English and Reading

Halloween's coming: Harry Potter Anyone?

Why Study Humanities? Because It’s Good for You!

Economist, professor, and Pulitzer-Prize-winning columnist, Steven Pearlstein, an American Studies major himself, explains why a major in history, philosophy, the arts or even English (yay!) is worth the time, effort and money. Here’s the link and quote:

Even so, I found it shocking that some of the brightest students in Virginia had been misled — by parents, the media, politicians and, alas, each other — into thinking that choosing English or history as a major would doom them to lives as impecunious schoolteachers.

If that didn’t convince you, read this from Chemistry professor Loretta Jackson-Hayes:

As a chemist, I agree that remaining competitive in the sciences is a critical issue. But as an instructor, I also think that if American STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] grads are going lead the world in innovation, then their science education cannot be divorced from the liberal arts.

Talk to your counselor about switching to one of these majors or certificate programs!

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Story Highlights the Life-Saving Beauty of Reading

Flickr image by Patrick Breitenbach.

This story from the “Criminal” podcast highlights the story of Robin Woods, a petty thief from Cumberland, Maryland, who found himself, after one-too-many arrests, in the maximum security

Maryland Correctional Institution. He teaches himself to read and becomes–it’s a fun story–an ad hoc editor of the Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia.

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ENGL102 DL: Orientations for Fall 2016

Montgomery College English-Reading Department Distance Learning Icon

Students taking ENGL-102 online this fall are encouraged to attend an orientation for online studying:

  • Aug. 31, Wednesday, from 7:00 pm to 8:10 pm in HU 105 (Rockville)
  • Sept. 3, Saturday, from 11:00 am to 12:10 pm in ST 328 (Takoma Park/Silver Spring)
  • Oct. 22, Saturday, from 11:00 am to 12:10 pm in PK 179 (Germantown)
  • Oct. 24, Monday, from 8:00 pm to 9:10 pm in HU 125 (Rockville)

Contact Prof. Anna Deadrick for more information:


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DL Students: ENGL-103 Orientation Dates Announced, Fall 2016

Montgomery College English-Reading Department Distance Learning IconStudents taking ENGL-103 online this fall are encouraged to attend an orientation for online studying:

  • Tuesday, Aug. 30th, Rockville SB 206, 4pm-5pm
  • Friday, Sept 2nd, Rockville SB 206, 10am-11am
  • Friday, Sept 2nd, Germantown PK 178, 4pm-5pm
  • Saturday, Sept 3rd, Takoma Park/Silver Spring, ST 328, 10am-11am

If you have questions or concerns, contact, Prof. Keith Elphick

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DL Students: ENGL101 Orientations Announced, Fall 2016

Montgomery College English-Reading Department Distance Learning IconStudents taking ENGL-101 online this fall, please attend a Distance Learning Orientation:

  • August 30, from 7-8pm – HT137 (Germantown)
  • September 10, from 10-11am – ST328 (Takoma)
  • September 20, from 7-8pm – HU311 (Rockville)
  • October 22, from 10-11am – HU311 (Rockville)

Questions or concerns, contact Prof. Kateema Lee

  • GB138- 240-567-7755
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Confluence Conference Starts Friday Sept. 30

“Confluence: Translation in the Capital Area” opens Friday evening, Sept. 30, and runs all day with presentations and workshops on Oct. 1 on the MC-Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus.

A celebration of international translation day, the conference covers topics from literary translation to ethics in business translation.

Friday starts with an Open Mic session on the topic “Translatable,” 6 to 8 p.m. in the Cafritz Arts Center, room 101, on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus.

Registration is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Please register online.

Saturday morning starts at 9 a.m. in the “Lingua Franca” room (HC 201).

Find a full listing of events here.

Planet Money Tackles Text Prices

If you have ever wondered why market forces do not keep the prices of textbooks low, wonder no longer: National Public Radio’s “Planet Money” team just rebroadcast a story from 2014 that looks at the rising price of texts (it’s a 15-minute podcast). Guess what? It’s all the students’ faults! (You have to listen to find out why.)

OK. The faculty have a role. In the podcast, they discuss the economic term called  “the principle agent,” which is the idea that the person saying how much students need to spend is not the person spending the money. This creates an economic problem because it is usually easier for anyone to spend other people’s money! The theory basically says that if faculty ask you to buy something expensive, they will do it because it’s not their money being spent.

