Faculty and Staff

The Jacksonville State University English faculty is composed of dedicated and well qualified members. Assistant, Associate, and Full Professors in the department have earned their doctorates (Ph.D.) in a range of English specialties. Instructors hold M.A. or M.F.A. degrees and are dedicated to their teaching emphasis. Many of the staff are seen in various capacities around campus, including Freshman Orientation. Classroom instruction methods include group projects, peer editing, and revision emphasis; some distance learning options are available in special sections. Selected composition courses are taught in the computer lab and incorporate word processing skills. Much of the excellent quality of classroom instruction is reflected in the many scholarly initiatives of the faculty that have a pedagogical emphasis.

In addition to teaching, the English faculty is involved in a great variety of research, including presentations at local, state, and national conferences. The members of the department also play an active role in professional associations and make contributions to community projects. Camp Write, The National Writing Project, The WIT (Writing Instruction Technology) Workshop are sponsored regularly by the department.



Felgar, Robert - Professor of English. B.A. (1966), Occidental College; M.A. (1968) and Ph.D. (1970), Duke University.

The recipient of two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities to direct summer seminars on Richard Wright, he is the author of articles on Wright, African American literature, and Robert Browning. He has also published three books on Wright and one on American slavery. His 5th book,  _The Historian's Life of Frederick Douglass: Reading Douglass's "Narrative" as Social and Cultural History_(editor), was published in 2017, as was his guest editorial, "What Would Frederick Douglass Think?" which appeared in _The Anniston Star_.  His essay, "Douglass and Racial Integrity in _Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass_," will be published as part of a virtual roundtable at Greenwood Press's website in 2018 or 2019, and his chapter on the state of Alabama will appear in 2018 in _A State-by-State History of Race and Racism_.  He is also under contract for an entry entitled "Denmark Vesey's Conspiracy, 1822," which will be included in _History of American Violence: An Encyclopedia of Conflicts, Riots, and Revolutions_ (2020); this entry will be based on the fact that if Denmark Vesey was a terrorist, so were George Washington and Patrick Henry when they, and other white colonists, fought for their freedom by killing British soldiers. If anything, Vesey had even more justification for conspiring against white Charlestonians than Washington and Henry did against the British, because they were not owned by the British. He is working on his sixth book, a 100,000-word biography of Frederick Douglass, which will probably be published in 2021.

Bailey, Rodney. - Instructor of English. M.S. Ed Jacksonville State University (1998); BA English Jacksonville State University (1994).

  • Mr. Bailey teaches Oral Communication, Freshman Composition, and American Literature. In addition to his instructional duties, Mr. Bailey is also the Technology Liaison for the Jacksonville State University Writing Project, a member of the National Writing Project technology team, and a member of the National Conference for Teachers of English

Bennett, Don S. - Instructor of English. B. S.Ed., (!998); M. A. (2002), Jacksonville State University.

  • Don Bennett joins the English Faculty after teaching in area schools and attending the National Writing Project's Summer Institute at JSU (2000). Publications include:
  • "Autobiographical Writing: Luring the Reluctant Writer." Alabama English Fall 2000. He also has papers on Coriolanus and Gary Snyder and Buddhism in the anthologies of JSU's Student Research Symposiums (1997 and 1998).
  • He is Vice President for Membership of The Alabama Council of Teachers of English.

Burns, Christy - Instructor of English. B.A. Shorter College Rome, GA (2001) and M.A. Jacksonville State University (2003).

  • Mrs. Burns teaches oral communication, survey of American Literature, and a variety of freshman composition classes. Mrs. Burns taught as an adjunct at JSU and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga prior to receiving a full-time position at JSU in 2004. 

Davis, Randall C. - Professor of English. B.A. (1985), Marietta College; M.A. (1987) and Ph.D. (1991), Ohio State University.

  • Dr. Davis teaches a variety of courses at JSU, specializing in American literature. Dr. Davis has also developed and taught a course in Native American literature.
  • Dr. Davis's publications include articles on James Fenimore Cooper, Adolph Bandelier, and N. Scott Momaday. 

Dean, Susan - Instructor of English. B.A. (2005) Jacksonville State University; M.A. (2007) Jacksonville State University.

  • Mrs. Dean teaches composition courses, oral communication, and American Literature

Di Biase, Carmine G. - Professor of English. B.A., Youngstown State University; M.A., Wright State University; PhD., Ohio State University; Distinguished Professor (2016).

  • Dr. Di Biase teaches courses in 16th and 17th century English literature.
  • He organized the Travel and Translation Conference at JSU. His scholarship includes the following:

1. Books

  • Critical, modern spelling edition of Robert Greene's Gwydonius, or The Card of Fancy (1584). Ottawa: Dovehouse Editions, 2001.

