Meet The Professors

by Kat Weigle

UTSA’s English department is known for attracting top-notch professorial talent. Here’s an opportunity to glimpse the personalities behind the PhDs!

Fiona McWilliam, PhD.

Dr. McWilliam is a professor of all literature American (at least through the 19th century). Like a rare pokemon, Dr. McWilliam is usually in hiding--in her office or at home--but can sometimes be spotted eating tacos or sneaking candy from other people's stashes.

Can you tell a bit about your background that we won’t find on your CV?


My dad’s from Scotland and, growing up, my family was very involved in “Scottish activities”: my brothers played in a bagpipe band and my sister and I were competitive Scottish highland dancers. My 1-year-old son already has his first teeny tiny kilt.

What is your favorite class to teach?

My field is nineteenth-century American literature, so I really enjoy teaching the American Literature to 1865 course – sometimes more than teaching specialized courses. I always try use teaching as an opportunity to learn more about my own field, so it’s oddly exciting for me to dig into unfamiliar texts and authors and broaden my own knowledge while at the same time exposing students to new (or new to them) material. I’m also finding that the longer I teach, the more passionate I become about teaching writing, which has caught me by surprise.

What kind of writing do you like to teach? Have you done any rhet/comp scholarship?


I teach writing primarily in the literature classroom, so I’m focused on having students perform textual analysis—forming arguments about the text using the text. I haven’t done any rhet/comp scholarship—instead I get to rely on Dr. Hum and Dr. Colombini for ideas and resources!

What is your favorite field of research/specific research interests?

Broadly, I study American literature before 1865. My specific field of interest is abolitionist literature, which intersects with African American literature. I think abolition is often represented as very straightforward, but it’s an incredibly fractured movement (for lack of a better word) that uses what might seem to be contradictory means to fight slavery—this is on top of infighting and secret societies formed to stop slave catchers.

Full Interview Here.

Steven G. Kellman, PhD.

Dr. Kellman is a professor of comparative literature and translingual studies. He's also the man who showed up to his wedding on a bike and makes his own vegan ice cream. In other words, if you think you know him, you're probably wrong.

Would you like to share something about yourself that won't be found on your CV?

I suffer from a benign addiction to tennis.

When/how did you get into tennis? What drew you to it, and why do you keep playing? Are you aware of Dr. Lanehart as a tennis player? Would/have you considered challenging her to a match, friendly or otherwise?

I was on my college's tennis team, which was no great accomplishment, since I was seeded 15 out of a squad of 16. My moment of greatest glory came during practice when I defeated our #3 seed. I never got to play in an intercollegiate match. For the past several years, I have been playing singles and doubles on a team in a United States Tennis Association league. Scores are recorded, standings tabulated, and playoffs scheduled. I played against Dr. Lanehart shortly after she came to UTSA. However, she developed a back injury, and we have not played since.

What is your favorite class to teach?

Any class with dedicated, alert students who come to sessions prepared to be challenged and to challenge me.

Full Interview Here.

Kimberly Fonzo, PhD.

Dr. Fonzo is our resident Medievalist and armored heroine who seems to bring centuries old literature into the present with quirky and exciting new perspectives. Nowhere else will you find a professor who justifiably appreciates the humors of Chaucer and Pee-wee Herman equally.

Full Interview Here.

Sonja Lanehart, PhD.

Dr. Lanehart is one of our esteemed Linguistics professors who is doing amazing things with #BlackLivesMatter, including an overwhelmingly cross-listed course happening spring 2016.

Full Interview Here.

Kenneth Walker, PhD.

Dr. Walker is the newest member of the Rhetoric and Composition cohort in the Department of English. Welcome to UTSA!

Full Interview Here.

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