Hoppenthaler wins Brockman-Campbell Award

John Hoppenthaler has won the 2016 Brockman-Campbell Award for the best book of poetry by a North Carolinian in 2015 for his volume Domestic Garden (Carnegie Mellon UP). In this, his third collection of poetry, Hoppenthaler surveils the remnants of an American Dream. What devotion might mean and look like in our time is at the book’s heart. The poems, written in a variety of styles, offer testimony and uncover, row by row, what remains viable in a garden they hope to resurrect.

Montgomery

Montgomery named department chair

Congratulations to Dr. Marianne Montgomery, who was just announced as the English department’s new permanent chair, beginning in August. Dr. Montgomery has been serving as interim chair since May.

“I’m excited by the opportunity to lead a vibrant, vital department whose work is central to ECU’s mission of student success, public service and regional transformation,” Montgomery said. “English is a big department, so this is a big new job. I am fortunate to have supportive and experienced colleagues in the department and in the college to help me to learn this new role.”

Read the full story on new chairs in Harriot College here: https://www.ecu.edu/cs-cas/THCAS-Announces-Three-New-Department-Chairs.cfm

Kitta

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Andrea Kitta

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Dr. Andrea Kitta is an associate professor of Multicultural and Transnational Literatures in the Department of English at East Carolina University. She holds a B.A. in History (Honors) from Slippery Rock University, an M.A. in Folk Studies from Western Kentucky University, and a Ph.D. in Folklore from Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland.

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Where are you from?

Originally Western Pennsylvania, but I also consider St. John’s, Newfoundland to be one of my “homes.”

What brought you to ECU?

I was between here and a post-doc in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I ended up choosing ECU because I wanted to teach and I really wanted to teach students that were the first people in their families to attend college.

What is your field and how did you first become interested in it?

I first heard about the field of folklore from a GA in Anthropology while I was taking some post-bac classes. I was trying to figure out where I wanted to go to grad school and when I told him about all the things I was interested in (history, stories, culture, medicine, the supernatural) he said “Why don’t you become a folklorist?” I had no idea what he was talking about, so I went home and started looking into. I immediately knew it was exactly what I wanted to do, so I started applying for my MA in Folklore that night.

What other life experience prepared you for your role here at ECU?

I did two years of service with AmeriCorps, the first was part-time (900 hours) while I was getting my BA, the second was full time (1600 hours) right after I graduated. I can’t express how much I learned in my time at AmeriCorps – every time I came up with an idea, I was given the go-ahead to try it. That was a fantastic experience and really helped me to see that I wanted to pursue my PhD and be a professor.

What recognitions/achievements are you most proud of and why?

I’m really proud of all of my achievements, but I think the ones that stand out the most for me were the ones when I broke a boundary and helped people to see things in a different way. I’m very proud that I was the first person from the Folklore Department to get an Applied Health fellowship when I was working on my PhD. I was the first folklorist to get the Duval prize at the Canadian Immunization Conference. I was also really proud to represent the American Folklore Society in the US/China exchange program.

What is your favorite part of your job?

That’s difficult, I love being in the classroom and working with students, but I also love my research. And I love going to conferences. I basically love every part of my job except grading and meetings.

Describe one of the most rewarding courses you’ve taught in your time at ECU?

Just one? I absolutely love teaching the Supernatural class because my students are so interesting and unique – they always give me something to think about and remind me of how much there is to learn. I also loved team-teaching the Disability and Literature class and I’m really enjoying my honors class this semester on experiencing illness and alternative medicine. And the American Folklore class is where I get to see my students fall in love with folklore, so that’s really rewarding as well.

Kain

Kain wins national service award

Congratulations to Donna Kain, who has recently been selected as the 2016 recipient of the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication (CPTSC)’s Distinguished Service Award.  This national-level award is given to only one person per year, and it is awarded based upon an individual’s national reputation relating to aspects of curriculum design and program development in technical, professional, and scientific communication. Donna will be presented with the award during CPTSC’s annual conference, which will take place in Savannah, GA on 6-8 Oct.

Bosse

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Solveig Bosse

 

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Dr. Solveig Bosse is an assistant professor of Linguistics and TESOL in the Department of English at East Carolina University.