2. Articles

  • "Recent English Studies of Travel Literature," in Annali d'Italianistica. Forthcoming in 2004.
  • "'Pare che il telefono inglese non trasmetta le mie sillabe': traducendo Svevo." In Aghios. Forthcoming.
  • "The Passion of Mario Praz," Times Literary Supplement, May 2, 2003.
  • " 'I am as I have spoken': The Act of Naming in Macbeth," in Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Réforme. XXV:1 (Winter / Hiver, 2001)
  • "Euphuism and the Uses of Falseness in Robert Greene." In Tromp(-) l'oeil: Imitation & Falsification. Eds. Philippe Romanski & Aissatou Sy-Wonyu. Rouen: Publications de l'université de Rouen, 2002. Pp. 31-45.
  • "Castiglione and Boccaccio in Elizabethan Short Fiction." In Pluralism & Critical Practice: Essays in Honor of Albert N. Mancini. Italiana Vol. VIII. Ed. by Paolo A. Giordano and Anthony Julian Tamburri. West Lafayette, Indiana: Bordighera Press, 1999. Pp. 77-88.
  • "The Decline of Euphuism: Robert Greene and His Struggle Against Popular Taste." In Critical Approaches to English Prose Fiction: 1520-1640. Ed. by Donald Beecher. Ottawa: Dovehouse Editions, Inc., 1998. Pp. 85-108.
  • "Ovid, Pettie, and the Mythic Foundation of Cymbeline." Reprinted in 1995 in Shakespearean Criticism Yearbook 1994: A Selection of the Year's Most Noteworthy Studies of William Shakespeare's Plays and Poetry. Ed. by Mike Magoulias et al. Pp. 373-379.
  • "Ovid, Pettie, and the Mythic Foundation of Cymbeline." In Cahiers Elisabethains. No. 46. October, 1994. Pp. 59-70.
  • "Another Ovidian Source for Pettie's Cephalus and Procris." In Notes & Queries. No. 2. June, 1993. Pp. 163-165.

3. Translations

  • "Private Property," in an anthology of Italian writing by women, to be published by Italica Press, edited by Martha King. From the chapter entitled "Proprietà privata," in Melania Mazzucco's Lei così amata (Rizzoli, 2000). Forthcoming in fall of 2003.
  • "A Short Walk to Woolwich." In Times Literary Supplement October 11, 2002, pp. 13-15. From "Uomini e cose in un distretto di Londra," by Italo Svevo.
  • "Thirty Portraits and an Epigraph," in Svevo & il Professor Zois, Mercante di gerundii (Museo Sveviano, 2002). Pp. 7-12. From Bruno Chersicla's brief memoir, "Trenta ritratti e un'epigrafe." 

Elkins, Kathryn - Instructor of English. B.A. (2013) Jacksonville State University; M.A. (2014) Jacksonville State University.

  • Ms. Cleveland came to JSU as a freshman in 2009. During her time as a student, she served in the English Department’s writing clinic, tutoring student who needed help with essays and research papers. She also worked with Learning Services as a learning assistant in the ExSEL program and as an ECE remediation tutor, preparing students to pass the English Competency Exam. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in 2013, and she received her Master of Arts in English the following year. After graduation, Ms. Cleveland served as an adjunct for one semester before being accepted as part of the full-time faculty in the English Department.

Gates, Joanne E. - Professor of English. B.A. Vassar College (1972), M.F.A. (1981) and Ph.D. (1987), University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

  • Dr. Gates teaches Women's Literature, Shakespeare, Computer Assisted Freshman Composition, and American and English Literature. Her biography, Elizabeth Robins, 1862-1952: Actress, Novelist, Feminist (1994) won the Elizabeth Agee Award from the University of Alabama Press.
  • Dr. Gates is project director for The Elizabeth Robins Web. She delivered the JSU Faculty Scholar Lecture in 1995, "Elizabeth Robins: A Life in Letters." She has edited Elizabeth Robins's play of 1907, "Votes for Women" published in the anthology, "Modern Drama by Women" (Routledge, 1996), and has co-edited (with Victoria Joan Moessner) "The Alaska Klondike Diary of Elizabeth Robins," 1900 (University of Alaska Press, 1999). Dr. Gates's Web Page.

Gray, Larry - Professor of English. B.A. (1983), Rhodes College; M.A. (1987) and Ph.D. (2003), University of Virginia.

  • Dr. Gray's teaching and research interests include 20th Century British, 19th and 20th Century American, and World Literature. He also has extensive experience in teaching composition with literature.
  • He has published articles in the Henry James Review, Adaptation: The Journal of Literature on Screen Studies (Oxford University Press), Notes on Contemporary Literature, and in book-length collections on Henry James and Robert Penn Warren. He has presented papers on fiction, film, and film adaptations at conferences in the U.S., Canada, England, Scotland, Germany, France, Sweden,and China.
  • He is a member of The Space Between: Literature in English 1914-1945, the Henry James Society, and the Robert Penn Warren Circle.

