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Message from the Department Head

Misty Anderson
Misty Anderson

It’s been an exciting time on Rocky Top. Somehow, we managed to teach first-year composition to the largest incoming class in UT’s history. Our thumbs and eyes are still tired from grading all those papers, but we did it, thanks to all the dedicated  lecturers and graduate teachers who took on extra students to get UT through this push. 

Scott and Jennifer Rose’s timing couldn’t have been better in establishing the new David Hambright Graduate Teaching Award, which was given this fall to Madeline Crozier, a PhD candidate in medieval literature. David Hambright was teaching as a PhD candidate in 1977 when an 18-year-old Scott walked into his first-year composition class. Neither one knew then that the class would be a life-changing experience, starting a friendship that was built on a love of literature. The student-instructor interaction is an important one. When those of us in the English department discover that you, our former students, found a class, a conversation, or a poem important over the years, it’s always delightful to receive a message that begins with the words: “You probably don’t remember me, but….” We do remember you, and hearing from you gives our shared histories a happy glow, even in hard times. 

We have new plans afoot to help our students, including our first-ever Careers for English Majors one-credit course, now full of juniors and seniors who will benefit from the opportunity to explore careers they might not have seen as English-major territory. Starting next fall, we’re also adding a director of student engagement to help with recruiting and supporting current students, as well as a director of career development to help graduating students with that crucial first job search. Both positions come with a paid student internship for a current English major, funded by your generous gifts during the Big Orange Campaign. 

We continue publishing on a wide range of subjects, teaching the greats, and developing new courses, such as Law and Literature. We have new pathways to help the best prepared students move more quickly into sophomore courses. We are also proud of our new website and hope to communicate more effectively with you through it. You can find news posts on the front page, including the snapshot of recent publications we call “News and Views.” Expect to see many more features coming on alumni, profiles of new professorial faculty, and stories on our wonderful lecturers, such as Erin Elizabeth Smith, CEO of Sundress Academy, and our Community Fellow, Anne Langendorfer. Thank you for supporting us in this work. Please keep in touch.


Misty G. Anderson