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Park Hall Monitor: Winter 2024

Head's Note, Winter 2024

Dr. Roland Végső

VegsoDear Colleagues, Students, Alumni, and Friends of English, 

I am writing to you for the first time as the new Head of the Department of English at the University of Georgia. My journey to Park Hall has been long and somewhat adventurous. I am a native of Hungary, and I completed most of my education in Europe (in Hungary and Germany). After leaving Europe behind, I earned my doctoral degree in English from SUNY/Buffalo in Western New York. My first job after graduation was at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In 2009, I moved to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where I taught for the last fourteen years. It was at UNL that I moved through the ranks and was eventually promoted to full professor. During this time, I served for several years as the Graduate Chair, Vice Chair, and the acting Chair of the Department of English—a series of experiences that helped instill in me a sense of the importance of administrative service. Needless to say, it was an inexhaustible fascination with language that set me on this career path. My current research primarily focuses on the first half of the 20th century and is located at the crossroads of literary criticism and philosophy. I am also deeply interested in the study and practice of translation, so I am always on the lookout for my next translation project.

As I was preparing to move our family from Nebraska to Georgia over the summer, I was eagerly looking forward to joining what appeared to be a vibrant creative and intellectual community of students and faculty. I am happy to report that my first semester in Park Hall did not disappoint. As you will see in the rest of this newsletter, even in this short period of time our students, graduate students, and faculty members have accomplished a lot. Several of them received awards, honors, and other recognitions for the outstanding work that they have been doing on or off campus. Our faculty’s research has received national recognitions; our instructors received teaching awards; and we continue to do essential service to the people of Georgia in a number of different ways. 

In light of this auspicious start in my new position, I find it easy to be optimistic about what we can accomplish together as a department. I am very much looking forward to working with my colleagues both in English and beyond to build an even brighter future. However, I was not the only new person who joined the department this last fall. We are very lucky to welcome several new colleagues. Dr. Julia Rice Mattison is our new medievalist and early modernist with a particular interest in material culture, multilingualism, translation. At the same time, we also hired another medievalist, Dr. James Sargan, who specializes in paleography, codicology, and the history of the book. Although not new to Park Hall, Dr. Rodrigo Martini Paula has joined us as an Assistant Professor specializing in anglophone modernism, media studies, and animal studies. Laura S. McKee is our new Coordinator of Writing Across the Curriculum program and works with the Writing Intensive Program and the Writing Center to manage curricular initiatives primarily focused on enhancing STEM and interdisciplinary writing. Finally, we hired Jami Mays as our new Front Office Assistant who also provides support to the Creative Writing Program. Those of you who are still in Park Hall will certainly have a chance to meet her in our front office on the second floor. 

At the same time, we also had to say goodbye to Dr. Roxanne Eberle, who decided to retire at the end of the fall semester. Beyond her contributions to the field of British nineteenth-century studies, Dr. Eberle has had a striking impact on the life of the department. As Chair of the British Women Writers Association, she brought the group’s conference to Athens twice. She took on a variety of important administrative positions in the department—including Undergraduate Coordinator and Associate Head—for more than a decade in total. And as a co-director of UGA’s Colloquium in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Literature since 2011, she helped to bring an impressive roster of scholars to campus, where they interacted closely with both faculty and students. A recipient of multiple teaching awards, Roxanne has also been a treasured mentor to several generations of our graduate students.

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