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Daytime Degree Programs: Department of English at University of Mount Olive

The department of English offers classes in Literature, Technical and Professional Communication, Composition, and Creative Writing. We seek to prepare students for life after college by developing their critical thinking, writing and reading skills; instilling in them a deeper understanding of their own and others’ cultures and histories; and developing their cultural, professional, aesthetic and technological literacies.

Our majors go on to work in professions such as teaching, marketing, web design, publishing and journalism; and attend graduate school in law, education, technical and professional writing, and literary studies (at schools such as East Carolina University, North Carolina State University, and Emerson). 

Degree offerings:

Student Involvement Opportunities:

  • Sigma Tau Delta (English Honor Society)
  • Trojan Voices (Student journal)
  • Literary Fest (annual celebration of North Carolina writers)
  • Poetry Slam (Student Contest)
  • Sophia Potts Writing Award
  • Hallowe’en “Flash Fiction” Writing Contest and Valentine’s Day Poetry Contest

Keely Byars-Nichols, Ph.D.

Department Chair, Associate Professor of English

  • Ph.D. in English, University of Georgia
  • M.A. in English, Hunter College, City University of New York
  • B.A. in English, Appalachian State University

Courses Taught: 

American Literature, Native American Literature, African American Literature, Composition.


  • "Teaching Critical Food Studies in Rural North Carolina." Educating for Sustainability in Unsustainable Environments. Michigan State UP, 2017.
  • The Black Indian in American Literature. New York: Palgrave, 2014.
  • “Genre Theory and Writing Transfer:  Making a Case for the Multi-Tiered, Vertical Writing Program Structure.” Elon University Critical Transitions Conference.  June 2013. [with Debi Welsh and Alexis Davis]


Alexis Poe Davis, Ph.D.


QEP Director

Composition Program Director

Writing Center Director

Coordinator for Certificate in Technical and Professional Communication

Assistant Professor of English

  • Ph.D. in Technical and Professional Discourse, East Carolina University
  • M.A. in Technical and Professional Communication, concentration in International Studies, East Carolina University
  • B.A. in English Literature, minor in Philosophy, East Carolina University

Courses Taught:

Composition I and II, Advanced Composition, Research Methodology, Business Communication, World Literature, and Technical Writing

Recent Publications and Presentations:

  • “Genre Theory and Writing Transfer: Making the Case for the Multi-Tiered, Vertical Writing Program Structure.” Critical Transitions: Writing and the Question of Transfer, Elon University Research Seminar, Elon University, Greensboro, NC. (2013, June). [with Keely Byars-Nichols and Debi Welsh]
  • “Transforming Education, Transforming Lives: Operationalizing the MOC QEP.” Mainstreaming Assessment: Practical Approaches for Institutions, 9th Annual North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities Assessment Conference, Guilford College, Greensboro, NC. (2013, May). [with David Hines and Ursa Johnson]
  • “Wah Whole New Tataram: Discursive Identities in Belizean Political Blogs.” Persuasion in Dialogic Interaction. Eds. Ionela Neagu, Razvan Saftoiu, and Mada Stanca. John Benjamins International Press. [with Randy B. Marfield] [Under review]

Jill Gerard, Ed.D.

Associate Professor of English Education

  • Ed.D. in English Education, University of Virginia
  • M.A.T. in English/English Education, Keene State College
  • B.A. in English, Keene State College

Courses Taught:

College Composition, Introduction to Literature, Special Topics in Literature, Creative Writing, Magazine Editing.

Recent Publications/Presentations:


  • “What I Cannot See.” Sugar Mule, 2012.
  • “Mountain in Late Afternoon.” Notes from the Gean, 2012.
  • Something Yet Unseen.  Georgetown, KY: Finishing Line Press, 2009.


  • “Natural Host.” Our State Magazine.  February 2012.

Linda Holland-Toll, Ph.D.

Professor of English

  • Ph.D. in English, University of Nevada, Reno
  • M.A. in English, University of Nevada, Reno
  • B.S. in English, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Courses Taught:

World Literature, American Literature, British Literature, Linguistics, Mythology, Fairy Tales and Science Fiction.

Recent Publications/Presentations:

  • “Cherchez Les Femmes: Someone’s in the Kitchen with Charlotte: Classic Detective Fiction, Victorian Womanhood, and the Private Sphere in Anne Perry’s Charlotte Pitt Series.” Journal of Popular Culture 46: 3 (2013).
  • “Once Upon a Time in Portland:  Genre Re-envisioning in ‘Grimm.’” Popular Culture of the South, Nashville, 2012.
  • “A Rat's Eye View: David Wilson's The Coachman Rat and the Enlightenment Corrupted.” Popular Culture, Boston, 2012.

Lenard Moore, M.A.

Associate Professor of English

  • M.A. in English and African American Literature, North Carolina A&T State University
  • B.A. in Liberal Studies (Magna Cum Laude), Shaw University

Courses Taught:

African American Literature, Creative Writing, Advanced Poetry and Fiction Writing, Public Speaking, Composition.

Recent Publications/Presentations:

  • Poetry published in Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years. New York: Norton, 2013.
  • A Temple Looming. WordTech Editions, 2008.
  • Poetry published in 27 Views of Raleigh: The City of Oaks in Prose & Poetry.  Hillsborough, NC: Eno Publishers, 2013.

Lenard D. Moore, associate professor of English, has been awarded the 2014 North Carolina Literature Award. The North Carolina Awards have been given annually since 1964 to citizens who have distinguished themselves and obtained distinctions for notable accomplishments in the fields of public service, science, literature, and fine arts. It is the highest honor the Governor and the State of North Carolina can bestow.  To read more about Professor Moore and his incredible accomplishments, please click here.  A video featuring Professor Moore can be found here.

Therese I. Pennell

Ph.D. Candidate, Rhetoric, Writing and Professional Communication, East Carolina University

M.A. English concentration Technical Communication certificate in Muticultural and Transitional Literature

B.A. English Education, University of Belize

Courses Taught:


Recent Publications/Presentations:

"Mobile Learning and Universal Access to Education," Computers and Writing, University of Wisconsin, Stout, June 2015

"Embodied Professionalizations," Programmatic Perspective, co-written Erin Frost and Guiseppe Getto (pending).

Pirate Papers, English 1100 Student Papers, East Carolina University, 2015 (editor).


Deborah Welsh, Ph.D.

Coordinator for Leadership Studies

Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Composition, and Technical Communication

  • Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Writing, and Professional Communication, East Carolina University 
  • M.P.A. (Master in Public Administration), East Carolina University
  • B.S. in Political Science, East Carolina University

Courses Taught:

Composition I and II, Business Communication, Technical Writing

Recent Publications/Presentations:

  • “Pursuing Medical Negligence Cases in North Carolina: Qualifying the Expert Witness.” Campbell Law Observer, Fall 2008.
  • “Technology in the English Composition Classroom: Focusing on the Cognitive and Psychomotor Needs of Older Students.”  Invited Speaker:  South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) Roundtable Discussion: Teaching Writing: Professional Development in First-Year Writing Instruction, November 2011.
  • “Complex Trials and Jurors: How Discourse Analysis Can Reconcile Divergent Knowledge Schemas in the Courtroom.” Invited Presenter: Conference on College Composition and Communication, (NCTE) CCCC Annual Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, April 2011.