Thursday, December 29, 2016

From Confusion to Clarity: One Major's Journey Through a Busy Semester

By Madison White

When I came to college back in the autumn of 2014, I knew that I had wanted to double major in Creative Writing and English. I knew that double majoring in these two fields would mean a lot of writing classes and a lot of English classes; that just made sense. What I did not anticipate was the confusion I experienced in my first semester of junior year here at Ashland University. This confusion, though, was bittersweet; my intellectual growth challenged me in many ways. In order to understand each course and what the professor is lecturing about, one has to pay a greater amount of attention to the lectures and thus increase understanding of that class and its content.

I had graduated high school with possibly more than nineteen English classes under my belt. I was not new to taking multiple English classes in one semester and honestly did not think anything of it while scheduling my classes each year. In high school, my English classes were vastly different from one another so there was no room for confusion. In one semester I was taking Brit Lit, American Lit, Intermediate Composition, and Yearbook Journalism. Those are all different topics in the English spectrum, but this past semester, I was challenged to the core trying to separate each class and understand the different themes of each.

Deciding it was a good idea to sign up for five English classes at the same time with a core class thrown in, I chose to take American Literature I and Eighteenth-Century Literature among others. One class dealt with American literature (as seen by the title of the course) and the other class dealt with British literature. Since I had basically done the same thing in high school, I did not see the problem. But high school and college are not the same, so I definitely saw the problem that arose by taking both at the same time: I was confusing the readings.

American Lit dealt with the novel Hope Leslie by Catharine Maria Sedgwick, which is set in the seventeenth century, though written in the nineteenth century (1827 to be exact). And in Eighteenth-Century Literature, we were reading Evelina by Frances Burney. Though a century apart, these two novels have similarities that are a little too close, which caused me to honestly forget which plot line I was reading. Though I was holding Evelina in my hands, I started to read it with the plot line of Hope Leslie in my head. This caused some difficulties when trying to remember what was happening in each book. However, this raised the idea that there were certain plot lines that American novelists gained from British novelists and themes that each wanted to explore. Both novels deal with women and coming into the world. While Evelina depicts a seventeen-year-old woman’s coming of age, Hope Leslie also deals with a young woman who acts as her own person. Hope Leslie shows that being a strong woman is possible. The ideas in both these time periods shows the condition of women back then and how far women have come. Relationships are explored in each novel, and both family and
romantic relationships are included. It seems though that family plays an important part in the lives of those back then and the ideas of what it meant to ‘be of age’. Because two of my classes were dealing with these ideas, it stressed that the idea of family is important as well as being able to speak and think for oneself.

I say all this to bring light on the fact that when scheduling classes, you may want to make sure you have a variation in what you’re learning in each class—otherwise, there may be confusion within the course and what knowledge you’re gaining from each class. Of course, if you have to take five or more English classes in one semester, the heavy workload may encourage you to cultivate a more sophisticated approach to the readings, thus increasing your intellectual growth and capacity.

Throughout this past semester, I’ve read different themes and messages from different eras and centuries and have, quite honestly, learned a lot more than I thought was possible, and made connections with contemporary literature to today’s world. So though it was a heavy workload, I didn’t mind taking five English classes at once. As long as the confusion is sorted out, it’s doable. And English is a most exciting subject to learn, don’t you agree?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Welcome Our New MFA Director, Dr. Christian Kiefer

The English Department is thrilled to announce that Dr. Christian Kiefer will join Ashland University as the new Director of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Associate Professor of English, effective January 1. Dr. Kiefer holds a B.A. from the University of Southern California, an M.A. from California State University, Sacramento, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis. He is the author of The Infinite Tides (Bloomsbury), The Animals (W.W. Norton), One Day Soon Time Will Have No Place Left to Hide  (Nouvella Books), and Kingdom of Wolves (forthcoming from Liveright / W.W. Norton), in addition to other works in poetry, fiction, and drama. Kiefer's scholarly publications focus on American literature. A professional musician, Kiefer has released a number of albums primarily in the folk rock and avant garde traditions. He comes to Ashland from American River College in Sacramento, California, and has taught fiction in the Sierra Nevada College low-residency MFA. Kiefer is excited about directing the program and becoming part of the Ashland University community. He exudes the kind of warmth and openhearted collegiality that we value so much in the MFA and the department at large. Please take some time to welcome him!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hamlet in Cleveland: A Review

