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It's our people who make the difference

The English Department is one of the largest departments on campus, with about 40 current faculty/staff and many active retired faculty/emeriti. The depth of faculty expertise, passion, and engagement sets English apart from other areas of campus. With prolific writers, researchers, and scholars in everything from creative writing to rhetoric to English education to linguistics to critical studies in literatures, cultures, and film (and many time periods and geographical areas of coverage), students who major or minor in any emphasis of English will find incredible instruction and academic support at every possible turn. When you add the bonus of some of the most musically gifted faculty on campus, outside of the Music and Theatre Arts Department, it’s an irresistible lot.

The department's strength is definitely within its faculty. All of my professors have been super insightful on issues both within English studies directly and beyond: critical race theory; issues of feminism, sexual orientation, and gender; the human psyche. All of these issues were discussed thoroughly throughout my time here at Eau Claire. And I feel I have made lasting relationships with several faculty members; they're not just there to instruct, but to help you grow as well.

2015 senior survey

making music AND moving mountains

As a musician, as an educator, and as an advocate for social justice, Dr. David Jones is making music AND moving mountains ... and that’s pretty powerful!

A true change agent

Experienced educators share advice, wisdom with Blugolds bound for classroom

To expose her students to more diverse perspectives in the field, English education professor Christina Berchini organized a panel of six area teachers to come in and speak with the class.

Getting the real 411

A voice for the voiceless: Celebrated playwright’s works, teaching help students expand thinking

As an internationally celebrated playwright and dramatist with a vision for social justice and equality for all, Dr. Tess Onwueme uses her powerful works to give a voice to those who are voiceless.

Powerful playwright

English prof combines music with literary masterpieces to create ‘lit hop’ album

Joel Pace, profesor of English, combines his literary and musical talents to transform F. Scott Fitzgerald’s actual work into an album, a creation he describes as “lit hop” — or literary hip hop.

Fitzgerald inspirations
Jamie Vue, BJ Hollars, David Shih

Seven faculty and staff recognized for excellence

Seven University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire faculty and staff members were recognized for excellence during the university's academic year opening meeting Aug. 25.

English faculty awarded

Meet the outstanding members of the English department:

Department Leadership
Erica Benson
  • Ph.D., Michigan State University (Linguistics)
  • M.A., University of South Carolina (Linguistics)
  • Graduate Certificate, University of South Carolina (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)
  • B.A., University of South Florida
Teaching Interests
  • Introductory Linguistics
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Language Change
  • Language and Gender
  • History of the English Language
  • Morphology and Syntax
  • Language Attitudes
Research Interests
  • American Dialects
  • Language Variation and Change
  • Language Regard


While still in high school, Dr. Benson discovered that she loved to travel, teach, and learn. Thus, she uprooted herself time and again to live in several U.S. states (Florida, South Carolina, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, and now Wisconsin) and two foreign countries (Germany and Poland) – and traveled to many more – supporting herself by teaching composition, English as a second/foreign language, and linguistics; training pre-service and in-service English teachers; and taking other odd jobs. While traveling and teaching, she studied at four universities, three institutes, and earned her degrees. Alas, she has now settled down and has the good fortune to live in a beautiful area in Eau Claire, where she enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, yoga (she is a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance), and hiking.

Recent Publications:
  • Contract with Cambridge University Press. with Betsy Evans, and James Stanford (eds.). Language Regard: Methods, Variation and Change.
  • Megan L. Risdal. Variation in language attitudes: Sociolinguistic receptivity and acceptability of linguistic features. Language Regard: Methods, Variation and Change. Evans, Betsy; Erica J. Benson, and James Stanford. Cambridge University Press.
  • Theresa Kemp, Angela Pirlott, Casey Coughlin, Quinn Forss, and Laura Becherer. Developing a Non-Sexist/Non-Gendered Language Policy at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Feminist Teacher. 2014.
  • Need + prepositional adverb in the Midland: Another feature needs in. Journal of English Linguistics 40(3).224-255. doi:10.1177/0075424211418977 (17% acceptance rate). 2012.
  • Michael J. Fox & Jared Balkman. The bag that Scott bought: The low vowels in northwest Wisconsin. American Speech 86(3).271-311. (c. 40% acceptance rate). 2011.
  • Everyone Wants In: want + prepositional adverb in the Midland and Beyond. Journal of English Linguistics. 37(1).28-60. (22% acceptance rate). 2009.

