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

Dear Students:

You did it! You survived the first week of classes!

How did your first week go? How has virtual learning been? Are you missing personal contact with your professors? We've been finding virtual drop-in hours to be a great way to get to know students and begin to overcome the limitations of the virtual. We highly recommend you drop-in on your professors (or make an appointment if there are scheduling conflicts). Hearing from students - even if it's a quick chat - makes this all seem more worthwhile.

We hope you are as excited to be back as we are. If not, let us know what problems you are having and/or issues you are facing. Perhaps we can help. Scroll down for more exciting news, including:

  • Open Fall 2020 courses
  • Student spotlight: Meriam Aziz
  • An internship opportunity
  • An opportunity to join a student-led peer review group
  • Virtual office hours for the week of 31 August - 4 September 2020

Keep reading, stay safe, and be in touch!


Prof. Robin Reames, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Exciting Fall 2020 Classes! Filling up fast!

Still making your final decisions about what classes you want to take this semester? Perhaps you are looking for a course better aligned with your schedule and goals? The English department's lecture series (241, 242, and 243) is being taught asynchronously this semester, giving students maximum flexibility.

English students enrolled in these three courses have the enviable opportunity of surveying nearly 1000 years of literature. Keep reading to find out about Fall 2020 courses with seats available.

English 242: English Literature II: 1660-1900
Prof. Nicholas Brown

This course undertakes the ambitious task of surveying over two hundred years of inspiring English literature in fifteen short weeks. From allegory to lyric, from essay to novel, from ballad to dramatic monologue; from the scandalous affairs of Restoration comedy to the chaste attachments of Victorian verse; from the origins of the English novel with Daniel Defoe to its apotheosis in George Eliot (and to its transformation in Joseph Conrad): this 240-year stretch of literary history is crowded with new forms and new thematic and narrative material.

This semester will provide a solid backbone to the study of the period and a strong basis on which to begin a study of twentieth-century literature. All lectures will be asynchronous.

Interested to learn more? Email the professor. Ready to enroll? Register now!

English 241: English Literature 1: Beginnings to 1660
Prof. Raphael Magarik

This course surveys British literature of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. We start with Chaucer and conclude with Aphra Behn, in between reading Marlowe, Shakespeare, Wyatt, Sydney, Spenser and Milton.

The first goal for the course is that you engage with difficult, old literary genres and think about what those genres did for earlier readers: who writes a love sonnet and why? What’s the historical context in which an allegorical romance, full of dragons, knights, wizards and ladies, makes sense? The second goal is that you improve at reading this stuff, so that you leave the class with a sense that if you want to, you can continue reading pre-modern literature on your own. 

All lectures will be asynchronous. 

Interested to learn more? Email the professor. Ready to enroll? Register now!

English 243: American Literature: Beginnings - 1900
Prof. Jennifer Ashton

Surveying essays, novels and poems from the colonial period to the turn of the 19th century, this asynchronous course looks back across a broad swath of the literary tradition of the U.S.  But instead of starting with “Beginnings" and making our way forward to 1900, as the course subtitle suggests, we start in the present and work our way backwards.

This reverse trajectory casts interesting light on the development of literary efforts to theorize the freedoms of and constraints upon individual and collective action in a variety of historical contexts, particularly as they concern questions of religious, national, political, racial and sexual identities. 

Interested to learn more? Email the professor. Ready to enroll? Register now!

Student Spotlight: Meriam Aziz

What made you decide to minor in professional writing? 

I realized that almost every profession requires professional writing skills, and people don’t take you seriously when your writing is full of grammatical errors. Good writing skills create a sense of intelligence and credibility, so I’ve decided to jump on the professional writing bandwagon and improve my writing skills!

When did you first realize you loved taking English classes?

