Associate Professor of English; Chair, Department of English
Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
M.A., Loyola Marymount University
B.A., University of Washington
Phone: 815-394-5213
E-mail: WGahan@rockford.edu

Dr. Bill Gahan, Chair of the English Department and Faculty Trustee at Rockford University, arrived in Rockford in 2009. He is a native of Madrid, Spain, where he lived until he was twenty.

Dr. Gahan enjoys the intellectual comradery among various disciplines at Rockford University. He has published on Shakespeare, philosophy, history, and early modern English writing and culture; Spanish painting; and Latin American and U.S. poets. He has also published translations of Renaissance Spanish literature, presented on medieval and early modern literature, Golden Age plays, and Shakespearean drama. He is currently collaborating with other RU professors on a book about poetry and philosophy.

At Rockford University, he won the Last Lecture Award in 2013 and the Excellence in Teaching and Campus Leadership Award in 2014. He enjoys travel, fly fishing, socializing, and spending time with family.

Dean, College of Arts & Humanities; Associate Professor of English; Faculty Athletic Representative
Ph.D., Arizona State University
M.A., University of St. Thomas
B.A., Augustana College
Phone: 815-226-4098
E-mail: MPerry@rockford.edu

Associate Professor of English and Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities Michael Perry started his tenure at Rockford University in 2008 upon completing his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. In addition to his academic roles at RU, he also serves as faculty athletic representative.

Michael’s interests in teaching and research include African American literature, popular culture, and creative writing. Each February since 2010, he has spearheaded a “Read Aloud of Black American Voices” in honor of Black History Month. Furthermore, Michael regularly presents at the Popular Culture and American Culture Association National Conference, where in addition to presenting in areas as wide-ranging as black culture, horror, and rhetoric, he also chaired a panel of three RU undergraduate students who presented work that stemmed from his class in graphic novels and the literary tradition.

Prior to obtaining his doctorate of philosophy in English from Arizona State, Michael taught for two years in the Minnesota community college system in a variety of settings, including the prison system.  Michael obtained his master of arts in English from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., and his bachelor of arts in English with minors in math and classics from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Dr. Perry lives in Rockford with his wife, Karen, who is a registered nurse, and three children: Caleb, Julian and Zoey.

Assistant Professor of English
Ph.D., Southern Illinois University
M.A., Southern Illinois University
B.A., Stony Brook University
B.A., Michigan State University
Phone: 815-226-4179
E-mail: JRea@rockford.edu

Assistant Professor of English Jennifer A. Rea first came to Rockford University as an adjunct in 2004 prior to obtaining her appointment as assistant professor. Before that, she lived in all parts of the United States: Florida, New York, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, Texas, ending up working on Irish and Irish Immigration Studies at Southern Illinois University. 

Dr. Rea’s research interests include Irish Literature, English Literature, Japanese Literature and Manga, Children's Literature, Dystopian Studies, and Medieval Literature. She is a published poet and a poetry reader for Fifth Wednesday Journal

In her spare time you will find her reading, writing both fiction and poetry, knitting, walking, and hanging out with her husband, teenage daughter, and her two cats,Theodore and Karma Akabane. 

Assistant Professor of English
Ph.D., University of South Florida
M.A., Georgetown University
B.A., Rollins College
Phone: 815-394-5048
E-mail: KStedman@rockford.edu

Kyle Stedman is assistant professor of English at Rockford University, where he teaches multimodal composition, first-year composition, professional writing, and creative nonfiction. On campus, Dr. Stedman directs the Writing Center and administrates the Forum Series.

Nationally, he’s an active member of the Intellectual Property Caucus at the Conference on College Composition and Communication and a regular presenter at Computers and Writing. His scholarship centers on the rhetoric of sound and music, remix, fan studies, and pedagogy. His selected publications include two forthcoming edited collections on teaching with sound in the rhetoric and writing classroom, scholarship on remix and on writing program administration, work for students, and audio essays on the effects and power of sound and music.

His cat is named Luna, and yes, that’s a Harry Potter reference.

Andrew H. Sherratt College Professor
Ph.D., University of Missouri-Columbia
M.A., Emory University
B.A., Emory University
Phone: 815-226-4079
E-mail: MWeaks-Baxter@rockford.edu

Mary Weaks-Baxter is the Andrew Sherratt College Professor at Rockford University, where she teaches courses in writing and American and British literature.

A member of the Phi Beta Kappa chapter at RU, Dr. Weaks-Baxter also teaches in the Gender Studies program and serves as Faculty Coordinator of the Community-Based Learning program and as the chair of the Rockford University Faculty. Her publications range from studies of the literature of the Southern United States to a history of the role of American college women during WWII.

She is active in the Rockford community as a trail steward for Winnebago County Forest Preserves and as a member of the Education Committee for Midway Village and Museum Center. Her favorite pastimes are hiking in the woods with her dog, Holly, and exploring local eateries and farmers markets with her husband and teenage son.    

Assistant Professor of English
Ph.D., University of Oklahoma
M.A., Colorado State University
B.A., Colorado State University
Phone: 815-226-4058
E-mail: TWood@rockford.edu

Assistant Professor of English Tara Wood teaches courses in rhetoric, body studies, and gender at Rockford University. Dr. Wood also serves as Writing Program Administrator and as the current chair of the Academic Standards Committee.  

Her research interests include rhetoric and composition studies, disability studies, feminist theory, body studies, critical pedagogy, trauma theory (and trauma narratives), and writing program administration/assessment. Her work has appeared in several edited collections and journals, including Composition Studies and Open Words: Access and English Studies.

If you can't find her on campus, she is probably in the woods somewhere with her husband, her three daughters, and the family dog, Kenny Bear. 

Phone: 815-226-4043

Department Information

Scarborough Hall
5050 E. State St.
Rockford, IL 61108

William Gahan, Ph.D.