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Pete’s Letter:  Letter from Head of Department, Pete Coviello: Dear Colleagues, A true fact about being Head of the English Department is that, with somewhat puzzling frequency, you are asked to give what tend to be called “a few remarks.” Usually, these are meant to be about the English major, what it is, what it does, what it might do for you. This is not, I confess, my favorite thing about being Head, if only because I think the answers to those questions are best found less in any pronouncement I might make than in the daily and accruing and astonishing work of the department – in the labors of colleagues who week in and week out show up as advisors, mentors, readers, writers, editors, instructors, sounding-boards, local experts, field-guides to the institution, and so much else. Sometimes, though, a few framing remarks can be helpful. In that spirit, here is what I had to say the other day at a gathering of high school seniors considering UIC, the humanities, and the English major. My goals for myself were, first, “Be brief,” and second, “No, briefer.”  Among the many things you might say about it, "literature" is the record of people caught inside historical moments for which their conceptual vocabularies are, in elemental ways, gaspingly and terrifyingly inadequate – people caught inside worlds that are always outstripping their ability to comprehend them – and trying to transform that vertiginous inadequacy into blazing monuments of form, beauty, sorrow, compassion, and joy. One of the things you get from being an English major is a new and intimate acquaintance with that astounding history of expression. And one of the things that comes from that new intimacy is a tremendous expansion in your own capacity to think, know, imagine, be outraged, overjoyed, and transformed. Also, you will get better at writing - and every employer you can think of values a colleague who knows how to transform complex thoughts into compelling sentences.  With that, I wish everybody a great fall term. Here’s looking forward to seeing you in the office, in the hallway, at colloquium, and around campus in the weeks ahead.  -Peter Coviello

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Jay Bauer smiling

“My time in the English Department has given me the opportunity to study under and alongside brilliant writers from across disciplines and explore subjects in ways I’d have never thought possible. Writing is a trade that will always be needed, and the folks I work with show that the future of writing is in good hands.” 

-Jayden Bauer, Class of 2023

News and Calendar Heading link

Sep 22 2023


Friday, 3:00 pm–5:00 pm
2028 UH
Sep 29 2023

Prof. Mark Goble, UC Berkeley

Friday, 3:00 pm–5:00 pm
2028 UH
Oct 6 2023

Dissertation Talk- Tierney Powell

Friday, 3:00 pm–5:00 pm
Lily Ginsberg smiling

“My time as an English student has been very rewarding— I have advanced into a leadership position at the UIC Writing Center, traveled to Denver to read a paper at the Sigma Tau Delta Conference, shot free throws with the department head at a UIC basketball game, and received departmental awards. All of this was only possible with the mentorship and guidance of my English professors, all of whom are excellent educators!

-Lily Ginsberg, Class of 2023