Cathy Rex
  • Ph.D., Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama (English: Early American literature)
  • M.A., University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii (English)
  • B.S., Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama (English Education)
Teaching Interests
  • Race and gender in early America (1830 and before)
  • Early American texts by and about women writers
  • Early American texts by and about Native American writers
  • Early American material and visual culture (gubernatorial seals, portraiture, heraldry)
Cathy Rex's work has appeared in Studies in American Indian Literatures, Women's Studies, American Quarterly, and College and Research Libraries. Her book Anglo-American Women Writers and Representations of Indianness, 1629-1824 was released by Ashgate Publications in 2015. Her most recent essay appeared in Women's Narratives of the Early Americas and the Formation of Empire, a collection edited by Mary McAleer Balkun and Susan Imbarrato (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).
David Jones
  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN (English Language and Literature)
  • M.A., University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (English Language and Literature)
  • B.A., University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA (English and Secondary Education)

I am a Professor of English and Honors Education at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire. I also serve as the Director of Graduate Studies for the English Department at UWEC. In the past, I have had leadership roles for the UWEC Honors Program, the Liberal Studies Program, and several diversity initiatives. It is a lifelong goal to help improve how public institutions serve our whole communities equitably.

As a professor, my primary field is African American literature. My faculty peers in English would probably describe my approach to teaching as "New Historicism" or "Cultural Studies." For me, historical and cultural contexts are just as important as literary expression, and in a typical class of mine, nonfiction readings supplement works of poetry, fiction, and drama. Some of the courses I teach have conventional titles such as "Making Sense of the Movies," "Survey of American Literature," etc., but you can get a stronger sense of my teaching interests from more specialized courses I have taught:

  • Black Feminism in the Humanities
  • Sexism in the 60s
  • American Childhood and the Culture Wars
  • Fordism and the Great Depression
  • Analytical Thinking about Social Issues
  • Rock and Roll and the American Experience (1950s/1960s/1970s)

Whenever I get the chance to write for publication, I greatly enjoy the opportunity. My publications tend to examine U.S. cultural history in relation to social movements, group identities, and popular trends in literature, film, and public politics. Recently, I've published a book chapter on the film 12 Years a Slave (published in 2014 in the collection, Movies in the Age of Obama) and a book chapter in 2016 on strategies for improving diversity and equity in Honors programs. Going further back, there are two book projects that I am proud to have completed: a book on the Black Arts Movement (A New Breed of Black Consciousness) and a collection of essays that I co-edited with Dr. JoAnne Juett (Coming Out to the Mainstream: New Queer Cinema in the 21st Century). 

I am also a professional musician (a vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter) who performs under the names Davey J & Friends and Davey J and the Jones Tones. Music is definitely a passion, as I have published five original music CDs with my own independent label, B Major Productions (the most recent CD is called Chippewa Love). In music industry language, our style would probably be "Americana" or "Roots," but there are elements of rock, blues, reggae, indie, folk, and even jazz in my music. You can hear some of my music and see my live show calendar at

In my past creative work, I also produced and hosted two radio programs on popular music and Wisconsin culture for Wisconsin Public Radio: Jazz, Blues, and Beyond and Wisconsin Wealth. I really enjoy maintaining a flexible and relevant range of academic interests, and I'm so thankful that innovation is welcome in our English Department!

  • Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, English with a Certificate in Writing Studies
  • M.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, English
  • B.A., University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, English Education


Research Interests
  • Literacy Studies
  • Composition and Rhetoric
  • Gender Studies
  • Migration
  • Hmong Studies 

Kaia Simon’s current research on Literacy, Hmong women, and migrant families informs all of her work in the English Department at UWEC. She currently teaches courses in the Blugold Seminar and serves as the Director of the Writing Program. Before pursuing her graduate work at the University of Illinois, Dr. Simon was a secondary English teacher for the Eau Claire Area School District, teaching both middle and high school students for eight years. She is grateful to have been in school for most of her life. 

Jennifer Shaddock
  • Ph.D., Rutgers University (English Literature)
  • M.A., University of Colorado-Boulder (English Literature, with Distinction)
  • B.A., The Colorado College (English Literature, with Honors)
Teaching Interests
  • Illness and identity
  • Rhetoric
  • Composition studies
Research Interests
  • 19th and 20th Century British Literature
  • Women's literature
  • The grotesque
  • War literature (especially the Great War)
  • Narrative medicine
  • Narrative history
  • Creative thinking
After I graduated college, I spent four important years learning to apply the critical thinking, deep reading, and communications skills I had learned as an English major to journalism and public relations. I then went on to get my graduate degree in literary studies, and have been teaching at UW-Eau Claire for over 20 years. During that time, I was Director of the Women's Studies program for two years and the Director of Graduate English for nine years. In 2016, I will begin serving as the English department's Internship Director. While these kinds of administrative roles are sustaining, I find my greatest rewards in the day-to-day teaching of students and the power of literature to change us.
Joanne Erickson
Alaina Guns
  • B.A., Spanish - Business Professions, UW-Eau Claire
  • M.S., Library and Information Science, UW-Milwaukee
Faculty + Staff
Katherine Aho

