Faculty members and students in the Department of English also perform extensive community outreach and public service. Many, for example, have lead discussions of literary works or given public readings at schools, bookstores, places of worship, and other community venues.
Many have also been active in the Knoxville Writers’ Guild, an organization of local authors that provides a forum for information, support, and sharing among writers and that seeks to promote writing and creativity in the wider community through education, publication, and sponsorship of writing-related public events.
Our faculty members helped to organize the Writers’ Guild in the early 1990s; the department helped to sponsor the Guild’s first publication, Voices from the Valley (1994), a successful literary anthology edited by founding Guild member Jeanne McDonald; and the department also helped to make possible the first Libba Moore Gray Poetry Prize offered by the Guild for young writers. Numerous creative writing faculty and students were included in Voices from the Valley and in the Guild’s second anthology, All Around Us: Poems from the Valley (1996).
English Department faculty participate in university-wide outreach programs as well. During the 2000–2001 school year, for example, Laura Howes has participated in the College of Arts and Sciences Scholars-in-the-Schools Program, which enables faculty members to act as resources in their areas of expertise to local public schools. Howes has helped to augment and enrich the teaching of Medieval Studies at Carter Middle School and High School in east Knox County.