Greene, Heather - Instructor of English. B.A. (2012) Jacksonville State University; M.A. (2013) Jacksonville State University

  • Heather Greene joined the English faculty in August 2017. Before coming to the English department, she worked as a public relations writer for the JSU Office of Public Relations, 2012 – 2017, and also taught as an adjunct instructor at Gadsden State Community College, 2014 – 2017. Currently, she serves on the Holocaust Remembrance committee, Friends of the Library board, and the departmental English 101 committee. She teaches English composition, oral communication, and survey of American literature.

Harding, Pitt - Associate Professor of English. B.A. (1976), Yale University; M.A. (Creative Writing, 1981), Brown University; Ph.D. (2001), Georgia State University.

  • Dr. Harding teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in literature, creative writing, and composition. His area of specialization is 17th-century British literature. He has presented papers on Milton at national and international conferences, and his publications include:
  • "Philosophy" in Milton in Context. ed. Stephen B. Dobranski (Cambridge University Press 2010), 439-48.
  • "'Strange point and new!': Satan's Challenge to Nascent Christianity" in Uncircumscribed Mind: Reading Milton Deeply. ed Charles W. Durham and Kristin A. Pruitt. Susquehanna University Press, 2008. 113-28.
  • "Milton's Serpent and the Birth of Pagan Error" in Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 47.1 (Winter 2007): 161-77.

Hurst, Susan - Administrative Assistant of English Department (215 Stone Center)

Johnson, Katie - Instructor of English. B.A., English and Music (1994), Jacksonville State University; M.A., English (1996), Jacksonville State University.

  • Mrs Johnson teaches surveys of American and English Literature, oral communication, and a variety of composition courses. Mrs. Johnson taught as an adjunct at JSU, at Gadsden State Community College, and at the Alabama Language Institute prior to receiving a full-time position at JSU in 2007.

Jones, John H. - Professor of English. BA (1983), Randolph-Macon College; MA (1988), PhD (1995), Fordham University

  • Dr. Jones's teaching interests include British Romantic literature and Victorian poetry. He is the author of Blake on Language, Power, and Self-Annihilation, published by Palgrave Macmillan (2010). This book uncovers the importance of William Blake's concept of self-annihilation to his thinking about language and communication, and develops its centrality to Blake's poetic practice. He has also written about Blake's book production methods and is currently working on a study of how those production methods affect the process of reading.

Kostova, Raina - Associate Professor of English.. B.A. (1999) American University in Bulgaria; M. A. (2001) University of Maine, Orono; Ph.D. (2006) Emory University.

  • Dr. Kostova's research interests involve 20th-century American poetry and poetics, modern Russian literature and aesthetics, and literary theory. She published a number of translations of poems by Osip Mandelstam in collaboration with Professor Tony Brinkley from the University of Maine. A co-authored article with Brinkley on Mandelstam's "Ode to Stalin" and "Lines on the Unknown Soldier," recently appeared in Shofar. She has compiled a volume of translations of Mandelstam's poetry. Dr. Kostova attended and presented papers at the Modern Studies Association (MSA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS). She is working on a comparative analysis of the poetics of Wallace Stevens and Osip Mandelstam.

MayberryJessica - Clerical Assistant Department (228 Stone Center).

Maloney, Joy - Instructor of English. B.S. (1977), M.S. (1979), Jacksonville State University. Additional graduate work in English, University of South Carolina, 1979-1982.

  • Ms. Maloney served as Instructor of English at Livingston University (now University of West Alabama) 1982-1984. She has taught in adjunct positions at Gadsden State Junior College in the mid-1980's and with JSU, 2001-2004. She is a 2004 JSU Writing Project Fellow and now serves as coordinator of entries for the Southern Playwrights Competition.

Mattox, April - Instructor of English (2010) B.A. and M.A., Jacksonville State University

  • April Mattox began as an adjunct instructor for the department in 2008 and became a full-time instructor in 2010. She regularly teaches English Composition, Oral Communication, and Survey of American Literature. She compiles and edits the annual English Department newsletter, Postscripts. She also serves as the coordinator of the middle school entries for the Imagining the Holocaust writing competition and as a member of the Writers Bowl and Speech Committees.

Mecham, Mica Marker - Instructor of English. B. A. (2004), Jacksonville State University; M.A. (2005), Jacksonville State University.

  • Mrs. Mecham began teaching for JSU as an adjunct during the Fall 2005 semester and joined the faculty full time January 2009. Mrs. Mecham teaches Basic English Skills, Freshmen Composition, American Literature surveys, and Oral Communication. Mrs. Mecham was a Fellow of the JSU National Writing Project, June 2007. She has presented "Writing with a Sense of Audience Using William Faulkner's 'A Rose for Emily'" for NWP twice and plans to make future presentations.

