Department of English News

ECU TCR May 2011 Content

Lead Article:

English Department Graduation Celebrates Student Achievements

At 5:00 P.M., May 6, 2011, forty-two students completed their studies of and received their Bachelor of Arts in English. Twenty-five students attained their Masters of Arts in English. At the ceremony, held in Hendrix Theater, Brent Henze shared his thoughts about the Outstanding English Senior of the Spring 2011 graduating class, Max Lemanowicz, and the Outstanding MA in English, Ivory Kelly.

Henze praised the commitment of both honorees to the discipline, speaking to Lemanowicz’s enthusiastic engagement with faculty, students, and texts and praising the breadth of Kelly’s participation in activities that strengthen her acumen as an instructor, writer, and editor.

Spring 2011 Outstanding Senior in English: Max Lemanowicz
Remarks by Brent Henze

On behalf of the Student Scholarships and Awards committee, I have the privilege of introducing the Outstanding Senior of Spring 2011, Mr. Max Lemanowicz.

Max is one of those students whose engagement with the English major seems to grow with every encounter. All English majors have their origin stories, and Max notes that when he became an English major, it wasn’t simply because he liked reading, or because he was good at it, but because, in his words, he needed to do it. Like many of us who find our vocation in English studies, Max is a guy who makes sense of the world through the written word. Reading and writing aren’t about a means of escaping the world, but encountering it, through philosophical inquiry, through social interaction, and through experience.

Max’s faculty recommenders praise his ambition as a reader and writer: one professor notes his remarkably dogged reading, [his] intellectually incisive criticism, his boldness and remarkable freedom of imagination. Another recommender notes that Max thinks philosophically and theoretically, and he isn’t afraid to engage with big ideas.

But, far from building an intellectual edifice for himself alone, Max is fully committed to literature and philosophy as tools of social connection. With his colleagues in English, Max created a literature and philosophy reading group; he’s an active participant in the English Club; and he enriches the conversation in any class that he takes. As faculty, we do our best to instruct students in our classes. But what we’re secretly hoping is that students will come to their own realizations about the formative value of texts and ideas in their lives, and that that will become one of the ways they share their worlds with others. In Max’s case, we’ve seen it happen.

Along with his professors, the members of the Student Scholarships and Awards committee are very pleased to recognize the Spring 2011 Outstanding Senior in English, Mr. Max Lemanowicz.

Spring 2011 Outstanding MA Student in English: Ivory Kelly

It gives me great pleasure to introduce this semester’s Outstanding MA Student in English, Ms. Ivory Kelly. Ivory entered our MA program as a creative writer who had already published one collection of poetry and fiction. Not surprisingly, her professors have praised the quality of her writing. One instructor describes her work as simple and clear, but, beneath that simplicity, [it explores] important questions about culture and progress and globalization, as well as love, parenthood, and other family bonds.

Several faculty recommenders also highlight her investment in others’ work in the community of writers. One professor called Ivory the kind of student you wish for all your teaching life: an excellent reader [who] has the wonderful and rare ability to talk about her peers’ work honestly and specifically, with humor and…tenderness. Other recommenders note her extraordinary empathy, her astute critical eye, and her ability to model her expertise in a manner that invites discussion rather than closes it down.

Ivory has demonstrated these strengths not only as a student in courses and workshops, but also in her own classroom, in her editorial work, and through her participation in the broader intellectual and social life of the English department. Ivory is one of the very few students ever to serve as assistant editor of the North Carolina Literary Review, an award-winning journal edited here at ECU. She’s an active participant in the many guest lectures and readings hosted by the department. We keep students pretty busy around here. But, in addition to attending her own classes and doing her own work, she’s the sort of student who sits in on other courses simply because she’s interested in the material.

Ivory’s professors have praised her recent writing and fully expect to see it in print.  We feel an anticipatory pride in knowing that ECU has played some small part in Ivory’s future achievements, alloyed by gratitude for the contributions Ivory has made to our family here at ECU.

On behalf of the department, I’m pleased to recognize the spring 2011 Outstanding MA Student in English, Ms. Ivory Kelly.

