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

Friday, July 9, 2010

Odyssey Project

The occasion for this post is a nice recent article about the University of Illinois chapter of the Odyssey Project in Smile Politely, an online magazine dedicated to life in Urbana-Champaign.

The Odyssey Project--a really fine example of the University's efforts at community involvement and outreach--is (to quote from the project's own website) "a yearlong, college-accredited course in the humanities offered at no cost to adults in the community living below or slightly above the federal poverty level. The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the humanities and to help them reenter the world of higher education.

The program offers instruction in five discrete disciplines in the humanities: literature, philosophy, art history, U.S. history, and writing and critical thinking. The course is hosted by its community partner, the Douglass Branch Library. There is no tuition fee, and books, transportation vouchers, and child care are also free to all students. Students who complete the course receive six hours of college credit, which can then be transferred to other two- or four-year colleges."

The Odyssey Project is administered thought he Illinois Project for Research in the Humanities (IPRH, as we know it) together with the Illinois Humanities Council. Last year, the program was directed by our own Dale Bauer, though, and I'm proud to say that English faculty and graduate students have been important contributors each year since the project was launched (the upcoming year will be its fifth).

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