  • Ph.D., Michigan Technological University (Rhetoric and Technical Communication)
  • M.A., Northern Michigan University (English-Pedagogy and Literature)
  • B.S., Northern Michigan University (Secondary Education English and Social Studies)

Teaching Interests

  • Technology
  • Popular Culture
  • Multimodality
  • Convergence Culture
  • Narrative
  • Rhetoric

Research Interests

  • Multimodal Composition
  • Media Convergence
  • Pedagogy


  • Visiting Assistant Professor
  • Co-Coordinator of Composition

Jose Alvergue
  • Ph.D., SUNY at Buffalo (English)
  • M.F.A., California Institute of the Arts, School of Critical Studies (Writing)
  • B.A., UC San Diego, John Muir College (Literature/Writing) - Departmental Honors with Distinction

Prompted mainly by the remainders of late 20th-century disruptions, like financialization, transnationalism, and diaspora, I engage questions related to emergence, liminality, and immanence, highlighting the ways literature and politics become entangled around lyric concepts of American personhood. Moreover, because I see research as the driving energy in constructing meaning during this era of cultural simplicity and socialized phobia, my projects usually bridge creative and critical form. My creative projects, at the limits of lyric and historical urgency, include gist : rift : drift : bloom (2015), a study of ecology, law, and a history of the Midwest between the sentimental borders of the Mississippi and the East Coast, and precis (2015), a book on memory, migration, and the politicization of violence and natality at the US/Mexico border.

Carey Applegate
  • Ph.D., Illinois State University (English Studies)
  • M.A., University of Mississippi (Curriculum & Instruction)
  • B.A., Illinois State University (English)
Teaching Interests
  • English education
  • Critical literacy
  • New literacies
  • Composition
Research Interests
  • Rhetoric of education reform
  • Grassroots education activism in digital spaces
  • Preservice teachers and classroom inquiry
  • Teacher candidates' transitions into professional spaces
  • Education narratives in popular culture

During the summer, Dr. Applegate directs the UW-Eau Claire Summer Writing Camp for 6th-10th grade students. The rest of her free time is spent catching up on her reading and writing projects, relaxing in her hammock, playing team trivia, and listening to live music in and around Eau Claire.

She began her teaching career in the Mississippi Delta as part of the Mississippi Teacher Corps and has taught in both rural and urban high schools in Central Illinois.

Debra Barker
  • Ph.D., Ball State University (English/Composition)
  • M.A., University of Missouri-Columbia (English)
  • B.S., Ball State University (English, Cum Laude and with Honors)
Teaching Interests
  • American Indian Literature
  • American Literature
  • Rhetoric and composition
Research Interests
  • American Indian Literature (with a particular interest in the work of Lakota authors)
  • Representation of American Indians in American culture
  • Short fiction of W. Somerset Maugham
  • Rhetoric of colonial discourse
Joshua Bauer
  • M.A., University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (Creative Writing)
  • B.A., University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (Creative Writing)
  • Associate of Applied Science, Information Technology, Chippewa Valley Technical College (Programmer/Analyst)
Brett Beach
  • M.F.A., Ohio State University (Creative Writing - Fiction)
  • B.A., Wright State University (Integrated Language Arts/English Education)

Brett Beach holds an MFA in Fiction from Ohio State University, where he won The Helen Earnhart Harley Creative Writing Fellowship Award in 2013. His stories have appeared in numerous journals, including Prairie Schooner and The Chicago Tribune's Printers Row Journal;he frequently review for The Master's Review, and has served as Associate Reviews Editor for The Pleiades Book Review. A 2015 Bread Loaf Scholar and a 2016 Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers' Conference, he is at work on a novel and a collection of short stories.

Christina Berchini
  •  Ph.D., Michigan State University (Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education)
  • B.A., Pace University (Communications)
Teaching Interests
  • Secondary English Education/English Teacher Education
  • Critical Race Studies
  • Critical Pedagogy
  • Social Justice
  • Issues in Urban Education
Jack Bushnell
  • Ph.D, Rutgers University (British romanticism)
  • M.A., Rutgers University (British romanticism)
  • B.A., University of Colorado in Boulder (English and Russian)
Teaching Interests
  • Science and nature writing and the rhetorics of science
  • Workshops in drama and children's writing
  • Baseball writing
  • Introductory literature
  • Collaborative teaching initiatives with colleagues in art and design, music and theatre, physics and astronomy, psychology, and geography and anthropology
  • Interdisciplinary classes in the university's Bachelor of Liberal Studies program and the University Honors program
  • Freshman composition

The longer Jack Bushnell teaches, the stronger his commitment to liberal education and particularly to collaboration across disciplinary boundaries. In his classroom and in his creative and scholarly work, he has made a career of exploring the ties between the arts, humanities, and sciences.

