From position changes to research, UP’s English department makes adjustments for upcoming school year

By Tiffany Marquez Escobar | October 5, 2022 5:00pm
The English department underwent a series of changes to prepare for the new school year. Some English professors share their stories about teaching at UP.
Media Credit: Emma Sells / The Beacon

With the new school year comes new beginnings, especially for the faculty and administration on the Bluff. The English department is just one of the latest departments on campus to undergo changes. As English professors are stepping up into new roles they shared their excitement with The Beacon. 


Professor Joshua Swidzinski. Dr. Swidzinski is an associate professor of English at UP.
by Emma Sells / The Beacon

Assistant English professor Joshua Swidzinski is taking over as chair of the English department on Jan 1. As chair, he will have a bigger responsibility in the department overseeing department administration and scheduling classes. 

While the role of department chair rotates among staff members, this will be the first time Swidzinski serves as chair in the 8 eight years he has been at UP.

“I'm excited,” Swidzinski said. “Obviously, I get to know students in the classroom, but being chair offers me a chance to interact with them in other ways as well …”

In his new role, Swidzinski is able to work closely with the Honor Society’s president and vice president to help run the club’s events. He is looking forward to how this will enable him to interact more with students.   

This semester, Swidzinski is on his sabbatical — where he will take an absence from teaching and dive into research. During this time, he will be conducting research analyzing ways to improve diversity in the English 301 course.

“I especially want to include more black, indigenous and Asian voices in the 17th and 18th century, because they're there and we have to make an effort to teach those and share those voices with students,” Swidzinski said. 

He is very excited to continue his research this semester and bring new content for students. He is also looking forward to his new position and easing more into the role during spring semester.


Professor Genevieve Brassard. Dr. Brassard is an associate professor within the English department at UP.
by Emma Sells / The Beacon

Genevieve Brassard is an associate professor for the English department. This spring, she will be leading the annual Northwest Undergraduate Conference

The conference,hosted by UP every year, is meant to bring students together from schools all over the Northwest. During the conference, students are able to share original works with each other and professors across different institutions.

Brassard began her role over the summer doing research to find keynote speakers for the event.  However, she won’t be working alone. She will be accepting applications and interviewing students to make up a team of interns to plan and lead the conference with her mentorship. 

“I'm excited. I'm nervous, but in a good way…” Brassard said. “The key thing will be to find great interns to work with, and that they can work well together, but they really become a team,” 


Professor Sarah Weiger. Dr. Weiger is the director of the Integrated Writing Program and associate professor of English and Environmental Studies.
by Emma Sells / The Beacon

Associate professor Sarah Weiger will be replacing Molly Hiro as the head of the Integrated Writing Program starting this year. She will be mentoring new and returning writing assistants, overseeing the tutoring program and being an advisor for Writer’s Magazine and the English Department Newsletter. 

“I’m really excited because the writing assistants on campus are some of the brightest, most creative and most collaborative students on campus…” Weiger said. “Those are delightful students to work with…”

Although it’s a new role for her, Weiger looks forward to getting to work closely with students and learn from them as well. 

“I'm really happy to learn from my evening assistants who have returned from last year …” Weiger said. “... those folks actually have more experience with the writing center than I do at this point, since I'm new myself.”

She hopes to bring more students to the learning commons so that they utilize the tutoring resources that UP offers on campus. 

“Our writing assistants are so excited to meet with students, especially first time visitors to the center, '' Weiger said. “I am positive that they will have a positive experience and that they have something to gain from it at any stage in the writing process.” 

Tiffany Marquez Escobar is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at