Article 1:

Collaboration, Education, Reward: Two ECU Educators Work to Improve NC Schools

Contributed by Debra O’Neal

Debra O’Neal (English) and Marjorie Ringler (Educational Leadership) were awarded a North Carolina Quality Educators Through Staff Development and Training (NC QUEST) competitive grant in the total amount of $400,000 for Project CEO for the 2009-2011 academic years. The NC QUEST grant is a competitive process though which funds are awarded to Schools of Education and their partners in North Carolina for use in providing staff development and training to personnel of targeted North Carolina school systems.

Project CEO brought together the College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences at East Carolina University with Tyrrell County Schools to change the perceived role of school principal from the “booking agent,” the one who manages the building, the schedule, and the professional development, to the “CEO,” or “chief educational officer,” the instructional leader who facilitates, leads, and participates in professional development for his or her school with the goal of improving student academic literacy across content areas. As a learning community, ECU faculty and a team of principals and lead teachers from Tyrrell County Schools implemented and coached content-based instructional strategies through implementation of the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) Model.

The SIOP focuses on improving academic literacy for English language learners (ELLs) and standard English learners (SELs). It is designed to be used with ESL students as a means to teach students content while simultaneously promoting language development in second-language learners. This grant treated academic language, considered the language of texts and the school, as a second language, and used the second-language teaching strategies as the means to promote academic language proficiency across the curriculum with native English-speaking students. After the first year of the grant, great strides were seen in the academic achievement of the lowest students. These students exceeded their expected growth predictions and seemed to be the ones who benefited the most from the focus on academic language proficiency. The work continued in its second year, with a focus on bringing up the scores of the higher level students by challenging their higher order questioning along with developing their academic language.

Article 2:

Courting Discourse

By Sam Settimio

As a part of the endeavor to pursue diversity at East Carolina University, the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Community Relations (EDC) strives to implement and support a number of campus-wide initiatives. Organizations such as the Black Student Union, the LGBT and Ally Student Union, the Asian Student Association, and resources such as the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center also work to generate a comfortable, welcoming, and accepting environment for students of underrepresented backgrounds, classes, orientations, and abilities.

Such organizations serve the purpose of not only providing a place of comfort and safety for ECU’s student population, but also the opportunity to learn about diversity and difference. The EDC states that it supports a variety of initiatives intended to generate, “culturally competent students, faculty, and staff prepared for 21st century teaching.”

Founded in fall 2010 by English Department Chair Dr. Jeffrey Johnson, the English Department Committee on Diversity was established primarily to encourage diversity in faculty hiring. The concern has been that the department’s faculty does not accurately or proportionally represent the diversity and differences of the students at ECU or in the community. Joyce Irene Middleton, associate professor and committee chair, echoing the views of other department faculty, points out that the strongest representation of faculty diversity is most visible among the teaching assistants in the English department. Middleton states, “Taking 1100 or 1200 classes presents the greatest opportunities to encounter instructors of color and difference…Otherwise most students don’t get to see much diversity of underrepresented groups among the faculty in the English department.”

Since its inception, the committee has been focused on developing faculty searches specifically geared toward attracting candidates that represent the diversity of the ECU student body. However, due to the difficulties of the recent budget crisis, the searches had to be called off last year. Hands tied by finances, the Diversity Committee focused on alternative ways to address some of its charges.

A series of diversity lunch forums were developed by the Diversity Committee in the 2010-2011 academic year. According to Middleton, almost every one of the forum meetings “had packed audiences” last year, and some were “standing-room only” events, demonstrating the deep support for diversity across the department. Throughout 2011, faculty and committee members became increasingly engaged in diversity events, and many of the committee members also attended the campus-wide seminars on diversity. Department Chair Jeffrey Johnson believes that the momentum of diversity in the department, so far, is promising.

The Diversity Committee is more dedicated than ever to its efforts for greater departmental outreach and support. As Middleton states, “One of the strong features of any diversity committee (at any school) is its commitment to communication and to sharing the explicit discourses of diversity and difference within a department or program.” By providing a resource and a platform for serious discussion on inclusion and diversity, the Diversity Committee has taken the first steps towards creating an environment where often-avoided, yet very real issues can be constructively addressed.

Although founded out of need to diversify hiring, the Diversity Committee can and has expanded into a much more holistic creature, one that can indeed reshape the discourses of diversity within the English Department at ECU.

Article 3:

Style Is the Man

Contributed by Thomas Herron

Associate Professor David Scott Wilson-Okamura has recently published his first monograph, Virgil in the Renaissance, with Cambridge University Press (2010). It represents a landmark addition to the field of Renaissance studies.