Jack worked for nearly a dozen years in advertising and marketing at two New York City advertising agencies (he eventually became a Vice President) and at the corporate headquarters of Nabisco. His advertising clients included a manufacturer of agricultural products, the New York Zoological Society, and the Northrop Corporation, makers of the B-2 stealth bomber. Largely because of this eclectic background, he was hired by UW-Eau Claire in 1995 to teach courses in writing and in the rhetorics of science and technology.

Jack's creative and scholarly interests are a wide-ranging reflection of and an inspiration to his varied teaching interests. His academic articles have tended to focus on science or literature, and have appeared in such refereed journals as Technical Communication Quarterly, a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, Studies in Romanticism, The Wordsworth Circle, Popular Culture Review, and Studies in the Novel. His creative work crosses most of the major genres, from plays to fiction to creative nonfiction, including memoir and personal essays on nature and on baseball. His nonfiction has been published in a number of national literary magazines, notably The Gettysburg Review, Tampa Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Elysian Fields Quarterly, as well as in such regional magazines as Wisconsin People & Ideas and Wisconsin Natural Resources. He has four books for children, two from Morrow/HarperCollins, one from the Chippewa Valley Museum Press (in Wisconsin), and the most recent from Tanglewood Books. Circus of the Wolves (1994) won awards from the International Reading Association, Friends of American Writers, and Council for Wisconsin Writers. Sky Dancer (1996) was named a Best Book of the Year by the Children's Book Committee of Bank Street College. And Farm Crossing: The Amazing Adventures of Addie and Zachary (2004) won the Young Adult Children's Book Award runner-up from the Council for Wisconsin Writers. His fourth book, Night of the White Deer, was published in 2012.

Jack has been writing plays for the past several years. His first, The Infinity Monologues, was performed as a staged reading by the BareBones Ensemble Theatre in May 2014. It was subsequently named a finalist in the annual one-act play competition sponsored by the Arts Club of Washington (D.C.), going up against submissions from nearly every state in the U.S. and from Europe, including Greece, Ireland, and Great Britain. He is now in the revision process on two new, full-length plays: Seal Skin and Sailing to Antarctica.

Ruth Cronje
  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota (Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication)
  • M.A., University of Minnesota (English)
  • B.A., University of Minnesota (English)
Teaching Interests
  • Rhetoric of science
  • Rhetoric of medicine
  • Healthcare justice
  • Civic engagement
Research Interests
  • Civic science
  • Democratic participation and scientific authority
  • Scientific rhetoric
  • University Honors Program Faculty Fellow 2014-2016
  • ORSP Research Fellow 2016-2017
Stephanie Farrar
  • Ph.D., University at Buffalo (English)
  • M.A., University of California, San Diego (Literature)
  • B.A., University of California, Davis (Honors in English, minor in Philosophy)
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, English and Women's Studies
  • M.A., University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, English Language and Literature
  • B.A., Hamline University, English 
Teaching Interests
  • Social media studies/digital literacies
  • Composition
  • American children's and young adult literature
  • Feminist theory and literary criticism
  • Science fiction and fantasy
Research Interests
  • American children's and young adult literature and mass media, with a focus on race and ethnicity
  • American literature post-1865
  • History of the book
  • Fan studies
  • Feminist theory and pedagogy

MicKenzie Fasteland received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan after completing her dissertation "Empire and Adolescence: Whiteness and Gendered Citizenship in American Young Adult Literature, 1904-1951." She is excited to teach writing courses here as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Writing. 

Sean Ford
  • Ph.D., University of Alabama (English)
  • M.A., Northwestern University (English)
  • B.A., Colorado State University (English - with philosophy and history minors)



Sean Ford joined the department as a lecturer in 2007 after previous teaching appointments in South Carolina, Florida, and Alabama. He is currently studying and writing about Herman Melville's poetry.

