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Detroit Mercy English students and professors

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Department Chair
Mary Catherine Harrison, Ph.D.
mc.harrison@udmercy.edu
313-993-1081

 Did you know that English majors:

Discover New Worlds: English Majors and Minors Enjoy Many Paths to Success

Whether you major or minor in English at Detroit Mercy, you will gain essential skills to thrive in your career and life. Our courses are taught by award-winning faculty members who are active scholars, authors, and filmmakers. Our students are engaged, passionate, and collaborative.

Your journey with us will transport you to other worlds and teach you to empathize with diverse perspectives. You will graduate a strong and confident reader, writer, thinker and speaker, ready to continue your journey in graduate or professional school or pursue a career in a broad range of competitive fields.

Three Exciting Concentrations

Literature

Discover great literature through conversation and writing. Learn about yourself and the world; develop as a scholar and critic; collaborate with active scholars in the field.

Professional Writing

Discover your professional voice through research, writing for print and digital formats and oral presentations. Collaborate with professionals in your field and build your resume.

Creative Writing

Discover your voice as you work alongside peers and published authors in genres including poetry, fiction and screenwriting. Hone your craft through writing and revision. 

English students photo collage. A variety of headshots and groups of students together smiling.

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English Majors

English Minors

Undergraduate Programs

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    Major - English

    Degree: Bachelor of Arts
    Major: English
    Concentrations:  Literature, Creative Writing and Professional Writing

    University of Detroit Mercy's Department of English is home to three undergraduate major concentrations--literature, creative writing, and professional writing. Majors work closely with a faculty advisor to pick courses and plan for their career.

    To obtain this undergraduate degree, the student must fulfill the requirements of the University core curriculum, the requirements for the 36-credit-hour program major and have completed a minimum of 126 credit hours. In their final semester English majors and minors will submit a portfolio of their work that demonstrates their academic growth within the department.*

    View English Department  program outcomes.

    * New students enrolled starting fall 2020 will follow a minimum of 120 credit hours.

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    Accelerated 6-Year Law Scholars Program (3+3)

    Are you ready to accelerate your law career? Detroit Mercy’s innovative Accelerated 6-Year Law Scholars Program enables you to earn both a bachelor's degree and a Juris Doctor degree in only six years rather than the traditional seven.  English is an approved major for this program. Students must meet program entrance criteria.

    • Earn a law degree in less time.
    • Your space in the Detroit Mercy School of Law is reserved.
    • Receive exclusive access to "law only" events such as the Lunch with a Lawyer series.
    • Meet and network with judges and other legal professionals.

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    Creative Writing Minor

    Find your voice and develop your craft as a poet, novelist, essayist or screenwriter. The creative writing minor is a minimum 18-credit-hour (six courses) program designed to provide students the tools for a deeper understanding of how to use language and to express the intricacies of the human experience. The creative writing minor gives students the opportunity to undertake creative writing projects—especially the writing of poetry, fiction, screenplays, and non-fiction—which emphasize the process of writing as well as the end product. In their classes, students read and study a variety of key published works, write from prompts and assignments and learn techniques for harnessing their own creative resources. The peer workshop, or group critique of student writing, is the cornerstone of growth as a writer.

    View English Department  program outcomes.

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    Literature Minor

    Enhance your writing skills and set yourself apart from the crowd. The literature minor is a minimum 18-credit-hour (six courses) program designed to provide students with a critical understanding of a range of literary periods, genres, authors and literary theory. This minor complements a range of majors and is a good choice for any student who has an interest in reading, writing about and discussing literature. The literature minor is particularly valuable for students' professional development because it helps develop critical thinking and writing skills, historical and cultural awareness, and appreciation of the diversity of human experience and written expression over the ages.

    View English Department  program outcomes.

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    Professional Writing Minor

    Hone your writing skills for success on the job market and in your career. The professional writing minor is an 18-credit-hour (six courses) program designed to provide students with the broad range of tools necessary for writing in their profession. The professional writing minor helps students stand apart from their peers by enhancing writing and presentation skills directly applicable to diverse workplace environments. The minor complements all majors and is tailored to help students succeed in achieving their individual professional goals.