MA English/Economics (Carl-von-Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Germany)

MA Linguistics (University of Delaware, USA)

Ph.D. Linguistics (University of Delaware, USA)

 

 

Where are you from?

I grew up in Verden (Aller), Germany.

What brought you to ECU?

There are very few jobs for graduates with doctorate degrees in Linguistics available, especially on the more permanent tenure-track. ECU offering me a tenure-track position was a great opportunity, so I accepted and came here.

What is your field and how did you first become interested in it?

Officially, I am a theoretical linguist. Most of my research is in theoretical syntax with an added interest in formal semantics. In simpler terms, I analyze the sentence structures of sentences in different languages and try to explain why the sentences have the structure they do and why the sentences mean what they mean.

Unofficially, I am also a psycholinguist – and that is how I first became interested in linguistics. Back in Germany, I took a graduate seminar on first language acquisition. The professor, Prof. Dr. Hamann, decided to offer me a position as a graduate research assistant. I learned a lot about research and academia from her, and when the time came, she encouraged me to apply to Ph.D. programs in linguistics in the USA. I was accepted to the University of Delaware, and there my emphasis slowly shifted from psycholinguistics to theoretical linguistics. While I volunteered in a psycholinguistic lab throughout graduate school, I began to work on my syntactic and semantic research. Eventually, I enjoyed the theoretical work a tad bit more and decided to write my dissertation on a theoretical topic. To this day, I enjoy both theoretical linguistics and psycholinguistics, resulting in me discussing collaborative psycholinguistic work with Dr. Curtindale, the Director of ECU’s Infant and Child Cognition Lab, this semester. (Hopefully, the actual collaboration will start next semester.)

What degrees do you hold and where did you earn them?

MA English/Economics (Carl-von-Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Germany)MA Linguistics (University of Delaware, USA)Ph.D. Linguistics (University of Delaware, USA)

What other life experience prepared you for your role here at ECU?

I have lived in four different US states, in Germany, and briefly in China. In these places, I met a variety of people with diverse life stories and saw how different people handle big and small issues differently. These experiences have probably had the biggest impact on my role here as they allow me to connect with the diverse people in Pirate Nation – the students, my colleagues and others in and around Greenville.

What recognitions/achievements are you most proud of and why?

I consider my Ph.D. degree my biggest achievement. My Ph.D. program at UD was very tough and demanding at times, and despite considering giving up many times, I never did.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I enjoy learning from and discussing linguistics (and some other topics) with others. So my most enjoyable moments are when I am challenged in class by questions from students about concepts and ideas of linguistics, or when I discuss my research or that of my colleagues. These moments allow me to rethink my assumptions, to strengthen my arguments and to think about a problem from a different point of view.

Describe one of the most rewarding courses you’ve taught in your time at ECU?

One of the most rewarding courses I taught has been LING3730/ENGL6526. This course was, and usually is, taught as a mixed graduate-undergraduate course. We investigate the sounds and word formation processes present in English. I have had terrific discussions with students about the different sounds that English employs, how the sounds are made, and how dialects of English differ in their sound inventories. I have seen students grow from being completely unaware of the sounds of their language to taking a huge interest in how they themselves speak, what features in their speech mark their background, region and identity, and how they can use the information I taught them to their own benefit.

Banks

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Will Banks

Banks

Dr. Will Banks is an associate professor of rhetoric and composition in the Department of English at East Carolina University. He holds a B.A. in Literary Studies from Georgia Southern University, an M.A. Literary Studies from Georgia Southern University, and a Ph.D. in English Studies from Illinois State University.

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Where are you from?

I am from Louisville, GA.

What brought you to ECU?

I chose ECU because of the type of students we have here. ECU students are often the first generation in their families to attend college, as well as coming from a working class background. Those are students that I prefer to work with because the academy has worked so hard to keep them out.

What is your field and how did you first become interested in it?

My field of research is in Rhetoric and Composition, specifically queer rhetorics. I was interested in Rhet-Comp because of my previous experience teaching for several years. I’ve had the chance to work with many students – teaching literature, language, and writing — but I realized that I enjoy working with struggling student writers more than struggling student readers. I enjoy helping students to see why writing is important and all the options that careful, rhetorically sophisticated prose provides to the writer. While I was teaching at Georgia Southern University, I had the chance to participate in an Invitational Summer Institute of the National Writing Project, which also influenced my research interests and further solidified my commitment to working with writers and helping them develop voice and agency.

