Letter From English Department Head

dorrie armstrong

March 18, 2020

Dear English Students,

As I write this letter, I am acutely aware that this is not the spring semester you were anticipating. First, let me encourage you to take some time during the next few weeks to take care of yourselves in whatever way is best for you to process these events. As you are English students, perhaps the most obvious approach would be to write down your experiences—I predict that if you do, you will find ways to reflect on them and share them in the coming months and years. And of course, as you all certainly already know, reading is one of the best comforts available to us at a time like this.* I believe we will all learn a lot about ourselves during this challenging period, and I am sure that many of us will discover that we are perhaps stronger and more resilient than we had believed.

As you know, Purdue will be moving classes to online only for the rest of the semester in order to try to contain the spread of COVID-19. As someone who has already been personally affected by the disease, with family members now in the hospital, I am convinced this is the prudent course of action. Self-isolating and social distancing is crucial right now to slow down the spread of the disease and give our medical infrastructure time to get on top of the situation.

As we move to online teaching this Monday, I want you to know that the faculty and staff of the Department of English are committed to creating the best learning environment possible under the present conditions. You may not have taken an online class before—and the majority of our faculty members have never taught one. Let’s be patient with each other as we go forward, and above all, try to retain a sense of humor whenever possible. I am looking forward to hearing about all the pets and small children who may unintentionally participate in the online educational experience. And also (here’s a sentence I never thought I would need to write), please remember to wear clothes when participating in any virtual learning experience in which you might be visible to others.

Here is some additional information I hope you will find helpful:

Advising and Registration:

All registration appointments will be virtual. Please contact your advisor with questions:

Kathy Korty (kkorty@purdue.edu)

Nancy Casas (ncasas@purdue.edu)

For all other advisors, see the CLA Advisor Directory.


Please stay in touch by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Writing Lab

The writing lab tutors are available on line, and you can select from asynchronous (uploaded documents) and synchronous sessions (live online chats). The Online Writing Lab is up and running.

Contact us with Concerns

I want you to have the best learning experience possible with these current constraints.  If you are having difficulty accessing materials, if you have not been contacted by an English instructor by March 25, or if you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to email the associate department head, Barbara Dixon (dixonb@purdue.edu), who will be the point person for these issues as we move forward.


Dorsey Armstrong, Head

*If you have a moment, please send Barbara Dixon (dixonb@purdue.edu) the title and author of what you are reading, with a quick summary of what you find compelling about the work. We’ll put your responses on a Web site for others to get inspiration!



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