Moersch, Sarah - Instructor of English

Myer, David H. - Instructor of English. B.A. (1978), University of Alabama; M.S. (1992), Jacksonville State University; Distinguished Lecturer (2016)

  • Mr. Myer has completed additional graduate studies at the University of Alabama and Jacksonville State University. He taught English at the high school, community college, and university levels before joining the JSU faculty in 1995. Mr. Myer teaches Technical Writing (traditional, computer assisted, and online); American Literature (traditional and online); and Oral Communication. He has been a presenter at the Writing Instruction Technology (WIT) Conference, in the JSU In-Service program, and in the English Department Lecture Series. He has presented workshops on writing in the workplace for the Alabama Association of School Office Personnel and the Jacksonville City Schools. He was selected as a Fellow of the JSU Writing Project in 1994, and as an Advanced Fellow in 2009. He was the 2004 recipient of the "Clyde P. Cox Award for Teaching Excellence" from the College of Arts and Sciences. He serves on the Editorial Board for The Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science. He has served as Chair of the English Competency Committee and Director of the English Competency Exam. He has served as a JSU Faculty Mentor and on the Faculty Council for the College of Arts and Sciences. He has published numerous book reviews in The Anniston Star.

Nichols Mysti - Instructor of English, BIO COMING SOON

Prickett, Deborah - Instructor of English. B.S.Ed and M.s.Ed, Jacksonville State University.

Pruitt, Jeff – Instructor of English. B.A. (2007) Jacksonville State University; M.A. (2015) Jacksonville State University.

Rimpsey, Valerie - Instructor of English. B.S. (1998), M.A. (2000), Jacksonville State University.

  • Ms. Rimpsey was appointed as a regular faculty member in 2001. Ms. Rimpsey teaches various composition, literature, and oral communication classes. She is a member and secretary of the African-American Faculty Organization for Responsive Education (AFORE) and sits on the advisory committee for Student Life-Multicultural Programming. Ms. Rimpsey was a fellow of the National Writing Project at Jacksonville State University (2005). She is also advisor for the Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.

Reed, Teresa P. - Professor of English. B.A. (1989), Birmingham Southern College; M.A. (1991), University of Virginia; Ph.D. (1996), University of Florida.

  • Dr. Reed teaches a variety of courses at JSU, including, among others, Freshman Composition, a Chaucer seminar, and a May Term class on feminist theory.
  • Dr. Reed's Book, Shadows of Mary: Understanding Images of the Virgin Mary in Medieval Texts, was published by the University of Wales Press in 2003. She traveled to Berlin, Germany, in November of 2004, where she was one speaker in a year-long symposium on Mary organized by one of the curators of the Portrait Gallery of the State Museum of Berlin. Also, in 2003, she published Overcoming Performance Anxiety: Chaucer Studio Products Reviewed in Exemplaria.  She has also published articles on Chaucer's "Man of Law's Tale" and the 14th-century Middle English poem "Pearl."
  • Her current research focuses on the medieval church and its influence on contemporary literary production. Dr. Reed's scholarly interests lie in the areas of medieval culture and literature, feminist and literary theory, and teaching technologies.

Sasser, Tanya T. - Instructor of English. B.A. (1997) University of Montevallo; M.A. (2009) Jacksonville State University

  • Ms. Sasser taught 8th and 12th grade English before joining the JSU English dept. as an adjunct instructor in Aug. 2009 and as a full-time instructor in Aug. 2010. Ms. Sasser teaches basic English skills, introductory composition, and American Literature survey courses. Ms. Sasser has presented papers on John Clare at the Alabama Regional Graduate Conference and ACETA. Ms. Sasser is the recipient of the 2009 William J. Calvert Award

Williams, Katelyn - Instructor of English. B.A. (2007), Samford University, M.A. (2010), Jacksonville State University.

  • Ms. Williams began teaching at JSU in the department of Learning Services during her time as a graduate student, and then transitioned to a position as adjunct instructor for the English department during the fall of 2010. Since that time, she has taught courses in American literature, composition, oral communication, and basic writing skills. She has a special interest in American literature and has presented papers at the annual College English Association Conference on William Faulkner, Sylvia Plath, Leslie Marmon Silko, and cultural theory in early American literature.  In addition, she is also interested in teaching English as a second language. During the summer of 2013, she spent time in Cambodia, teaching English classes to factory workers and college students. She lives in Rainbow City, Alabama. She is a member at Rainbow Presbyterian Church. She enjoys cooking and entertaining as well as being active, running and cycling, and competing in local races and triathlons.