What life experience prepared you for your role at ECU?

I am one of those students from a working class and rural background that research suggests tend not to go on to higher education, or to be successful once there. Higher education is filled with invisible rules and tacit values that work very hard to exclude working class students and students of color. I am the type of person that wants to help students with access because many students of a working class background (like myself) may miss out on great opportunities, so I want to pull back the curtain and make some of those invisible blockades visible. When they’re visible, we can work together to tear them down.

What recognitions and achievements are you most proud of and why?

One of my biggest accomplishments here at ECU has been raising combined internal/external funding of over 2.5 million dollars to support ECU students and eastern NC teachers. That level of grant funding is nearly unheard of in an English department and the humanities generally. While that took away from my book-writing time, it has meant that ECU finally has a real writing center, which helps over 3,000 students per year with their writing, and it means that area K-12 teachers have had free or low-cost access to graduate education focused on writing, which is usually absent or under-developed in their undergraduate education. Over 1 million of those dollars has gone to professionalize K-12 teachers in our area and help them become teacher-researchers in their own classrooms who present their research at national conferences.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Working with students. Period.

Describe one of the most rewarding courses you’ve taught in your time at ECU.

Summer Study Abroad in London! Taking ECU students, many of whom have never flown on a plane, to experience a new culture where they see themselves and their culture differently has been amazing. Students are able to study writing, literature, theatre, and culture in a new context, and also explore new places, where people of many cultures think differently from the ways we do in the United States. Also, being able to collaborate with Dr. Rick Taylor is always exciting! He has been the single most important professional mentor in my career, and his commitment to this program – and to keeping it affordable so that study abroad isn’t just for the rich kids – is so important.

Dr. Marianne Montgomery

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Marianne Montgomery

Dr. Marianne Montgomery

Dr. Marianne Montgomery is an associate professor of literature (specializing in Shakespeare and Renaissance drama) in the Department of English at East Carolina University.

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Where are you from?

I grew up in Cheverly, Maryland, in the suburbs of Washington, DC. I also lived for four years near Boston and eight years in Charlottesville, Virginia, so I also consider those places home.

What brought you to ECU?

When I was close to finishing my PhD, I “went on the job market,” which meant that I applied for about 70 jobs, all over the country, in my field of Shakespeare and Renaissance literature. It’s incredibly hard to find a tenure-track job with a literature PhD, and I feel incredibly lucky that I was hired at ECU! In addition to a good location relatively close to my family in Maryland and my husband’s family in Florida, I like teaching at a regional state university and working with a diverse body of students. I was also attracted to ECU by its balance of teaching and research; I really like both and wouldn’t want to put all my energy towards one or the other.

What is your field and how did you first become interested in it?

My field is Shakespeare studies, which really means that I study Shakespeare and the early modern dramatists who wrote at roughly the same time that he did, like Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Middleton, Thomas Dekker, and many others. Shakespeare was part of a vibrant commercial theater scene, and only was elevated above his contemporaries by critics in subsequent centuries. While I was initially attracted to the field by my love of Shakespeare, I now am fascinated by how he fits into this bigger picture and how his plays belong to their time both formally and thematically. My research focuses especially on early modern drama, trade, travel, and cultural exchange.

What degrees do you hold and where did you earn them?

I have a BA from Wellesley College, a women’s college in Massachusetts. After Wellesley, I went to the University of Virginia, where I earned an MA and a PhD.

What life experience prepared you for your role at ECU?

I have very little work experience outside academia, something I wish I could go back and change. I think working for a few years before pursuing a PhD is invaluable in exposing one to other options and other perspectives. That said, I gained considerable teaching experience in my graduate program that prepared me for teaching at ECU. I had very good pedagogical mentors, especially for teaching writing.

What recognitions and achievements are you most proud of and why?

I am really proud that I wrote a book! It’s called Europe’s Languages on England’s Stages and was published in 2013. A book feels like a significant scholarly accomplishment, and it makes writing a second book less daunting. I’m also proud that I was awarded ECU’s Centennial Award for Service in 2015. It was nice to have my efforts on various university committees and in departmental service recognized.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of the job is seeing students improve and succeed. It’s incredibly rewarding to work with a student over the course of a semester and see major progress in his or her reading and writing.

