Sunday, January 14, 2018

Dr. Grady Will Introduce Screening of The Shawshank Redemption

Dr. Maura Grady, director of the Composition Program and University Writing Center, will give the introduction to the Stephen King film series at the Renaissance Theater in Mansfield on Jan. 18 at 7:00 p.m.

The event is a screening of The Shawshank Redemption (first in a 12-film series) and will kick off the beautifully restored Renaissance Theater's 90th Anniversary Celebration.

Grady is the author of The Shawshank Experience: Tracking the History of the World's Favorite Movie (Palgrave, 2016).


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Director of Composition and Writing Center Earns M.Ed.

Dr. Maura Grady, Director of the Composition program in the English Department and Director of the University Writing Center, earned an additional degree at Ashland University's December commencement ceremony. I interviewed her about her work for the M.Ed.

Dr. Grady with Emily Wirtz (Creative Writing major) and Kiara Woods (English major and Writing Assistant in the Writing Center)
HD: First of all, congratulations! What is the full title of the degree (the focus of the M.Ed.)?

​MKG: The degree is Master's of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on "Teaching in the 21st Century"​
Dr. Grady with Carli Diturno (Dietetics major and Writing Assistant in the Writing Center)
HD: You already have a Ph.D. in English. How did the M.Ed. enhance your knowledge base or open you up to new ideas and perspectives?

MKG: In 2015, I knew that I might be changing from my former position of an assistant professor with a focus on Film Studies, Literature, and Writing to a position more focused on Writing Program Administration. The scholarly writing associated with that kind of job is quite different from what I had been doing, and I felt that the M.Ed. would give me the opportunity to learn more about undergraduate pedagogy and philosophies of educational administrative leadership. So, in Fall 2015, I enrolled in the M.Ed. program at Ashland University. It was helpful that I already knew a number of faculty in the College of Education, including my eventual thesis advisor, Dr. Howard Walters, and Dr. Judy Alston who kindly allowed me in to one of her Doctoral Leadership seminars. I learned so much from all of the faculty and students I was able to work with in the program. 

Dr. Grady with Jacob Poiner (Music Education major)
Having completed a Ph.D. in English (UC Davis) and subsequently devoted my professional life to scholarly research and teaching certainly meant that the act of learning knew things was something I was very comfortable with! Researching and writing very detailed papers about new subjects always takes time and hard work but I found the process more enjoyable than I might have the first time around, as it were, when I was working on seminar papers and my dissertation in my English Ph.D. program. I've learned so much about how to learn, how to manage longer writing projects, and how to maintain focus since then. I have to thank the AURWC (Ashland University Research and Writing Community), founded by Dr. Sharleen Mondal, and my AURWC small group for much of that focus and structure since becoming a faculty member at AU.

HD: As the Director of the Writing Center and the Composition Program, how will your M.Ed. work determine your teaching, scholarship, or administrative work in the future? 

MKG: ​The work I did while completing the M.Ed. has already been very useful to me in my current position-- I was able to work on several projects involving the Composition program (developing an assessment procedure for our ENG 100 course) and the Writing Center (writing a mission statement and outcomes) and using best practices to design​ an assessment focused on those outcomes. The Writing Center intern, Bethany Meadows (English/Creative Writing/ILA major) has worked extensively with me on a study focused on student understanding of the writing process and we will be presenting the results of our research as the East Central Writing Center Association annual conference in March.  ​

One​ wonderful part of the experience of graduating from the College of Education was the chance to graduate with some of my favorite undergraduate students! As the Director of the Writing Center, I have the privilege to work with so many brilliant undergraduates and its always bittersweet to watch them graduate-- I wish they could stay forever at the same time I'm happy to see them go on to do great things! I was also happy to have my family there on the day of graduation, since my children were tiny when I received my doctorate (too little to attend a long graduation ceremony). They had to put up with a lot while I was doing my coursework and writing the thesis (as well as working full time) so I was really happy they could see the "end" of the process!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

December 2017 Graduates Start Down Varied Paths

Four majors from the English Department received their degrees at the December 2017 commencement ceremony. 

Emily Wirtz, a triple major in Creative Writing, Religion, and Psychology, will be working at the Rape Crisis Shelter in Ashland.

Emily Wirtz and Kiara Woods at commencement
English major Kiara Woods will start a position with Westfield Insurance in January. 

Kouri Weber in Jerusalem
Kouri Weber, an Integrated Language Arts major, will be working on campus in Student Affairs and applying for teaching jobs.

Ariel McCleary in Spain
Integrated Language Arts major Ariel McCleary will be pursuing a music career, with over 64,000 followers on her YouTube music channel at the time of this blog post. 

Congratulations, graduates!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Bethany Meadows Presents Honors Thesis Work at National Conference

By Bethany Meadows, English and Integrated Language Arts major

Conversations were abuzz as scholarship and research was brought to life at the National Collegiate Honors Council. This conference for Honors students across the United States brought together all disciplines for panels, workshops, presentations, poster sessions, and much more. I attended the NCHC conference from November 8-12 in Atlanta, Georgia as a presenter.

At the conference, I was on a Student Interdisciplinary Research Panel (SIRP). There were four of these panels during the entire conference, meaning that only 12 people out of over 1,000 speakers were selected to present. My panel, “Film Studies: Heroes, History, and Time,” featured two other presenters and me. One of my fellow panelist presented on the presence of Jospeh Campbell’s hero’s journey in Tarantino’s Kill Bill, and the other panelist discussed the use of time in Bergman’s Winter Light.