    View English Department  program outcomes.

More about the English Department

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    English Department Program Outcomes

    Upon completion of their degree requirements all English majors and minors will be able to:

    1. Deploy close textual analysis to create original interpretations of literary texts.
    2. Identify the formal characteristics and conventions of literary and rhetorical genres.
    3. Analyze the complex relationships between artistic texts and the diverse historical and cultural contexts in which they are produced.
    4. Apply theoretical/interpretive approaches to literary and rhetorical texts.
    5. Assess audience needs and expectations for the purpose of effective communication.

    Majors with a Literature concentration and Literature minors will be able to:

    Produce original scholarly texts that synthesize and engage critically with scholarship in the field of literary studies. (6L)

    Majors with a Creative Writing concentration and Creative Writing minors will be able to:

    Produce creative texts that demonstrate originality of thought, inventive use of language, and skills in using observation, memory, and imagination. (6CW)

    Majors with a Professional Writing concentration and Professional Writing minors will be able to:

    Produce texts for oral, print, and electronic media that are effective for professional and workplace settings. (6PW)

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    Careers

    Careers

    An English major/minor prepares you with essential skills for your chosen career path. English does not prepare you for one career; it prepares you for a lifetime of professional development.


    What jobs can you get with an English major/minor?

    The question is, what job can’t you get? Great career options include:

    Broadcasting/Television/Film
    Business
    Communications
    Consulting
    Copywriting
    Creative Writing
    Education/Teaching
    Freelance Writing
    Grant Writing
    Higher Education Administration
    Human Resources
    Journalism
    Law
    Library Science/Information Science
    Magazine Writing
    Marketing/Advertising
    Non-Profit Administration
    Psychology/Therapy
    Public Policy/Government
    Public Relations
    Public Service
    Publishing/Editing
    Research Analysis
    Science Writing
    Scriptwriting
    Social Work
    Speech Writing
    Sports Writing
    Technical Writing
    Website Development

    Find out more about What You Can Do With an English Major and
    visit the Detroit Mercy Career Education Center in person. 


     

    Career skills an English major/minor fosters:

    Assessing an audience and crafting a message for maximum effect;
    Creating persuasive messages, influencing and persuading;
    Perceiving the world from multiple points of view;
    Reading critically; analyzing texts and information;
    Thinking out of the box;
    Understanding and managing complex information;
    Working independently; working well with others; and
    Writing and speaking with confidence, clarity and sophistication.

    Graduate and professional school

    An undergraduate degree in English is an excellent foundation for a variety of graduate and professional programs. English majors score competitively on the GRE, LSAT, MCAT, and GMAT exams. English alumni successfully pursue careers in law, medicine, business, education, and more.


    Why English majors rock their careers!

    Humanities as Essential Services
    Inside Higher Ed, May 21, 2020 

    In the Salary Race, Engineers Sprint but English Majors Endure
    New York Times, Sept. 20, 2019

    The surprising thing Google learned about its employees — and what it means for today’s students
    Washington Post, Dec. 20, 2017

    Surprise: Humanities Degrees Provide a Great Return on Investment,”
    Forbes, Nov. 20, 2014.

    The Best Argument for Studying English? The Employment Numbers,”
    The Atlantic, Jun. 25, 2013.

    That ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket,”
    Forbes, Jun. 29, 2015.

    A Top Medical School Revamps Requirements To Lure English Majors,”
    May 27, 2015.

    "A Liberal Arts Degree Can Be More Beneficial than Most People Think,"
    March 28, 2016.

    Logitech CEO: ‘I Love Hiring English Majors,’” Business Insider, Jun. 20, 2013.

    Employers and Public Favor Graduates Who Can Communicate, Survey Finds,”
    The Chronicle of Higher Education, Sep. 18, 2013.

    What Is Knowledge Worth? A Liberal Arts Education Has Enduring Value,”
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Feb. 17, 2013.

