All Upcoming Events
Wednesday, October 14 3:30 PM

"Standing in Georgia, Writing to the World," Signature Lecture by Alice Walker

Alice Walker is a native of Eatonton, Georgia, and the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize.  She is visiting UGA from Oct. 14-15 as the inaugural Delta Visiting Chair for Global Understanding.  Her lecture is sponsored by the Willson Center for the Arts in partnership with the Institute for African American Studies. This event takes place in UGA Chapel and is free and open to the public. There will be another site, TBA, for audience members to view her talk streaming live. For more information, visit www.willson,

Wednesday, October 14 12:10 PM

Information Session for Those Who Want to Break Into Publishing Park Hall Room 261

Please attend a "Careers in Publishing" panel discussion in Park Hall. Topics will include building your resume, breaking into publishing, and descriptions of the different facets of the field. The distinguished panel will include Jenny Gropp, Managing Editor of the Georgia Review; Jason Bennett, UGA Press Marketing Director; Walter Biggins, UGA Press Senior Acquisitions Editor; and Elizabeth Crowley, UGA Press Editorial Assistant.  Free pizza will be served.

Thursday, October 15 6:30 PM

"A Conversation with Alice Walker"


Alice Walker, a native of Eatonton, Georgia, is the author of seven novels, including The Color PurpleMeridian, and The Third Life of Grange Copeland; books of poetry and essays; and seminal collections of short stories, You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down and In Love and Trouble,   She is the first African American woman to earn the Pulitzer prize (for her novel The Color Purple), and she is UGA's first Delta Visiting Chair for Global Understanding.  She will participate in an on-stage interview with Valerie Boyd, Associate Professor of Journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.  The program will take place at the historic Morton Theatre in downtown Athens, 195 W. Washington Street.

For more information on Walker’s visit, please see

Thursday, October 22 6:00 AM

Akira Kurosawa Film Showing, Shakespeare Film Series

The Early Modern Union of Scholars presents Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood (1957) as part of the 400th Death-iversary Shakespeare Film Series. The film will be hosted in the second-floor auditorium at the Richard B. Russell Special Collections Library. Doors open at 6:00 PM.

FREE and open to the public.



Park Hall Monitor

Park Hall Monitor

Greetings, Park Hall alumni and friends!

Campus has a different look in early May, the presence of more parents than students (and the students conspicuous for their black gowns and mortarboard caps) announcing the end of another school year. On May 7th, we celebrated our undergraduate and graduate Class of 2015 in a ceremony that also highlighted annual awards for students and faculty.

The awards, both internal and external, are numerous, covering everything from research accomplishments to excellence in teaching. The Department of English has much to be proud of, but success in the classroom is surely at some kind of peak. At least that’s the impression I got earlier this year when I compiled the faculty reports of accomplishments for 2014. Reading the teaching evaluations of the faculty, I was reminded of the line in Garrison Keillor’s long-running radio broadcast, A Prairie Home Companion, about the fictional town of Lake Woebegone, “where all the children are above average.” But there’s nothing fictional about teaching in Park Hall, a place where it can truthfully be said that most of the professors are not just “above average,” but wayabove. Over the moon, out of the ballpark, however you want to put it. 

Student comments are far more revealing than the numerical indicators (but the numbers are astounding in themselves: with 5 being a perfect score, I estimate that the department average is about 4.7). Comments say a lot about the different ways successful teaching makes an impact. Many students are impressed by the preparation their professors bring to the classroom, especially when it means the teacher is prepared to make discussion thrive. It’s easy, of course, for professors to come across as knowledgeable, but students value a certain generosity when it comes to dispensing it, making it accessible to them. Students also appreciate the personal touch, the consideration for their own needs and inclinations. Some professors are prized for the way they come across as fully rounded human beings — the way they impart a quality of “keeping it real,” as it’s sometimes put in the evaluations.

A familiar stereotype in the mass media portrays English professors as self-absorbed, bookish types, barely able to get through a day in the “real world,” aided only by their endearing cluelessness. It’s a stereotype that has distant roots in fact. Until the big boom in postwar education after the Second World War, being an English professor was generally a prerogative of the leisure class, a sinecure for unworldly souls disinclined (or unfit) to run the family business. Those days are long gone, and the typical professor today would be up to the task of selling cars, trading stocks, or strategizing troop movements. Student evaluations are vivid reminders that successful teachers don’t teach a subject; they begin with a subject and spiral out from there. Evaluations consistently acknowledge that impassioned professors inspire intellectual curiosity: they convey the sense that one thing leads to another and another and another, until you find you started with a sonnet and ended up, not on that “silent peak in Darien” imagined by a dreamy English youth, but somewhere else altogether — crossing a bridge into Birmingham from a contested start in Selma, coming to terms with the slaughter of French cartoonists, or discovering how mercantile trade routes established centuries ago set in motion the frantic world of globalized interconnectivity we now straddle.

What makes a great teacher? Dedication and practice help, along with commitment to the students. But I think the secret is that all good teachers are themselves students: lifelong learning is a deep instinct. That’s the gravitational force you feel in the classroom — when it becomes apparent that everyone’s in it together, learning and teaching and learning until, to paraphrase an Irish poet, there’s no distinguishing the dancer from the dance.


Jed Rasula

Department Head

For more, please read the latest version of the Park Hall Monitor, the department's newsletter.

Alice Walker to visit UGA
Alice Walker to visit UGA

The Willson Center will welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker to the University of Georgia as the inaugural Delta Visiting Chair for Global Understanding October 14-15, 2015.

Walker will hold public speaking events on and off the UGA campus, as well as participate in more personal interactions with students and faculty during her visit.

Approaches to Teaching the Novels of Henry Fielding
Approaches to Teaching the Novels of Henry Fielding

Elizabeth Kraft has co-edited with Jennifer Preston Wilson a volume in the prestigious MLA Approaches series which will be published in November 2015. Approaches to Teaching the Novels of Henry Fielding begins with a thorough introduction to the resources available for historical and biographical background, cultural contextualization, and critical heritage, and it includes essays on Fielding's fiction from Shamela to Amelia.   The volume features essays from professors who teach in a variety of institutions and includes selections by current and former members of the University of Georgia English Department: Elizabeth Kraft on Tom Jones, Chloe Wigston Smith on Joseph Andrews, Leigh Dillard (MA 2002) on Hogarth and Fielding, and Jennifer Preston Wilson (PhD 2000) on Amelia.