Rutgers English Department News

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.”   

Prof. Miller also made structural changes within the program by arranging for a local reading group on Medieval-Renaissance literature to become affiliated with the Renaissance Society of America (RSA), an affiliation that allowed Rutgers graduate students to organize panels and present research at the RSA annual conference, gain important professional skills and meet scholars in their field.

One of Jackie’s former students commented that “It is not simply that I owe Jackie my career, though she single-handedly stewarded me through my graduate studies, the writing of my dissertation, onto the job market (during a recession), through the tenure track, and into tenure. It is that I owe Jackie my method of reading, my style as a writer, and my professional confidence.” 

Another says:  “Jackie’s critical acumen and resistance to simplicity of thought have also pushed me to sharpen my research in ways that I am still discovering;... her own research, teaching, and service have offered me an inspiring example for how to advise and support graduate students....As I look back at my time at Rutgers, the one thing that stands out is the emotional support that Jackie offered to me, especially during my earlier years in the graduate program. Graduate school demands tremendous emotional as well as cognitive labor from students, and by extension, a lot of time and effort from faculty...it is not an exaggeration to say that without Jackie’s willingness to address my doubts, her confidence in my abilities, and her strategic advice about balancing research-oriented-issues and professionalization components of academic life, I would have found it extremely difficult to settle into the program and pursue a career in academia.”