    A Liberal Arts Foundation for Any Career,”
    New York Times, Mar. 24, 2013.

    Why I Hire English Majors,”
    Huffington Post, Jun. 23, 2013.

    Open Minds, Open Arms, Open Hearts,”
    (by Giulia Pink, University of Detroit Mercy English Alumna), Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education, March 2015.

    Reading Literature Makes Us Smarter and Nicer,”
    Time, June 2013.

    Why English Majors are the Hot New Hires,”
    American Express Forum, July 2013.

    Download this flyer for great tips on professionalizing your English degree.

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    What Our Students Are Saying

    Detroit Mercy English courses are taught by award-winning faculty members, who are passionate teachers and active scholars and authors.

    Michael Barry, Ph.D., Department Chair and Professor of English

    What His Students Are Saying:

    • “I LOVE Michael Barry. He made me fall back in love with writing. He was so encouraging and helpful.”
    • “It’s clear that he loves the literature and thinks about it often. He is extremely well read and poses questions that take a while to process, which is infinitely more interesting than a simple question with a simple answer. He makes me want to read everything.”
    • “Dr. Barry is always thinking of new ways to make the material more interesting. For example, he twice prepared dishes that were part of the stories we read in class. I definitely appreciate Dr. Barry’s effort!”


    Claire Crabtree, Ph.D., Professor of English

    What Her Students Are Saying:

    • “Prof. Crabtree is a phenomenal teacher. I greatly enjoyed learning from her, and I would HIGHLY recommend her to friends.”
    • “Prof. Crabtree is wonderfully knowledgeable…capable, approachable, and has a knack for how much space to give in order to best encourage a quality output from the student.”
    • “Prof. Crabtree is a delight. She is wonderfully knowledgeable, yet consistently displays a penchant for learning with her students. She has instructed a few of the classes that I've taken and I've found that I appreciate her more each time.”


    John Freeman, Ph.D., Professor of English

    What His Students Are Saying:

    • “Before taking this class, I was not at all interested in poetry. But Dr. Freeman helps the students understand that a poem is not just a poem. It is another way to communicate an idea or feeling about something going on around you, be it political or a belief. I was inspired after this class to start writing my own poems.”
    • “Dr. Freeman was my favorite professor. He made sure to let everyone participate in conversations. He was very helpful and insightful on many topics…I think I can say for all the students that we learned a lot about diverse topics in this class.”
    • “The class atmosphere was fun and Prof. Freeman always had us laughing. He is truly a great professor, full of energy and compassion for teaching and English literature.”


    Mary-Catherine Harrison, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English

    What Her Students Are Saying:

    • “Professor Harrison is an amazing professor. She is energetic about the material she teaches, challenges her students, and is always available if needed. I would encourage any student to take a course with her.”
    • “Professor Harrison’s contagious energy helps to make studying poetry engaging and informative.”
    • “Not only does Dr. Harrison excite students about learning, but she sets the academic standard in every course she teaches. She utilizes every moment of class time to get as much as possible out of her students, and gives them much more than anyone could imagine a professor could dedicate in return.”


    Amanda Hiber, M.F.A., Senior Lecturer

    What Her Students Are Saying:

    • “I learned so much from Prof. Hiber. I will definitely use all of the writing tools she taught me for the rest of my life.”
    • “I started the class nervous about my writing skills. After the class was over, I felt more confident in my writing. Prof. Hiber had a great balance between leading her students in the right direction and letting us write on our own.”
    • “Prof. Hiber was very helpful and was very easy to meet with outside of class. I’ve never been good at English but she made it easy for me to understand. I learned a great deal from her and am so thankful.”


    Heather Hill, Ph.D., Professor of English

    What  Her Students Are Saying:

    • “I’ve always loved books, but Prof. Hill taught me how to truly respect the corpus and meaning of the works we learned. She opened up the doors of thought and reasoning that has helped me in every class since.”
    • “Dr. Hill taught me, through interactive lectures and productive group work, that no facet of our society should go unexamined. She not only taught about inspirational figures, but was an inspiration to her own students.”
    • “Dr. Hill wants her students to succeed. She makes herself extremely available, working with each student personally and pushing them to produce their best work. She is very kind, tough (in the best way possible), and demands that students challenge their every-day perceptions to seek out the deeper meaning in anything they experience.”


