It is a pleasure to be addressing you as the new chair of the Department of English. I feel privileged to represent the department’s engaged and talented community of faculty, staff, and students.
This fall will mark my 13th year as a faculty member at Mason, but my connections to the university reach back to the early 1990s. I earned an MA in English literature at Mason in 1993 and was an adjunct professor in the department the year before I started my PhD in the Folklore and Folklife program at the University of Pennsylvania in 1994.
I grew up in a small college town in central Appalachia, so for me the summer’s end and the coming of the fall semester have long been a time of strong anticipation. I love watch- ing our sleepy campus come to life with students as my colleagues repopulate the depart- ment’s quiet halls as the new semester begins.
This year marks a new beginning for English; the core positions in the department’s senior leadership are filled with faculty who joined the university after 2001. This team includes Paul Rogers as associate chair, Michael Malouf as graduate director, and Samaine Lockwood as undergraduate director.
Our award-winning faculty will continue to shape the boundaries of knowledge in the humanities and excel with cutting-edge research and creative work that produces trans- formative classroom experiences. At the same time, my vision for the department is to foster a community of engagement and to create events and opportunities for students and alumni to connect with faculty outside the classroom.
I look forward to meeting many of you on campus for coming events, and I also am happy to meet you at other times. I am anxious to hear your ideas, so please be in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Debra Lattanzi Shutika Chair, Department of English