Department of English

  • Leah Perz, graduating student, begins family legacy as UAB Blazers

    Honors College student Leah Perz will graduate this Saturday, May 2, with her parents following her footsteps, for all to be a part of the UAB Blazer community.

  • Honoring the 2020 winners of Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

    Congratulations to Drs. Danny Siegel (English), Renato Camata (Physics), and Jason Linville (Criminal Justice)
    From left: Dr. Renato Camata, Dr. Danny Siegel, and Dr. Jason Linville.

    The Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes full-time regular faculty members of College of Arts and Sciences who have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments in teaching. The individual must have held faculty status at UAB for a minimum of three years and may receive the award only once in any three-year period. The 2020 winners were chosen from these three distinctive areas and departments:

    • Arts and Humanities: Art and Art History, Music, Theatre, English, Foreign Languages, History, and Philosophy
    • Natural Sciences and Mathematics: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Physics, and Mathematics
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences: African American Studies, Anthropology, Communication Studies, Criminal Justice, Political Science and Public Administration, Psychology, Social Work, and Sociology

    The awards were based outstanding accomplishments in teaching as demonstrated by criteria including:

    • Broad, thorough knowledge of the subject area and the ability to effectively convey difficult concepts to students.
    • Exemplary classroom instruction as evidenced by student and peer evaluation.
    • Fairness, open-mindedness, and accessibility to students in and out of the classroom setting.
    • Effective use of innovative teaching methods and assurance that his/her courses stay abreast of current theory and use of modern technology.
    • Ability to infuse students with a commitment to life-long learning and professional development.

    The three winners, who were selected by the CAS President's Award for Excellence in Teaching Committee, will be considered for the final College of Arts and Sciences nominee for the President's Award of Excellence in Teaching. 

    Arts and Humanities: Dr. Danny Siegel, Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of English

    Natural Sciences and Mathematics: Dr. Renato Camata, Associate Professor, Undergraduate Program Director, Department of Physics

    Social and Behavioral Sciences: Dr. Jason Linville, Teaching Assistant Professor, Department of Criminal Justice

  • Catch up on your reading with one of these 13 books authored by CAS faculty

    Do you have more time on your hands while social-distancing? Faculty and staff in the College of Arts and Sciences published 13 books in 2019 on subjects ranging from lifestyles and aging to advancements in satellite archaeology.

  • Learn how female anger is political fuel at the “Good and Mad” lecture March 10

    New York magazine writer Rebecca Traister will hold a lecture for the UAB community to discuss how women’s anger has been channeled and perceived over the years.

  • Linguistics alumni profile: Jeff Hodges

    Words matter. No one knows that better than alumnus Jeff Hodges who has made a career out of helping others, most recently in his role as Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion Talent Program Manager for Regions Bank.

    Alumnus Jeff Hodges never would have imagined that his English degree in linguistics would take him into the world of human resources. And, yet, he has made a career out of helping others, most recently in his role as Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion Talent Program Manager for Regions Bank. He maintains that he wouldn’t be nearly as effective without his linguistics background.

    “Words really matter,” said Hodges. “One of the things we talk about a lot in my line of work is impact versus intent. So often, we may mean to say something, but the way we said it impacted someone differently than what we intended. Choosing words — all of that — is rooted in the foundation that I have in English.”

    His career path started in college while working at CVS, where he began as a tech. When an opportunity came to train others, he jumped on it. Working his way up at CVS, he was able to develop his experience in all aspects of HR and earn his Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification. Hodges, who originally intended to attend law school, encourages others to also follow opportunity and embrace learning:

    “When I was in school, I never would have envisioned that I would be doing what I am now. It didn’t exist yet. Most of the jobs we have now will be obsolete in the future, so don’t get too hung up on what you want your career to be. Plan instead to be a lifelong learner — that is what has positioned me to evolve my career to where it needed to go.”

    By 2019, having transitioned to Regions Bank in HR, Hodges was ready for a change. This coincided with Regions Bank ramping up their efforts to support diversity and inclusion. Now Hodges is focused on implementing strategies to attract and develop diverse talent. He works to tear down barriers to people’s success and build strategies so that everyone may have fair and equal opportunities.

    “We’re spending a lot of time building new programs, which allows me to be creative,” said Hodges. “I get to move the needle on things that haven’t been in place before.”

    One of his team’s more recent projects include Regions Military Recruiting, which supports military hires through veteran-to-veteran mentoring and other services. They have also already begun work on building out employment programs for people with disabilities. For Hodges, his role is all a part of that lifelong learning process.