    Joe Paszek, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English

    What His Students Are Saying:

    • “I've had an English class every single year of K-12 schooling, took AP English in 11th and 12th grade and received A's. I learned as much or more in the few hours under Prof. Paszek’s guidance than those many years of schooling. [It’s like] he taught me the secret tricks and ‘what they don't want you to know.’”
    • “Professor Paszek’s course was effective and very beneficial to me. I learned a lot and got another way to analyze my life and the people in it.”
    • “I really enjoyed my instructor Joe Paszek. I feel that I am a better writer, and have developed many writing skills from the course. Joe presented all materials and made it understandable, he also encourages questions. On my papers he let me know my strengths and weaknesses.”


    Nick Rombes, Ph.D., Professor of English

    What His Students Are Saying:

    • “Awesome professor. I felt as though he truly prized what students said which made it easy to participate and present in class.”
    • “I wasn't really interested in the film-making process before I took Prof. Rombes’s class. Now I find myself watching films and pointing out different techniques that I never would have noticed before. “
    • “Prof. Rombes was great and made the class thoroughly interesting. He was extremely educated in the film subject and he was passionate about film. This passion was easily passed on to his students. “


    Rosemary Weatherston, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English

    What Her Students Are Saying:

    • “Dr. Weatherson makes sure she is available for her students when they need help and goes out of her way to help them. I've never had a professor that shows such passion for the subject they teach and true concern to see her students succeed.”
    • “Dr. Weatherston’s understanding of the text and interpretation of writing is exceptional. She made it available for us to apply the skills that she holds to our own personal work. I enjoyed this course very much and Dr. Weatherston was more than willing to work with students and help them achieve their greatest potential.”
    • “Hands down, one of the best professors and teachers I have ever have. She is so passionate about literature and fiction. I truly enjoyed having her as a teacher.”
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    [sic]: Detroit Mercy's Student Arts Journal

    [sic]
    Student Arts Journal

    Many of our English majors and minors have their creative work featured in [sic], the University's student arts journal. Established in 1992, [sic] is published annually by the English Department’s Dudley Randall Center for Print Culture. The publication features the poetry, fiction, prose, photography and fine art of Detroit Mercy's exceptionally creative student body. The journal is edited and designed by undergraduate students and publishes annually.

    For more information, contact Rosemary Weatherston, associate professor of English: weatherr@udmercy.edu.

    Click the link to read more about [sic].


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    Dudley Randall Center for Print Culture

    The Dudley Randal Center for Print Culture connects academic, student and community writers through its literary events and creative publishing projects. Named after Dudley Randall, the late poet, publisher, and University of Detroit Mercy librarian and poet-in-residence, the Center continues Randall’s vision of the written word as a living art form intimately connected to community and to self-determination. Read more about the Dudley Randall Center for Print Culture or contact Rosemary Weatherston, associate professor of English, for more information at weatherr@udmercy.edu.

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    Howard Walsh Memorial Award

    The Howard Walsh Memorial Award is presented each year to the English major who has demonstrated the greatest proficiency in English language and literature; the award was founded in 1927 by Annie Doheny Walsh.

    • 2021  Bek Hirschmann and Nurzahan Rahman
    • 2020  Mary Kate McNally
    • 2019  Hannah Tillman
    • 2018  Lauren Webley
    • 2017  Nicole West
    • 2016  Stephanie Hilliard
    • 2015  Giulia Pink
    • 2014  Mohammad-Yasser Ibrahim
    • 2013  Christa Hoen
    • 2012  Susan Kalkstein and Chelsea Smialek
    • 2011  Constantine Demontfort
    • 2010  Noel Rivard
    • 2009  Tanya Davidson
    • 2008  Megan Misczak
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    Student Anthologies/Chapbook

     

    A Few Frigid Pigeons

    A Few Frigid Pigeons: A Poetry Chapbook [PDF] A poetry chapbook from Detroit Mercy’s winter 2021 Intro to Creative Writing class, taught by Nick Rombes and designed by Santana Scott ‘20, creative writing minor. This chapbook was enclosed in the university’s 2021 time capsule.

