BERKELEY CONNECT in ENGLISH
The Berkeley Connect program opens up the extraordinary resources of the university to you: the extraordinary students on our campus. By joining, you will become part of a community of like-minded faculty, mentors, and students that will provide a supportive environment in which to exchange and discuss ideas and goals. Berkeley Connect will help you to make the most of your time at the university as you learn more about the major in English. We’re excited to get to know you!
Berkeley Connect in English builds stronger connections between undergraduates, graduate students and professors. Small groups of undergraduate majors and undeclared students interested in the study of literature meet with faculty members and graduate student mentors throughout the semester. In these meetings we talk about intellectual, institutional, and practical issues. What is the English major? What kinds of reading do we do and why? What kinds of careers do people have with a Berkeley degree in English? In these discussions, free of the pressure of grades, we talk about our intellectual interests and about being part of an academic community. Graduate student mentors also hold one-on-one meetings with undergraduates to talk about challenges and goals. They lead explorations of campus resources like the Bancroft library and the art museum. Every semester, Berkeley alumni in different professions speak about how the English major has contributed to their careers. Professors talk about how they came to study English, how they produce writing, or how they disagree about particular texts.
Berkeley Connect provides relaxed and fun opportunities to get to know your community and to think together about how to make the most of your Berkeley experience.
Professor Catherine Flynn
Director, Berkeley Connect in English
Every semester, Berkeley Connect sponsors a wide range of activities and events for participating students. They include:
- small-group meetings led by your mentor;
- one-on-one meetings with your mentor;
- special events, including informal lectures by professors and guest speakers, and panels on career options, graduate school admissions, and other topics;
- and visits to Berkeley resources.
At the heart of Berkeley Connect is the relationship between you and your mentor. The Berkeley Connect mentors are advanced graduate students or recent PhDs in English, who are chosen both for their demonstrated commitment to undergraduates and for their scholarly achievement. They are dedicated to providing the kind of close-knit community and one-on-one attention that can be hard to find at a large university.
When you sign up for Berkeley Connect, you will join one of several small groups of participants in English. Your small group will be led by your mentor, and will meet every other week during the semester for an hour-long dinner discussion sessions. Discussions will focus on key intellectual issues within English as well as key skills you need to succeed in the major. Above all, the small groups will focus on building connections among students, so that each group becomes a supportive community for all participants.
You will also meet with your mentor one-on-one at least twice during the semester, once to get acquainted, and a second time just before Tele-Bears, to discuss your plans for completing your major. Your mentor also has office hours every other week, during which you are free to show up and ask questions, talk over your day or your week, discuss what you are learning in class, or just have an informal conversation.
Catherine Flynn (Director) is an Associate Professor in the English department, specializing in British and Irish modernist literature and critical theory. She has taught at Berkeley since 2012. Her book, James Joyce and the Matter of Paris, is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press (2019). She is currently at work on an edition of Flann O’Brien’s multilingual Irish Times column, Cruiskeen Lawn. She is delighted to take part in Berkeley Connect.
Josh Gang is an assistant professor in the English department. He works on British and Irish literature since 1900, with a particular focus on literature’s relations to psychology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science. He is currently completing his book manuscript “Word and Mind: Behaviorism and Literary Modernity.” He’s very excited to be part of Berkeley Connect this year.
Daniel Benjamin is a seventh-year PhD candidate in English, with a designated emphasis in Critical Theory. His research and teaching focuses on contemporary poetry and theories of race and sexuality; his dissertation explores how writers like Dorothy Wordsworth, Amiri Baraka, Jack Spicer, and M. NourbeSe Philip make space for multiplicity in their writing. Born and raised in New York, NY, Daniel completed his B.A. in Philosophy at University of Chicago, and later received an MPhil in English from the University of Cambridge. Since moving to Berkeley, he has enjoyed participating in the Bay Area’s avid poetry scene (his poetry has recently appeared in The Tiny, Berkeley Poetry Review, and OVERSOUND); he received an MA with emphasis in Creative Writing from UC Berkeley last year. Daniel co-organized “Communal Presence: New Narrative Writing Today,” the first major conference dedicated to the queer writing movement that originated in San Francisco in the 1970s. Outside of books, Daniel enjoys watching basketball, trying new restaurants, and imitating favorite recipes in his own kitchen.
Tim Heimlich is a PhD Candidate in English. He grew up in southeast Wisconsin and graduated with a BA in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After college, he spent several months volunteering as an English teacher at an orphanage in rural Tamil Nadu, India before returning stateside and moving to Berkeley. His dissertation examines British Romantic literature and Celtic national identities in the context of the broader British Empire. Outside of work, he enjoys cooking, hiking, camping, watching and playing a variety of sports, and traveling. He is thrilled to be a part of Berkeley Connect.
Allison Neal is a seventh-year PhD Candidate in English. Born and raised on the Central Coast of California, she received her BA in English at UC Berkeley in 2011 and started her PhD work at Berkeley a year later. As a graduate student, her work and teaching has focused on twentieth-century British and American literature, with a particular interest in American poetry. Her dissertation examines how various sound technologies helped twentieth-century American poets to construct, circulate, and imagine the audience for their own poetic voices. As a former Berkeley undergraduate (and student in the English department for the past 11 years!), Allison is excited to help foster a community similar to the one she experienced at Berkeley. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, eating (not cooking) Italian food, taking yoga and ballet classes, and traveling both in and out of California.