Virgil in the Renaissance is the culmination of over fifteen years’ work, beginning with Wilson-Okamura’s dissertation (Spenser and the Renaissance, Aeneid, 1998) at the University of Chicago under the direction of Michael Murrin. The book provides an overview of 1200 years of scholarship on the entire corpus of one of the most complex and canonical, as well as popular, writers of all time (Virgil). The book surveys this great author’s influence from Servius to Edmund Spenser, approximately, with plentiful references to pre-Servius classical writers as well. Wilson-Okamura’s analyses include in-depth, provocative, and evocative readings of Virgil’s own writings, from the religious underworld of Book VI, to the rage of Turnus, to the sexual orientation of Nisus and Euryalus.

No book like this has been attempted before in English. The last book to try in any language was Domenico Comparetti’s Virgilio nel medio evo (1872; trans. 1895). By his own admission (pp. 1-2), Wilson-Okamura does not have Comparetti’s breadth, but Comparetti did not write a sequel that covers the entire early modern period, as Wilson-Okamura has now done.

Virgil in the Renaissance demonstrates great erudition, covering the fields of medieval and early modern English and Continental European literatures, along with the classics. Tedious labor is the good scholar’s constant companion, and thanks to Wilson-Okamura’s patient garnering, the book has many valuable appendices with tables on publication statistics. For this reason alone, not to mention its strength of analysis, the book will serve as a benchmark reference work for future studies of the subject.

Like its author, Virgil in the Renaissance shows profound learning and patience, and great polish. It uses sources in at least five foreign languages (French, Italian, Latin, Spanish, German), thus demonstrating the global reach and cultural diversity of renaissance studies then and now. It is written in highly accessible prose with subtle, allusive wit and (as Neo-Latin scholar Lee Piepho remarked when visiting ECU) is remarkably well-organized given the range of topics involved. It also focuses on a topic, style, often pushed to the margins of the academy, but, hopefully, to come roaring back in strength with such publications as this. “Style is the man.”

In the middle of his career, Wilson-Okamura has written a scholarly epic, which is likely the stage for other, more specialized flights. He is currently well-advanced with a second monograph on Spenser’s style. Dr. Wilson-Okamura recently won our departmental research award on the basis of his fine book. In teaching, service, and scholarship, the modest Wilson-Okamura does our department, and Virgil, great honor.

Article 4:

Spring 2011 TALGS Conference

The 8th Annual TESOL/Applied Linguistics Graduate Students (TALGS) Conference, held at East Carolina University on Saturday, February 19, 2011, welcomed graduate students and professionals alike to share their ideas and practices about TESOL and other aspects of applied linguistics. This conference, which is organized by the Linguistics and TESOL graduate students and faculty in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, “aims to provide a serious yet relaxed environment for graduate students and professionals to present their work, receive feedback, and network”, according to their website.

In addition to a variety of presentations and posters, I had the opportunity to interview keynote speaker, Dr. Ofelia García, who talked about her interests, how she came to the field, and common misconceptions about billingualism. (Full Interview with Dr. Ofelia García) I also had the pleasure of attending Dr. García’s plenary address entitled “Negotiating Bilingualism in Education: Deconstructing structures and pedagogues,” which was an eye-opening discussion on language policies and emergent bilingual education.

For more information on the TALGS conference:  including abstracts, past conferences, and their recent partnership with Western Carolina University, visit the TALGS website.

Majors and Minors

In January 2011, Brook Bailey, currently completing her MA in English, concentration in Technical and Professional Communication, was approved by STC Board of Directors to be a member of the honorary society Sigma Tau Chi. Bailey was awarded the honor for demonstrating academic excellence and possessing the potential to distinguish herself as a member of the technical communication profession.

Brittany Beck presented the paper “‘[L]ike vanquished Kings whom Fetters bind’: Denaturalizing Gender Hierarchy in the Poetry of Mary Collier, Anne Finch, and Sarah Fyge Egerton” at the Southeast Women’s Studies Association (SEWSA) conference in Atlanta on March 24, 2011.

