Rutgers English Department News

Chair's Message July 1, 2020

Dear Colleagues, Staff, Students, and Friends,

Today marks the first day of a new academic year, and I write to you with gratitude and admiration for your ingenuity, your dedication, and your good will. It’s been a very challenging time. It continues to be challenging with every new announcement. I am proud of how our students, our staff, and our colleagues have stood and acted together: for social justice, economic security, anti-racist education, institutional change, and health equity.

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Congratulations to Jackie Miller for the 2020 Dean's Advisory Council Award for the Mentoring of Graduate Students

Image of Jackie Miller

The English Department congratulates Jackie Miller, who has won the 2020 Dean's Advisory Council Award for the Mentoring of Graduate Students. 

The citation reads: "Prof. Jacqueline Miller (English) joined Rutgers in 1980.  She has served as a mentor or advisor to more than 20 doctoral students, is author of the book Poetic License: Authority and Authorship in Medieval and Renaissance Contexts (1986) as well as numerous journal publications and reviews, and has an exemplary record of service to the graduate program in English. Her former students include faculty members at the University of Connecticut and Pomona College.  Jackie is known to her students and colleagues for the ways in which she transformed mentoring in the English program. She is valued for the deep and insightful analyses of the students’ work, often leading many to change their approaches or interpretations.  One former student commented:  “The quality of Jackie s feedback is legendary among her current and former graduate students: we’ve sometimes joked that she must read our work with a microscope, because she can find every logical gap in the argument, no matter how small, ...It can be daunting to have your work read so carefully, but it is also an incredible gift.”  


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Department actions in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

June 19, 2020

Dear Staff, Students, and Faculty,

I am writing to you today, Juneteenth, to report on the ongoing and future initiatives the English Department has planned as a way to stand with and respond to the Black Lives Matter movement; to create and promote an anti-racist environment in our workplace, our classes, our department, our university, and our communities; and to contribute to the eradication of the violence and systemic inequities facing black, indigenous, and people of color members of our community, to which the #BLM movement and ongoing protests have drawn our attention in pointed and necessary ways.

This is a very long email, but please make sure to read right away at least the department section, which contains information about workshops that will be required of all Fall 2020 instructors and information about two department-wide teach-ins held remotely in the month of August.

As many of you will know, Juneteenth commemorates the day, June 19, 1865, when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas.  As Dr. Lacey Hunter, a lecturer in the Department of African-American and African Studies at Rutgers-Newark, explains in an interview posted yesterday on the Rutgers-Newark web site, it took two and half years for the news to travel across the territories of the United States.  On this day, 155 years ago, African Americans in Texas learned “that the system of slavery had been legally abolished.” 

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Department of English Statement on the murder of George Floyd, systemic racism, and our community

Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty,

We write as the leadership of the English Department at Rutgers University and the members of the department's Committee on Bias Awareness and Prevention to strongly condemn the murder of George Floyd, racist police brutality, and other expressions of white supremacy.  We stand in solidarity with the protests calling for transformation in this country and in the full recognition that black, brown, and indigenous citizens and noncitizens (inside and well beyond the department) continue to bear the brunt of this nation’s systemic racism.  We too join calls for a new normal that requires transformative justice.  This means advocating for—now and well into the future—substantive changes in the ways that education, housing, health care, distribution of wealth, policing, and governance function (or fail to function) in this country.

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Luce Foundation Funds Collaboration to Respond to COVID-19 Pandemic

June 12, 2020

A groups of researchers at Rutgers University-New Brunswickand the New Brunswick Theological Seminary (NBTS) has won a $150,000 Emergency Grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. Made through Luce’s Theology Program, the grant addresses the problem of housing insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Titled SHELTER, the project is a unique partnership between Rutgers, the Seminary, and two local non-profits.  75% of grant funds will go directly to families and individuals whose housing and other basic needs have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These individuals and families are variously experiencing challenges related to undocumented or immigration status, recent release from parole or incarceration, HIV and other medical needs, and other social services needs that make them especially vulnerable during the COVID crisis. 

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Two English faculty win Year-End University Awards

Congratulations to Richard Dienst and Rebecca Walkowitz who were honored with 2019-2020 Faculty Year-End Awards. These awards honor outstanding members of the Rutgers community selected by their colleagues for exceptional contributions to teaching, research, or public service through a program of eight awards.  For each award, the recipient receives a commemorative certificate and an honorarium. 

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Care and Contingency COVID-19

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 Update April 15, 2020 

Dear Staff, Faculty, and Students,

Things are changing all around us, and I am thinking of you and all that you are managing for yourself and others while heroically continuing to support our mission as educators.  In the coming days and weeks, we are likely to encounter greater difficulties individually and collectively.  We don't need to face those difficulties on our own, and I want to encourage you to ask for relief and support if you need it.

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Cheryl Wall 1948-2020

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Faculty, staff, and students mourn the loss of our beloved colleague Cheryl Wall, Board of Governors Zora Neale Hurston Distinguished Professor of English, who was a leading voice in the field of African-American literature, a generous mentor to so many, and an institution builder at Rutgers and beyond.

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Scenes from Rutgers Day 2018

IMG 9512Photos from the marathon reading of Matilda at Rutgers Day, April 28, 2018. It was a huge success, and this year proved to be one of our busiest marathon readings yet. Even the Rutgers New Brunswick Chancellor himself, Debasish Dutta, stopped by to take a turn reading. 

 Special thanks to Alex Dawson for supplying us with the coolest and most unique table decorations--all Matilda/Roald Dahl themed of course. It was a truly special day...

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Congratulations to Lynda Dexheimer

lynda2 56dffLynda Dexheimer, assistant director, Department of English, School of Arts and Sciences, was recognized for her leadership in the writing program, including her curriculum design and mentoring, and her excellence in teaching and creating an inclusive and nurturing learning environment for students.

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Professor Evie Shockley's collection of poems, semiautomatic, was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Evie Shockley photo by Nancy Crampton

A statement by Evie Shockley's colleague, Distinguished Professor Mark Doty, about Professor Shockley's work:

Although it’s not a surprise to find wonderful scholars and writers in the English Department at Rutgers, it’s still a remarkable gift to have a colleague like Evie Shockley, whose third full collection of poems, semiautomatic, was one of three finalists for this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. 

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