Welcome to Berkeley Connect in English! This program is designed to enrich your experience in the English department and at Berkeley, and to build intellectual communities beyond the formal boundaries of the classroom. The program sets its sights on both the present and the future – helping you to make the most of the university’s remarkable intellectual resources while also exploring the expansive, lasting benefits of literary study itself.
The core of the Berkeley Connect Program is your small group meeting, in which your mentor will lead informal discussions about a wide range of issues related to the English major. Your small group meets every other week, beginning the week of January 22nd. On the weeks when there are no small group meetings, your mentor will hold office hours so that you can continue the conversation.
There are no required essays, exams, or reading assignments in Berkeley Connect in English. In order to receive your unit of credit at the end of the semester, you must do the following: 1) attend all small group meetings and Main Events [see below for make-up policy if you are obliged to miss any Events]; 2) attend your two one-on-one meetings with your mentor; and 3) complete the end-of-semester survey.
Wednesday, January 17, 6-7 PM: OPENING MEETING, Wheeler 315 (Maude Fife Room)
January 23/24/25: Small group meetings: Introductions and Re-introductions
January 29- February 2: One-on-one meeting with your mentor
February 6/7/8: Small group meetings: Deep Revision
February 13/14/15: Small group meetings: Visualizing Literature
* February 16: add/drop deadline for undergrads
February 20-23: Mentors hold office hours
February 21-March 3: MAIN EVENT!: Guided visits to Berkeley Art Museum. Sign up for a visit slot through bCourses.
February 27/28/ March 1: Small group meetings: Musical Chairs
March 5-9: Mentors hold office hours
Tuesday, March 6, 6:30-8 PM: MAIN EVENT! Faculty Panel and reception: Criticism and Creativity, Wheeler 315
March 13/14/15: Small group meetings: Literature and New Media
March 19-23: One-on-one meeting with your mentor
* March 23: change grading option (P/NP) deadline for undergrads
March 24- April 1: Spring Break!
April 2/3/4: Small group meetings: First Impressions, Second Thoughts
April 9-13: Mentors hold office hours
Thursday, April 12, 6-9 PM: MAIN EVENT!:Film Night and Discussion, Wheeler 315
April 17/18/19: Small group meetings: Conclusions
April 23-27: Mentors hold office hours
Wednesday, May 2, 4-6 PM: PIZZA AND CUPCAKES, English Lounge (Wheeler 330)
Your mentor is looking forward to meeting you at our kickoff meeting on Wednesday, January 17th! The fabulous BC English mentors for 2017-18 are (drumroll…):
Jesse Cordes Selbin (firstname.lastname@example.org): 98BC section 1, Tuesdays 6-7 in 301 Wheeler; + 198BC section 2, Tuesdays 7-8 in 301 Wheeler
Aristedes Dimitriou (email@example.com): 198BC section 1, Tuesdays 6-7 in 305 Wheeler; + 198BC section 3, Tuesdays 7-8 in 305 Wheeler
Ismail Muhammad (firstname.lastname@example.org): 98BC section 2, Wednesdays 6-7 in 301 Wheeler; + 198BC section 5, Wednesdays 7-8 in 301 Wheeler
Lucy Sirianni (email@example.com): 198BC section 4, Wednesdays 6-7 in 305 Wheeler; + 198BC section 6, Wednesdays 7-8 in 305 Wheeler
Daniel Valella (firstname.lastname@example.org): 98BC section 3, Thursdays 6-7 in 301 Wheeler; + 198BC section 7, Thursdays 5-6 in 301 Wheeler
Jane Gregory (email@example.com): 198BC section 8, Thursdays 5-6 in 305 Wheeler; + 198BC section 9, Thursdays 6-7 305 Wheeler
Making up for missing Main Events:
Since the Main Events are scheduled at times that may be different from your usual (small group) schedule, we know that some students will have commitments that prevent them from attending one or another. If you are obliged to miss a Main Event, you can make it up by attending another English Department event, such as a Holloway Poetry Series (Links to an external site.) reading or a scholarly panel; or a campus arts event, such as a talk or a movie at the BAMPFA (Links to an external site.) or a concert sponsored by the Music department. If you have a conflict, write to your mentor in advance of the event and let him/her know what make-up event you’ll be attending. You should have attended three Main Events or makeup events by the end of the semester.
Berkeley Connect in English:
Calendar of English Department events:
The Office of Undergraduate Research: http://research.berkeley.edu
The Career Center: http://career.berkeley.edu
Campus writing prize competitions: http://financialaid.berkeley.edu/prizes-and-honors
To find sections in the upcoming semester, search the Schedule of Classes for English 98BC (for first-year and sophomores) or 198BC (for juniors and seniors).
To help you meet other students who share your experiences and perspectives, Berkeley Connect sections are designated as lower division (first-year students and sophomores), new junior transfers, and upper division (juniors and seniors), but you can enroll in any section that fits your schedule and credit requirements.
To participate in Berkeley Connect in English, you enroll in a designated section of English 98BC or 198BC (one unit, taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis). Many students chose to enroll for more than one semester. Participation is NOT restricted to declared majors.To sign up, enroll in a Berkeley Connect section when course registration opens. Please see the Berkeley Connect sections listed above under “Schedule.”
**Read the schedule notes carefully—different sections are designated as primarily for lower-division (freshmen and sophomores), upper-division (juniors and seniors), or junior transfer students.
If you are interested in participating in Berkeley Connect, but course registration is not currently open, you can join the Berkeley Connect Mailing List, and you will be sent more details when the next semester’s information becomes available.