photo of students and professors on bus

London study abroad program has another successful year

London, July 2016
By Dr. Rick Taylor
Each year’s summer study abroad program in London is unique. This year, Dr. Andrea Kitta brought her expertise in folklore and the supernatural: our students heard her present an academic paper on “Slender Man” for folklorists in London, they toured the ghosts of central London, and they were slaughtered by Jack the Ripper (or at least virtually so).

Dr. Cox, our tea connoisseur, taught our students about design elements in writing, and they prepared travel guides that focused on one activity a visitor might enjoy. We traveled to Stratford to meet up with our former student Karen Harker, who is completing her doctoral work on Shakespeare in performance.

Our group arrived in the immediate aftermath of the “Brexit” vote, and that proved a great opening for communication with the locals about the fate of their country and attitudes towards immigration. In my course, students read and respond to works written by those who migrated to London from various parts of the world.

Some elements remain year after year. Dr. Will Banks’s British Children’s Lit students picnic by the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens and read/perform new British picture books for the group. We have a cream tea at the Maids of Honour after our adventures in Kew Gardens (clotted cream required) and our boat ride up the Thames. It rained in Oxford this year, so sadly we couldn’t go punting, although there’s plenty to explore in town, and a new Bodleian exhibit to investigate.
Our students put together multi-genre daybooks, which reflect their coursework and all of their London activities. It’s a lot of writing and reading in a compressed period of time (when students are already challenged by the intense pace we keep).
We’re proud that we have kept the cost of the program as low as possible, and we have been fortunate to “make” each year, although our participant numbers have varied from the high teens to the low thirties (19 this year). Even with our efforts to keep down costs and our ability to “do a lot for a little” in the city, the program is still a significant financial sacrifice for our students. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Dean Downs in developing scholarship support for our study abroad students. Those efforts are already paying off for our students, who have the opportunity for a life-changing experience abroad.
Oh, and we had a successful thesis defense in Marcus Garvey Park in West Kensington!

Carolina TESOL Conference planned for fall in Asheville

Planning for the Fall 2016 Carolina TESOL Conference is underway!
This year’s conference will be held in November in the beautiful city of Asheville, North Carolina. This is a great time to learn about new laws and guidelines concerning ESOL in your state, gain new ideas from colleagues, and network with fellow educators from our area.
As the 2016 Conference approaches, cost, schedule, and registration forms
will be available through our website: This information
will also be included in the first newsletter for the 2016-2017 school year.
Do you have a neat activity that helps your students with language proficien-
cy? Are you willing to share your ideas with ESOL teachers from the Caroli-
nas? If you are interested in presenting at the 2016 conference, be sure to contact your regional representative.

Cook and Martin honored by Phi Beta Kappa

Ava Cook and Kristen Martin, both English undergraduate students, were honored last week by the East Carolina University Division of Academic Affairs and the Eastern Carolina Alumni Association of Phi Beta Kappa.

“Among the most satisfying things that I get to do as Dean is to recognize the outstanding achievements of our students,” said Dr. William M. Downs, dean of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, who provided welcoming remarks at the ceremony. “Today we are celebrating our most accomplished students in the liberal arts as they near the completion of their undergraduate studies.”

Students were honored from biology, chemistry, engineering, political science, mathematics, history, education, psychology, Hispanic studies, economics, fine arts, multi-disciplinary studies, classical civilization, German, and sociology. All of the students who were honored at this year’s recognition ceremony have a grade point average of 3.93 or higher.

“This is an amazing group of young people from most of the departments in the college, who have an interesting and imaginative variety of post-graduation plans, which highlights the strengths of a good liberal arts education,” said Dr. Angela Thompson, president of the Eastern Carolina Alumni Association of Phi Beta Kappa and ECU assistant professor of history.

To read the full story, go to

Celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday!

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The winners of the Shakespearean Sonnet Contest will be recognized Thursday afternoon as part of a celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday.

Festivities will begin at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23, outside Joyner Library with a short performance of a Shakespeare scene by ECU theatre players. The celebration will then move to the Faulkner Gallery on the second floor of the library, where the winners of the sonnet contest will be honored around 3 p.m. At the university level, Ian Lynch took first place and Tyler Holt won second.

Dr. David Wilson-Okamura will deliver a 10-minute presentation on “The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets” as part of the festivities and the winners (including two high school students) will read their work aloud or have it read.

Refreshments will be served.


An Evening with Author Amy Stewart


As part of Earth Day 2015 events, the Department of English has helped to bring best-selling author Amy Stewart to campus. Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist, Wicked Plants, Wicked Bugs, and Flower Confidential, will speak at 8 p.m. April 21 in C307 in the Science and Technology Building.

Stewart is a dynamic and engaging speaker whose books focus on the positive and negative impacts of the natural world on people. Her topics have relevance to scientists, gardeners, and cocktail-lovers everywhere. Books will be available to buy, and a reception and book signing will follow the talk.

This event is a signature North Carolina Science Festival event. Funding is provided by the North Carolina Science Festival, UNC System, and East Carolina University through the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biology, Chemistry Department, English Department, and Center for Sustainability: Tourism, Natural Resources, and the Built Environment.


The Annual ECU English Graduate Student Conference is taking place this Saturday, April 18th in Bate Building. The day begins with a meet-and-greet breakfast from 9-9:30 a.m. Graduate student presenters and presentations are as follows:

10 a.m. – 11 a.m. – “Wrecking the Southern Design: Faulkner’s Destruction of Heteronormativity in Absalom, Absalom! by Justin Littlefield & A Textual Analysis of Donne’s Work by Danielle Lake

11:05 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. – “Cemetery Rhetoric: Interpreting the Legacy of East Carolina University Founders” by Rexford Rose, Ed Reges, Suzan Flanagan

1:05 p.m. -2:05 p.m. – “Once Upon a Time” by Abby Morris, Shane Combs, Kristi Wiley

2:10 p.m. – 3:10 p.m. – Creative Writing Panel by Tim Buchanan, Jazzy Cambra, Brianne Holmes

3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. – “What Makes a Good Cover Design? Visual Representation and Intertextuality in Book Covers” by Janine Butler & “The American Settlement House Movement: At the Nexus of Isms” by Greg​ Orme


An interdisciplinary colloquium on Corliolanus will be 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, in Faulkner Gallery in Joyner Library. Several speakers from the Department of English will be featured:

  • Thomas Herron will discuss “Famine and Rebellion: Contemporary Political Contexts for Shakespeare’s Coriolanus (c. 1608)” at 4:30 p.m.
  • Sean Morris will give a presentation entitled “Tragedy and Satire in Shakespeare’s Corliolanus” at 4:50 p.m.
  • Anna Froula will speak on “Ralph Fiennes’ film Coriolanus” at 5:10 p.m.


Coriolanus colloquium flier

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