    Voices Through the Flickering Pixels cover

    Voices Through the Flickering Pixels [PDF] A pandemic anthology from Detroit Mercy’s fall 2020 Intro to Creative Writing class, taught by Sean Madigan Hoen and designed by Santana Scott ‘20, creative writing minor.

     


English Majors Pursue Rewarding Careers and Lives

Alumni of Detroit Mercy's English Program have gone on to pursue exciting and rewarding careers in law, education, business, marketing, politics and writing.

Read what some of our recent alumni say about what they gained through their Detroit Mercy degree:

Riham Alwan '07, resident physician
Henry Ford Medical Center

My pursuit of a dual major in English and biochemistry engaged both my analytical, regimented self and allowed my mind unlimited creative explorations. I cherish the memories of my undergraduate experience, and I would not be the woman I am today had it not been for Detroit Mercy.

Deonte Osayande '13, poet,
adjunct professor
Wayne County Community College

I am grateful that I had professors who invested in me during class hours, during office hours, and even off the clock to help me develop as a writer and as a human being. It turned what I thought I knew about English and Literature all the way around.

Michelle Styczynski '12
research advocate
Consumer Federation of America

I became an English major because I was deeply inspired by the conversations that took place in my English courses; now I receive praise from supervisors who say that my research and writing are thorough, clear, and convincing.

Jasmine Davis '14,
assisting prosecuting attorney, Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office

Having a concentration in literature forced me to become an active reader with a critical eye for detail; I have learned how to approach texts from a critical standpoint and to analyze texts in depth.

Giulia Pink '15
student services, EF Education First

I chose to major in English because I loved the art of the written word. Through my English courses, I not only honed my writing and analytical reading skills, but also became a better presenter, creator, and human. Literature offers a powerful opportunity to practice empathy by connecting with the characters and fellow classmates in discussions. I had so many eye-opening debates in UDM's classrooms that changed my life and how I see the world!

Joe Gifford '15
police officer, City of Detroit

In a world with ever-evolving needs and technologies, the skills gained from an English degree remain constant. I am confident that my writing, communication, and presentation skills will serve me well into the future, in any workplace or community.

Hannah Tillman '19, technical writer,
H2O.ai

This department was-is-my home. None of what you encounter here is rote memorization: each of these professors is invested in making sure you learn actual marketable and holistic skills. I learned critical analysis, effective communication, trained my sense of empathy-you learn to be a person and to recognize innate humanity in all people. Stories (and the interconnectedness they bring) are the cure to apathy, and you learn that here.


English Minors Expand Their Skills and Their Horizons

A minor in literature, creative writing or professional writing is the perfect complement to any major at University of Detroit Mercy. Our English minors read and discuss great literary texts and hone their own craft as writers and scholars over the course of six classes (18 credits). Depending on your major, one to four of those classes also earns credit for the Detroit Mercy core curriculum. As our students will tell you, a literature, creative writing or professional writing minor at Detroit Mercy will enhance your intellectual and professional development and help you grow as a person and student. Read the great things our students say about these minors:

Blake Armstrong, biology major (pre-med), literature minor

Pairing my literature minor with my biology major was the best decision I made at Detroit Mercy and my college experience would have been diminished without it.

Mianna Gonczar, biology major, literature minor

Starting at University of Detroit Mercy as a biology major, I was overwhelmed with the amount of science courses ahead of me. After choosing my literature minor, I have the opportunity to take classes that reflect and build my interests; the courses allow for a creative outlet in an otherwise rigid class-load. The education I've received from my literature minor has allowed me to expand my views on the world, the people around me, and who I am.

