Research Overview

Faculty Research & Creative Activity

The English Department is home to a productive, award-winning faculty who pursue research and creative activity across the many diverse sub-fields of English Studies today. We are particularly strong in the study of literature and culture, communication and technology, composition teaching and practice, creative writing, and journalism. Many faculty take up interdisciplinary perspectives often collaborating with faculty and students in the Language Literacy and Culture Ph.D. Program, the Gender and Women's Studies Program, and the Media and Communications Studies Program. Recent publications by English faculty include travel writing, short fiction, journalism and several collections of poetry, as well as books on: the politics of transnational modernism, biblical women's voices in early modern England, the relationship between charisma and myth, John Dewey and the philosophy and practice of hope, and the theory and practice of multi-modal composition. Current projects range from the exploration of the role of images in Chaucer's “House of Fame” to a study of media representations of the American Interstate Superhighway system.

English Faculty have received an array of prestigious fellowships from such institutions as the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, the Newberry Library, the Folger Institute, the Carolina Center for the Arts and Humanities, as well as several individual artist's grants from the Maryland State Arts Council. Faculty members serve as editors and reviewers for prominent academic presses and journals and on the boards of national professional organizations. The English Department also prides itself on its integration of teaching and research, with many of its faculty bringing their research strengths into the classroom, and in turn engaging students in high-level research of their own.

Graduate Research

UMBC's English Department offers opportunities for graduate students to engage in research under the guidance of faculty who are leading scholars in their fields, whether in the study of a wide range of Anglophone literatures or the exploration of the theory and practice of rhetoric, composition, communication, or digital media. Because of the small size of our graduate programs, we have the flexibility not only to offer a range of courses at the graduate level but also to guide independent study courses, supervise internships, and mentor individual research with an eye toward eventual publication. Graduate research assistants have the opportunity to work closely with faculty on major projects and may serve as editorial assistants, where appropriate. Recent graduate research projects have ranged across such topics as Depression-era radical writers and feminist translation.

Undergraduate Research

UMBC's English Department offers many opportunities for undergraduate students to get involved in research. Students normally begin their research with an in-class project. They might then expand the project into an independent study course with a faculty mentor (English 400) or apply for an Undergraduate Research Award (URA) to fund research travel or materials. Students in English have been very successful in competing for URA's, pursuing exciting work on a wide range of topics, from “What is Chick-lit? Gender and Genre in Contemporary Popular Fiction” to “Comparing Cognitive Writing Processes across the World.” Under the guidance of faculty, many students develop research projects to present at Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day. Students may also choose to apply to our active and thriving English Honors Program where they spend a year working with a faculty mentor to develop and complete an Honors thesis. Recent Honors projects range from the study of the success of on-line writing centers to a socio-political examination of Doris Lessing's fiction. Students may also choose to focus on creative writing for their honors thesis. Nearly every year English students submit essays and are accepted into The UMBC Review, the undergraduate research journal. Other students continue their research achievement in graduate school or in careers as journalists, staff writers, or editors.