The podcast ignores a couple facts on the ground. Although we are the “principle agent,” we also know that you won’t buy what you think you can avoid (they gloss over this in the podcast). Also, Maryland, about five years ago, passed a textbook law that required faculty to learn the price of the books they were using (this used to be very, very hard, believe it or not).  Continue reading “Planet Money Tackles Text Prices”

Memorial Service Set for Prof. Zach Benavidez

A memorial service for former Montgomery College English professor, Zach Benavidez (Rockville campus) has been schedule for Luther Place Church in Washington DC, where he was a member:

Prof. Zach Benavidez
Prof. Zach Benavidez
  • Sunday, Sept. 4
  • 12:30-1:30
  • Luther Place Church
  • 1226 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20005
  • 202-667-1377

The service is open to friends and family.

In the coming weeks, the English and Reading department and the Women’s and Gender Studies program will be working together to seek ways to honor our former colleague who died unexpectedly in August.



Job Posting for Work Study Student

The Alumni Office has an opening for approved Federal Work Study students

The position involves general office activities, data entry, communication writing, and some support for alumni events on campus and in the community.

If you know of a FWS-approved student who has not yet found a FWS placement, please encourage them to review the position description on the MC eJobs site and look up the Alumni Aide position, # 18664.

This position is limited to students who qualify both for regular financial aid and Federal Work Study, which is an additional approval process.  Students who are not sure if they qualify for both programs should contact Matt Hicks in the Financial Aid office.


John Libby ’80
Montgomery College Alumni Association

Red Jacket Lit. Mag. Looking for Editor

Calling all Editors:

Students: if you have editing experience and are interested in working on the Red Jacket Literary Magazine staff, please send an email note to Dr. Dickison:, or call 240 567-4004.

Dr. Swift Dickison, Faculty Advisor to the Red Jacket.
Dr. Swift Dickison, Faculty Advisor to the Red Jacket.

Come by SB 104B on Mondays between 2 and 4 to discuss how you can serve as an editor for the Red Jacket, which will soon be accepting submissions of short fiction, poetry, art, and photography for our spring 2017 issue.


MC-TPSS English Dept. Location Was Wrong.

We just updated the main college website for the English Dept. on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus to reflect the correct office number. It is:

  • P3 Building, Room 122 E. 

Sorry for the confusion. The person who made the error has been, as Monty Python would say, sacked and flogged.

Zach Benavidez, former faculty, dies.

Prof. Zach Benavidez
Prof. Zach Benavidez

The Montgomery College English and Reading community is saddened by the very unexpected passing of Prof. Zach Benavidez.  Prof. Benavidez will always be a loving, caring person in our hearts and memories.  He touched lives and brought many smiles and creativity to our faculty, staff and students. He was a creative writing and literature teacher. He will be missed.

We would like to extend our condolences to his family.

In honor of Zach, we are sharing some of his creative writing with you.  If you need support during this time, please contact the English and Reading office and we can direct you to some college resources.

Fiction: The Dog on Sitting Woman Mountain

Fiction: Exactly What You Want

Prof. Benavidez’s blog: Untying My Hands

He had resigned his position on the faculty a year or more ago. His family has established a gofundme site, and they are asking for donations and good wishes.


Online: Modern Poetry Fall 2016

Study Modern Poetry:

  • Fall 2016
  • English 231, Introduction to Modern Poetry
  • CRN20369
  • 3 Credits
  • Offered entirely Online
  • Begins on 29 August
  • Contact: Dr.

ENGL231 satisfies your General Education Humanities Distribution as well as your Cultural Perspectives graduation requirements.

Introduction to Modern Poetry provides you with a survey of the broad genre of poetic works from the mid-19th century to the present. We will study poets, their poetry, and their essays on poetics, all in their literary, historical, socio-political contexts.

Though the course is online, you will benefit from audio and video links designed to enrich your reading experience. The intensive and delightful study of poetry has proven to heighten one’s critical thinking skill and to deepen one’s global perspective.

The online format provides you with a convenient platform with which to engage in rewarding study at your own pace, yet the assignments are rigorous and fulfilling, preparing you for further engagement in upper-division literature and writing courses at university.

