Chair’s Message

Photo of Meredith McGill

Fall 2022

Welcome to the Department of English at Rutgers!

We are a vibrant group of scholars, teachers, students, and staff who are dedicated to the study of literature in English and to the arts of careful reading and effective writing. The largest unit in the School of Arts and Sciences, the English department encompasses multilingual language learners and those pursuing doctoral research, undergraduates taking their first courses in literary study and renowned poets and scholars at the forefront of their fields. Our department includes creative writers, book historians, literary theorists, film and media specialists, and experts in writing in English from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present, in the British Isles, the Americas, and across the globe.

You'll find the hub of the English Department in Murray Hall, but we have offices supporting the Writing Program on all New Brunswick campuses. You can learn more about our various programs through the pages linked to this website that focus on the Graduate Program, the Undergraduate Program, Creative Writing, the Writing Program, the Rutgers English Language Institute (RELI), and our center for interdisciplinary research, the Center for Cultural Analysis (CCA).

We are proud to have graduated over 200 majors and minors in English and Creative Writing in 2022. Our undergraduate majors persevered through challenging times, completing a rigorous course of study that includes the analysis of literary texts from a wide range of historical periods as well as courses in African-American literature, Literature of the Global South, and Literary Theory. Nineteen undergraduates completed honors theses. Eight were works of literary criticism on topics from John Milton to George Eliot, William Faulkner, and Philip K. Dick, and eleven were creative theses, including collections of poems, stories, memoirs, and novels-in-progress. A record-setting twelve honors theses received Henry Rutgers Scholar Awards.

In the past academic year, over 5,800 undergraduates successfully completed Expos 101, a significant achievement and a rite of passage for students at Rutgers-New Brunswick.

Nine graduate students completed their PhDs in 2021-22. English Department graduate students published essays in premiere journals and won numerous awards, including fellowships from the Mellon Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies. In 2021-22, the Center for Cultural Analysis brought together faculty and graduate students from across campus to explore the topic: “The Commons” In 2022-23, CCA will convene an interdisciplinary seminar on the topic of  "Scale", as well as supporting numerous smaller faculty-student working groups.

We are proud of our work as scholars and teachers, and of the imaginative and resourceful staff who hold the department together and keep things running smoothly. The creativity with which English department members have responded to shifting and uncertain circumstances during the pandemic has been inspiring. We very much look forward to being back together in Murray Hall in September where staff will participating in the FlexWork@RU pilot working in two modalities, both on-site and remotely. We would be happy to respond to your questions by phone and email, and we look forward to seeing you back on campus.

Meredith L. McGill
Professor and Chair