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Message from the Chair

Dear Students, Co-sharers, Colleagues, and Friends,

I am privileged to welcome you to the FIU English department. Our department is committed to innovative teaching, scholarship, and service that promote cultural awareness, embody diversity, and embrace ethical responsibility through the study of language, literature, and rhetoric. What binds us together as a department is the belief that words matter. In her Nobel Prize lecture, Toni Morrison writes, “Word-work is sublime, because it is generative; it makes meaning that secures our difference, our human difference - the way in which we are like no other life. We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”  In the English department, we do language. We believe that language is power, and that we have a fundamental responsibility to our students and the greater FIU community to help to empower our students to wield language to attain success. We also believe that perhaps now more than ever, our department’s values of diversity and inclusion are vital to our collective futures—and by the way, are also highly marketable skills in today’s globalized economy. The English department, and the university as a whole, are called to embody a place of thoughtful and free inquiry where ideas can be civilly exchanged and where fostering a sense of community is a hallmark of meaningful education. As a department comprised of teachers, scholars, and students who read, think, argue, and analyze, we look forward to your joining with us to continue to work through these pressing issues.   Whether you are a prospective student, a current one, or one of our thousands of alumni…or just someone glancing in upon us, I hope you enjoy your visit here. I encourage you to call on us at either of our campuses, or check out our footprint on Facebook and leave us a greeting. And as we say in Jamaica in lieu of “all best” or “so long”—“walk good.”


Heather D. Russell, Professor and Chair