Chair's Message

Hello to everyone from the UK English Department, and I hope you are doing well during this unusual summer of extended lockdown. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university completed all its classes online during the second half of the spring semester. The transition to remote teaching presented challenges to both students and faculty but we now look forward to the reopening of the University of Kentucky on 17 August. Throughout the university, classes will start on that day and will continue through Thanksgiving. Final exams will be conducted remotely in December. Many courses in the fall will be available both online and in person, and we look forward to meeting you in fall semester, whether in the classroom or on the screen!

The Department of English is a diverse and inclusive community, working together to promote the values of diversity, equity, inclusivity, and civility on campus. Like all departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, we aim to enhance diversity and inclusion through recruitment, promotion, and retention of faculty, staff, and students, and by implementing initiatives that provide rich, diversity‐related experiences for all to help ensure their success in an interconnected world. See the Department's Diversity and Equity statement.

Our Undergraduate program is thriving, with many exciting courses in literature and film from a wide variety of literary and historical periods and fields, taught by our award-winning research faculty. At our annual Undergraduate Showcase event each spring, our undergrads present papers on their work to an audience of fellow students, faculty, friends, and family. Our 12th floor lounge (the Betty Combs Owen Student Success Center) offers a social and study center used by many students who are active with undergraduate publications and organizations such as Sigma Tau Delta. We are also proud of our vibrant internship program, offering our undergraduates an opportunity to work in various local libraries, businesses, law firms, and at the University Press of Kentucky. Please contact us if you have ideas for other internship opportunities for our students. We are dedicated to building community relationships to help provide avenues of exploration for our students.

Our graduate programs include the PhD and MA in literature and our MFA program in Creative Writing. Our programs are offered by an outstanding faculty whose research and writing is widely-recognized internationally. Our Visiting Writers series  continues to be a success and we had many extraordinary writers appear on campus last year. I am happy to announce that the series will continue in the fall semester, with readings and discussions delivered online.

I warmly invite our alumni to get involved with your English Department and to support your alma mater in any way you can. Please email us to learn more about our “Friends of English” group, a core membership of alumni and others who want to promote the English department beyond the University. Our Friends of English advocate for the Department and help our students connect with internships and employers. We invite our former students to return to campus, to meet the students, and talk about how their English experience has shaped their careers and lives.

Finally, please consider including the English Department in your annual giving plans. Financial support to our Development Fund allows us to support students with awards that recognize their achievements and help them to attain their goals, while a gift to our MFA Visiting Writers Fund allows us to bring exceptional authors to campus to enrich our students’ learning. Please get in touch with me if you would like to discuss how you can get involved with the department and with the Friends of English. I hope you will be able to join us online for one of our readings or other online events in the coming year.


Jonathan Allison
Chair, Department of English