Edward Hahn
B.J. Hollars
  • M.F.A., The University of Alabama (Creative Writing)
  • B.A., Knox College (English Literature and Education)
Teaching Interests
  • Creative writing
  • Nonfiction
  • Civil Rights
  • Animals
  • Environment
Research Interests
  • Creative writing
  • Nonfiction
  • Civil Rights
  • Animals
  • Environment
  • Founder/Director of the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild
  • Faculty Advisor for NOTA
B.J. Hollars is the author of several books, most recently "From the Mouths of Dogs: What Our Pets Teach Us About Life, Death, and Being Human", as well as a collection of essays, "This Is Only A Test." Additionally, he has also written "Thirteen Loops: Race, Violence and the Last Lynching in America", "Opening the Doors: The Desegregation of the University of Alabama and the Fight for Civil Rights in Tuscaloosa", "Dispatches from the Drownings: Reporting the Fiction of Nonfiction", and "Sightings." Next year, "Flock Together: A Love Affair With Extinct Birds" will be published by the University of Nebraska Press.

Hollars serves as a mentor for Creative Nonfiction, the reviews editor for Pleiades, and a contributing blogger for Brain,Child and Michigan Quarterly Review. In addition, he is the founder of the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild.
Kemp, Theresa
  • Ph.D., Indiana University, Bloomington (British Literature 1350-1660; Graduate Minors in Medieval and Women's Studies)
  • M.A., University of Washington, Seattle
  • B.A., University of Washington, Seattle, cum laude
Teaching Interests
  • Shakespeare (early modern and post-colonial revision)
  • Medieval and early modern British literature
  • Women's literature (early modern and contemporary)
  • Women's studies and feminist theory
  • British/US representations of witchcraft
  • Feminist Teacher Editing Practicum

Theresa D. Kemp joined UWEC's English department in 1999 after having taught at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. After serving for several years as UWEC's Director of Undergraduate Studies, she served as Director for Women's Studies (2010-2013).

Since 1993, Dr. Kemp has been a member of the Editorial Collective for Feminist Teacher (University of Illinois Press), and helped co-edit The Feminist Teacher Anthology: Pedagogies and Classroom Strategies (Teachers College Press, 1998).

She has been the recipient of several university as well as state and national awards, including a Newberry Library fellowship, a Wisconsin Humanities Council grant, and a NEH faculty grant to the Folger Shakespeare Library. In 2008, she was the UWEC nominee for UW-System Regents Teaching Excellence Award.

Liz Kitzmann
Pete Knutson
  • Ph.D., The University of Kansas (Organizational Communication)
  • M.A., Central Michigan University (Organizational Communication)
  • B.A., Saginaw Valley State University (Communication) Summa Cum Laude
Allyson Goldin Loomis
  • M.F.A., The University of Montana (Creative Writing)
  • B.A., Boston University (English Literature and Philosophy)
Teaching Interests
  • Creative writing
  • Contemporary literature

Her own work has been published in numerous magazines including Glimmer Train, The Madison Review, The Black Warrior Review, and Harper's. She's been granted awards for her work from organizations such as The Wisconsin Arts Board, The Virginia Council Colony for the Arts and the Hambridge Center. In the past she served as a fellow with the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Jon Loomis
  • M.F.A., University of Virginia (Creative Writing)
  • B.A., Ohio University (English/Creative Writing)
Teaching Interests
  • Poetry writing
  • Fiction writing
  • Metaphorical thinking
  • Imagination
  • Actual creativity as opposed to "problem solving"
  • Writing from the subconscious and un-rational self
  • Literature: canonical and contemporary poetry
  • Critical thinking for first year writing students
Research Interests
  • Original poetry and fiction
  • The occasional essay
  • What awaits us in the next life
  • The end of the world
  • Teaching
  • Creative work
  • Service
  • Advising
Jon Loomis is the author of three poetry collections: Vanitas Motel (1998, winner of the FIELD prize in poetry), The Pleasure Principle (2001) and The Mansion of Happiness (forthcoming in September 2016), all from Oberlin College Press. His work has appeared in numerous journals, including Poetry, FIELD, The Gettysburg Review, The Iowa Review, Tikkun, The New Republic, and Ploughshares. He is also the author of three mystery novels set in Provincetown, Massachusetts: High Season (2007), Mating Season (2009) and Fire Season (2012). High Season was named a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, and was among the Washington Post Bookworld’s “Best Books of the Year” for 2007. He was awarded a Hoyns Fellowship in poetry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has twice been a writing fellow in poetry at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He has won arts council grants in Virginia, and Ohio, and for a time was a frequent guest at Yaddo. He’s currently working on a new novel and a fourth book of poems. When he’s not teaching or writing, he enjoys playing loud electric guitar and spending time with his family (though not simultaneously). He hopes things will get better for the UW system, but suspects that they probably won’t any time soon.
Bob Nowlan
  • Ph. D., Syracuse University (English)
  • M.A., Syracuse University (English)
  • B.A., Wesleyan University (English)
Teaching Interests
  • Critical theory
  • Cinema studies
  • Studies in popular music and culture
  • Gay and queer studies
  • Scottish and post-WWII British literary and cultural studies
  • Post-WWII British and American drama and theatre
  • Mystery and detective (crime) fiction
Research Interests
  • Critical theory
  • Cinema studies
  • Studies in popular music and culture
  • Gay and queer studies
  • Scottish and post-WWII British literary and cultural studies
  • Post-WWII British and American drama and theatre
  • Mystery and detective (crime) fiction
I am currently working on three books--one concerned with making sense of the cultural phenomenon of Ian Curtis and Joy Division in critical theoretical perspective, one concerned with providing a critical guide to 21st century British TV detective series, and one concerned with making sense of changes in Scottish cinema in relation to changes in Scottish history and culture, especially the dialectics of unionism and nationalism.
Tess Onwueme
  • Ph.D., University of Benin, Nigeria (English - specializing in African Drama)
  • M.A., University of Ife, Nigeria (Literature)
  • B.A., University of Ife, Nigeria (Education English) - Honors *Received Faculty Prize for Overall Best Performance in the BA/BSC degree programs