By Corinne Spisz, Integrated Language Arts major

On November 20, students and professors from the English, History, and Political Science departments traveled to the Cedar Lee Theatre, a historic movie theater in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. The department watched a filmed version of The National Theatre Live London’s Hamlet, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. The running time of the film was three hours with a twenty-minute intermission. During intermission and on the way back to Ashland University, students and professors discussed the interpretation, the acting, and the relation of the performance to the written play. It was unanimous that Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance was extraordinary and emotional, and that he drew the audience into his performance. The rest of the cast performed well, but were overshadowed by Cumberbatch’s excellence. No one was really able to relate to the character of Ophelia, and yet no one was quite sure why. In terms of costume choices, the color of clothing that Hamlet wears changed throughout the play, representing his grief, insanity, and innocent death. Hamlet began to the play wearing dark clothing, and then alternated between red and black until the end of the performance when he was wearing white. Another interesting aspect of the play was the set design. Before intermission and after the completion of Claudius’ monologue, something that looked like dirt or dried leaves was blasted onto the stage.

In the second half of the play, both the inside and outside scenes were acted in this “dirt,” making the audience suspend its disbelief even further than normal. It added an interesting touch. The music options that the theater company chose made uncomfortable scenes even more uncomfortable because of its ominous tone. Another criticism was that the actors made some of the lines from the play funny, when those lines were not meant to be laughed at. There was too much comic relief in this interpretation for a Shakespeare tragedy, which made several of us unhappy and slightly uncomfortable. In some cases you had to laugh in order to stop the feeling of discomfort with the interpretation. Overall the play was fantastic and enjoyable with only a few criticisms.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Fifteen Students Welcomed into Sigma Tau Delta

On Monday, November 14, fifteen students carrying a G.P.A. in English courses of 3.0 or above were welcomed into Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, at the new member induction. Dr. Russell Weaver delivered an address on the subject of literary interpretation. Congratulations to our new members!

New Members:

Maggie Andrews
Natasha Arnold
Sarrah Betz
Maria Cardona
Emily Cardwell
Jessica Frichtel
Emily Holp
Ariel McCleary
Bethany Meadows
Alexandra Newhouse
Madelyn Rumbaugh
Corinne Spisz
Alyanna Tuttle
Madison White
Amanda Wise

Monday, October 31, 2016

A Tribute to Dr. Stratton

By Diana Popa, class of 2011, English and Spanish major

Grammar and Usage was the first class I took that counted towards my English major, and I had the privilege of having Dr. Stratton as my instructor. In truth, my first impression of him was a little bit cryptic. He spent the whole class period talking in analogies, many of which involved blue and red Chinese vases. I took copious notes, furiously scribbling down all manner of Chinese vase-related things, trying to decode some kind of message. I’m relieved to report that I eventually decoded most of what he was saying in that first class period—at least I think so.

Indeed, Dr. Stratton taught me many things both inside and outside of the classroom. He taught me how to properly diagram a sentence. He gave me my first book on literary theory. He told me it was to address the “theory mongers” I would face in graduate school. Beyond that, he even included an essay inside the text on his perceptions of my writing style. I distinctly remember feeling confused. I recall saying something along the lines of, “But Dr. Stratton, I thought I was supposed to write the essays?” And he merely replied, “Oh, is that so?” He could be quietly subversive in that way.

