November 2022


Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

I am happy to announce the recipients of the Mark West Study Abroad/Study Away Scholarships for 2022-23, which have been generously funded again by Twig and Barbara Branch. Undergraduate Rowan Grayson received a $2,500 award that he will use to further his research on Brazilian abolitionist literature at the Latin American Library at Tulane University.  (Rowan was recently selected as Gale Ambassador at UNC Charlotte.) Graduate student and high school English teacher Sara Behnke also received a $2,500 travel award, which she will put toward the Shakespeare in London Study Abroad Program this spring. The Branches awarded two additional scholarships in the amount of $1,250 each to Sarah Engle and Maimoona Tahir, which they will use for the Shakespeare in London program. Congratulations to these outstanding students and many thanks to Twig and Barbara Branch for their generosity in supporting the English Department and our very deserving students. 

Susan Diamond Riley, who graduated from our MA program in 2015 with a concentration in Children’s Literature, will be talking to our students about building careers in editing and publishing on November 17. You can find more information about Riley’s success as a book author on the department website (Sept. 23 post) and on the attached flyer.  

We have 15 tickets remaining for the upcoming Charlotte Symphony concert on November 19th.  Please let Monica Burke know if you would like to request a ticket for yourself or for students in your classes. Any unused tickets will be offered to other departments sometime next week. Monica will send out a separate announcement about requesting tickets for upcoming concerts in January, February, and March soon.

I will soon send out a link to a draft of the English Department Self-Study Report. I invite you to read it and provide comments (either in the Google doc or by emailing them directly to me). I hope we will have time to begin discussing the report at the November 18th department meeting, with more time at the December 9th meeting. I would like to be able to submit the final report to the Dean’s Office by the time we break for the holidays. I would like to thank Liz Miller, Lara Vetter, Angie Williams, and members of the Advisory Committee—Balaka Basu, Melodye Gordon, Aaron Gwyn, Daniel Shealy, and Mark West—for their assistance with the report. Please remember to send your current CV to Angie to include with the report.


Balaka Basu’s essay “Continuing Stories: L.M. Montgomery and Fanfiction in the Digital Era” was published in Children and Childhoods in L.M. Montgomery: Continuing Conversations. Edited (McGill-Queens University Press, 2022).

Meghan Barnes (with L. Arnold and H. Coffee) presented a paper titled “Reimagining Teaching for Social Justice through a Practicing and Pre-service Teacher Collaborative” at the North Carolina Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (NCACTE) Conference.

Pilar Blitvich (with P. Bou-Franch) recently received a book contract from Palgrave Macmillan for an edited volume titled Evaluating Identities Online: Case studies from the Spanish Speaking World. She gave a plenary lecture titled “A Discursive-Pragmatic Approach to Cancel Culture – Intergroup Communication and the On/Offline Nexus” at the First International Conference on Discourse Pragmatics at Zhejiang International Studies University, Hangzhou, China. Pilar also gave two keynote addresses, including “Constructing Karen: Alterity, Aggression, and Morality” at the University of the Aegean, Greece, and “Charting Uncharted Territory: Affect and Effect” at the University of Southern Florida. She presented a conference paper (with P. Bou-Franch) titled La identidad latina en España: construcción discursiva (y conflictiva) en la red” at the IV Congreso Internacional RECOD; En torno a la comunicación digital en español: Cultura participativa y discurso en la red at the University of Alicante (Spain).

Bryn Chancellor published a short story, “Remnants,” in The Southern Review.  A second story, “Safety First,” is forthcoming in Cimarron Review. She also served as invited guest judge for the descant literary journal’s annual literary awards.

Paula Connolly published an essay titled “Walt Disney and the Fairytale” in A Companion to Children’s Literature (Wiley 2022).

Janaka Lewis gave a presentation titled “Strategies for WOC Leaders to Prevent Burnout while Addressing Institutional Responses to the Dual American Pandemic” at the Women in Educational Leadership Symposium (WIELS) at Appalachian State University.  She also participated on a book panel for Bertha Maxwell-Roddey, A Modern Day Race Woman and the Power of Black Leadership by Dr. Sonya Ramsey at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) Conference in Montgomery, Alabama. Janaka was recently selected as a member of the advisory board for The Women + Girls Research Alliance (W + GRA), a division of urbanCORE at UNC Charlotte.

Sam Shapiro published a book review of Theodore Roosevelt and his Library at Sagamore Hill by Mark I. West in The Journal of American Culture.

Liz Miller published a chapter with Anna Sanczyk-Cruz, her former advisee and 2020 graduate of the Literacy strand in Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education. The chapter, “The Interplay of Ecological Influences in Language Teacher Identity and Agency Negotiation,” appears in the edited volume Theory and Practice in Second Language Teacher Identity (Springer). Dr. Sanczyk-Cruz is currently a Lecturer at the University of Bialystok in Poland. Liz also had a 2008 chapter, ““Empowerment and its limitations: Considering why ‘Things go wrong’ in second-language classrooms,” reprinted (with a new Epilog) in a 2022 edited volume Engaging in Critical Language Studies (Information Age Publishing). She and her co-editor for the Brief Reports section of TESOL Quarterly recently hosted a webinar for young scholars in China, introducing them to the journal and providing recommendations for creating high-quality submissions. The webinar was sponsored by Wiley Publishing and Capital Normal University in China and had more than 1,000 attendees.

Maya Socolovsky published an article titled “Borderland Ethics, Migrant Personhood, and the Critique of State Sovereignty in Jairo Buitrago’s Two White Rabbits and José Manuel Matéo’s Migrant: The Journey of a Mexican Worker” in The Lion and the Unicorn.

Mark West signed copies of The Peeve and the Grudge and Other Preposterous Poems at the Taste of Local Authors, which was held at Truist Field and was part of this year’s Taste of Charlotte event. He also participated in the EWI Reading Rally at Bruns Avenue Elementary School, where he gave a special reading from The Peeve and the Grudge. This literacy event resulted in the donation of hundreds of books, games, school supplies and snacks for Bruns Avenue Elementary students and the Greater Enrichment Program. 

Greg Wickliff presented a paper titled “High School Students’ Application of the Engineering Design Process” at the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers “Frontiers in Education” conference in Uppsala, Sweden. The paper stems from his work directing the Summer Ventures for Science and Mathematics program.

Congratulations to the above students and faculty on their impressive achievements! 


Wednesday, November 9—English Department Coffee Break 2:00-3:00 PM in the lounge

Friday, November 18—English Department Faculty Meeting 11:00 AM-12:30 PM in the seminar room with Zoom option (contact Angie for a link).

Friday, November 18—I need a draft of your RD proposal by this date so I can prepare a letter of support.  CLAS deadline for RD applications is Monday, December 5, 2022 by 5:00 PM.

Friday, December 9—English Department Faculty Meeting with our annual department holiday party to follow after the meeting.

Don’t forget to send me news for the Kudos section. If I overlook reporting on any of your accomplishments, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Thank you for all that you do for the English Department and our students. Your work makes such an important difference week after week, year after year. In writing the self-study report, that fact became very evident to me. I can’t thank you enough for your hard work and tireless dedication.  

Best wishes,