Department of English gives back to the community

After launching their first community outreach project in November, the Department of English is already midway through a second project. Under the guidance of Mary Assad, alumna of the department and now lecturer, they are currently supporting the Cleveland affiliate of Reach Out and Read to promote early childhood literacy by donating a wishlist of books written by a diverse group of authors. 

Cara Byrne, lecturer; Mary Grimm, associate professor; and Thrity Umrigar, Distinguished University Professor; all experts in childrens’ literature, have helped compile the list of books that will be purchased and ultimately distributed to local children through doctors’ offices, where pediatricians will have the chance to discuss literacy with parents. 

After a successful first outreach project that supported the Provost’s Scholars, providing each of them with care packages in the midst of the pandemic, the department is looking forward to another impactful outreach. 

Assad was a graduate student in the department for seven years, gaining her master’s degree and PhD. During her time as a student she was a member of the English Graduate Student Association (EGSA) where she chaired a student-run community outreach committee. Now revitalizing these efforts through faculty-run outreach projects, Assad hopes to extend the department’s reach beyond the classroom and into the community. 

“We can use our identity as the English Department to make a footprint and an impact locally,” Assad said. 

If you are interested in making a donation to support the Reach Out and Read initiative you can visit the Department of English website and select “English Department Community Outreach Initiatives” in the dropdown menu title “Designation”. To keep up with future outreach projects be sure to follow the department on Facebook and Twitter