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

Dear Students:

Welcome back! The English faculty hope you’re as excited about this semester as we are. Although the English department courses will be held remotely, you are very near in our thoughts and hearts. We may be totally online, but we are absolutely committed to building community and supporting you as you learn and grow at UIC. 

The Office of Undergraduate Studies is pulling together a lively set of virtual functions this Fall: poetry readings, chats with professors, graduate school information sessions, and more! Be on the lookout for our newsletters, which will arrive weekly this semester. They will be full of exciting news, events, and opportunities. We will also be expanding our office hours this Fall to make sure you have the access you need to all the resouces that the English department has to offer. 

Keep reading below for more information on some of our exciting Fall 2020 courses that still have a few remaining seats available. If you’re on the fence about a course, don’t be shy. We always love to hear from students, so reach out to the professors, whose emails are listed below. Other announcements, and opportunities from across the university can be found at the bottom of this email.

We hope you are well, and that you’ve had a restful summer. Best of luck as you begin gearing up for the first week of classes. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have questions, encounter difficulty registering, etc. or just want to chat about your summer, what you are reading, life, the universe and everything.

Keep reading, stay safe, and be in touch!


Prof. Robin Reames, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Kate Boulay, Ph.D., Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies

Exciting New Fall 2020 Classes

Our courses are filling up quickly, but there are still a few seats available in these exciting classes. Sign up now!

English 122: Understanding Rhetoric
Instr. Sibyl Gallus-Price

Our course begins by exploring some general theories of rhetoric as both a discipline and a practice. We’ll read a variety of commentaries and canonical texts, paying particular attention to the way key terms and themes arise out of the history of rhetorical theory. Once this foundation is built, we begin to think about rhetoric’s relationship to notions of Law and Justice, and consider the law as a rhetorical system which structures our lived social experience. In this phase of the course, we highlight the ways terms and themes identified earlier are taken up in legal discourse and the pursuit of justice.

We hope to not only arrive at a better understanding of rhetoric and its relevance to our lives, but to develop transferable capacities in reading, writing, and public speaking.

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

English 105: English and American Fiction: Becoming Modern
Instr. Joseph Staten

This class seeks to understand two distinct but related historical moments: first, the emergence of the historical period known as “modernity” in the 19th century; and second, the emergence of the artistic movement known as “modernism” at the beginning of the 20th. Throughout the course, we will seek to come to an understanding of each of these terms—as well as of their extremely complex interconnectedness—through the study of some of the most ambitious and interesting English and American novels of the era. We will pay particularly close attention to the sets of issues, both social/historical and artistic, that modern novelists began to obsess over: on the side of history, topics such as capitalism, imperialism, the decline of religion, and the ascent of “materialism”; and, on the side of art, issues such as form, experimental technique, avant-gardism, and a heightened attention to the “material” of art-making itself.

Authors we read may include Herman Melville, Stephen Crane, Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford, Theodore Dreiser, Ernest Hemingway, Jean Toomer, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and/or others.

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

English 109: Tough Girls in American Literature and Culture
Prof. Terence Whalen

In recent mass culture, there has emerged a relatively new type of heroine, which for lack of a better phrase we shall call 'tough girls.'  The type seems to be everywhere in popular film and literature, from Ripley in the Alien films to Arya in Game of Thrones to Katniss in The Hunger Games.  This course will explore the meaning and significance of this phenomenon. 

Texts include works by Louisa May Alcott, Daniel Woodrell, Suzanne Collins, Ben Tripp, and Jay Kristoff.  Assignments include two short papers, exams, written preparation, possible random quizzes, and class participation.

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

English 125: Introduction to U.S. Latinx Literature
Instr. Dan Magers

In this survey, we read, think about, and discuss a range of works by pioneering and present-day authors of U.S. Latinx Literature. Set alongside, and sometimes against, dominant American culture, U.S. Latinx Literature touches on some of the most prominent and controversial issues in contemporary life in the United States: immigration and the immigrant experience; the gains and losses of assimilating into American culture; the exploitation of labor; and identity formation based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class. Texts include works by Gloria Anzaldúa, Tomás Rivera, Pedro Pietri, Helena Maria Viramontes, Myriam Gurba, Erika Sánchez, Luis Alberto Urrea, and others.

Assessment is based on response writing, quizzes, class and group discussions, and a final paper.

The main objective of the class is to enrich your understanding of literature generally and, more importantly, to learn about the exciting and multifarious works of Latinx writers and culture.

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

English 202: Media and Professional Writing
Multiple sections with different instructors

This course prepares you for print and online media along with professional writing. Multiple aspects of media and communications will be examined−from journalism to company PR−through writing, reading, researching, interviewing, and discussing how to analyze and construct work in these industries. A portfolio, presented via links on a personal web page, will be produced at the end of the course.

