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Park Hall Monitor: Winter 2023

Head's Note, January 2023

Dr. Cody Marrs

Cody Marrs

Well, that was a whirlwind! My first semester as Interim Head is now in the books, and I could not be more grateful for the experience. It has been a pleasure overseeing and supporting the incredible work of our students, faculty, and staff. If there is one thing I’ve learned so far, it is that the Department of English is not discrete courses, programs, or projects. Rather, it is a collective endeavor, an ever-evolving community of students, teachers, researchers, staff, and administrators, all of whom—without exception--are passionately dedicated to the study of language and writing.  

This semester brought a variety of changes. Instead of spending endless hours on Zoom, Park Hall is once again a busy and bustling place. (Thank goodness.) This fall, we welcomed three terrific new faculty members: Joshua Cohen, David Diamond, and David Ingle. They are already contributing to the Department in numerous ways and we feel fortunate to have them as colleagues. We also have many new students, new courses, and new opportunities for intellectual and social engagement. Some of these new additions to the Department are highlighted in this issue, which features Lindsey Harding’s Digital Storytelling Showcase, Caroline Young’s Time out of Joint Team, and Nathan Kreuter’s graduate seminar on Rhetoric.   

At the same time, we must say a bittersweet farewell to some of the most treasured members of the Department. Tricia Lootens, Michelle Ballif, and Barbara Bendzunas have all retired. Tricia Lootens, a widely respected scholar and teacher of Victorian literature, retired in 2022 after teaching at UGA for 29 years. Michelle Ballif, an eminent scholar of Rhetoric and skilled administrator, came to UGA in 1995 and served as the Department Head from 2016-22. During their time here, Drs. Lootens and Ballif inspired countless students and had an indelible impact on their fields, the Department, and the University. Barbara Bendzunas, until her retirement this winter, managed our main office. For the past 11 years, she did everything for the Department from making copies to sharing fresh treats and vegetables. All of us will miss Tricia, Michelle, and Barbara, and we wish them a happy and fulfilling retirement.  

As you will see in the pages of this newsletter, the Department of English is a thriving intellectual community, and that is because of the work we do together both in and out of the classroom. So to everyone who has contributed to the Department of English in one way or another, whether now or in the past: Thank you so much. 

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