Upon taking his Modern Poetry class, I sat there wondering if he would remember me from his previous class two years prior. He called off all the names on the roster in standard form, but when he got to my name he stopped and gasped, exclaiming, “Popa, I nearly fell out of my chair with excitement when I realized you’d be in my class!” I was caught off guard, but couldn’t help smiling. That was Dr. Stratton: alternately joyful, then serious.

On one memorable occasion, I sought out his advice on an advising-related issue that neither my adviser nor I could solve. I walked into his office, a completely distraught mess. In contrast, he was calm, entirely calm. He helped me sort through a problem that if left unsolved would have meant graduating with one degree instead of two. Instead of solving the problem for me, he raised critical questions that pointed me in the right direction. Without him, I honestly do not know if I would have graduated with two degrees in May of 2011.

Though Dr. Stratton was never my official academic adviser, he was perhaps my most sought-out adviser. There was something about his calm, and at times, enigmatic demeanor that drew me to him. His office of books on the verge of tottering from their shelves was as surprisingly comforting as he was.

Ultimately, Dr. Stratton was the kind of man who saw things in people that they perhaps did not always see in themselves. He was also a big part of why Ashland University’s English department felt like home to me. One thing I know is certain; I will always remember him and his blue, and his red, and perhaps even yellow, Chinese vases.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Why Study English at AU?

Why Study English At AU?

By María Cardona, Creative Writing major

As I start my senior year here at Ashland University, I can’t help but think of my time here and all the great memories that I’ll always treasure. I’ve made great friends, I’ve grown, and changed, and matured and I owe a lot of that to the English Department. I’ll be honest—in my first years here I wasn’t as involved with my Department as I should have been, but I finally began to click with it my junior year and I found a home.

Walking into Bixler on freshman year made me nervous and excited. I remember my first English Comp class with Dr. Brown and how stressed I was about having to write papers for the next four years. Soon enough though, my worries were put to rest. I didn’t feel intimidated by my professor; I actually felt encouraged to reach out for help. When the semester was up I felt super-prepared not only to write essays but to really think critically and voice my opinions in paper, and eventually, in class.

While outside of class I’ve become a bit of a chatterbox, I was never one to raise my hand and say what I think. I always felt like my answers and opinions would be judged, like I wasn’t as smart as the other students, or just scared or intimidated by teachers and classmates. One of the greatest things I owe to this lovely department is that I’ve found the courage to use my voice and speak up in and out of class.

It took until my sophomore year but when I took Postcolonial Literature with Dr. Mondal, I started to feel more comfortable with expressing my ideas – even if I knew they might be controversial. Eventually, I went back to Dr. Brown in Modern Novel my junior year and the days when I didn’t raise my hand and spoke up in class were few. However, if it hadn’t been for the support of my professors I know I wouldn’t have made it that far.

It started off with paper conferences when I’d meet with Dr. Mondal, first for English Comp II and later for Postcolonial Literature, and share ideas I wanted to put down on paper but was shy to still express in class. Then I’d find myself talking in the halls with them or dropping by their offices to talk about a class reading or my opinions on a novel or play (just ask Dr. Waterman!)

With each passing class, I felt more and more comfortable and continued to fall in love with the English program at AU. I love Dr. Weaver’s jokes in class – how he always tries to modernize Greek Literature for us and forces us to really think about the intentions behind a character’s actions. I love Dr. Flemings’ passion for poetry – especially her love for Yeats, which led me to studying abroad in Ireland this semester!

I love how I can simply drop by Dr. Donatini’s office to say hello and how comfortable I am talking to her about actual English department stuff or books, or life in general. I love walking into Dr. Waterman’s office and joking or venting but I also love how her classes and book choices give me headaches with how deep we get into discussing them. I love that the books, essays and plays I’ve read in my classes have made me passionate about so many causes and have allowed me to find a voice. I love Dr. Brown’s open-mindedness, her encouraging nature and the amazing directions she takes in both reading discussions and paper ideas.

