Updates from the English Department Office of Undergraduate Studies
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A note from the director...

Dear Students:

Can you believe that we are at the end of Week 3? Hopefully you have settled into classes, developed a workable schedule and been able to connect with some of your peers. Even in an online environment, there's something to be said for a routine. 

After the rush of the first weeks, we are excited about our upcoming events. On Monday, September 14, at noon you can meet and chat with Professor Lisa Freeman, Head, Department of English (Zoom Meeting ID: 923 3048 9229). The following Monday, September 21, you can meet Professor Nasser Mufti, Associate Head, Department of English. If you are thinking of grad school, check out our Graduate School Workshop on Wednesday September 23 from 4 - 5:00 pm. Links for all of these Zoom meetings are below. Please let us know if you have any question about any of these.

Scroll down for more exciting news, including:

  • UGS Drop-in Hour with Professor Freeman, Head, Department of English
  • Graduate School Workshop 
  • Virtual Office hours for the week of September 12 - 18, 2020

Keep reading, stay safe, and be in touch!


Prof. Robin Reames, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Meet Professor Lisa Freeman, Head, Department of English

Join us as we host a drop-in hour with Professor Lisa Freeman, Head, Department of English

Ever wonder what a head of department does? Curious about a specific policy or course? Want to know why that one class you really, really want to take is always scheduled at the worst time for you? Join us as we welcome Professor Lisa Freeman to the UGS Drop-in Hour on Monday September 14, 2020 at noon.

Professor Freeman will chat about her work running one of UIC's largest and busiest departments. We think you might even get her to tell you about her new dog and the challenges and rewards of running a department remotely.

What did you major as a college student, and how did you discover that you loved English? 

I was actually a Psychology major as an undergrad, but decided that I wanted to go to graduate school in English when I was a senior in college and quickly cobbled together an English minor. I was really lucky to have been mentored by one of the leading feminist, Shakespeare scholars in the nation.  She experienced the kinds of blatant discrimination that many female scholars faced in the 1970s and 1980s and actually had to sue her university when she was first denied tenure. She was and still is my role model for how to move through academia with an ethical sense and a moral compass. She was also the first one to suggest that I should think about going to graduate school in English. We're still in touch, and I often think about my own obligation to pay it forward.
How have your own experiences as an undergraduate impacted how you teach? 
Going to college was a lot less expensive in my day, and I was really fortunate to graduate without any debt. That's just not the case for most students today. For what was then called "spending money," I had to get a job on campus--the most memorable being my early morning shift at the campus doughnut shop. On those days, I had to go to my classes smelling like a doughnut! I think a lot about that job and how I felt sitting in class smelling like a doughnut (even if I did get a lot of free pastries!), and I think about how hard so many UIC students work not just for "spending money" but in order to pay tuition and rent and to support their families.  All of those experiences and that knowledge make me strive to meet students where they are and to provide them with the best possible learning experience--I know how valuable their time is and how much getting a degree will mean for their futures.
What is your favorite course to teach and why? 
My favorite course to teach is probably English 313: Major Plays of Shakespeare. I approach the course as a drama course and treat the texts as living texts waiting to be interpreted through performance.  I take students to Chicago theatres to see Shakespeare performed, and students also perform scenes in class. We talk a lot about how various scenes might be performed differently each time to produce new interpretations of these old plays. I am always amazed by what students find in these plays. 
Hear more from Professor Freeman in our coffee hour on Monday at noon! You can click the link below: 

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 923 3048 9229
Passcode: 2fye.gB8

Save the Date!
Grad School Workshop

Join us on Wednesday, September 23 at 4:00 pm for our Grad School Workshop. During this informal discussion, UIC alums will discuss the application process, their graduate school experiences and planning ahead for this next step.


The Office of Undergraduate Studies is also hosting the following events:

  • Meet Professor Nasser Mufti, Associate Head, Department of English: Monday, September 21, 2020 at noon

Join us for coffee and informal conversation as we chat with Professor Nasser Mufti who just started in this important administrative position.  

  • Open Mic Night: Thursday, October 1, 2020 at Month Day 2020 at 4:00 pm

Share your work with your peers. 

  • Independent Study/Senior Thesis Presentations: Friday, December 4, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Perhaps you're interested in what your fellow English majors' work. Perhaps you're considering taking an independent study. Join us as this semester's ENGL 398/399 students present their work.

We'll have more details in future newsletters.

Would you like to see the Office of Undergraduate Studies host a specific event? If so, let us know. It is our mission to provide programming that meets the needs of our students.

Office of Undergraduate Studies Fall 2020 Drop-in Hours

Have a question? Stop by the Office of Undergraduate Studies Drop-in Hours and ask us! While we are terrible at chemistry, we would be delighted to advise on classes, help plan for an independent study or chat about what we are binge watching and what we'll do once COVID-19 is gone.

The Office is open:

Monday 12:00 - 1:00 pm


Thursday 11:00 - 12:00 pm


If these hours don't suit, just email english@uic.edu to make an appointment.