Program Administration

Administrative oversight of the program is provided by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, under whose authority the program operates. The dean appoints the program’s director and faculty. In his oversight of the program the dean is assisted by a standing committee, the School of Letters Committee, chaired by the director of the School of Letters and consisting of the chair of the Department of English, director of the Teacher Education program, the associate dean of the College, and two faculty members elected by the College Faculty.

Interim Director John Gatta

John Gatta is the William B. Kenan Jr. Professor of English at the University of the South. His teaching and research have largely been concerned with American literary and cultural history before 1900—particularly Hawthorne, Whitman, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. He has also taught and written about topics related to American environmental literature, as well as the interplay between religious faith and literary imagination. He has published four books, in addition to more than 50 academic articles in book collections and journals. John Gatta received his BA from the University of Notre Dame, and his MA and PhD Cornell University. Before coming to Sewanee in 2004, he taught for a number of years as a professor of English at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. At various times his appointment at Connecticut, where he directed fourteen doctoral dissertations, included service as English department head and as coordinator of English graduate studies. He has been a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and a Fulbright professor in Senegal; he has also taught at the University of Missouri and in South Africa. His books include Gracious Laughter: The Meditative Wit of Edward Taylor (winner of 1989 Academic Book of the Year Award from Conference on Christianity and Literature), American Madonna: Images of the Divine Woman in Literary Culture (Oxford Univ. Press, named an "outstanding academic book" for 1998 by Choice editors), and Making Nature Sacred: Literature, Religion, and Environment in America from the Puritans to the Present (Oxford, 2004). His most recent book Spirits of Place in American Literary Culture was published by Oxford Press in 2018.

Associate Director April Alvarez

April Alvarez is the Associate Director for the School of Letters. She worked previously in Sewanee's Alumni Office. A native of North Carolina, she holds a BA in English and Journalism from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. April received her MFA in 2015 from the School of Letters. Her short story "Tatau" was recently published in the Portland Review 2019, Unchartable: On Environmental Unknowns. April worked for the National Geographic Society before moving to Sewanee, where she lives with her husband, photographer Stephen Alvarez, and two children.

Tennessee Williams Post-Baccalaureate Fellow Meg Kirby

Meg Kirby is the School of Letters' 2019 - 2020 Tennessee Williams Post-Baccalaureate Fellow. Meg is a 2019 graduate of the University of the South, with a degree in English and Politics. At Sewanee, she served on the Executive Council of Kappa Delta, the Honor Council, and was Co-Director of the Daily Visitor Experience in the Admissions Office. She also worked at Stirling's Coffee House. Meg is from Washington, DC. She will be attending Vermont Law School in the Fall of 2020.