    To continue his professional growth in diversity and inclusion, Hodges also recently completed the Georgetown University Executive Diversity and Inclusion Management Program, an intense six-month graduate certificate program.

    “What I love about what I do is that you can never know everything there is to know about diversity and culture,” said Hodges. “This has helped me to continue to grow and learn things that I didn’t know about myself and others, meet new people, and be a better person in how I walk through the world.”

  • Workshop to help writers discover voices they didn’t know they had

    Poet Ann Fisher-Wirth, Ph.D., and photographer Maude Schuyler Clay will tell how they learned to combine their art forms and read from their joint title, “Mississippi,” during events Feb. 25-26.

  • Professional Writing alumni profile: Marie Sutton

    Alumna Marie Sutton has worn a lot of hats throughout her educational and professional career.

    Newspaper reporter. Radio show host. Author. Mother. Minister’s wife. Magazine editor. Freelance writer. UAB graduate student. Blogger. Director of Student Media. Alumna Marie Sutton has worn a lot of hats throughout her educational and professional career. Her current one? UAB’s own Director of Marketing and Communication for the Division of Student Affairs. Sutton serves as the head cheerleader for transformative student events, programs, and initiatives.

    “I get to tell the story of how students come to us all wide-eyed and new, and then slowly, but surely experience transformation into leaders, professionals, and community advocates,” said Sutton. “It’s wonderful to watch and to tell the story. I also get to mentor young people, which is a passion of mine.”

    Not only does Sutton use her professional writing skills as a voice for UAB but she has also written books on the African American experience in the south. Her first book, A. G. Gaston Motel in Birmingham: A Civil Rights Landmark, delves into the hazardous traveling conditions African Americans faced in the 1950s. The A.G. Gaston Motel in Birmingham became a refuge for traveling African Americans entertainers, activists, and artists and the headquarters for Birmingham’s civil rights movement.

    “While working for the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, I learned about the motel and its significance,” said Sutton. “I was stunned that no one had ever written a history about it. I set out to write it. I pitched it to the publisher and they loved it. They asked me to write it in eight months, which was crazy, but I did it. I turned the manuscript in just shy of my fortieth birthday!”

    Just recently, Sutton signed a contract to write a book on the historic Magic City Classic, the largest historically black college and university (HBCU) event in the country. Alabama A&M University and Alabama State University play in the annual battle that is bookended with a parade, parties, music, and food. This annual game is fast approaching its eightieth year and currently no book-length history exists.

    Sutton believes that it is her English degree and writing ability that has helped move her career forward. Indeed, she calls the degree a “stamp of approval” that shows future employers and graduate schools that you can communicate and write efficiently and effectively. As a first-generation college graduate, Sutton found that her family was unable to help her navigate the world of academia:

    “No one in my family had attended college before me. They didn’t speak the language and could not help me navigate that world or my dreams, which were foreign to them. The process of getting my degree gave me a voice – one that I have used to tell my story and the stories of others.”

    She encourages current students to take advantage of all the resources that UAB offers including access to professors, built-in communities, and regular events to inspire and connect with others.

    “While you are here, create a style of communicating that is signature and set apart,” said Sutton. “Work hard now. Create a brand that is so compelling that people will seek you out. Sleep after graduation (just kidding, but not really). And, good luck!”

    Find out more about Marie Sutton at

  • A $2.2 million investment transforms UAB Libraries into 21st-century learning spaces

    The multimillion-dollar commitment has been invested in collections, resources, personnel, physical renovations and other improvements during the past several years.

  • Why I Give: Robert Collins, Ph.D.

    Many of our donors give to the College as a way of showing their appreciation for the people who inspired and guided them to academic and professional success. We asked a few of our supporters to share their stories of why they give and how investing in the College will ensure the success of our future students.

    Many of our donors give to the College as a way of showing their appreciation for the people who inspired and guided them to academic and professional success. We asked a few of our supporters—including Emeritus Associate Professor Robert Collins, Ph.D.—to share their stories of why they give and how investing in the College will ensure the success of our future students.


    Arts & Sciences magazine: What do you do for a living?

    Robert Collins: I have been retired from the Department of English for almost a decade. Before I retired, I taught American literature and writing, including creative writing, for thirty years in the English Department at UAB. While serving as an English professor, I co-founded Birmingham Poetry Review with Randy Blythe, Ph.D., and directed the creative writing program for almost ten years. Since retiring, I have published two volumes of poetry, Naming the Dead (FutureCycle Press, 2012) and Drinking with the Second Shift (Word Tech, 2017). I am currently working on another collection of poems.

