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, August 27, 2010

Introducing Kate Vieira

Today marks the end of the first week of classes. The weather still says summer, but the bustle of students and the quickened pace of everything and everyone here in the English Building most definitely says Fall. Even though I relish the extra time I have for reading, thinking, and writing over the summer, I have always found there is something energizing and exciting about the start of a new academic year. New students, a fresh syllabus, a chance to get that lesson plan just right this time, renewed acquaintance with those colleagues who may have been elsewhere over the summer, and gorgeous sunny weather with just the slightest hint of chill in the evenings; a jolt, a new challenge, a restart button for tired brains.

In keeping with the season's general spirit of academic renewal, I am very pleased to welcome and introduce the newest member of our tenure-stream faculty, Kate Vieira, who joins us as an Assistant Professor in Writing Studies. Her research deals with literacy and assimilation and, in particular, with the ways that different immigrant communities with shared languages assimilate to the United States while simultaneously competing with and assimilating to each other. Her work comes out of specific ethnographic work on the interactions between
Azorean and Brazilian immigrant communities in Massachusetts, and has broad implications for the way we understand the complex interactions between linguistic and cultural assimilation and the challenges of English language literacy within an increasingly diverse and globalized US.

Vieira is, as we say in my native Boston, wicked smaht (that's "very, very smart," for those not assimilated to the distinctive dialect I grew up in). She also comes to us with a very strong record of classroom instruction and writing program administration. In addition to a wealth of experience teaching writing in a university setting, she is a seasoned ESL instructor and has a really admirable record of educational outreach work in the US and overseas.

Faculty in my department take special pride in the care with which we hire, and we have in truth an amazing record of finding and fostering exceptional scholarly talent. Well, we've done it again. Welcome, Kate. I can't wait to see what happens next.

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