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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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New department head hopes to increase funding

The Texas A&M Department of English has appointed Dr. Paul A. Parrish as the new department head.
Former head Dr. J. Lawrence Mitchell had occupied the position since 1989.
“I hope to continue the trajectory that my predecessor, Dr. Mitchell, had laid out,” Parrish said. “I want to continue to work with the faculty and students to make the department one of the centerpieces of the University.”
Parrish has been a part of the faculty since 1974. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Abilene Christian University in 1966, a master’s degree in English from the University of Kansas in 1968 and a Ph.D. in English from Rice University in 1971.
Since coming to A&M, he has served as associate dean for the College of Liberal Arts, arts development coordinator for the College of Liberal Arts and on the Faculty Senate. He has been a distinguished regents professor, a designation made by the A&M University System Board of Regents given to two A&M professors each year, Parrish said.
Parrish has taught 15 English courses at A&M, including Renaissance and Early Modern Literature, Shakespeare, Milton and 17th Century Literature.
“I like all of the courses that I’ve taught, and I like them equally well,” Parrish said.
Mitchell described the head of the English department’s main responsibilities as overseeing the large graduate program and the 600-plus students in the undergraduate program and supervising the writing programs and more than 70 English department faculty.
As department head, Parrish plans to make more opportunities available to students and faculty and have an open door policy similar to Mitchell’s. He also plans to keep the faculty well-informed.
“The key to continued success is to serve lots of undergraduates, graduates and faculty, and do it very well,” Parrish said.
Dr. Claude Gibson, director of undergraduate studies for the English department, said Parrish has a good record of helping undergraduates.
“He’s a man that has been an administrator at all levels and is a fine teacher,” Gibson said. “He takes teaching very seriously and really models what his fellow faculty should do.”
Parrish has also backed the arts at A&M, contributing to programs such as MSC OPAS and KAMU-TV, Gibson said.
“He will do great. His whole record speaks of that,” Gibson said. “In deciding the new department head, his name went forward with lots of support. We’re excited about the future of the English department at Texas A&M.”
Mitchell said Parrish will be a great asset because of his extensive contacts in the community, especially in the area of arts and humanities.
“I’m sure he will be a success,” Mitchell said. “He is well respected throughout the University.”
Parrish said he looks forward to working with the faculty during the next few years.
“One of the most enjoyable features will be to create opportunities for the faculty,” Parrish said. “I hope to bring additional funding to the department.”

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