Faculty Profile: Professor Liz Miller

Were you an English major? Tell us what your major(s) and minor(s) in college were and were you went to undergrad, please.

Yes, I majored in English, and minored in Theology. I went to a Catholic university (Marquette University) where we were required to take 4 religion classes, and you only needed one or two more to have a Theology minor. Hence my minor. The theology classes were very wide ranging. I took a class on the History of Atheism, for example, which was one of the best classes I took in college, and a memorable class on the Holocaust as a theological problem.

What's the coolest non-professor job you have ever had?

In college I was a telemarketer for the National Abortion Rights Action League. Not exactly a cool job, but one that I was proud to do.

What is your favorite memory at UC Davis? 

Picnic Day! I never miss it.

What is a must-read for an English major? 

Jane Eyre, a classic novel of female bildung.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

Hopefully we will be out of the pandemic by then!

What are you passionate about? 

I'm passionate about environmental protection and climate justice and I'm an advocate for decarbonization and fossil fuel divestment. UC Davis and the Davis community offer many ways to engage and mobilize around these issues.

What do you like to do in your free time to unwind? 

I enjoy running, hiking, and spending time with my 10-year-old twins.

What makes you proud to be an English professor?

The undergraduates at UC Davis are amazing. Their brilliance and resilience bring me joy and make me proud.

Tell us briefly about one or more of your favorite English teachers or professors. Did you have any who really influenced you? 

In high school I loved reading and writing, but like a lot of young women I had no confidence whatsoever. My sophomore English teacher went out of his way to tell me that what I had to say was smart and important, and I took that very much to heart. There was never any question after that moment that I was going to be an English major. I also want to mention a professor I had in graduate school, Susanne Wofford, who was just the most brilliant teacher. She had an amazing ability to take in everyone's comments during seminar and organize and schematize them such that you felt the class was accomplishing something together in its discussion. It was awe-inspiring.

What's the best English class you ever took?

This is a hard question, but I will say that I really loved my class on the Brontës during my senior year of college.

What's your favorite English class to teach here at UC Davis?

Probably English 133, Nineteenth-century British Literature

Cats or dogs?


Coffee or tea?

Both! I have a cup of tea when I wake up and then move to coffee for the rest of the day.

Early bird or night owl?

Early bird!

Best Major in the Whole World?