

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