    A&S: Did you benefit from scholarships when you were a student?

    RC: Yes, I did. I attended Xavier University in Cincinnati on a presidential scholarship.

    A&S: What made you decide to make a gift to the College of Arts and Sciences?

    RC: I had several reasons for making a gift (the Collins Family Scholarship in Creative Writing) to the College of Arts and Sciences at UAB. First, I wanted to honor a worthy student with the gift of time, so precious to any writer, and to raise the status of creative writing, which is as demanding a discipline as any other in the arts and sciences. Second, I wanted to express my gratitude for the position I held in the English Department at UAB, which gave me the opportunity “to pursue my talents in the direction of excellence” as John F. Kennedy, one of my heroes, observed when asked why he wanted to be president. Third, and most importantly, I wanted to honor and express my gratitude to my parents John and Veronica Collins for the way in which they stressed the importance of education, especially higher education, which they rightly believed to be the key to a better life.

    A&S: Where do you see the College of Arts and Sciences in the next ten years? Fifty years?

    RC: So many physical changes have taken place on campus in the ten years since I retired that I hesitate to say anything about what might happen in the next ten, let alone fifty. I can speak, however, to what I would like to see happen in the next decade. Primarily, I'd like to see UAB redirect its resources to assure that faculty are secure, prosperous, and not overworked. Since enrollment at UAB has increased so dramatically in the past decade, I’d like to see the university focus on hiring many more faculty members in tenure-track positions and compensating them commensurate with the heavy load they carry. The colleagues I worked with during my 30 years at UAB were the smartest and hardest working people I knew.

    Donor support is invaluable in ensuring that our students receive the quality education that, regardless of their course of study, will set them on the path to success. For additional information regarding gifts to the College of Arts and Sciences, please contact Camille Epps at or call (205) 996-2154.

  • Professional Writing alumni profile: Luke Richey

    Alumnus Luke Richey believes being open to new experiences and change will help you decide your path.

    Alumnus Luke Richey believes being open to new experiences and change will help you decide your path — it certainly served him well in deciding his. When Richey started at UAB, he was on track to major in Psychology, but eventually found that he was much more at home in the English Department, working toward a degree in Professional Writing. Richey found classes with Associate Professor Jeffrey Bacha to be particularly memorable.

    “Definitely listen to Dr. Bacha,” said Richey. “He is one of the best teachers! He teaches practical skills that really prepare you for both graduate school and a career.”

    Following UAB, Richey was accepted to graduate school at Auburn University, where he earned a Master’s of Technical and Professional Communication (MTPC) and served as a Communications and Marketing Assistant at the Harbert College of Business. Currently, Richey is a Copywriter and Content Strategist at McNutt & Partners, LLC, a local ad agency, where he drafts copy for multiple clients on a myriad of social media platforms. The job allows him to not only be creative but also critically analyze a variety of different topics for a wide audience.

    “Writing is like a puzzle,” said Richey. “I have to find the best words and phrases that are coherent and compelling to get people to take action. I would be bored to tears not getting the chance to be creative. I don’t know how others do it. I get to do what I love every day.”

    This creativity has led to big opportunities. Though his English degree provided a great foundation, Richey has learned a lot on the job, from HTML to JavaScript to using the best tags in social media writing to get optimal views. In just the past two months, the team that Richey is a part of was able to onboard 30 new clients. Looking ahead, Richey hopes to eventually springboard his current position into being a creative or content director, managing a team. He advises current UAB undergraduates and graduates to also keep an eye on their future.

    “When you graduate, you might not immediately get the job you want, but always look toward the future and your goals. Search for internships to diversify your skill set and make connections inside and outside of academia. Try to get as much as experience as possible, and be open to taking chances.”

  • Try this new online toolkit to guide your student’s research

    The seven-module CAS Research Sources and Skills Toolkit focuses on efficient research strategies, evaluation of source material, appropriate techniques for documenting source material and more.

  • Free Creative Cloud offers an ‘essential’ boost in workplace

    Understanding the digital creative tools that are a mainstay of the modern workplace is essential, according to faculty and local business leaders.

  • Incorporating climate change in the classroom provides hope for the future of our planet

    Learning the effects of climate change through science and language can help students understand their role in the environment.

  • Need affordable instructional materials? Call a librarian

    Library liaisons, course reserves and supplemental resources give students more freedom to succeed academically — because they worry less financially.

