Spring 2021 Welcome Message from the Department Head

Date

01/22/21

Friends,

 

A happy New Year and semester to everyone!

 

As much as we had hoped for a return to some semblance of ‘normal’, it seems that the Spring semester will be pretty much a repeat of Fall 2020. I know this places continued and perhaps new pressures on many of us who have already been impacted adversely by covid-19.  So my heartfelt appreciation goes out to faculty, staff and students as you continue to do your best under the challenging circumstances. I appreciate your efforts to build community, by reaching out to and supporting each other.  The departmental administration and staff will do its best to be a partner with you throughout this semester. Please feel free to reach out to me or to anyone on the leadership team if you need assistance.

 

As we begin the new semester, I have a few announcements to share.

 

  1. Professor Rakesh Bhatt is on sabbatical this semester. Professor Tania Ionin is stepping in as Acting Associate Head and Director of Graduate Admissions. Professor Jon Macdonald will reprise his role as Acting Director of Graduate Studies this semester. Thank you Tania and Jon for your willingness to help!

 

  1. Professor Peter Lasersohn is stepping down from his position as Director of Undergraduate Studies after more than a decade! Professor Ryan Shosted has agreed to step up to the role of DUGS. Zach Reed will continue in his role as Academic Advisor. Thank you Peter for your years of service, to Zach for your continuing service, and a warm welcome to Ryan!

 

  1. At the Board of Trustees meeting (1/21/2021) our proposal for the new BA in LING-TESL was approved. We are now ready to prepare and submit materials for the final step of approval (with the Illinois Board of Higher Education), perhaps in early summer. We are looking at a possible launch date of this degree for Fall 2022. Thanks to Professors Yan and Sadler for their work to bring the initiative to this point.

 

  1. Over the winter break (and continuing through this week), we ran a virtual program focusing on multiculturalism and global English with Kyungpook National University. The event, which usually takes place on campus during summer, was postponed and the format modified in response to covid-19. Visiting assistant professor Lisa Pierce put together a phenomenal program which took full advantage of the remote delivery format. Thanks to Lisa and all who helped out! There are possibilities of other international collaborations down the road, perhaps a joint BA-MA. Stay tuned for relevant news!

 

  1. Graduate admission deliberations (LING PhD and MATESL) are taking place now. Because of the impact of covid-19, we are looking to admit a very small cohort for Fall 2021.

 

  1. The first meeting of the full faculty will be on Wednesday Feb 3, 2021. Reminders will be sent closer to the date but if you have items that you want to suggest for the meeting, please send them to me and Dee Ann.

 

Wishing you all a fruitful and safe semester.

 

James

 

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