Elizabeth L. Kent, graduate of the MA in English program, concentration in Technical and Professional Communication, has been named Associate Fellow of STC. Her citation reads, “For her commitment to promoting the profession of technical communication by selflessly mentoring others, promoting lifelong learning, and serving for over 10 years on the STC Carolina Competitions Committee.” The rank of Associate Fellow is awarded to senior members who have attained distinction in the field of technical communication.

In November 2010, Jim Metzger published “Disability and the Marginalization of God in the Parable of the Snubbed Host” in The Bible and Critical Theory, and “God as F(r)iend? Reading Luke 11:5-13 & 18:1-8 with a Hermeneutic of Suffering” in Horizons in Biblical Theology. He also presented the paper “Reading Matthew’s Healing Narratives from the Perspectives of Caregiver and the Disabled” with Jim Grimshaw at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Atlanta, GA.

At the Podium

In March 2011, Anna Froula presented “Rob Riggle: Alpha Male, Veteran Journalist” at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. This presentation explored the ways in which Rob Riggle synthesizes multiple identities into his onscreen personas. In particular, his character challenges the deification of military masculinity by contrasting the war veteran mythology in the diegesis with the authenticity of his extradiegetic military service. A decorated Marine Lieutenant Colonel who has served in Liberia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan and remains in the Reserves, Riggle incorporates authoritative combat service into both his straight comedic performance and his self-referential satire.

Brent Henze and Wendy Sharer were keynote speakers in December 2010 at a professional development symposium, “Preparing for Multidimensional Careers,” hosted by the PhD program in English at Old Dominion University.

In Print

Michael Albers’s essay, “Design and Usability: Beginner Interactions with Complex Software,” appeared in the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication. In addition, Albers and John Marsella published “An Analysis of Student Comments in Comprehensive Editing” in Technical Communication.

Anna Froula’s essay “‘America, Fuck Yeah!’: Patriotic Puppetry in Team America: World Police” was published in Iraq War Cultures, edited by Cynthia Fuchs and Joe Lockard. Released mere weeks before the 2004 election, Team America received mixed reviews from critics attempting to polarize the politics of South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker…Yet as it satirizes both the warmongering of Bush administration neoconservatives and the futile peacenik stance of liberals, the movie stands as resistance against a sharply divided American response to the “war on terrorism” and hyperconsumerism as a way to fight it. Toby Miller says of the collection, “The editors and authors have done a marvelous job in excavating the horror of American empire. And despite our belligerent history, books like this one show that another America can come into being.”

Brent Henze and Debra C. Andrews’s essay “Teaching Professional Writing in a Study Abroad Program” was published in Teaching Intercultural Technical Communication from Baywood Press. The collection was edited by Kirk St. Amant and Barry Thatcher.

Randall Martoccia had his poem, “War Cam,” accepted for publication by the journal War, Literature and the Arts.

Joyce Irene Middleton was invited to contribute an essay to the English Journal (an NCTE publication) in celebration of the Centenniary Anniversary for the National Council for Teachers of English in 2011.  Her manuscript entitled, “Rhetorical Listening: When the Eye Defers to the Ear for Civic Discourse,” was published in the fall.

In addition, Middleton’s essay, “The Hyperlink Film: Visual Rhetoric and Identification in Film,” was accepted for the Kenneth Burke Society Conference at Clemson University in South Carolina in May 2011.  This paper and her other writing about film will contribute to Middleton’s book on the topic of film as a rhetorical text, which she expected to finish by the end of 2011.

Digital English: Web Portfolios

Contributed by Gabrielle Freeman

Many faculty members rely on portfolios as a crucial tool for evaluating student progress in composition classes. In the following video, Gabrielle Freeman demonstrates the options Google offers instructors of English 1100 and 1200 who want to move their students’ portfolios online.

http://content.screencast.com/users/freemang/folders/Default/media/a7a9a69f-9cc7-4c0a-9cf9-047ecf229463/Electronic%20Portfolios.mp4&amp

More Recent News

Mike Albers was named a Society for Technical Communication (STC) Fellow at the STC conference in May. The rank of Fellow is conferred upon Associate Fellows who have attained a distinguished level of eminence in the field of technical communication and is awarded by a two-thirds vote of the STC Board of Directors.

Kirk St. Amant was named an Associate Fellow at the May 2011 STC conference for his contributions to the advancement of research and teaching in intercultural technical communication and for contributions to academic editing and publishing in technical communication.