Tomorrow, English majors can receive colloquium credit for attending “Pilgrimage, Pilgrimage, and Writing Historical Fiction” at 4:00 p.m. in Bayley Auditorium. The event is featuring novelist Lucy Pick.
Tomorrow, English majors can receive colloquium credit for attending “Pilgrimage, Pilgrimage, and Writing Historical Fiction” at 4:00 p.m. in Bayley Auditorium. The event is featuring novelist Lucy Pick.
Tomorrow, Wittenberg plays host to poet Dunya Mikhail in a Witt Series Koppenhaver Lecture. A Q&A will take place in Bayley Auditorium at 4:30 p.m. with the lecture occurring later that evening at 7:30 p.m.
English majors will receive colloquium credit for attending!
This past Tuesday, the English Department, along with members of SAGE, hosted the annual Literary Halloween Party. Students and faculty had the option to dress as a literary character or author for colloquium credit; or, they could simply dress up just to dress up.
Here are some of this year’s costume highlights:
Clockwise, from left to right: Town Mouse and Country Mouse from Aesop’s Fables (Emma Stogsdill and Sierra Sanchez), Frankenstein Creation (Ashlee Eckenroe), Literary Mash-Up (Dr. Lori Askeland), Woman in Black from Susan Hill’s Woman in Black (Stephanie McGregor), Jonny Cade from The Outsiders and Arthur Dent from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Katie Hodson), Giraffe from Giraffe (Nikki Howard), Alice from Alice in Wonderland (Emma Kilpatrick), Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games (Megan Winters), Inigo Montaya from The Princess Bride (Drew Pool), and Nancy Drew(s) from Nancy Drew (Kailey Mau and Samantha Reynolds).
Over Fall Break, three Wittenberg Writing Center advisors teamed up with two tutors from Elon University to present “It’s Up to You! Practicing the Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback.”
The National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing (NCPTW) took place from Thursday, October 12th through Saturday, October 14th. Elon and Wittenberg presented in a collaboration-style format early Friday morning to a crowd of about twenty at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
Originally, the five advisors had a full block of 75 minutes to present, but due to the amount of proposals received, the presentation slot was dropped to 20 minutes to accommodate three separate presentations into one 75 minute slot.
Here is the proposal originally sent into Hofstra that the five advisors tailored both their overall and personal reactions to through their presentation:
Of the strategies writing center tutors use to engage students in their writing, providing direct feedback is one of the most useful and the most challenging. This presentation describes an exchange between two writing centers designed to prepare tutors to deliver written feedback. What were our experiences like as readers, responders, recipients, and writers? What did we learn about receiving feedback and responding to writing that we have incorporated into our work as tutors?
Each advisor spoke for roughly 3-4 minutes, each choosing to focus on a different sub-topic about the email exchange as a whole. Sub-topics ranged from immediate personal reactions to the visual effect of comments on a page to translating the pros of a face-to-face session into an email session.
Here are two advisor’s reactions to both the presentation and the conference:
I spent my portion of the presentation discussing my personal reaction to the ‘experiment,’ as I had been rather disappointed in the disconnect between what I asked the Elon advisor to look at within my paper as to what I received back at the conclusion of the exchange. She had barely left 7-8 comments, and none of them focused on what I had asked her to focus on.
When I gave comments to my student for the exchange, I’ll be the first to admit, I left a lot of comments, but I focused on what she wanted me to, and I felt that each comment would be helpful as she looked to revise. I also made it very clear at the beginning of her paper that I feel multiple comments on a paper to be more useful than mentioning something once and never pointing it out again throughout the rest of the paper.
As I looked through some of my classmate’s reactions to the exchange, I noticed a lot of us were either intimidated by the amount of comments, or disappointed in a lack of comments that they received back from the exchange. When we thought about email exchanges in the context of our 242 class, we tried to balance praise, suggestion, and direct corrections while also attempting to give as many possible comments that would enable the writer to progress in revision without having that face-to-face dialect as a normal session. Because Elon does not have email sessions, they appeared to translate a face-to-face session directly into the email session, which didn’t translate as well as they had wanted it to.
In conclusion of our results, I suggested a new way of going about email sessions to make sure that students got the comments they desired from an email session. Now, when students go to make an appointment on wconline, there is a box where students can go into more depth about the comments they’d like to receive on their papers, without advisors just having one drop-down menu topic to go off of throughout the paper.
The presentation went swimmingly, I must say, and getting to present was a really unique opportunity, especially with this being my first semester in the Writing Center. I’m hoping to write an article regarding this experience, and I’m hoping to begin research on another project in the coming weeks.
