The Department of English is pleased to introduce Dr. Kathleen Lacey as the new academic advisor for English and Film Studies. Dr. Lacey has taught and worked with students for many years as a graduate teaching assistant and lecturer for the department, and completed her Ph.D. in English here in 2017. We are thrilled that she accepted the position and know that our students will benefit from her dedication and expertise.
Dr. Lacey is originally from Arcadia, Wisconsin, a small town near the upper Mississippi River. As an undergraduate she attended the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, where she graduated summa cum laude with degrees in English and Humanistic Studies. She moved to Minnesota for graduate school and earned her M.A. in English and M.F.A. in fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato before arriving at the University of Nebraska to pursue her doctorate.
Dr. Lacey has worked extensively with both the Department of English and the Women’s and Gender Studies program, teaching courses in popular culture as well as writing, literature, and women’s and gender studies. This semester, she is teaching an Honors course entitled “Haunted Women,” which explores narratives of women and the supernatural through literature and film, including Beloved by Toni Morrison, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, and The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Morrison is one of Dr. Lacey's favorite authors, as are Jesmyn Ward and Jacqueline Woodson. It’s their writing—“the poetry and craft of it”—their characters, and the atmospheric quality of their fiction that she loves so much.
Girlhood and women’s studies are central topics in Dr. Lacey’s scholarship. Her current research addresses the representation of Black girlhood in African American women's literature and Black girls’ intellectual production. With a colleague, she is also working on an edited collection that examines how students and faculty navigate the challenges of chronic illness in academia. In addition to her teaching and research, Dr. Lacey was the inaugural Michael K. Schoenecke Leadership Institute fellow with the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (SWPACA). Now, as a member of the executive team, she works with nearly eighty faculty members from around the world to organize various areas of the annual conference and serves as the coordinator for the awards program in addition to working with graduate students and junior faculty on professional development.
Her biggest piece of advice for students is to get to know your instructors, especially in classes that interest you. “Take time to meet your professors for real,” she says—not just with a quick hello before or after class, but by making a point to visit them during their office hours to have meaningful conversations about course content or research. During her undergraduate program, she got to know a new professor who—much like an advisor—learned about her interests and helped her identify the focus of her future work. “She was really instrumental in helping me determine my next steps, in terms of scholarly study as well as creative writing.”
Dr. Lacey will begin advising English and Film Studies students this fall, working closely with the College of Arts and Sciences Academic and Career Advising Center. Our previous advisor, Dr. Kelly Payne, accepted an Assistant Dean position at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY in June. The department is very grateful for Dr. Payne's hard work and dedication in service of students over the years, and wishes both Dr. Payne and Dr. Lacey best of luck in their new endeavors.