Professor/Chair, Department of English
AUTHOR

Mark West

Monday Missive – December 9, 2019

Storied Places — I just return last night from participating in a symposium at Oxford University.  The symposium was interesting, but what I enjoyed the most was wandering the streets of Oxford.  As a children’s literature professor, I think of Oxford is a special place.  It is associated with a number of important children’s books, including Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The...

Monday Missive – November 25, 2019

Giving Thanks — With Thanksgiving just around the corner and the end of my term as chair of our English Department just around the next corner, I decided to devote this Monday Missive to expressing my thanks to all of you.  

I thank you for not factionalizing along disciplinary lines.  We are a very diverse department, encompassing creative writing, digital studies, film studies, linguistics, literature, pedagogy, technical communication, and several other...

Monday Missive – November 11, 2019

For the Love of Libraries —  Our English Department has a long history of supporting the libraries in our area as is reflected in the fact that many members of our department have volunteered their time to support library events and programs over the years.  Last week, however, our English Department shifted its support of libraries into high gear.  

For the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, the beginning of November is a special time of the year, for this is when...

Monday Missive – October 28, 2019

Three Acts — The English Department was a busy place last Friday.  In between the classes and committee meetings, three department-wide events took place over the course of the day:  the English Department meeting, Janaka Lewis’s presentation on her current research project, and the annual Halloween party organized by our various student groups.  As I scurried from event to event, I started thinking about these events as three acts in a larger...

Monday Missive – October 14, 2019

Pictures by Paula Eckard

Bridging the Years — For me, attending Leon Gatlin’s memorial service last week had a bittersweet quality to it.  I felt a sense of sadness, but I also took pleasure in seeing so many former members of our department gathered together to remember and honor Leon.  As I exchanged greetings with these retired members of our department, memories of my early days in the department kept surfacing.  

Seeing David Amante and John McNair together,...

Monday Missive – December 2, 2019

Artwork by Clem White

The Intersection of Play Studies and Narrative Studies — This week I am heading off to Oxford University to participate in the Oxford Education Research Symposium for the fourth time since I have been chair of the English Department.  Last year, I had lunch with one of the symposium’s organizers, and I expressed my appreciation at being invited back repeatedly.  He responded by saying, “We like your stories.”  I suppose that...

Monday Missive – November 18, 2019

From Mary Rebecca Denny to Paula Gallant Eckard — I recently received an email from JuliAnna Ávila in which she mentioned Mary Rebecca Denny, the woman for whom the Denny Building is named (see the story below for more information about JuliAnna’s email).   I remember asking about Denny when I first came to UNC Charlotte in the mid-1980s since I often taught in the Denny Building at the time.  The person I asked told me that Denny was one of the first faculty members...

Mark West 2019-11-04 09:50:36

Four Collaborations — One of the pleasures I derive from serving as the chair of our English Department is receiving email messages from members of our department in which they share news about their recent accomplishments.  People send me these emails so that I can include their good news in my Monday Missive, but I enjoy reading and responding to their emails when they hit my inbox.  I received such an email message this week from Jen Munroe informing...

Monday Missive – October 21, 2019

Two Poems for Now — I have long admired Elijah Cummings, the congressman from Baltimore who died last week, so I paid particular attention to the news coverage surrounding his passing.  Several of the stories that I saw on television included a video clip of the very first speech he ever gave in Congress back in 1996. In this speech, he recited the following poem titled “Just a Minute” by the famed civil rights leader Benjamin Mays:

I only have a minute,...

Monday Missive – October 7, 2019

Honoring Leon Gatlin, One of the Founders of the English Department — With the death of Leon Gatlin on October 3, 2019, the English Department lost a friend, a former colleague, and a link to the department’s origin story.  A native of North Carolina, Leon earned his B.A. and M.A. in English from Wake Forest and his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.  He joined UNC Charlotte’s English Department in 1966 and remained a member of the faculty until his retirement...