Describe one of the most rewarding courses you’ve taught in your time at ECU.

My favorite courses to teach are the three Shakespeare genre courses: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Shakespeare’s play reward rereading, and I find new things in them every time I teach them. I feel extremely lucky to be able to teach regularly in my area of specialization. I received a teaching grant last summer to develop materials for using film in these classes, so I’ve been using more film clips in class. Shakespeare is meant to be performed, not read, so film helps bring performance into the ECU classroom. My students also memorize and recite speeches from the plays or perform scenes in groups.

Matt Cox

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Matthew Cox

Matt Cox

Dr. Matt Cox is an assisstant professor of technical and professional communication in the Department of English at East Carolina University. He holds a BA from Indiana University, an MA from Utah State University, and a PhD from Michigan State University.

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Where are you from?

A small town called New Haven, Indiana. It’s just outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana (the second biggest city in Indiana) in Northeast Indiana (about midway between Chicago and Detroit). Lots of flat farmland and Amish communities around. The local Meijer (like a super Wal-Mart) in my town even has its own covered hitching post for Amish shoppers!

What brought you to ECU?

While I was on the job market, I was very sensitive to whether my research in queer/LGBT rhetorics and professional identity was received well and would be supported. Especially in TPC, often folks will see that kind of work as “too cultural” or somehow “not related to tech comm” (though I disagree vigorously, obviously). The English Department at ECU supported me from the start and I have always felt I could do the research here that I am good at and know the most about. I was also drawn to the PhD and Masters programs that are growing and beginning to receive notoriety in our field. I am very proud to be a part of all of this!

What is your field and how did you first become interested in it?

My fields are technical and professional communication/writing and queer/LGBT rhetorics. I see these both as existing firmly in rhetoric and writing studies (though some see TPC as more adjacent than within rhetoric and writing studies). Rhetoric and writing studies are, in turn, a part of the larger family of English studies.

What degrees do you hold and where did you earn them?

I received my BA in English (specializing in British literature – specifically the Victorian and Romantic periods) from Indiana University, Bloomington in 1996. I then received an MS in English in Technical and professional communication from Utah State University in 2006. I earned my PhD in rhetoric and writing in 2012 from Michigan State University where I concentrated in cultural rhetorics.

What life experience prepared you for your role at ECU?

I worked from 1996 through 2007 full time as a production editor in the book publishing industry and as a technical editor and writer in the computer software industry. These were absolutely essential experiences for me in terms of learning how to be an effective and thorough collaborator and communicator.

What recognitions and achievements are you most proud of and why?

Experiences come with age I suppose, and at this point in my life, I’m very proud as a first generation college student to have gone all the way through to my PhD. I’m from a blue collar background (the son of a police officer and a baker and tailor) and no one in my family or extended family has ever had a PhD. It’s been an exciting journey. But, now that I’m here, I’m really the most proud of being able to help the students I work with achieve those same goals. It’s so cool to be able to do that.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love networking. Helping make connections (to both people and ideas) for colleagues and students (and myself). I’m a natural extrovert and networker. To me the world is a huge playground and I think it’s important for us to impart on our students that same curiosity and excitement about the world and their education about that world.

Describe one of the most rewarding courses you’ve taught in your time at ECU.

I have enjoyed each of them so far in their own way because they allow me to draw on the experiences I’ve had and to pass those on to students. But I also learn so much from my students. They are so diverse and bring with them their own stories and aspirations. I have particularly enjoyed the graduate Cultural Rhetorics course I taught in the spring of 2015. Thanks to technology, we were able to have so many wonderful scholars (both established and up-and-coming) in our field stop by via Skype to talk with our class. Being with our energetic and smart grad students is so energizing for me.

Parille lauded by famed cartoonist

In a recent interview, cartoon artist/illustrator/screenwriter Daniel Clowes was asked about ECU English Associate Professor Ken Parille’s research. Dr. Parille is the editor of the Daniel Clowes reader, and here is what Clowes had to say:

“God, talk about what a great privilege, to have someone like that who pays such close attention that he points out things that I never noticed about my own work.”

Check out the screenshot below or read the full interview.