  • W.A.S.C. (West African School Certificate/High School Diploma), Grade One/Distinction, Mary Mount College, Agbor, Bendel/Delta State, Nigeria
Teaching Interests
  • African
  • Diasporan
  • Cultural
  • Postcolonial
  • Women's studies
  • Emphasis on the experience and conditions of rural women in the postcolonial, globalized Third Worlds



Tess Onwueme, originally from Ogwashu-Uku, Delta State, Nigeria, is currently one of Africa's leading writers, and has received international recognition for many of her plays. Her website,, offers additional information on her speaking, academic, and creative career.

Before joining the faculty at UW-Eau Claire in 1994 as the institution's first Distinguished Professor of Cultural Diversity, she was a professor of Multicultural Studies at Montclair State University in New Jersey, and a professor of African Studies at Vassar College.

Among the prestigious awards she has received for her writing are: the Association of Nigerian Authors Literary Prize for Drama (in 1985 for The Desert Enroaches, 1995 for Tell it to Women, 2001 for Shakara: Dance-Hall Queen, and 2003 for Then She Said It), the (African) Distinguished Author Award (1988), and the Martin Luther King/Caesar Chavez/Rosa Parks Distinguished Writer/Scholar Award (1989/90). For two consecutive years (2000 and 2001), Tess has received substantial awards from the Ford Foundation for her research project, "Who Can Silence the Drums: Delta Women Speak" resulting in the writing and production of her play, THEN SHE SAID IT!.

Her play, The Missing Face, was performed Off-Broadway in New York from April 27 until May 28, 2001. Tess Onwueme's other creative writings include: What Mama Said, No Vacancy, Why the Elephant Has No Butt, Shakara: Dance Hall Queen, Tell it to Women, Riot in Heaven, Three Plays, Parables for a Season, Legacies, The Reign of Wazobia, Mirror for Campus, Ban Empty Barn, The Scent of Onions, The Desert Enroaches, The Broken Calabash, A Hen Too Soon, The Artist's Homecoming, and Some Day Soon.

Joe Orser
  • Ph.D., Ohio State University (History)
  • M.A., Ohio State University (History)
  • M.Ed., University of Florida (Foundations of Education)
  • B.A., University of Virginia (History)
Ellen Osterhaus
  • Ph.D., Purdue University (English Language and Linguistics)
  • M.A., Purdue University (English Language and Linguistics)
  • B.A., Clarke College (English and Music)
Joel Pace
  • Ph.D., Oxford University, UK (Philosophy)
  • M.A., Oxford University, UK (Studies in Research Methods in English, with a focus on History of the Book)
  • B.A., Providence College (English and Music, Magna Cum Laude)
Teaching Interests
  • 18th & 19th Century Atlantic-rim literature, especially Transatlantic Romanticism
  • Pop culture (comics, hip hop, and slam)
  • Specialized topics in 18th & 19th century literature (the "black Atlantic", Native American writers as well as the portrayal of the American Indian in Romantic-era writing, gothic, environmental writing, literature & reform, Romantic music, and Women Romantic Writers).

Joel Pace hails from the city of Providence, Rhode Island. In 1999, he began his assistant professorship at UWEC, and in 2000 was a fellow of Brown University's John Nicholas Brown Center for the Study of American Civilization.

Pace's editorial experience includes work with journals and books. He has served on the editorial board of Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary Relations since 2003, as Book Review Editor and (presently) as an associate editor. In addition to guest-editing an issue of The Allen Review (an Oxford theology journal) on religion and literature, he also introduced and co-edited an issue of Romanticism on the Net as well as an issue of Romantic Circles: Praxis Series. He has co-edited two books: Wordsworth in American Literary Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) and Transatlantic Romanticism: An Anthology of British, American, and Canadian Literature, 1767-1867 (Longman/Pearson, 2006).

