Kathy Lyday

Professor of English
Alamance Building 320C
2338 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244
klyday@elon.edu (336) 278-5617

Brief Biography

Dr. Kathy Lyday grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee, and attended Tennessee Technological University for her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in English.  In 1982 she graduated from the University of Tennessee with a doctorate in American Literature.  She has been teaching College Writing, Linguistics, History of the English Language, Appalachian literature and literature of the Holocaust at Elon College, now University, since 1982, served as Honors Director from 1991-97, and chaired the English Department from 2002-2008.  Her primary areas of research include her dissertation subject, Tennessee author Will Allen Dromgoole,  interdisciplinary issues dealing with mixed race communities in America, and many different areas of English language study in America and the world.  Most recently she has developed interdisciplinary seminars on the Melungeons and on culture, story, and sustainability in Costa Rica. Dr. Lyday has been a faculty leader on study abroad semesters in London and Costa Rica and Winter Term courses in the English language in London, Aboriginal Austraila, and Holocaust Journey.  Active in the Elon community as well as the English department, Dr. Lyday is currently authoring an English Language Studies minor proposal, writing an historical novel, and working on a biography of Will Allen Dromgoole.


BA in English from Tennessee Technological University, 1975

MA in English from Tennessee Technological University, 1977

Courses in linguistics, Linguistic Society of America Summer Institute, Salzburg, Austria, 1979

PhD in American Literature (with specialty areas in Linguistics and Old and Middle English), The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 1982

Employment History

Elon University, 1982-present

Greensboro College:  Summer MA in TESOL Program, since 2003 (grammar, linguistics, descriptive linguistics, and practicum in linguistics)

Courses Taught

Eng 110 College Writing

GST 110 Global Studies

Eng 205 Grammar

Eng 223 American Literature

Eng/GST 240  Holocaust Journey (winter term study abroad)

Eng 255  Intro to Literature:  Special Topics (App Lit, Lit of the Holocaust)

Eng 259 Literature of the Holocaust

Eng 301  Linguistics

Eng 302 History of the English Language

Eng 305 American English

Eng 330 Appalachian Literature

GST 350  The Melungeons in Fact and Fiction

GST seminar:  Literature, Culture, and Sustainability in Costa Rica

Winter Term study abroad courses in London, Europe, and Western Australia and semester study abroad courses in London and Costa Rica

Leadership Positions

President of Chapter #275 of the International Honor Society fo Phi Kappa Phi (2012-14); Past President (2014-16)

Faculty adviser of Xi Omicron Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta


I enjoy researching dialects, especially those in North Carolina; the life and literature of Will Allen Dromgoole; the roles of women in the nineteenth and early twentieth century south; the Melungeons of East Tennessee; the literature of the Holocaust (especially Wiesel, Delbo, and Holocaust drama); and literature of Appalachia.  Recently I have been researching life in the Anglo-Saxon period for an historical novel set in late 9th-early 10th century England and Ireland.

Current Projects

Biography of Will Allen Dromgoole

Historical Fiction:  Caerthwaite

Crafting an English Language Studies minor

Dromgoole's experience with the Melungeons of East Tennessee, 1890-92

Dromgoole and Waco Women's Press Society, 1894

Dromgoole's relationship with St. Cecelia Convent and School

The Melungeons in literature and popular culture

Grants Awarded


CATL Grant for 2014-16 with Prof. Paula Patch


 Reviews in Appalachian Journal, Spring 2013:  Lisa Alther’s Washed in the Blood  and Alex Bledsoe’s The Hum and the Shiver.

 'Melungeon Education: Reflections on a Class Visit to Vardy.”  The Vardy Historical Society's newsletter, Spring 2007. "Will Allen Dromgoole."  Tennessee Historical Encyclopedia, July, 1998.

"Mildred Haun."  Tennessee Historical Encyclopedia, July, 1998 .  "Retreats:  How, Where, When--Why?"  (co-authored with Dr. Dan Wright) National Collegiate Honors Council magazine, Summer, 1998.

 "Navigating Change in General Studies:  Honors Curricular Revision," Small College Honors Program Newsletter , Summer  1996.

"Will Allen Dromgoole:  A Biographical Sketch,"  Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Summer 1992, 107-112.

 "Observations:  Teaching Grammar at Elon College" in The Future of Grammar in American Schools, published by the Association of Teachers of English Grammar,  September 1990, 8-10.

Review of Come a Tide, by George Ella Lyons, Appalachian Heritage, Summer 1990, 70-1.

 "Will Allen Dromgoole:  Forgotten Pioneer of Tennessee Mountain Fiction,"  University of Mississippi Studies in English, New Series, I (1980), 71-81.


since 2004

“Stereotyping Melungeons in Literature.”  Appalachian Studies Conference, Boone, NC, March 22-24, 2013.

 “Stereotyping Melungeons in Literature.”  Melungeon Studies Conference, Big Stone Gap, VA, June 28-30, 2012.

“Lumbee, Melungeons, and Redbones:  Three Stories of Mixed-Race Communities in the American South”  Popular Culture Association of the South, New Orleans, Oct. 5-8, 2011.

“Will Allen Dromgoole”  Melungeon Studies Conference,Warren Wilson College, July 16-17, 2011.

'The Melungeons Will Get You If You Ain't Pretty:  Melungeons in Literature and Popular Culture,”  Popular Culture Association of the South, Savannah, GA, October 7-10, 2010.

 'The Legacy of Will Allen Dromgoole in Rutherford County,” Rutherford County Historical Association, Murfreesboro, TN, March 10, 2010

 'Will Allen Dromgoole and the Melungeon Articles,” SAMLA, Atlanta, GA, November 2009

 'Teaching a Class in Melungia:  GST 350 Melungeons, Fact and Fiction, 2006, 2008” (history of the course, pedagogy, course materials, students and majors, relevance to Melungeon community and race/identity in America); Melungeon Historical Society Conference, Rogersville, TN, June 2009

Presentation on new information on Will Allen Dromgoole's 1890 trip to Newman's Ridge to the Melungeon Historical Society at the January Board meeting in Kingsport, Tennessee, January12-13(based on research done in early January in Knoxville and Nashville).

 'The Mystery of the Melungeons,” a PowerPoint presentation to the Burke County Historical Society,  Morganton, NC,  November 17, 2008.

 'Will Allen Dromgoole and her Influence of Melungeon Scholarship, Past and Future,”  Popular CultureAssociation national conference, San Francisco, March 19-22, 2008.

 'Constructing a General Studies/Interdisciplinary Course on The Melungeons at Elon University.”  Sixth Union:  A Melungeon Gathering, Kingsport, TN,  June  2006.

'Will Allen Dromgoole:  The Arena and Nashville Daily American Articles of 1890-91,”  Fifth Union:  A Melungeon Gathering, Kingsport, TN, June 17-19, 2004.

Professional Development

Travel Grant for Research on Will Allen Dromgoole, Texas, Tennessee, and Boston, MA, Summer 2011

Sabbatical Research and Travel Grant, Spring 2010

Sabbatical Research, 1999


Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1991