Dear friends,


I would like to welcome you (back) to a new semester and academic year, which will surely be one to remember. I hope you are staying safe and well and that your summer has been rejuvenating and productive. We won’t be able to get together for our traditional welcome reception, but I do hope to connect with you in some form before not too long.


I thank the faculty members who have worked all summer to prepare the best instruction possible under the circumstances, and for staff members (a shoutout to Dee Ann and Zach, in particular) who have made it possible to carry on our work and provide critical support during this crisis.


I know the biggest toll has been on the students. I tip my hat to all of you as you are doing your best to advance your education and maintain a semblance of normalcy during these extraordinary times. A special appreciation goes out to the graduate students, most of whom are juggling classes, research and also play a vital role as instructors in our shared educational mission.


The university, school and the department are doing our best to help. Information about office hours, as well as access to covid19-related resources, are available from our departmental webpage ( Useful updates may also be found on our Facebook page.


On to happier news, we have new friends joining our departmental family this fall. We welcome 12 new graduate students to the MATESL program and 7 to the Linguistics PhD program. Their names and prior institutions are listed below.



1.       Agnes Bednarz (West Georgia)

2.       Emily Bilyeu (WIU)

3.       Emily Buonomo (NIU)

4.       Maxwell Burress (SIU)

5.       Ryan Corrigan (NTexas)

6.       Adetutu Fabusoro (Ibadan)

7.       Sarah Herendeen (Beloit)

8.       Esther Kim (UIUC)

9.       Michelle Kim (UIUC)

10.   Mikako Masuda (Gunma Pref Women’s Univ)

11.   Alexandria Santos (UIUC)

12.   Yao Zhang (Beijing U of Tech)



1.       Huiying Cai (Zhejiang U)

2.       Seungho Jang (Korea U)

3.       Elizabeth King (Ball State)

4.       Mai Mohamed (UIUC)

5.       Haram Park (Chungnam Nat U)

6.       Daniel Stelzer (UIUC)

7.       Abraham Ulloa (UC Davis)


In addition, Zach Reed reports that our undergraduate numbers for Fall 2020 are as follows:


BA in Linguistics: 106

BS in CS+Ling: 90

Total Majors: 196


Ling Minor: 9

TESL Minor: 9

Teacher Education TESL:  6

Total Minors: 24


I am encouraged by the continued growth of primary majors in both Linguistics and CS+Linguistics. This academic year, we will be working on finalizing the proposal for a third UG major (Linguistics and TESL), with a target launch date of Fall 2022.  I am also encouraged by the fact even though the majority of our courses are offered online this semester, the overall number of students in our classes is strong.


Joining the department this year is Dr. Rurik Tywoniw ( Rurik will be working as the Coordinator of the EPT program. Rurik completed his PhD in Applied Linguistics at Georgia State University. There, he was the coordinator of the Georgia State Test of English Proficiency, in addition to teaching Applied Linguistics and Japanese classes. His research interests are language assessment, second language literacy development, computational linguistics, and autonomy and cognition in language learning. Welcome, Rurik!


Jeff Green and Lisa Pierce are returning as visiting assistant professors (in Linguistics and MATESL, respectively) this year. We are glad to have them back. And, as you may already know, Ryan Shosted and Chilin Shih have been promoted to Full Professor. Chilin has also been appointed as the Head of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. Congratulations, Ryan and Chilin.


With best wishes for a safe and rewarding semester,


James Hye Suk Yoon

Professor and Head