I strongly encourage anyone, regardless of what they’re involved in, to present at some kind of conference. The feedback you get from the presentation and the feeling of actually presenting something you worked very hard on is unparalleled in terms of experiences. – Jenn Ryan, ’19
Throughout my experience at the NCPTW in New York, I was impressed with the number and diversity of ideas presented at the conference. As far as writing centers go, I realized how lucky we are to have the space that we have here at Witt, and how lucky we are to have the positive and relaxed environment that we have. Although Wittenberg is a relatively small university, our space is large compared even to other larger universities, and the amenities that we have are well above par.
What became clear to me as I looked at the spaces that other centers had, and aspects that we like to emphasize in our center, is the importance of the visual appearance of the space, and creating a welcoming yet still academic environment for all students here at Witt. Whether it’s the superhero posters on the wall, the ever-present gumball machine, or the friendly faces that greet you when you walk in, there is just something about our center that exudes our core beliefs about the most effective ways to advise writers.
Although I did get some new ideas for how to improve our center space even more, my time at the conference provided me with the ability to step back and observe where our center stands on the spectrum of several important factors that make a writing center successful in advising writers, and I believe that we have done and are continuing to provide a great space for writers to work. – Shane Harris, ’20
All three Wittenberg students received grants from NCPTW. Jenn received a Burkean Parlor Award while Ryan Probst, ’20, and Shane Harris received Registration & Grub Awards.
While at the conference, the three got to meet two of the coauthors of one of the textbooks they had encountered in their 242 class, Melissa Ianetta and Lauren Fitzgerald.
Yesterday, Ohio Magazine Custom Media presented to a group of English and communication majors in a lecture about publishing, and more importantly, how to be a successful intern.
The world of publishing, according to Claudia Plumley, is universal.
Both Managing Editor Plumley and Assistant Editor Kelsey Wagner have been working for Ohio Magazine Custom Media for the past couple of years. Wagner began her career with Ohio Magazine after first landing an internship. Plumley had a hole to fill in the year after Wagner’s internship ended, so she decided to bring her onto the job full time.
Wagner’s determination and dedication to her job as not only a writer but an editor helped her to successfully land the job at Ohio Magazine following the conclusion of her internship.
Because of Wagner’s recent background as a student, she was eager to answer questions from students and faculty regarding real-life situations, and good tips for working through an internship. One of the more important tips for an internship, Plumley stressed, was to be not only a good writer, but to be an even better editor.
While students are still in college, Plumley and Wagner suggest taking every class that involves different methods of writing. One of Wagner’s most helpful classes as a student at The Ohio State University was a business writing course, which helped her to be as concise as possible with her writing. The two also suggested being thoroughly involved with the school newspaper and taking a graphic design class, which will help students visualize their story on the page, even if the design doesn’t end up exactly as you pictured.
Plumley and Wagner also talked about what Ohio Magazine Custom Media produces throughout the year, including two of their more prominent publications, including Long Weekends, which features the Great Lakes region, and Ohio Magazine, which features some of Ohio’s hidden gems of food, travel, and much more.
Ohio Magazine also does custom productions, which are the numerous publications, upwards to a total of sixty-seventy publications, outside of their two more prominent publications.
The Ohio Magazine website states:
Ohio Magazine serves energetic and involved Ohioans by providing award-winning stories and photographs highlighting Ohio’s people, history, towns, food and travel destinations.
We’ve been around for nearly 40 years, capturing the beauty, the adventure and the fun of life in the Buckeye State, and we want to be your resource for experiencing all that Ohio has to offer.
Whether you’re looking for great recipes, insightful profiles or a guide to some of our state’s most popular attractions, we’ve got you covered. We also tap into the spirit of our state through history features, lifestyle stories and our annual Best Hometowns issue, which recognizes outstanding communities throughout the state.
To students who may begin looking for internships in the near future, Plumley suggested finding something where you not already have some skill-set for the position, but that you can consistently learn from. Receiving feedback at an internship is potentially the most important aspect of participating in an internship.
Students can visit Ohio Magazine Custom Media’s website here, and can look at their page about internships here. Wittenberg’s Career Services department is also available to help during an internship hunt, and students can view that page here.
Tomorrow, Bayley Auditorium will play host to a publishing colloquium featuring Claudia Plumley from Ohio Magazine Custom Media at 4:30 p.m. English majors can attend to earn colloquium credit!
The English Department’s most prestigious group, SAGE, has added a great number of new faces this semester.
“SAGE, or Student Advisory Group for English, is a group of committed English majors that serve as the unified student voice of the English department at Wittenberg University. We mean to act as a liaison between the English department faculty and personnel and Wittenberg’s English students in advising on certain policy changes and other official matters. We also task ourselves with spreading awareness of the many things Wittenberg’s English department provides for its students and creating programming that both generates a presence for the English department on campus and brings the students and faculty closer together in our shared pursuit of knowledge of English literature and writing. Additionally, we assist with academic showcasing for prospective students in presenting what the Wittenberg English department has to offer.”
