Welcome Letter from the (New) Chair

Dear English Department students,
Professor Maria Frawley
I am writing to introduce myself as the new Chair of the English Department and to welcome you back to campus for the start of the 2019-2020 academic year. After nearly ten years in the Honors Program, it is a real pleasure to return to my English Department home. I know I speak for our entire department in saying that we are delighted to have you as part of our community, whether you are joining us as first-year or returning students and whether you are an undergraduate or a graduate student. We look forward to a terrific year together. Saying goodbye to the summer isn’t easy for any of us, but the energy you will soon bring to campus helps quite a bit!
Classes start on Monday, August  26th.  I know from numerous conversations this summer how much effort our faculty have put into planning their courses, even while pursuing rigorous research and writing projects. We have seats open in a handful of courses and if you are still shopping around for courses or needing to make a schedule change, please review the options available through English.  You can check out the schedule of classes here.
A faculty retreat on Friday August 23rd will enable us to devote our attention to planning an array of events and activities for the coming year designed to enable us to spend time together outside of the classroom. Please stay tuned to this blog and to our email listservs for announcements about events – join us whenever you are able! We have some exciting events already scheduled that we’d like you to put on your calendars:
August 22, 2019 (graduate students only) from 9:30 – 1:30: Graduate Orientation and Visit to Gelman Rare Books and Special Collections (including lunch).
September 13th (entire community) from 3:30 to 5:00: GW Annual Shakespeare Lecture, this year given by Dr. Sujata Iyengar from the University of Georgia. The title of this talk is: “Same-Sex Star-Crossed Lovers in Global Shakespearean Web-Series.” The talk will be held in Post Hall on the GWU Mount Vernon Campus. Refreshments will be served afterwards.  The event is free and you can register here.
September 18th (for entire community), from 5:00 to 7:00 pm:Helen Deutsch,
Professor of English at UCLA, will be our Wang Lecturer in Residence and will give a
talk titled “Disability, Irony, Untimeliness: Jonathan Swift, Edward Said and the
Demands of Late Style.” On the following day she will visit several classes and meet
with students.
A few short personnel notes: Over the summer Professor Marshall Alcorn stepped down as chair of the department and will be on a much deserved sabbatical in the fall – we collectively thank him for his years serving as chair of our department! Professor Patricia Chu continues as the Deputy Chair of the department. Professor Evelyn Schreiber continues in her role as Director of Undergraduate Advising.  Professor Lisa Page also continues in her role as Director of the Creative Writing Program

I very much hope that the academic year is rewarding for all of you. Last year I shared with Honors students an opinion essay by Frank Bruni of The New York Times that caught my attention because of a bit of advice he offered and I’ll take the liberty of sharing a few lines with you all as well. Bruni wrote: “The wisest students…move into a peer relationship with the institution rather than a consumer relationship with it. They seize leadership roles. They serve as research assistants. And they build social capital, realizing that above all else, they’re in college to widen the circle of human beings who know you and care about you.” His remarks capture well our department’s aspiration to form a community of learning and caring with you all. My door (and inbox) is always open, should you desire to talk with me about any aspect of the department. In the meantime, all the very best to all of you.

Maria Frawley
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