Personal Home Page of Dennis G. Jerz

Photo of Dennis G. Jerz, Ph.D. (Provided by UWEC.)In Fall 2003, I begin teaching new media journalism and assorted writing and literature courses as an associate professor of English at Seton Hill University.

In 2001 I earned a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Toronto, and in March of 2003 my dissertation was published as Technology in American Drama 1920-1950: Soul and Society in the Age of the Machine.

I enjoy challenging my students to write, revise, and revise again (and this website includes a large collection of writing handouts). According to one former student, "Dr. Jerz will make you a better writer than you think you can be."

My scholarly interests include new media genres such as weblogs and interactive fiction, as well as literature and drama.

Since 1994, I've been married to the former Leigh Anne Gigliotti. She is working on a Ph.D. in Victorian literature from the University of Toronto. We have two children: Peter, born in 1998; and Carolyn, born in 2002. We are a home-schooling family (though both kids went to preschool).

Family Album

Rainbow Hector Fan Page
Bouncing Hectopus. "My name is Rainbow Hector" For reasons that still elude me, I started the Rainbow Hector Fan Page as a tribute to the favorite toy of my son Peter (born in 1998). By the time he turned four, he had moved on somewhat to race cars and X-wing fighters. Thankfully his sister Carolyn (born in 2002) is now a Rainbow Hector fan.

Jerz Family Name
(A narrative essay on what "Jerz" means.)
"I still had a few minutes while the sausage cooked, so I asked, "What does my name mean?" The sausage lady averted her eyes and found something to do underneath the counter.  When she emerged again, her shoulders were shaking, and she was trying to keep a straight face. I rolled my eyes.  Oh no, not again..."

Jerz Family Shoe Shop (Chicago)

Picture of the inside of the Jerz family shoe shop, Chicago, c1920.

My great-grandfather John Jerz lived in the back room of this tiny neighborhood shoe shop, in a Polish neighborhood in Chicago's West Side.

My grandfather Joseph J. Jerz was a die-cutter in the auto industry. My father George J. Jerz was born in 1933. He guesses that this photo dates from 1920.

On the walls of the Jerz shoe store are mostly posters for "O'Sullivan Heels," and "Tite-Edge Rubber Heels." In those days, a shoe was so well-made that when the heels wore out, you would take it to a neighborhood shoe shop such as this one, in order to get a new heel nailed onto the leather sole.

I visited this house with my father in 1991. The Polish families had long since moved out, and the neighborhood was mostly Hispanic. The small shop window was still there, but the store had been converted into a living room.

The boy in the photo is Walter Jerz, who my father says was the fifth-ranked middle-weight boxer in the 1930s (and had the same boxing manager as Joe Louis).  Walter was one of my grandfather's six siblings: after Joseph there were Clara, Walter, Elizabeth, Florence, Raymond, and Ted. 

Ted, the youngest, died in the summer of 1999.  He was not much older than my father, and the two had recently reconnected.  My father found this photo while going through his Uncle Ted's personal effects.