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, December 7, 2012

Mockapalooza 2012

Last night, in administrative and faculty offices all throughout the English Building, we held mock interviews for job-seeking graduate students.  Since the job search, for students seeking tenure track jobs at least, typically hinges on a terrifying 45-minute interview, we try to help our students prepare by practicing.  These interviews are not unpredictable, and practice really does help.  To do this, pair faculty up into teams of 2 and and hold 30 minute sessions trying to approximate the real thing via role play.  It's sort of like speed dating, I guess: students get some different interview experiences and instant feedback, likely from faculty who have read their application materials but don't otherwise know their work.  

The whole event is arranged by our job placement officer--this year, that's Justine Murison.  And it is kind of wonderful all around because a significant portion of the department comes together to help each other out.  That automatically makes for a great vibe. Also, it is exciting to read the materials of the extremely talented grad students one meets, and to glimpse in this way the range of fantastic work going on here.  This year, I made up a team with Bruce Michelson, and we interviewed students in US literature, early modern British literature, Theatre, and Anglo-Saxon studies.  Last year, I was teamed up with Andy Gaedtke.  The year before, I was paired with Eleanor Courtemanche

I want to use this space to say thank you, on behalf of the department, to Justine and all of the faculty volunteers.  And also to send the best and most optimistic good wishes to all of our talented and dedicated grad students.

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