Maeve Nichols, 5-year BS/MS information assurance, literature minor

Declaring a minor in literature has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my academic career. As a cybersecurity major, I’m required to take a large amount of technical, computer based courses for my degree. Having a minor in literature has enabled me to diversify my education by taking courses that promote creativity and analytical thinking. Additionally, I have gained invaluable skills in reading, writing, and communication that give me an edge in any career path, including computers.

Zoey Oatis, health services administration major, professional writing minor

Some people are strong speakers, others are strong writers. Studying professional writing has allowed me to become both. The skills that I have gained from the English department have sharpened my ability to communicate fluently both verbally and on paper. The many professors that I have encountered have done an exceptional job challenging my critical thinking skills and my ability to decipher texts through analysis.

Nina Carlson '21, performing arts major, creative writing minor

Being a successful theatre worker requires an artistic insight for working and thinking creatively. Where theatre is the art of looking at ourselves, creative writing is the art of creating for ourselves—whether that be a fantasy world, or a change in our current society.

Mike Jaafar, biology major, creative writing minor

Pursuing a minor in creative writing was unheard of to many of my friends in science, but I felt right at home. The English department has motivated me to become an original thinker when it comes to writing, and even recognize the voices of others we tend to ignore. The skills I have gained are invaluable, and I look forward to continue using them in my career and everyday life.

Rachel Wozniak, criminal justice major, literature minor

The English Department at [Detroit Mercy] has expanded my horizons of reading exponentially. My professors have provided me with the tools, information, and passion that I needed to branch out of my comfort zone. The classes required for my minor have taught me just how important literature is in everyday life, and how much of an impact it has on the world around me. My reading and writing skills have also improved significantly thanks to the careful eye of professors in small classes coaching me every step of the way.  I am forever grateful for the lessons learned while completing my Literature minor at [Detroit Mercy].

Emma Hagel, civil engineering major, literature and philosophy minors

My minors in English and Philosophy have helped me grow intellectually in my time at Detroit Mercy and have given me a creative outlet while taking my Civil Engineering classes. In my career, my unique background has given me an advantage over other applicants for engineering positions because I am able to write eloquently and persuasively-- both are skills I have had opportunities to improve on in my English classes at Detroit Mercy.

Marina Keyzer

Marina E. Keyzer '21, business major, professional writing minor

My experience in this minor was nothing but positive: From the professional writing course to the technical writing course and everything in between. For many of the classes my professor was Dr. Streit who helped me create content for the courses that were not your typical written papers; instruction and definition sets, portfolios, resumés, and cover letters were some of the things I learned how to create and perfect for my professional life. I’ve even used resumes Dr. Streit has edited for me and subsequently got the job! I know that this minor will help me tremendously in my future career and I want to thank all of my professors and advisors that have helped me complete it.

Mehar Soni

Mehar Soni, chemistry major, literature minor

When I chose Detroit Mercy, I was drawn to the idea of holistic education, the importance of service at a Jesuit and Mercy institution, and the community of Detroit—all of which are pillars of the English Department. Through my pursuit of a literature minor I feel more well-rounded as a pre-dental student. I have met people of different backgrounds and had the opportunity to connect with them while discussing the meaningful artistry of the written word. Whether it be writing essays on diverse stories or dissecting a novel from the early 1900s, the literature minor has added breadth to my skill set and has allowed me to better understand myself and the impact I can have on the world around me.

Full-Time Faculty

Paszek  picture

Joseph Paszek
Assistant Professor
Director of the Writing Program
313-993-1165
paszekjo@udmercy.edu

Rombes picture

Nick Rombes
Professor of English
Co-Director University Honors Program
313-993-1085
rombesnd@udmercy.edu

Streit  picture

Sigrid Streit
Associate Professor of English
Director of Writing Across the Curriculum
313-993-1082
streitsi@udmercy.edu

Weatherston picture

Rosemary I. Weatherston
Associate Professor of English
Director of the Dudley Randall Center for Print Culture
Director of University of Detroit Mercy Press
313-993-1083
weatherr@udmercy.edu

Adjunct Faculty


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