His essays and articles have appeared in many books and journals, including The Cambridge Companion to Wordsworth, The Wordsworth Circle, Symbiosis, Romantic Circles Praxis Series, and Romanticism on the Net, etc. His poems have appeared in eye dialect, In Our Words (vols. III & IV, 2001 & 2002), and as part of art exhibits (most recently with "Epidemic Peace Imagery-An Expanding Exhibition of Peace Works by Writers and Visual Artists.")

He has delivered invited presentations at Brown, Harvard, Oxford, and Providence College as well as presented papers and/or chaired panels at the following conferences: American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), The Coleridge Conference, International Conference of Romanticism (ICR), Modern Language Association (MLA), The North American Association for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR), The Transatlantic Studies Conference, The Symbiosis Conference, and the Wordsworth Summer Conference.

He has taught the following classes: American Literature Origins-1865, The "Black Atlantic," British Literature II, British Women Romantic Writers, Capstone, Introduction to College Writing, Introduction to Literature, Poetry, Romanticism, Theory, Transatlantic Romanticism, and Transcendentalism.

Pace resides in the Twin Cities, where he fills his spare time with writing poems and performing with a reggae band.


Molly Patterson
  • M.F.A., Ohio State University (Creative Writing)
  • B.A., Carleton College (English)
Teaching Interests
  • Creative writing: fiction
  • Short Story
  • Novel
  • Contemporary Literature
  • Teaching
  • Graduate Thesis Advising
  • Academic Advising
  • Faculty Advisor, English Festival
  • Schedules Committee
  • College of Arts and Sciences Nominating Committee
Molly Patterson grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and lived in southwest China from 2004-2006. After completing her MFA in creative writing at Ohio State, she was the 2012-2013 St. Albans Writer-in-Residence in Washington, D.C. Winner of a Pushcart Prize and honored in Best American Short Stories, her work has been published in The Atlantic Monthly, The Iowa Review, and the Chicago Tribune's Printers Row, among other publications. Her debut novel, Rebellion, will be published by Harper/HarperCollins in Summer 2017.
Erica Rogers
  • A.B.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln (English)
  • M.A., University of Nebraska-Lincoln (English)
  • B.A., University of Nebraska-Lincoln (English)
Jonathan Rylander
  • Ph.D. Miami University (English: Composition and Rhetoric)
  • M.A. Miami University (English: Composition and Rhetoric)
  • B.A., University of St. Thomas (English and Business Management)
  • Women's, Gender, and Sexuality studies

Originally from the Twin Cities, Jonathan completed his graduate work in southern Ohio. While there, he developed a passion for one-to-one mentoring as a pedagogical approach-one he feels is well-suited to engaging issues of difference students bear, yet often struggle to explore, in college. He now feels fortunate to engage this work in the upper Midwest-a pivotal region in his own understandings of issues facing marginalized identities, particularly LGBTQ lives and otherwise queer communities. As a teacher, then, rhetorics of identity and social change energize the way he listens to students and encourages self-expression. When not in the classroom or writing center, Jonathan enjoys excursions throughout the area, especially fall trips to Lake Superior and the North Shore.

Asha Sen
  • Ph.D., Purdue University (English Literature)
  • M.A., Purdue University (English Literature)
  • M.A., Bangalore University, India (English Literature)
  • B.A., St. Xavier's College, Calcutta, India (English Literature - Honors)
David Shih
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan (English)
  • M.F.A., University of Oregon (Creative Writing)
Teaching Interests
  • Asian American literature
  • Early American literature
  • Social Justice
Research Interests
  • Asian American Studies
  • Critical Race Theory
  • Critical Hmong Studies
  • Antiracist Professional Development
  • Arts and Sciences Diversity Advisory Committee
David Shih has been faculty in the Department of English at UW-Eau Claire since 1999. In 2008, he was appointed as UW-Eau Claire's first Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Fellow and served as team leader for the campus' Equity Scorecard and Campus Climate Survey projects. He has organized programs for faculty on antiracist professional development and equitable search-and-screen practices. He was a faculty member and advisor for his campus' Social Justice Living-Learning Community and currently serves on its Hmong Studies Steering Committee. He has presented on his efforts throughout the UW System and nationally. He blogs on race and racism at his personal website as well as at Stanford University's digital humanities salon, "Arcade."
Jan Stirm
  • Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles (English)
  • M.A., University of California, Los Angeles (English)
  • B.S., University of California, Davis (Zoology)
Andrew Suralski
  • M.A., University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (English: Writing)
  • B.A., University of Wisconsin-Superior (English Liberal Arts)
Stacy Thompson
  • Ph.D., Purdue University (English - Theory and Cultural Studies Program)
  • M.A., Northeastern University (English)
  • B.A., University of Michigan (English)
Teaching Interests
  • Marxism
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Film Studies
  • Utopian Studies

Stacy Thompson joined the English Department in 2002. He earned his B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1988 and then worked for a corporate publishing house in Boston and in New York City from 1988-1991. In 1991, he left publishing and worked in a small bookstore in Michigan from 1992-1993. He started graduate school in 1993 and earned an M.A. from Northeastern University in 1995 and a Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2000. He has taught in universities since 1993.


