March 2020

Friday, March 27, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

I hope this Monthly Missive finds you healthy and hearty. So much has happened since we returned from Spring Break that I hardly know what day it is anymore. The changes and updates seem to come fast and furiously. Thank you for all that you are doing to adapt your teaching to online and for continuing to be the amazing, supportive colleagues and teachers that you are. I know that if any department can move forward successfully under these trying circumstances, the English Department can. From what I can see, we are doing that each and every day. 

The English Department staff and program directors have been hard at work keeping the department running smoothly. Please know much work is happening behind the scenes on advising, scheduling, budget, recruitment, outreach, and the many other matters that the staff and program directors are handling so well. I am in frequent communication with them (probably more than they would like!). Angie, Monica, Jennie, and I met online today and will do so every Friday afternoon. Liz Miller, Lara Vetter and I connect many times a day and will meet online on Monday afternoons. I am so grateful to have this extraordinary team in place. 

I will schedule a “Happy Hour” for faculty and staff to connect informally on Friday, 4/3/2020, at 4 PM. If there is interest, I will schedule a “Coffee Break,” probably on alternate Friday mornings. We will hold any regular department meetings online using WebEx. I will send you any news, updates, or invitations on meetings as soon as possible. In the meantime, feel free to contact me as needed. My email and phone numbers are at the end of this email.

Please take a look at the Department’s website for the wonderful tribute about Fred Smith that Mark West has written (and that Alan Rauch posted) at Thank you, Mark and Alan, for your work in remembering and honoring our former department chair and colleague.

You might consider making a donation to the UNC Charlotte Student Emergency Relief Fund in memory of Fred Smith or other colleagues we have lost. Or, you could donate simply in support our incredible students who may need extra help at this time:

Registration begins on Monday 3/30/2020 for summer and fall. Gina Kelley has been hard at work with advising.  And Tiffany Morin has been recruiting students for the English Learning Community. 

Just so you know, my husband’s surgery has been rescheduled for June 18. The surgeon called to say they needed the operating room resources for more urgent cases. She thought he could safely wait a few weeks. If anything changes (and it could), I will be sure to update you.


In keeping with the tradition of celebrating the achievements of English Department colleagues, here are the latest accomplishments and the “what-might-have-been” news. If I have overlooked anyone's accomplishments or news, please send to me.    

Meghan Barnes was scheduled to present (with Heather Coffee of the College of Education) at the National Writing Project in the South conference. The title of her paper is “Facilitating Social Justice through C3WP: Middle Grades ELA Teachers Engage in ‘Responsible Change.’”  

Beth Gargano gave two presentations at the NEMLA conference in Boston. She read from her novel at a fiction roundtable and also presented a critical paper on Charlotte Brontë. 

Katie Hogan was scheduled to present a paper titled "Where is the Next Generation of Activists and Readers?" at the Saints & Sinners LGBTQ+ Literary Festival in New Orleans. Katie was also scheduled to present another paper, which is titled “Past and Future Worlds: Queer and Non-Binary Dystopian Narratives” at the 2020 MELUS Conference (The Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States) in New Orleans.  

Paula Martinac was scheduled to speak at the 17th Annual Saint and Sinners LGBTQ+ Literary Festival in New Orleans. She was going to give a reading from her fiction and to participate in two panels: "The People and Places We Love: Celebrating Gay History" and "Celebrating Firebrands of Lesbian Literature." In addition, she was to be inducted into the Saints and Sinners Hall of Fame.

Juan Meneses has been selected as a National Humanities Center scholar for the Summer 2020 session. Juan plans to work on his new book project, titled for now Denizens! On Foreigners, Visitors, and Other Outsiders and will be doing research on notions of eco-nationalism, climate change, and environmental migrancy and how they are represented in works of contemporary literature and film.

Liz Miller presented a Keynote address at the 2020 Duke Language Symposium. Her address was titled, "The Emotional Labor of Language Teaching: Experienced Teachers' Accounts of Emotional Challenges, Rewards and Management Strategies." While at the symposium, she was also interviewed for the podcast We Teach Languages by the other Keynote speaker, Dr. Stacey Johnson, from Vanderbilt University.

Liz was also scheduled to present three co-authored papers accepted to the American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL) conference in Denver. These include two papers with her colleague Christina Gkonou from the University of Essex, "Language teachers' agentive self-reflection and emotional capital" and "Paradoxes of happy language teachers: Exploring the blues of happiness." She was also planning to present a paper with her student Anna Sanczyk titled "A narrative inquiry of second language teacher agency in promoting culturally responsive pedagogy."

Tiffany Morin was scheduled to present “How the Library Transformed My Inquiry Projects” at The Faculty Professional Development Showcase sponsored by the Center for Teaching and Learning, Communication Across the Curriculum (CXC), J. Murrey Atkins Library, and the Office of Assessment and Accreditation.

Jen Munroe has been selected to serve as the UNC Charlotte Resident Director at Kingston University London in Kingston-upon-Thames for 2020-2021.

Aaron Toscano was scheduled to present a paper titled “Her ‘Qualified Right’: The Rhetoric of Patriarchy and Women’s Reproductive Freedom” at the Southeastern Women's Studies Association conference.

Paula’s contact information:
704-574-4933 (cell)
704-847-5703 (home)

Stay well and stay connected, everyone!