Here is a little introduction to the English Department’s 2017-2018 members of SAGE:
Throughout the course of the year, Wittenberg’s senior English majors will begin working on their theses. One of the many English Department’s seniors who have begun work on their senior thesis is Joey Sechrist.
Although he is far from finishing his thesis work during the fall semester, he shared the topic of his thesis and his advice for fellow seniors and underclassmen as they begin working on and thinking about their theses:
The working title for my honors thesis is “Patriarchal Capitalism and the Marxist-Feminist Transnational Literary Response.” I chose this topic because of my strong interest in studying the intersection of economic and social oppression. I believe that global systems of patriarchy and capitalism cannot be adequately addressed with an exclusively economic or social lens, so I found it necessary to merge these fields. Additionally, patriarchy and capitalism work together in very specific ways in order to uphold their mutually reinforcing ideological structures. I believe that literature provides a gateway to understanding these systems when addressed on a transnational scale; patriarchal capitalism is a global phenomenon, but it cannot be homogenized without respect to its unique local dimensions.
Therefore, I chose to examine three writers working in different forms and literary traditions in order to begin the formation of a global literary response to patriarchal capitalism. I chose to work with Dorothy Allison’s American novel Bastard Out of Carolina, Alan Moore’s British graphic novel V For Vendetta, and Junot Diaz’s Dominican American short stories in Drown and This is How You Lose Her. Each writer addresses uniquely perspectival aspects of patriarchal capitalism. For example, Allison unpacks the reinforcement of gendered working class identity, Moore illustrates the dynamics of individual relationships to critically humanize the mechanics of fascism, and Diaz attempts to reconcile a Dominican identity with a struggle for masculine fulfillment and success in the United States. I believe that each of these authors pose unique critiques of patriarchal capitalism, which may be fully understood through a Marxist-feminist lens posed within a transnational methodology.
I was fortunate enough to receive a grant in order to work on this thesis over the summer. So far, I have written approximately 60 pages and I have plenty of work remaining, which I hope to finish during the spring semester. My research is grounded heavily in Marxist and feminist political theory, economics, and sociology, although I have also found it necessary to ground my work in transnational literary theory. Ideally, I would like to continue working with Marxist and feminist theory in an English graduate program, as I believe literature provides a form through which resistance to oppression may be uniquely humanized.
My advice to prospective thesis writers is to start early and find a way to incorporate your interests into your work. While I do not have a strong interest in any particular field of literature, my passion for political theory led me towards a literary project in which I could feel wholly invested. Find the value that literature can hold for you, and start your work from there!
After a professor has been granted tenure, they are able to take either a semester or year off from teaching, known as a sabbatical, to further their research on a current project, or to spend time writing on prior research they have gathered.
Two Wittenberg professors are on sabbatical during the fall semester, Professor D’Arcy Fallon and Dr. Cynthia Richards. Here is a preview of what D’Arcy has been working on during the summer months and these first five weeks away from Wittenberg:
“I’ve been in Nova Scotia ten days. I’ve mastered how to lock the front door, learned where to take a free shower, and learned the finer points of separating the trash into garbage, compost, and recyclables. As for the toilet, well, I’m still learning.” – July 16, 2017
As that journal entry from the summer of 2017 attests, I spent nearly two months in a little cabin built on stilts above the Atlantic Ocean without plumbing or running water. I was in Nova Scotia with my two dogs, China and Sebastian, trying to get a running start on my fall sabbatical. I believed that some intensive alone time in a primitive cabin without modern-day distractions would help me get cranking on The Yum Yum Bus, a novel about a creative writing teacher who must negotiate the tricky territory between praise and truth-telling. (It did!)
I had access to electricity, a tiny fridge, and an assortment of lackadaisical space heaters. But there was no TV, no internet, no bathtub, and very spotty phone service. It rained the first three weeks I was there. I wrote in my journal, “Forty-six degrees outside and this place feels like it’s constructed out of Popsicle sticks.”
“Cleaning” the cabin, I accidentally touched a few panes of ancient window glass too vigorously and broke them. At low tide, using a ten-foot ladder, I tried to putty in new panes, only to break those too. I was on a first-name basis with the people at the hardware store. Did I mention it was cold and rainy?
The cabin was located in Vogler’s Cove, on the Atlantic side. I loved living by the tidal clock. My bedroom was located directly above the ocean and I could feel the tide surging in the middle of the night. The sunsets were breathtaking, the morning fog a delight, and the birds and ocean critters afforded non-stop entertainment. It was like watching The Animal Planet nonstop, without commercials. There were lots of challenges, but overcoming them became part of the charm of life at The Black Duck. I mastered using the Incinolet Carefree toilet, which burns solid waste. As for the other kind of waste, a hole in the floor above the ocean sufficed. I thought about re-naming The Black Duck “Camp Commando.” There are many things to be embarrassed about in this world, but going to the bathroom should not be one of them.