Register now for ENGL231 with Dr. Dickison, who created this online version of the course. Space is still available.

Fall 2016: ENGL101 for Tight Schedules

If you need that ENGL101 course but your schedule is already full, have you looked to Saturday?

This is a great way to get that requirement out of the way without disrupting your weekday schedule. It’s the perfect class for the busy adult. Direct questions about the class to Prof. Sahar Siddiqui (

  • ENGL101
  • CRN 20377.
  • Saturdays: 8am-10:55am
  • HU303

Fall 2016: Women in Literature ENGL208

“An introduction to literature by and about women from a multicultural perspective, focusing on women’s diverse experiences and backgrounds. Representative texts are studied in their historical and socio-political contexts.”

  • Read amazing literature by women.
  • Explore interesting themes (Identity, Gender roles, Naming The Body, Race, Marriage, Motherhood, Power, Work).
  • Make connections to your own experience.

Projects include: In-class and on-line, student led discussions. Two essays. Creative presentation.

Writers include: Toni Morrison, Kate Chopin, Margaret Atwood, Maxine Hong Kingston, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Jamaica Kincaid, Virginia Woolf, Joy Harjo, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sandra Cisneros, Alice Walker, Audre Lorde, Ursula Le Guin. Continue reading “Fall 2016: Women in Literature ENGL208”

Fall 2016: Take Film and Literature


If you’ve always argued about whether the book was better or worse than the movie… If you’ve always been convinced that you could’ve adapted the story better… THEN THIS COURSE IS FOR YOU!

  • Mondays 2 – 4:45
  • Sept. 12 -Dec. 18
  • SB 117
  • ENGL 235
  • CRN 20777, 3 Credits
  • Arts Distribution, General Elective, Upper Level Requirement
  • Professor Joanna Howard – contact me if you have any questions

Popcorn Provided

Fall 2016: Take World Mythology

  • Intro to World Mythology
  • ENGL 122 CRN 20769
  • MW 8:00-9:15    HU109
  • Prof Carol Malmi, Ph.D.

They told each other stories to create meaning and order in a world of mystery.

Mythological dragons appear in everything from architecture to movies. Learn the symbols, the meanings and the shared dreams behind dragons.
Mythological dragons appear in everything from architecture to movies. Learn the symbols, the meanings and the shared dreams behind dragons.

What do myths from the past tell us about ourselves and our future?   Ancient peoples lived together in a world of the senses, with technology at the level of sharpened stones, the concept of science millennia ahead.  

Imagine living drenched in the sounds of wind howling in the storm, water rushing in flood, cawing birds creating a wall of sound from sunrise to moonset, the hoarse mutterings of animals, the crash  of thunder, the flashing fires in the sky.  Was it beautiful?  Was it evil?  What caused it all? A god?  A monster?    Continue reading “Fall 2016: Take World Mythology”

Fall 2016: Is this America?

How did early Americans and colonists dream, imagine, and think about this country?

Are we still living in “their” America? Do we want to?

Read great literature and draw your own conclusions in Survey of American Literature I. ENGL 211 this Fall.

  • T/R: 8:00-9:15 a.m.
  • Professor Eggenschwiler

Fall 2016: Study Literature by Women


English 208, Women in Literature

CRN24440   3 Credits


  • Rockville campus, HU129 
  • Monday nights, 6:30 – 9:25


ENGL208 satisfies your General Education Humanities Distribution as well as your Cultural Perspectives graduation requirements.

Every year is an important year for women, but this particular year may prove to be crucial.  How is your awareness of the contributions that women have made in society, culture, and literature in particular?  Here are some questions to ponder:

Who was Julian of Norwich and how significant were her “visions”? What did Mary Wollstonecraft mean by “a revolution in female manners, . . . to reform the world”?  What were the ramifications of the fact that “both satires on female vice and celebrations of feminine virtue in the eighteenth century were informed by medieval portraits of a destructive Eve and a redemptive Mary,” as Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar have put it? How did it stand that an essayist such as Richard Steele could claim that all a middle class woman had “to do in this world, is contained within the duties of a daughter, a sister, a wife, and a mother”?

Continue reading “Fall 2016: Study Literature by Women”

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