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

Monday, March 31, 2014

Gail Hawisher Receives the Exemplar Award!

I am very pleased to report that our colleague Gail Hawisher, Professor Emeritus of English, has received a very impressive award from the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). Together with her collaborator Cynthia Selfe, Gail has been recognized with the Exemplar Award, which the CCCC calls “its most prestigious honor.”

The Exemplar Award, given this year for the first time ever to a collaborative authoring/editing team, singles out those “whose years of service as an exemplar for our organization represents the highest ideals of scholarship, teaching, and service to the entire profession. The Exemplar Award seeks to recognize individuals whose record is national and international in scope, and who set the best examples for the CCCC membership." 

The citation from the Award Committee notes how Gail and her collaborator “led our field (sometimes kicking and screaming!) into the 21st century, a period marked by a transition for writers and teachers of writing, to digitally-mediated forms of written communication.” It draws particular attention to their editing of the groundbreaking journal Computers and Composition and to the influence of such co-written books as Literate Lives in the Information Age: Narratives of Literacy in the United States (2004) and Transnational Literate Lives in Digital Times (co-authored in 2012 with our own alum Patrick W. Berry!) as well as to their service to the profession over many years. You can read the complete citation here.

Congratulations, Gail, for this well-deserved honor!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Teaching Success

As you know from my recent post, the English department is well represented in college and campus teaching awards. Now, I'm pleased to report, instructors in English courses are, once again, numerous on the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent By Their Students, which is compiled by the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.

The usual disclaimers apply--we know that excellence in teaching comes in more forms than can be measured by filling in bubbles on a standardized form--but I am still pleased to see these kinds of results. English courses offer rigorous instruction in writing critically and creatively, in reading closely, and in thinking freely--the fact that our students appreciate what we're offering is always a good sign!

Here then is the list of teachers ranked excellent for courses offered in fall 2013.

Laura Bandy, Jensen Beach, Michael Behrens, Martin Camargo, JB Capino, Sarah Cassinelli, Debojoy Chanda, Jill Clements, John Claborn, Mary Rose Cottingham, Carrie Dickison, Dennis Dullea, Patrick Fadely, Stephanie Foote, Andrew Gaedtke, Shawn Gilmore, Catherine Gray, Nolan Grieve, Joe Grohens, Andrew Hall, Jim Hansen, Justin Hanson, Gail Hapke, William Hechler, Marilyn Holguin, Ann Hubert, DeAvery Irons, Miguel Jimenez, Brigit Kelly, Annie Kelvie, Melissa Larabee, Mary Lindsey, Trish Loughran, Sean MacIntyre, Heather McLeer, Erin McQuiston, Michael Madonick, Calgary Martin, Jessica Mercado, Natalie Mesnard, Matthew Minicucci, Libbie Morley, Dave Morris, Andrew Moss, Justine Murison, John Musser, Hina Nazar, Katherine Norcross, Valerie O’Brien, Michael Odom, Robert Dale Parker, Catherine Prendergast, Julie Price, Paul Prior, Isabel Quintana-Wulf, Scott Ricketts, Anna Robb, Carla Rosell, John Rubins, Rachel Samanie, Ted Sanders, Spencer Schaffner, Jordan Sellers, Michael Shetina, Andrea Stevens, Debora Tienou, Renee Trilling, Kristin Walters, Gregory Webb, Rebecca Weber, Sara Weisweaver, Kirstin Wilcox, Zachary Williams, Gregory Wilson, Charlie Wright, David Wright, Noel Zavala

Well done, all!

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