Now it’s September in Springfield, Ohio. Did I mention it’s cold and rainy? My office wall at home is covered with three by five cards, taped notes and charts and little phrases are helping me concentrate on The Yum Yum Bus. I have never written a novel before. I am extremely grateful for this time to write and I vow I’ll have a draft of the book finished by the end of December. And if I can’t keep that promise, there’s always Nova Scotia.
Included is an excerpt of some of the work Prof. Fallon has written thus far:
The Vapors: Crescent Beach, Nova Scotia
There were a few moments when the sun burned through the fog and it was actually hot and I thought I might go swimming, but then the fog swirled in. I would not have been surprised to see someone in a trench coat with the collar turned up scurry by. With fog, you never know what you’re getting. Love, romance, lost pets, confessions, old movie stars.
Who walks in the fog? Who are you? The tide is low and the ocean is sighing: fog, fog, fog. Waves roll up on the shore, sandpipers run, kids fly kites, people kiss on the sand dunes, dogs chase sticks. We’re all newborns in the fog: blind, intimate, random, strangers.
Walking in the fog is like opening a birthday present. Unwrap the moment. We’re in a cocoon of mist, swaddled in clouds, diapered in moisture. Maybe it’s the last day of life as we know it. We’re all here, with our dogs and tennis balls, sun screen and bottled water, folding chairs and metal detectors.
Look. Three adolescent girls in bikinis do cartwheels. A grandmother in a fuchsia windbreaker takes photographs. The sweet black lab looks like a sugar donut as he rolls in the sand.
I am a visitor from another country, a pilgrim trying to make a fresh start. Is it here, on the beach? Will you take me in? Fog forgives. It looks the other way. Make me yours.
Since its inception in 2010, The List has been a challenge to Wittenberg’s English majors and students alike. Although it may seem impossible, alumnus Jordan Hildebrandt, a geology and computer science double major, became the first (and only) student to complete The List in 2012.
With sixty-four names inscribed in The List’s sign-up book, why has only one, and not even an English major, been able to complete The List in its seventy-five book entirety?
Sophomore Sophie Reutter was quick to add some input of her own after signing on to complete The List last year:
I chose to sign up for The List a little over halfway through my freshman year last year in hopes of being able to complete it by senior year. I mainly chose to do this since I adore literature and I really wanted to do something that would help to propel my English major forward in a way that I wasn’t expecting. I haven’t gotten very far into the long list of titles, but I do most of the reading over the summer. I don’t think it is terribly difficult, but I do see where the trepidation would come in with having to see the professors who have also read the stories. It isn’t surprising that some English majors may consider themselves introverts and may get a serious amount of anxiety when they have to think about going to talk with an absolute stranger. I don’t think English majors are able to finish the task because the minds of English majors work very differently. We’ll be thinking of one thing one second and another the next. Not to say that we are all scatter-brained, but we have a very strong sense that we should always be doing something, and perhaps The List isn’t something people deem “worthwhile” to complete. I think we might also never finish it because it isn’t a recommended or “required” reading list. We may be missing the incentive to get such a gigantic task out of the way.
In the past three years, the most a student has completed is a total of four discussions.
Professor Robin Inboden also shared her thoughts on the process and possible reemergence in popularity of The List:
I think The List is hard to complete in four years when you’re a full-time student because the things you read in your courses create a completely different “list.” Some of the works on The List are taught in classes, but students, of course, can’t choose their courses only to catch items on The List. I haven’t read all the items on the current list because a lot of them are contemporary or outside my specialties, or from genres that may not be as appealing to me. The magic of attempting The List when you’re young–in college–is that your tastes are still being formed, and the variety can be eye-opening and world-widening… Unfortunately, I haven’t had anyone request a List item discussion in years. It makes me a little sad, but I still get to discuss some of the works with students in my classes… My advice (to students) would be to start by discussing books you’ve already read and know well with the appropriate professor. Find out which books are likely to be taught in some class or other and see if any of them are ones you’re likely to take, then wait to read those then. Use your summers and breaks.
With only a handful of current students signed up to tackle The List, it seems unlikely that a student in the classes of 2018 or 2019 will complete The List. However, with a few dedicated students who love to read, The List can be a great incentive to try a little of various genres, and also to get acquainted with all of the English Department’s wonderful professors.
The List’s sign-up book is in the English Department for those who wish to challenge The List. Once a student completes 35 books, the department will buy the student a copy of their favorite book from the List. If a student completes 50 books, they have the option of adding a book of their choice to The List, like Jordan’s selection of Flatland. Students can stop in to see Christina Reynolds for more information.
A list of professors and their selections for The List books can be found here.