  • Words of Honor

    UAB literary journals spotlight the best contemporary writing for a national audience
    By Laura Jane Crocker

  • Clements wins prize for essay in History of Ideas

    The winning essay by Jill Clements, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, explores the treatment of sudden death in early English literary representations of dying and the dead.

  • The College Honors 2018 Alumni Award Recipients at Annual Reception

    The College of Arts and Sciences recognized three notable alumni at the annual Scholarship and Awards Luncheon on March 21, 2019. Our 2018 honorees were recognized for their diverse talents, professional accomplishments, and community service.

    The College of Arts and Sciences recognized three notable alumni at the annual Scholarship and Awards Luncheon on March 21, 2019. Our 2018 honorees were recognized for their diverse talents, professional accomplishments, and community service. Congratulations to our three deserving winners!

    Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award

    David Brasfield, B.S. in Computer Science, 1984

    This is the College’s highest honor, and is awarded to prominent alumni who have achieved distinction through exceptional contribution to their professions. This award highlights the diverse talents, notable accomplishments and extraordinary service of our alumni and is reserved for those with a history of excellence in their careers.

    David Brasfield is the current founder and CEO of Over the last 30 years, he has demonstrated a track record of success in creating and developing several technology companies from inception through to successful exit.

    David has successfully developed and implemented strategies for sales, marketing and software product development. He is the founder and former CEO of Tri-Novus Capital, LLC, SBS Corporation, SBS Data Services, Inc., Brasfield Technology, LLC and Brasfield Data Services, LLC, all of which were providers of automation technology solutions for community financial institutions. He has been a director of a community bank and is currently a member of other boards in the Birmingham area, including our Department of Computer Science Advisory Board.

    Distinguished Young Alumni Award

    Ashley M. Jones, B.A. in English, 2012, UAB; M.F.A. in poetry, Florida International University

    This award honors alumni age 40 or younger for significant accomplishments in industry and/or their career field or for service in the College.

    Ashley M. Jones is a poet, organizer, and educator from Birmingham, Alabama. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from UAB and an MFA in Poetry from Florida International University. She is the author of Magic City Gospel and dark / / thing. Her poetry has earned local and national awards, including the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award, the Silver Medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards, the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry, a Literature Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, and the Lucille Clifton Legacy Award.

    Her poems and essays appear in or are forthcoming at CNN, The Oxford American, Origins Journal, The Quarry by Split This Rock, Obsidian, and many others. She teaches at UAB and at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and she is the founding director of the Magic City Poetry Festival here in Birmingham.

    Alumni Service Award

    Isabel Rubio, B.A. in History, 1987, Southern Mississippi University; B.S. in Social Work, 1993, UAB

    This award honors alumni who have demonstrated extraordinary service to the local, national, or global community.

    Isabel Rubio was born in Mississippi and is a second-generation Mexican-American. After graduating from UAB, she went to work in the social work field in the greater Birmingham area. After eight years, she founded the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (¡HICA!) in 1999, where she has served as Executive Director since 2001.

    ¡HICA! is a nonprofit organization that educates and empowers Alabama’s Hispanic community through its educational, leadership, community development, and advocacy work. ¡HICA! has engaged thousands of Hispanics across Alabama to increase opportunities and, as the only Latino-serving organization in Alabama, is a bridge builder with many local, regional and national organizations.

    Isabel is deeply involved in her community and serves on numerous local, statewide, and national boards, including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Alabama Business Charitable Trust, and the Regions Financial Corporation Diversity Council.

    As a result of her many years of experience, Isabel is now a nationally recognized speaker on the issue of immigrants in the South.

  • UAB Commission on the Status of Women honors six Outstanding Women for 2019

    Six UAB women are honored as the Outstanding Women for 2019 by the Commission on the Status of Women in celebration of Women’s History Month.

  • Six honored as Outstanding Women for 2019

    Each year the UAB Commission on the Status of Women presents these awards during Women’s History Month to honor women in the UAB and Birmingham communities who have mentored or served other women, taken a courageous stance or overcome adversity to achieve a goal. They will be honored during a special ceremony March 20.

  • Celebrate Women's History Month with the women who shape UAB

    From traveling to Antarctica to publishing children’s books, from taking biology educational tools to India to planting pollinator gardens on campus, women have been integral to shaping UAB’s reputation its 50-year history. As part of its annual coverage of Women’s History Month, the UAB Reporter has gathered examples of its more recent coverage of women at UAB.