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2022-23 Faculty Promotions

July 14, 2023 English

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Congratulations to our professional and tenure track faculty on their promotions!


Promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure

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Professor Gabrielle Fuentes

Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes is the author of the novel The Sleeping World and the short story collection Are We Ever Our Own, winner of the BOA Editions Short Fiction Prize. She has received fellowships from Lighthouse Works, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, Willapa Bay, Millay Colony, Anderson Center and the Blue Mountain Center. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, One Story, The New England Review, The Common and elsewhere.






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Professor Lillian Yvonne-Bertram

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram is the director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing. They are the author of the poetry collections Negative Money (2023) and Travesty Generator (2019), winner of the 2018 Noemi Press Poetry Prize and finalist for the National Poetry Series. Travesty Generator also received the 2020 Poetry Society of America Anna Rabinowitz Prize for interdisciplinary and venturesome work. Other works include Personal Science (2017), a slice from the cake made of air (2016), But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise (2012), the chapbook cutthroat glamours (2012), the artist book Grand Dessein and Tierra Fisurada, a Spanish poetry chapbook published in Argentina (2002). They also collaborated with the artist Laylah Ali for the exhibition booklet of her 2017 art show The Acephalous Series.


Promoted to Senior Lecturer

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Robert Lucci

Robert Lucci received his M.A. in English from the University of Maryland in 2018 and has taught as lecturer in the department since. Since joining the department, Lucci has taught primarily in the Academic Writing Program, although he has also taught science writing, technical writing and business writing. He has taught for the Honors Program and more recently, ARHU 230, “Introduction to Humanities, Health, and Medicine." As Lucci’s recommenders note, he is known for his focus on anti-racist pedagogy and a classroom approach grounded in empathy. His commitment to social justice is impressive, as made evident by his HONR269U course, “Hidden Figures: Race, Science, and the Black Narrative,” which introduces students to the often-overlooked contributions of Black scientists, medical researchers and practitioners and his ARHU158 course proposal, “Mapping Slave Biographies and the Industries of Enslavement in Prince George’s County and Beyond.” In addition to his caring and exemplary teaching, Lucci is widely known for his engagement in program development, mentoring, and service. He has been actively involved with the Writing Program’s annual Professional Development Day, and consistently steps up to serve as a mentor and advisor. His commitment to mentoring extends beyond the university, as for many years Lucci served as a literacy tutor for Community HOPE Mentoring and Tutoring for Raleigh, NC’s YMCA’s Youth-at-Risk Program.


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Katherine O'Neill

Dr. Katherine O’Neill received an M.A. Speech Language Pathology from the University of Maryland in 2014 and Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Rhode Island in 1983. She has held several postdoctoral appointments, is widely published and continues to be professionally active in the fields of neuroscience and behavioral psychology. Since 2014, Dr. O’Neill has taught for the department’s Professional Writing Program as lecturer. Because of her background in psychology, pharmacology and neuroscience, Dr. O’Neill primarily teaches Science Writing. She has also taught Writing for the Health Professions and Technical Writing. Dr. O’Neill’s course evaluations and course design demonstrate her commitment to creative approaches to the teaching of science writing. In 2002, she was awarded a UMD Teaching & Learning Grant to create a course on Science Writing for Chemistry and Biochemistry Majors in collaboration with colleagues from STEM Disciplines. Her successful collaborations benefit both English and chemistry, and her courses consistently draw science students from across campus. 


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Kathleen Orr

Dr. Kathleen Orr received an M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction from National University of San Diego in 1991 and Ph.D. in Composition and Rhetoric from Capella University in 2013. She has held several teaching appointments, including as associate professor at Tiffin University (2011–2015), where she also served as chair of the Masters of Humanities (2013–2014). She subsequently assumed the position of assistant professor (2015) and then associate professor (2021) at the University of Maryland Global Campus. At UMCG, Dr. Orr trains, mentors, and directs upwards of 38 instructors and manages the development of 50 online course shells for the writing program. Dr. Orr joined our department as a lecturer in 2021, where she has taught for both the Academic and Professional Writing Programs. During her time at UMD, in addition to teaching in the writing programs, Dr. Orr serves the College of Arts and Humanities by adjudicating final presentations by students in the HHUM 206: The Honors Humanities Keystone Project course. Dr. Orr’s course evaluations and peer observation demonstrate her commitment to creative, collaborative, technology-enhanced, active learning-oriented approaches to the teaching of academic and professional writing. She has made significant contributions as an instructor at both UMD and UMCG. She was awarded UMGC's “Outstanding Faculty” designation for 2022–2023, 2021–2022 and 2020–2021.


