April 2021

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

As the semester begins to wind down, I have several kudos and reminders to share. I know this has been a challenging academic year, so I am hoping you have plans to rest, renew, and/or research over the summer. And I hope everyone has gotten or will get a COVID-19 vaccination. Some of you may have been planning to get the J and J vaccine through the University, but those vaccinations have been put on hold. If you or someone you know is looking for a vaccine appointment, this tool can help find vaccine appointments at local pharmacies across the country: https://www.vaccinespotter.org/.  

Mecklenburg County also lists sources for the vaccine: https://www.mecknc.gov/COVID-19/Pages/Vaccine.aspx

I want to acknowledge what a difficult week this has been for many of our students and colleagues. The police killing of Daunte Wright and the ongoing murder trial that seeks justice for George Floyd weigh heavily on the hearts and minds of many people. They are hurting in ways I can hardly fathom. These terrible, unnecessary losses make our work in the area of race and social justice more important than ever.

If you have not done so already, please take time to respond to the survey sent out yesterday asking about the help you or the English Department need to address race and social justice issues. Ron Lunsford will take your feedback to the CLAS Faculty Council meeting on Friday. Your feedback will be helpful in guiding the action we take going forward: https://uncc.surveyshare.com/s/AYAGLTB?survey_key=AYAGLTB

Also, in the Kudos section below, you will find a link to important reading related to racial and social justice in an issue of Journal of Higher Education Management that Jeffrey Leak co-guest edited that addresses the twin pandemics of racism and COVID-19. Meanwhile, here is the link to Guest Editors’ Comments made by Jeffrey and his co-editors: https://issuu.com/aaua10/docs/twin_pandemics/s/11997048

As always, please send me your good news to include in upcoming missives. And if I overlook sharing something you’ve sent me, do not hesitate to remind me of my oversight. 



Erika Romero, one of our former M.A. students in Children’s Literature, successfully defended her dissertation at Illinois State University. Her dissertation is titled “The Pedagogical Potential of Harry Potter and The Vampire Diaries: Incorporating Children's and Young Adult Literature Across the English Studies College Curriculum."

Cecilia Alfonso-Stokes, one our M.A. students and University Everett Fellow, will be a doctoral student in literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison this fall.


Jeffrey Leak served as one of the guest editors for a special issue of Journal of Higher Education Management titled “The COVID-19 Crisis and Racial Justice & Equity: Addressing the Twin Pandemics.” Here is the link so you can read the contents of the issue: https://issuu.com/aaua10/docs/twin_pandemics

Janaka Lewis discussed the roles of Black mothers and activism in integrating American schools at the American Education Finance and Policy Conference.  Her panel, which featured five scholars from UNC Charlotte, was titled “Black Motherschooling in Dual American Pandemics: Considerations to Inform Policy.” She organized and presented a panel titled “Motherschooling in the Academy at Virginia Tech’s Faculty Women of Color in the Academy (FWCA) Conference. Janaka also moderated a panel titled "Toni Morrison and Afrofuturism" at the College Language Association Convention.

Janaka recently published two articles: “Freedom to Move,” in African American Literature in Transition, Volume 4: 1850-1865 (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and "Radical Leadership and Creativity:  Race, Gender, and Academic Freedom" in Academic Freedom:  Autonomy, Challenges, and Conformation (Emerald Publishing, 2021).

Dina Massachi has received a contract with McFarland to edit a collection of Oz essays. Mark West will be one of the contributors.  The PBS American Experience episode featuring an interview with Dina will air on 4/19/21.  Here is a link to an article about the episode: https://www.southernliving.com/culture/pbs-american-experience-american-oz

Kirk Melnikoff was invited to serve on the Program Committee for the Marlowe Festival to be held in May 2022 at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle and Sorbonne Université in Paris and Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne in Rheims. The conference will be part of events planned around the upcoming 450th anniversary of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre (1572).

Kirk also published a review of Jason Scott-Warren's Shakespeare's First Reader: The Paper Trails of Richard Stonley in Review of English Studies 72.303 (2021): 179-81.

Liz Miller was a guest speaker (via Zoom) in a graduate class at Michigan State University. The students discussed her article "An Exploration of Language Teacher Reflection, Emotion Labor and Emotional Capital" published in the March 2021 issue of TESOL Quarterly.

Matthew Rowney was awarded a $4,000 grant from the American Scandinavian Foundation to carry out research in Sweden and Norway.  He plans to follow the footsteps of Mary Wollstonecraft when she traveled there.

Mark West published an article titled “Cultivating Empathy through the Reading of Literature” in Clio’s Psyche 27.3 (2021).

Congratulations to our very accomplished students and colleagues!


April 16—English Department Faculty Meeting (11-12:30)

April 23—Diversity Discussion (11-12:15)

April 23—English Department Award Ceremony (1-2)

April 23—Angie’s Award Ceremony for Employee of the Year for Community/Public Service. Here is the link to sign up to attend the virtual event on 4/23/21 at 2:30 pm:  https://forms.gle/LVNw4WTSinNSZzYs8

Best wishes and I hope to see everyone at the department meeting on Friday!