For Those Who Need to take ENGL 599 Master’s Thesis in the Spring

Students for whom spring 2022 will be your final semester, please note that you will need to enroll in ENGL 599 Master’s Thesis as one of your final-semester courses. The way you enroll in ENGL 599 is different than for any other course. You can read about the process here on the blog. The short of it is, now is the right time to be securing your thesis mentor from the graduate faculty. Any questions contact

The Incomplete “I” – Fix It Soon, or Lose the Credits/Tuition

As we approach the end of the fall 2021 semester let me remind (or inform) everyone about the situation surrounding the “incomplete” or “I” mark a student might request/receive in place of an actual grade.

An “I” might be granted by a professor to students who have completed most of the required work for a course and who have met attendance requirements. The incomplete is intended for emergency situations, for students who experience an unexpected crisis (such as an injury or debilitating illness) at a specific point during the term which unexpectedly interrupts their ability to complete all required work for a course. Each professor has the right to not grant an incomplete and instead grant some other grade, including an F, based on whatever work the student completed during the regular term.

Students who find themselves in a situation that might warrant an incomplete must request it of the professor.

Sometimes an incomplete can be a life-saver for students who experience sudden crisis, but in just about all cases students should avoid incurring an incomplete if at all possible. Many students who take an incomplete never resolve it: because life goes on, new responsibilities and coursework come along, and it just becomes very difficult to find time to go back and do work on past requirements. It is also difficult for your professors to deal with incompletes because their work, responsibilities, and lives move forward; but the incomplete forces them to have to accommodate, tend to, assess, and sometimes even just remember what this work is that a student left untended in the past. It is a big deal for everyone when a student takes an incomplete, which is one reason why a professor simply might not grant it.

If a student is granted an incomplete, the student should work to complete the missed work and so remedy the incomplete as soon as possible – and ideally prior to the start of the next semester. At the maximum, and technically speaking, students have one year in which to remedy the incomplete. After one year, the potential credits for the course and tuition for the course are lost, and the incomplete cannot be changed into any real letter grade.

But please note: professors are not obligated to drop everything to prioritize reading late work. Your professors will at any point in the year but especially at the end of each semester have tons of new work to tend to, potentially hundreds of current papers to read and students from the current semester to help, which is another reason why you should not be waiting until the last minute or even the last few weeks of the year to tend to an incomplete. If you submit late work from fall 2020 on the day before the end of the fall 2021 semester, there is no chance that your professor is going to be able to drop everything else to tend to the last-second submission, evaluate it, and get the required paperwork done in time. The bottom line is this: anyone still seeking to correct fall 2020 incompletes should be working to resolve them and submitting work right now. Anyone with incompletes from spring or summer 2021 should also be working to resolve those asap.

ENGL 560 Cultural Impact of Black Lives Matter Is Now Open to ALL Students, Including Those Who Took 560 Literary Accretion of Black Lives Matter

Previously on this blog I wrote that those who had taken 560 Literary Accretion of Black Lives could not take the 560 Cultural Impact of Black Lives Matter, since it seemed at the time that the courses would be the same or too similar. That has changed, and now ALL students can take this 560 Cultural Impact course, including those who previously took the Literary Accretion course. This is because Dr. Morales has been working on the new syllabus and description for Cultural Impact, and has shared that this new course will involve all new readings. In fact those who took Literary Accretion should find Cultural Impact particularly interesting. Here is the new course description Dr. Morales has provided:

In the fall of 2020, ENGL 560 the “Literary Accretion of Black Lives Matter” viewed the movement through foundational literature that presaged a global phenomenon. This new course for the spring 2022, the “Cultural Impact of Black Lives Matter,” looks at the early “progress” [statis?] of this movement in American culture focusing on the arts and literature. Columnist Perry Bacon says we are in the midst of a Black Renaissance. The 138-year-old Metropolitan opera in NY reopened its doors with Terrance Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up My Bones, a first for a black composer. Tanzanian Abdulrazak Gurnah became the first black since Toni Morrison to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. The NYT’s  fall theatre preview lead with “Broadway Is Brimming With Black Playwrights. But for How Long?” However, November’s [2021] gubernatorial race in Virginia saw the Republican, Glenn Youngkin, win the cultural wars using Toni Morrison’s Beloved as his whipping horse. There is a burgeoning backlash against “wokespeak” as even liberals complain of its use [“I’m exhausted by the constant need to be wary or you’ll instantly be labeled racist or anti-trans.”] The final question for the previous “Literary Accretion” course was “is this a momentary period of protest or a defining movement ushering in profound change?” “Cultural Impact of Black Lives Matter” will further investigate this with a variety of readings and media presentations.