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Blake Wilder

Dr. Blake Wilder received his Ph.D. in English with an interdisciplinary specialization in Sexuality Studies from The Ohio State University in 2017 and an M.A. in English from North Carolina State University in 2008. In 2017, he joined the UMD Department of English as a lecturer. Building on his research interests, Dr. Wilder has developed and taught several popular literature courses, including “American Literature in Black and White,” “African American Graphic Novels” and “African American Literature 1910–1945.” Dr. Wilder played a critical role in the development and delivery of one of the core courses for our majors, “English at Work.” Dr. Wilder has also served on two honors thesis committees and worked with 6 undergraduate teaching assistants. Since 2019, he has served as an academic advisor for the department’s Undergraduate Studies program. In addition to being a creative and committed instructor, Dr. Wilder is a dedicated departmental citizen and has served on key committees, such as CAARES (Committee on Anti-Racism, Access, Respect, Equity, and Social Justice). He has also led a CLCS grant-funded discussion group on the book Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do. Dr. Wilder has sought out professional development and participated in TLTC’s online teaching design workshop and completed the department’s Online and Blended Training. Over the past five years, Dr. Wilder has maintained an active research agenda, having published “Black World / White World: Narrative Worldmaking in Jim Crow America” in the edited collection Narrative, Race, and Ethnicity in the Americas and “Masculinity, Vulnerability, and Consulting in Educational Development” in the journal New Directions for Teaching and Learning. Dr. Wilder regularly presents his research at national association conferences.


Headshot of Peter Witte

Peter Witte

Peter Witte received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland in 2017 and M.A. in Community Planning from the University of Maryland in 2009. He joined the department as a lecturer in 2017, and since then has taught a range of courses in creative writing, academic writing, and professional writing, as well as a 200-level course on children’s literature. His offerings include an always highly-enrolled course on the short story, a popular course on writing for the arts, writing for health professionals, an advanced composition course focused on “What Does It Mean to Be Educated?” and a course on comics and the graphic novel. Witte has also taught ARHU 158V: “Explorations in Arts and Humanities: Identity in Graphic Narratives.” In addition to his assigned teaching, in fall 2021, Witte served as a faculty reader for an UMD undergraduate capstone project, “Theatre Education Studies.” In spring 2021 he was nominated for a Donna B. Hamilton Teaching Award, and in 2019, was recognized as “Most Valuable Professor” from the University of Maryland Women’s Volleyball Team. While teaching at Maryland, Witte has continued to develop his profile as a prolific writer, publishing nine short stories and/or creative nonfiction essays as well as two graphic narratives/comics in journals. Relatedly, he continues to review fiction submissions for the New England Review and has taught a creative writing workshop in partnership with the College Park Arts Exchange in Fall 2016 and Fall 2017. He is currently completing a novel, tentatively titled, “Peacock,” a short story collection, a short prose manuscript, as well as expanding his graphic novel, After Kafka, for which he received the Meek Award in Graphic Narrative from The Florida Review in 2018.


Promoted to Principal Lecturer


Peter Grybauskas

Since earning promotion to the rank of senior lecturer in 2018, Peter Grybauskas has continued to distinguish himself as a creative instructor within and beyond the Academic and Professional Writing Programs. Notably, he has taught the popular ARHU 158K: “Explorations in Arts & Humanities: Roads to JRR Tolkien’s Middle-earth” and UNIV 104: “Reading and Writing at the College Level,” a workshop that helps students build their writing skills. Grybauskas is best known for developing and teaching extremely popular study abroad offerings. In summer 2017, he created the first section of Professional Writing’s “Food Writing” in Italy. His winter term course that focuses on J.R.R. Tolkien in Oxford has also been consistently popular. Grybauskas was selected in 2015 for a TLTC Elevate Faculty Fellowship. He was also selected, on three different occasions, by members of the soccer, wrestling, and women’s basketball teams as their “Most Valuable Professor.” During his tenure as senior lecturer, Grybauskas has been awarded the English Department’s PTK Teaching Excellence Award (2020) and a Teaching Innovation Grant from the Office of International Affairs (2020). Grybauskas’ service to the department’s writing program has been impressive. He has served as a mentor for the Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Program (UTAP) and for the department’s PTK Mentoring Program. He has worked on the Editorial Board for the student journal Interpolations: UMD’s Journal of Academic Writing and was a member of the Academic Writing Program’s Teaching Partners Program. Currently, Grybauskas is serving as an elected member of the PTK Executive Committee. Grybauskas has also served as the faculty advisor for the Spoon U Food Writing Club since 2020. For several years he has led the department’s faculty research and writing group on fantasy studies. He has also served as a reader on an undergraduate thesis committee and has directed one independent study on Tolkien In addition to his contributions as a teacher and department citizen, Grybauskas has been actively engaged in the scholarly fields of fantasy studies and tolkien studies. In 2021, he published a single-authored monograph, A Sense of Tales Untold: Exploring the Edges of Tolkien’s Literary Canvas with Kent State University Press, which was recognized as a finalist for the 2022 Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies. Additionally, he published three articles in refereed journals between 2011-2022 and three book chapters in edited collections between 2012-2018, one of which was selected for the BSFA Award Longlist. He has also published work on Tolkien in Italian, “Vita reale: ovvero ‘Qualcosa che Viene dai Tuc” (2012), and he translated an article from Italian to English for the journal Tolkien and Philosophy (2012). He has presented or chaired panels at the Popular Culture Association’s National Conference, and he has presented at various other conferences. Grybauskas currently serves as a reviewer for both Kent State University Press and Cambridge University Press, as well as the journal Tolkien Studies.