My presentation was an excerpt from my Honors capstone that I defended in May 2017, “History v. Film: An Examination of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Rhetoric and Ava DuVernay’s Selma.” For Ava DuVernay’s film, she did not receive the rights to King’s historical speeches; therefore, she had to create her own speeches for the film in the spirit of King. In analyzing the rhetoric of both the historical and the film’s, I shared how the archetypal metaphors of the dark/down, war, and the rising light allow DuVernay to remain rhetorically similar to King.

I had 15 minutes to present my theoretical frame, background information, and a close reading example from the “Our God Is Marching On!” speeches. Then, following all three of our presentations, we had 30 minutes of Q&A from the audience.

During this time, I was fortunate enough to get to have a discussion with three audience members about irony in King and DuVernay’s rhetoric along with how they establish and take away rhetorical agency. I know that they may not sound fun to everyone, but to me, it was amazing to get to talk academically with other faculty members about rhetoric, which is my favorite topic in the world. At this conference, my research was brought to life, and I look forward to going to more conferences in the future to continue to bring research and scholarship to life.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Public Relations Student Covers English Department High School Workshop


Contact: Kathleen Foster

Ashland University Public Relations Student


Young and Eager to Explore the World of Literacy, Language, and Writing at Ashland University

By Kathleen Foster

Ashland, Ohio – November 26, 2017

On November 6, 2017, Ashland University held its 32nd annual English Department high school workshop. Students from various high schools came together to appreciate and absorb the complications and pleasures of language, literature, and writing. Presentations and workshops were held throughout the day, closing with a tour of Ashland’s campus.

Six workshops were held in the John C. Myers Convocation Center. Each lecture was introduced and instructed by experts on that topic. Presentations focused on topics taught within the English department. Subjects ranged from short story examinations, extensive questioning of poems, understanding complex and moral questions in a story, and an introduction to the foundations of satire. 

High school students preparing for the Satire: Techniques and Traditions workshop
A workshop presentation held by Dr. Hilary Donatini introduced students to the foundation of satirical techniques. Dr. Donatini explained that the workshop benefits the community by “serving not only as a recruitment event for high school teachers and students, it also gives the individuals new perspectives on literacy. We are drawing students from a 100-mile radius, bringing them to Ashland University to educate them and let them explore what the campus has to offer.”

Dr. Donatini is the Associate Professor and Chair of the English Department. In her presentation, she introduced contexts from an excerpt of Gulliver’s Travels and connected it with satirical terminology. Students were given study questions to stay connected throughout the workshop.

This workshop strongly benefits Ashland University as well as the Ashland community. Bringing in Ohio students from around the state gives them the chance to experience a community that is close to home yet different and unique in many ways. The event introduces the students to the community and campus, potentially sparking an interest in attending Ashland University in the future. Bringing students to Ashland who are passionate about education and eager to learn are beneficial qualities. Ashland University and Ashland as a community should continuously be searching for these assets in students to better the community. The community will benefit from having successful students, residents, and potential workers in the near future.

Sophomore students from Wadsworth High School described the future benefits of visiting the workshops and Ashland University in various ways. “It gives us the chance to be introduced to a higher level of thinking,” said Aniya Harris. Ann Wolfinger said, “visits and workshops like this help us get into the college mindset.” Other students specifically spoke about the benefits of the workshops. “Workshops and experiences like this teach us how to critically think,” said Jena Lambright. Sarah Scobee explained that the workshops “help us create new ways to answer and study critical questions in literature, language, and writing.”

Students attending the workshops all have at least one characteristic in common, their enjoyment and appreciation for literacy, language, and writing. The workshops and presentations all cover separate topics, yet all have the same goal of educating students in their interests. The event is not required for students. They only attend if they want to. Since the high schoolers are allowed to make their own decision on what presentations to attend, they seem to be more engaged and enjoy the experience. It also makes the event more successful with students interacting and focusing during the presentations.

Events like the Annual High School Workshop prepares students for the future. It helps them create a sense of comfort in their academics and provides a better understanding of the college atmosphere. Students from multiple schools having the opportunity to gather, socialize, and share similar interests are of great importance.

Ashland University continuously expresses the importance of “accent on the individual” and it was no different for this event. Students were permitted to choose what workshops they found interest in, which seems to be a major reason as to why it is still so successful after thirty-two years running.

For additional information on this event and future high school workshops, contact the Ashland University English Department.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Final Open Mic Night on December 6 in Writing Center

Students gather at the previous open mic night to share work and support one another in their creative endeavors.
Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society, will be hosting an open mic in the University Writing Center on Wednesday, December 6th, from 9-10 p.m. 

This event is a chance for students of any major to read their own work or even a poem or short story that speaks to them, even if it's by someone else. 
Readings for each person will be 5 minutes.

Sign ups are on a first come, first serve basis here.

Sigma Tau Delta Members Deck the Halls of the Student Center

If you're walking through Hawkins Conard Student Center and notice the festive holiday atmosphere, our Sigma Tau Delta members joined other student organizations to "deck the halls" for the season. The windows near the King Road entrance evoke a winter wonderland, thanks to our Sigma Tau Deltans. 

Co-President Bethany Meadows in the midst of drawing a Christmas tree.

Jakob Demers contemplates the festive designs.