When I took Understanding Rhetoric (122), which is the first requirement for the minor. It taught me alot about persuasive writing. My final project was my favorite because I was able to put together a comic strip on a controversial topic I was presenting to class. It goes to show you that you can be creative with presenting your argument no matter how serious the issue might be. It was fun.

What has been your favorite English class so far? 

Definitely Advanced Professional Writing. It challenged me and improved my writing skills overall. I learned to be clear and concise with what I want to convey, and to use the minimum amount of words.

What's next for you, beyond being an English student? 

I’m not sure of what the future holds for me, but whether I apply for a job or graduate school, I’m 100% sure that I will need the writing skills that I’ve learned while taking these courses.

Internship Opportunity

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is looking for a Communcations Intern.

The Communications Department is the face and voice of the CAIR-Chicago chapter, connecting the work done in the office to the greater local, national, and international community. This department holds press conferences; issues press releases and newsletters to thousands of media outlets and local leaders; maintains CAIR-Chicago’s website; updates, grows, and organizes initiatives across social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat; creates official documentaries and publications; contributes journalistic articles regularly; and produces video content for cases and news stories.

Interns work closely with Communications Coordinators Saadia Pervaiz and Hannah Faris in creating content and executing media strategies for CAIR-Chicago. For details and information on applying, please see: https://www.cairchicago.org/intern-center.

Peer-review Group Now Forming!

Pop Quiz - Writing Habits

Effective writers:

a. keep their writing to themselves until it's absolutely perfect

b. constantly berate themselves for procrastinating

c. talk about their writing with their peers.

If you picked 'c' you are correct! Effective writers talk about their writing. On good days and on bad days. They share moments of inspiration and discuss writer's block and the challenges they face in their writing.

Interested in joining a peer writing/peer review group this semester? Undergraduate Ahana Gupta is now forming such a group. Interested students give and receive feedback on all kinds of writing projects from email to potential employers to term papers and beyond. Email agupt47@uic.edu for more information.

Save the Date!

The Office of Undergraduate Studies is hosting the following events:

  • Grad School Workshop:  Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 12:00 pm

Learn from alums and admissions committee members what it takes to take the next step in your education.

  • 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.

Watch upcoming newsletters for more information on these events.

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:

Tuesday 09:00 - 10:00 pm

Thursday 11:00 - 12:00 pm

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

Our regular Monday 12:00-1:00 pm drop-in hour will take place on Tuesday in Week 2. Join us Tuesday 01 September at 09:00 am: 

Katherine Boulay is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Office of Undergraduate Studies Office Hour
Time: Sep 1, 2020 09:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 916 9377 6736
Passcode: xHr.#5M0
One tap mobile
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Dial by your location
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        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Meeting ID: 916 9377 6736
Passcode: 51479484
Find your local number: https://uic.zoom.us/u/aroFliDcZ

Join by SIP

Join by H.323 (US West) (US East) (China) (India Mumbai) (India Hyderabad) (Amsterdam Netherlands) (Germany) (Australia) (Hong Kong SAR) (Brazil) (Canada) (Japan)

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Our regular Thursday meeting will take place as scheduled at 11 am on Thursday 03 September 2020.

Katherine Boulay is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: UGS Office Hours
Time: Aug 27, 2020 11:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 986 9942 6562
Passcode: 9c@8nY0t
One tap mobile
+14086380968,,98699426562#,,,,,,0#,,77066974# US (San Jose)
+16699006833,,98699426562#,,,,,,0#,,77066974# US (San Jose)

Dial by your location
        +1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose)
        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
        +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
        +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
        +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)
        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
        +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 986 9942 6562
Passcode: 77066974
Find your local number: https://uic.zoom.us/u/abmRfzvGAe

Join by SIP

Join by H.323 (US West) (US East) (China) (India Mumbai) (India Hyderabad) (Amsterdam Netherlands) (Germany) (Australia) (Hong Kong SAR) (Brazil) (Canada) (Japan)
Meeting ID: 986 9942 6562
Passcode: 77066974