I love Dr. Mondal’s world views and how she takes us outside our American world and shows us other realities. I also love how she really motivates us to analyze texts down to periods and commas because it all has intent. I love Dr. Mackall’s lightheartedness in class but also his advice and encouragement to pursue ideas and go far with them. I love Dr. Grady’s energy, her passion and drive and her ability to make us think outside the box.

I am beyond thankful to my department for their encouragement, support, hard work, dedication – and most of all, for sharing their brilliant minds with us. While I have not been blessed with the opportunity to have a class with each professor in the department, I’ve met many of them and they are superb human beings and even better professors. I no longer get nervous upon entering Bixler because when I cross that threshold I am home. Come study English at AU, because you will not only leave with a great degree, but also a great understanding shaped by great minds.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Dr. Deborah Fleming, Professor of English, to Give Reading

Dr. Deborah Fleming, Professor of English, will be giving a reading of poetry from her new collection titled, “Into a New Country,” on Monday, Oct. 10, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Ronk Lecture Hall of the Schar College of Education building on the AU campus. The event is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served.  

This book, which is her second collection of poetry, was published earlier this year by Cherry Grove Press.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

With a Twinkle in His Eye: John Stratton, Educator

By Becky (Myher) Schaaf, class of 2004, English major

I had the pleasure of having Dr. Stratton as my professor in a class that he co-taught with his wife, Dorothy. It was an Honors course called "The Harlem Renaissance." As an English major, I flew through so many novels throughout my time at AU, so I know the books that remain with me and come to mind most often must've resulted from courses that were particularly meaningful. This was one of them.

I remember how fascinated I was with the dynamics of a husband and wife co-teaching a course. It was entertaining to see their love expressed through annoyance and amusement, irritation and agreement, frustration and acquiescence as they each shared their respective opinions. Perhaps it was so interesting to me as a young, unmarried person to see two such different people sharing their passion for a course and for life and yet holding their ground in the areas most important to them.

I have shelved memories, both in physical and mental form, of works such as The Big Sea, The Blacker the Berry, and Passing. I often return to these texts, both literally and figuratively, as I have always found literature the best way of processing the happenings in our world. After reading works full of so much beauty and pain, how can we ever not have some sort of basic understanding of the hearts of our fellow humans? (Sometimes, I think world problems could be solved by those who read deeply and enter a world so far beyond our own.)

I remember, in particular, a wonderful conversation about African American churches and a fellow student, blond and fair-skinned, who shared how much she loved attending these services because of the passion and emotion she felt when she was there, and "after all, if I'm passionate about the Word when I'm there, isn't that a great place to be!?" Dr. Stratton always helped facilitate these sorts of discussions, pushing his students far past their boundaries to a place of being able to sit with some new discomfort and consider it for awhile.

During class discussions, I found myself disagreeing with Dr. Stratton most of the time (likely to his amusement!), but his responses, though calm and collected, always pushed me to find my true feelings on a topic rather than skating on the surface. He always had a twinkle in his eye when engaged in disagreeing with or challenging a student, and as I reflect on that now, I believe he must've gotten particular enjoyment either from being just a little bit difficult or from watching his students muck through our own value systems and come out with some clarity. Perhaps a little of both. 

After graduation, I enjoyed seeing Dr. Stratton (and Dorothy) on walks around our neighborhood, stopping by to smell their roses, and exchanging stories of my children and their grandchildren. On a regular basis, I find myself being thankful for my varied experiences at Ashland University, and much of my gratitude goes to professors like Dr. Stratton who were always challenging, engaging, thoughtful, funny, and kind. I will truly miss him and all he represents to me, the university, Ashland and the world.