English 202 is the prerequisite for English 493, the English internship for Nonfiction Writing. Media and Professional Writing will prepare you for internship and employment opportunities in this field, because the course will reflect writings in the professional workplace. Extensive computer use will be required. 

CRN: 26210 - Days/Times: TR 11:00-12:15 Professor: Margena Christian 

CRN: 39382; 32314 - Days/Times: MWF 1:00-1:50; MWF 2:00-2:50 Professor: Karen Leick 

CRN: 23568 Days/Times: TR 9:30-10:45 Professor: Jeffrey Kessler

CRN: 45209 Days/Times: MWF 12:00-12:50 Professor: Jay Shearer

Interested to learn more? Please email the instructor.  Ready to enroll? Register now.

Independent Study and Thesis (ENGL 398 & 399)

Don't see a perfect fit? Consider designing your own course! You can take an independent study (ENGL 399) or the honor's thesis (ENGL 398) and work closely with a faculty member of your choosing on a project you design. You can pursue a creative project, expand on a term paper you wrote for a class, or do anything you want. 

For information about independent studies: http://engl.uic.edu/resources/current-students/undergraduate-research/

ENGL 398 Application Form: http://engl.uic.edu/resources/current-students/forms/engl-398-senior-honors-thesis/

ENGL 399 Application Form: http://engl.uic.edu/resources/current-students/forms/engl-399-independent-study/

Do not wait to apply. Applications for ENGL 398, ENGL 399 must be received by 4:00 pm Friday, September 4, 2020. 

Abigail Kremer Receives Summer 2020 CURA Award

We are delighted to announce that Spring 2020 graduate Abigail Kremer won a UIC CURA Award for Summer 2020. The prestigious Chancellor's Undergraduate Research Award pays for students to work with faculty members on projects of mutual interest. No matter what your post-UIC path is, a CURA is not only a resume booster but a means to pursue indepth research and hone such sought-after workplace skills as professional writing, project management and time management.

For those of you hoping to follow in Abigail's footsteps, here is more information on CURA AY 20-21: https://cura.uic.edu/

Covid-19 Resources

We recognize that COVID-19 has impacted different people differently. It's true that you don't have to leave your bed to work through John Donne's poetry with Professor Magarik and your classmates. But if your internet is dodgy or your laptop is more meta than physical, online learning is not going to happen. UIC and the Department of English have an array of resources - from loaner laptops to emergency loans - to help you navigate university life during the pandemic. Check out this link: https://today.uic.edu/resources/current-students, stop by our drop-in hours or email us for more information.

Emergency Grant Awards for Students
UIC is pleased to announce a $15.9 million emergency grant program.

The Department of Education has allocated $14.9 million for this grant through the CARES Act. In addition to the Department of Education funding, UIC has transferred $1 million from the Federal Work-Study Program as allowed by the federal government to supplement the emergency grant funding for any student eligible for Title IV Financial Aid funding.

Undergraduate, graduate and professional students enrolled in the Spring Semester will be eligible to receive up to $1,000, if you have:
  1. Filed a FAFSA and submitted all required documentation to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships;
  2. Been enrolled in an in-person, degree-seeking program prior to 3/13/2020 and remained enrolled through the semester;
  3. Been enrolled at half-time status or greater during Spring Semester 2020:
    • Undergraduate Students = 6 credits or above
    • Graduate Students = 5 credits or above
    • Professional Students = 6 credits or above
Pell eligible undergraduate students enrolled in Summer Semester will be eligible to receive up to an additional $1,000, if you have:
  1. Filed a FAFSA and submitted all required documentation to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships prior to 3/13/2020;
  2. Received a Pell grant in Spring;
  3. Enrolled at half-time status or greater during the Summer semester after the add/drop period; half-time status for Summer = 5 credits or above.
The grants may cover expenses such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child-care. Because funding is limited, awards will be made on a first-come, first-served basis as follows:

An application is required to receive a grant. If you are eligible for the COVID-19 Emergency Grant, your portal at https://my.uic.edu/uPortal/f/welcome/normal/render.uP has been updated with a document for you to complete and upload. You should have received an email notification informing you that the requirement is posted. Please complete the document immediately as applications will not be accepted after May 8, 2020.

If you do not meet the eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 Emergency Grant, you can apply for other Emergency Grant programs available at UIC, such as:
  • U and I Cares Emergency Grant through the Dean of Students Office.
  • Graduate College Emergency Grant through the Graduate College.
To assist with questions, there is an FAQ on the UIC COVID-19 Emergency Grant at https://financialaid.uic.edu/faq/

If you have questions about this program, please contact the Financial Aid counselor assigned to LAS at https://financialaid.uic.edu/faq/contact-us/
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