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Dr. Parille has published essays on Louisa May Alcott and boyhood, the mother-son relationship in antebellum America, graphic novelist Daniel Clowes, cartoonist Abner Dean, TV bandleader Lawrence Welk, and other subjects. His writing has appeared in The Best American Comics Criticism, Children’s Literature, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, The Nathaniel Hawthorne Review, Papers on Language and Literature, The Journal of Popular Culture, The Boston Review, Comic Art, Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, and The Believer. His monograph Boys at Home: Discipline, Masculinity, and ‘The Boy-Problem’ in Nineteenth-Century American Literature was published in 2009, and Daniel Clowes: Conversations, which he co-edited with Isaac Cates, was released in 2010 by the University Press of Mississippi. Dr. Parille also writes a monthly column for The Comics Journal.

Klein

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Amanda Klein

Klein

Dr. Amanda Klein is an associate professor of film studies in the Department of English at East Carolina University. She holds a BA from Cornell University, and a Master’s and PhD from the University of Pittsburgh.

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Where are you from?

I am from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania originally but I moved to Greenville from Pittsburgh in 2007, where I had been living with my husband and daughter as I finished my PhD at the University of Pittsburgh.

What brought you to ECU?

The simplest answer is: they offered me a job! As you probably know, there are far more PhD students than there are tenure track jobs. Most graduate students apply to 50 or more positions in the hopes of snagging one. I was lucky enough to get an offer my first year on the market and now, here we are, 9 years later.

What is your field and how did you first become interested in it?

 My intention when I first entered grad school was to pursue a PhD in English literature. But all MA students were required to take an introductory film course and I fell in love with the discipline and switched my course of study. So while I received my PhD from an English department, I specialized in film studies.

What life experience prepared you for your role at ECU?

As a Northerner, coming to Greenville was definitely a cultural adjustment. I had previously lived in Charleston, SC for a year so that gave me a taste of life in the South. But overall, I feel like I am still learning new things about Eastern North Carolina. I’ve really come to love this are and its culture. I feel lucky to be able to experience a region that is so different than the one I grew up in.

What recognitions and achievements are you most proud of and why?

Just landing a tenure track job and then getting tenure are probably the biggest achievements for me, because tenured positions are increasingly rare these days. I see so many brilliant qualified scholars going on the market year after year and coming back empty-handed as the market shrinks. I know I’m one of the few lucky ones.

But I think my biggest achievement has been raising two children while also getting tenure. It’s so hard for mothers in academia and I hope that, much as I was inspired by my professors in grad school who had children and still maintained their research profiles and teaching excellence, I might be inspiring to younger scholars who are considering starting families of their own. We shouldn’t have to choose between being professors and being mothers.

What is your favorite part of your job?

As much as I enjoy research and writing, I would have to say that teaching is definitely my favorite part of my job. Sometimes academics get too deep into their own scholarship and forget about the whole point of going into this profession, which is sharing knowledge with students. I love seeing students get excited about media studies and I love seeing them apply what they’ve learned to the world around them. Media literacy is one of the most important skills students need, and I am so grateful to be able to teach those skills every semester.

Describe one of the most rewarding courses you’ve taught in your time at ECU.

I like all of my classes but I had a particularly rewarding experience teaching Women, Identity and Difference 2 years ago. Here is the description:

“This seminar explores the different ways that American cinema has attempted to represent women. Beginning with the documentary Miss Representation, this course explores how American cinema represents women from different races, economic classes, sexual orientations, ethnicities and body types. The course will explore different facets of a particular American identity from the perspective of mainstream films to independent and experimental features. In addition to looking at isolated identities and what it means to be an African American, white, working class, or disabled woman in America, this course will also focus on intersectionality, or the ways that multiple systems of oppression are felt on individual bodies and how they intersect.”

I loved this class because the material was very challenging and potentially uncomfortable for students; race, gender, ethnicity, sexual identity, etc. are often tough for students to grapple with in a serious way. Students are afraid of saying the wrong thing or offending others with such topics. But those students really rose to the challenge and it was inspiring to witness. They were careful and nuanced and really just listened to each other. At the end of the semester one of my students gave me greatest compliment I have ever received in my SPOTS evaluations. S/he wrote: “I feel like I am a better person for having taken this course.” I mean, how can you top that? That’s the goal for me as a teacher—to help shape responsible, thoughtful, ethical citizens.

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