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

Dear Students:

As we rush headlong through the semester, it's been a sad week for US writing and scholarship. This week we learned that Randall Kenan died at the end of August and Stanley Crouch died on September 16. You can read their The New York Times obituaries by clicking on their names. If their names are new to you, you might try reading a short story from Kenan's If I Had Two Wings and/or a short portrait of a jazz musician from Crouch's Considering Genius: Writings on Jazz. 

If you want to talk to faculty about either Kenan or Crouch, consider meeting with Professor Nasser Mufti, Associate Head, Department of English on Monday, 21 September 2020 via this link. For those of you thinking of grad school, check out our Graduate School Workshop on Wednesday September 23 from 4 - 5:00 pm. Here is the link for this Zoom meeting.

Last but not least, consider joining the Newberry Library Undergraduate Seminar on the theme of Chicago: City of Art, Industry, and Labor 1890-1960 for Spring 2021. There's more information below on this team-taught interdisciplinary course open to undergraduates from DePaul, Loyola, Roosevelt and UIC.

Scroll down for more exciting news, including:

  • UGS Drop-in Hour with Professor Mufti, Associate Head, Department of English
  • Graduate School Workshop 
  • Newberry Library Undergraduate Seminar
  • Virtual Office hours for the week of September 21 - 25, 2020

Keep reading, stay safe, and be in touch!


Prof. Robin Reames, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Meet Professor Nasser Mufti, Associate Head, Department of English
Professor Nasser Mufti at work 

Join us as we host a drop-in hour with Professor Nasser Mufti, Associate Head, Department of English

Ever wonder what an associate head of department does? (Or looks like?) 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 Nasser Mufti to the UGS Drop-in Hour on Monday September 21, 2020 at noon. See below for link.

Professor Mufti will chat about his work running one of UIC's largest and busiest departments. We think he might even be open to chatting about cat memes and the challenges and rewards of running a department remotely.

What was your major when you were an undergrad?

I wasn't an English major! (I've only ever taken two English literature classes, one in undergrad and one in grad schooI.) I studied a hodgepodge of history and political theory in college.

What was a life-changing experience you had as an undergraduate?

9/11 happened in my first week of college, which got me interested in questions of representation and empire. I ended up writing my undergrad thesis on tropes of monstrosity and melodrama in post-9/11 discourse in the United States.

How do your own experiences from your university years inform your approach as a professor?

No idea. 

What is your favorite course to teach and why?

242. It's super fun having a ton of students in class offering different readings and viewpoints on the texts we're reading that day.

Hear more from Professor Mufti  in our coffee hour on Monday at noon! You can click the link below: 

Join Zoom Meeting

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. This session is aimed at students who definitely want to go to grad school as well as those who are exploring their options. Attendees will have ample opportunity to ask questions and connect with UIC faculty and staff who can help you achieve your goals. We are happy to be joined by first-year law student Jumana Abdelrahman ('19), first year English M.A. Jennifer Hernandez ('20), and Aran Yoo ('13), a double-major in Biology and English who is now finishing medical school. Read more about Jumana, Jennifer and Aran below and get the link to the workshop at the end of this section.

Jumana Abdelrahman, currently a first-year student at Chicago-Kent Law School, graduated UIC in May 2019 with a BA in English (American literature concentration) and minors in Anthropology and Political Science. At UIC she conducted an independent study in the Criminal Law and Justice department and worked as a legal aid at the Student Legal Services Office.
The fact that she is a first generation American is the single most impactful thing in Rumana's life. The most challenging part of her identity, it led her to go to law school. Passionate about supporting other first generation students wanting to study law, as an attorney Jumana plans to advocate for the underrepresented. 

Jennifer Hernandez graduated from UIC in 2020 with a double major in English (professional writing concentration) and Psychology. Following her passion for writing and desire to one day teach in the college classroom, she looks forward to graduate work. With one of Jennifer's goals being to teach abroad, she is expanding her knowledge of writing center pedagogy and second language teaching.  


Aran Yoo is a proud UIC alum who graduated in 2013. She majored in Biological Sciences and English (rhetorical studies concentration). She subsequently completed medical school at University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria. She is now a 3rd year Plastic Surgery resident at Louisiana State University. She is particularly interested in general reconstruction, gender confirmation surgery and adult facial trauma. In her free time she enjoys running, ceramics and ultimate frisbee.


Join Grad School Workshop Zoom meeting, Wednesday September 23rd at 4pm

Newberry Library Undergraduate Seminar

Chicago: City of Art, Industry, and Labor 1890-1960

The Newberry Library Undergraduate Seminar is a team-taught interdisciplinary course open to undergraduates from DePaul, Loyola, UIC, and Roosevelt.

Students to take part in an intensive classroom experience that culminates in an independent research project. The spring 2021 seminar is Chicago: City of Art, Industry, and Labor 1890-1960 and will be taught by Professors Elizabeth Shermer (History) and Melissa Bradshaw (English) of Loyola University. For more information or to request application materials, please click on this link: Newberry Library Undergraduate Seminar.  

 The seminar will meet from 2:00-5:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the spring semester of 2022 (January 19 through May 6). It will carry six hours of credit toward LAS credit requirements, or perhaps a major. Any junior or senior at UIC is eligible to apply; admission is not restricted by major. Students who seek credit for their major should make arrangements with their director of undergraduate studies. Each student who is accepted into the course will receive a $1250.00 scholarship from LAS to cover expenses related to research and transportation.

If you are interested in taking this seminar, please complete the application and forward it and all related materials electronically to Professor Ellen McClure (ellenmc@uic.edu) by October 16, 2020. Successful candidates will be notified by November 6. Admission is competitive, so it is important that you complete this application form completely and with care. 

Other Upcoming UGS Events

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

  • 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.