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Stronger Together

Allen Dunn

As most of you are aware, our English majors work in a variety of fields or subdisciplines. Some focus on creative writing, some on literary criticism, and still others on rhetoric, writing, and linguistics. At some universities, each of these areas is assigned a department of its own, but at the University of Tennessee, we pride ourselves on the way we have incorporated this disciplinary diversity in a single department. We believe that we are stronger together than we would be if each group went its separate way. It seems obvious to us that a creative writing student has much to learn from the study of literary texts, and that a literature student can learn a lot about their subject by actually writing a poem or a novel. We also take it as an article of faith that neither type of student can succeed without mastering the fundamentals of good writing and the rhetoric of human communication.

This disciplinary breadth complements the cultural diversity of the department’s curriculum, which includes a variety of world literatures from African and Asian to Chican@ and Native American among others. It also includes courses in sociolinguistics, cultural rhetorics, and gender, race, and sexuality studies. While affirming our commitment to what has endured through time, we’ve allowed our curriculum to evolve within an increasingly diverse and globalized world.

As this newsletter suggests, the UT Department of English has achieved excellence in each of the three areas mentioned above. Thanks to all of you who have supported our mission by contributing to the department. Your contributions support a variety of undergraduate and graduate scholarships, student research grants and assistantships, and other programs that enrich our students’ educational experience. Anyone who wishes to contribute to the English Enrichment Fund can donate at any time. Our website will help us bring you exciting new information on the department and its many activities. We also have a Facebook page (@UTKDepartmentOfEnglish) which features weekly news about events, readings, pictures of campus life, and faculty and student news. Check it out when you get a chance, and don’t hesitate to let us know if there’s any way these sites can serve you better.

Allen Dunn
Professor and Head
Department of English

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