Stephanie Turner
  • Ph.D., Purdue University (American Studies)
  • M.A., Ball State University (English)
  • B.A., Ball State University (English)
Teaching Interests
  • Rhetoric of Science
  • Visual Rhetoric
Research Interests
  • Environmental Humanities
  • Visual Representation of Animals
  • Museum Studies
I like to collaborate with colleagues and students across the humanities and sciences. I have active professional memberships in the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts and the Society for Photographic Education. My interests range from taxidermy art to the Anthropocene. I'm currently working on a book about the challenges of representing the current mass extinction of species. How can we show what's disappearing?
Katie Vagnino
  • M.F.A., Emerson College (Creative Writing)
  • B.A., Yale University (English)
Teaching Interests
  • Creative writing
  • Composition
  • Research writing
  • Rhetoric
Research Interests
  • Gender/women's studies
  • Ethnography of subcultures

Katie Vagnino is a poet, educator, and writer originally from St. Louis. Katie has taught creative writing, composition, research writing, and rhetoric at various secondary and higher education institutions including Emerson College, Roosevelt University, and St. Paul's School. She has also led poetry workshops at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and the Newberry Library. As a freelance writer, Katie has contributed articles, reviews, and essays to Time Out New York/Boston/Chicago, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Role Reboot, and Smithsonian's The Torch. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in journals including Measure, Unsplendid, The Raintown Review, and Poetry Quarterly.

Katie specializes in formal and contemporary poetry. She also loves choral music, and is a member of the Master Singers in Eau Claire.

Karen Welch
  • Ph. D., University of Minnesota (Composition Studies)
  • M.A., University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (English)
  • B.A., University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (English)
Blake Westerlund
  • Ph.D., University of Tulsa (English with an Emphasis on 19th century British and secondary disciplines in 19th century American literature and 20th century theory)
  • M.A., University of Tulsa (English)
  • B.A., University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (English Literature)
Teaching Interests
  • Contemporary American Literature and 19th c. British Literature
  • Critical Theory 
  • Gender Studies 
  • Studies in Sherlock 
  • Voices of the Old and New West
  • The Modern Thriller and Spy Fiction
  • Film Studies

Blake R. Westerlund is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. A proud alum of UWEC, he earned his B.A. in literature and quickly fell in love with the works of the Bronte sisters, R. L. Stevenson, D. H. Lawrence, Walt Whitman, Willa Cather, Flannery O'Connor, Mary Oliver, and Thomas Pynchon;after his undergraduate career, he then completed his M.A. and Ph.D. in modern letters from the University of Tulsa. His scholarly publications and interests focus mainly on authors of the American West and their treatment of land and animals.

When not reading or writing, he very much enjoys spending time with his family. Long walks in the woods, longer drives in the car listening to copious amounts of music, taming wild terriers, bird watching (the man is a daredevil), park crashing, and swimming in cold pools are a few activities he is particularly fond of. 

Lynsey Wolter
  • Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz (Linguistics)
  • Visiting Graduate Student, UMass-Amherst (Department of Linguistics)
  • B.A., Swarthmore College (Linguistics - High Honors, minor in Psychology)
  • Russian State Pedagogical University, St. Petersburg, Russia. ACTR.

Alea, Mary Ellen
Browne, T.A.
Clark, Wilma
Dale, Helen
Duyfhuizen, Bernard "Duffy"
Garland, Max
Haakenson, Bergine
Hale-Wilson, Kate
Hanson, Chuck
Harder, Harry
Harder, Sarah
Hildebrand, John
Hilger, Michael
Hirsch, Tim
Hochstein, Gloria
Jackson, Alan
Jones, Eleanor
Kelly, Erna 

Lauber, Peg
Loeb, Karen
Martin, Larry
Maxwell, Rhoda
Meiser, Mary
Pearson, Douglas
Preston, Elizabeth
Rosen, Irwin
Rubrecht, August
Schneider, Ralph
Taylor, Bruce
Utschig, Anne
Waters, Douglas
Welch, Karen
Wood, Marty

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