Friday, September 16, 2016

English Majors Participate in Entrepreneurship Immersion Week

Current English majors Bethany Meadows and Tom Nesbitt participated in Entrepreneurship Immersion Week at the University of Mount Union July 31-August 5. Along with three other students, Meadows and Nesbitt represented AU in a competition to devise the best new business concept. Nesbitt describes the experience in a recent Collegian article:

Meadows attests to the value of EIW: 

I had a blast in participating. It was worthwhile experience in regards to combining my Public Relations experience and the creativity from my English classes to develop a business concept. Furthermore, I loved getting to collaborate with many students both from Ashland and from other universities. We were all from different disciplines, which allowed for everyone to have strengths and weaknesses that could shine in the whole group. If I had the chance, I would love to participate again because it allowed me to grow as both an individual and as a student. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

And He Laughed: A Tribute to John Stratton

By Jenny (Valko) Mercer, class of 2007, Integrated Language Arts major

When I saw on social media that Dr. Stratton had passed away, I audibly gasped, and my heart broke. My favorite professor, advisor, a man whom I admired and adored, was gone. I took Dr. Stratton for second semester freshman composition because it was an open section. That small decision made a significant impact on the rest of my time at AU. He gave me my first C ever on the first paper. I ended up in his office in tears. It was during that conversation he looked at me and asked why I was crying, because he knew it was more than that paper. He somehow saw into my heart in that conversation; and I told him the truth. My father had been diagnosed with cancer over that Christmas break and I wrote that paper the week before his surgery to remove the tumor. 

Was my paper bad? Yes, and I deserved the C. My writing was not up to his standards and I certainly didn't think the way he expected. It was during that conversation he explained that an essay should be like spinning a spider web; each idea had to be spun together to make a web. Who else would explain an essay like that, except for Dr. Stratton? My writing wasn't good enough, but my emotional state made it worse. But he listened to me that day in his office. And made me laugh. And I saw who he was in so many ways in that conversation. He truly listened and made me feel better about my dad. Then, he helped me to become a better writer and thinker in that conversation, and in all of the classes I had with him after that. In every class, Dr. Stratton challenged my ways of thinking and writing, and made me laugh through it all. Beyond that, he always remembered that first conversation in his office. He often asked in his own way how my dad was doing, and how I was really doing. He cared to ask, but cared even more to listen to the response.

I'm not sure one could explain him as a professor, unless you had sat in his classes. He was eccentric, quirky, full of wit and humor, while being passionate and sincere. Dr. Stratton made us students see things differently, and he certainly pushed us all outside of our comfort zones and little boxes. But so much of how he taught us, myself in particularly, to understand how to think and write, and analyze Shakespeare, I find myself sharing and using to teach my high school students the same things.

After taking several of his classes, it was clear that he wasn't just admired and adored by me, but by pretty much every other student. At some point during those four years, we nicknamed him Strattypants. I'm not sure why, and it was out of love, even though it probably sounds disrespectful. We never called him that to his face. We heard that a student after we graduated called him that to his face; I can only hope he knew it was out of admiration. And I hope that he laughed.

We all tried to take his classes as often as possible. Even now, my social media feed can attest to that as several AU alumni shared their sadness in Dr. Stratton's passing, but also rejoicing and celebrating the memories and lessons we learned from him. I can only hope that before he passed away, he knew how much we admired and adored him, and his Birkenstock sandals with socks.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Alumna Reflects on John Stratton's Generosity and Grace

By Christina Adkins, class of 2008, Integrated Language Arts major

The news of Dr. Stratton saddened me deeply. He was my academic advisor during my undergrad years at Ashland during 2004 through 2008. He was always patient with me even when he was offering stern advice. Because of his persistence in pushing me to finish what I started, I can honestly say that I wouldn't have graduated had it not been for him. You see, I nearly failed out during my junior year of college. I got so caught up in the social aspects of college life, was working full time waitressing, and wanted so badly to make friends that I let my studies fall to the wayside. I can recall countless times I'd sit in his office for advice, encouragement, or just to have someone to talk to. Every time I would come in, he'd turn from whatever he was doing and give me his full attention. He could have easily failed me. He could have easily turned away, but instead he gave me the grace and hope I needed to complete my education. He set a plan in place to get me back on track, and didn't talk down to me regardless of the crazy issues I'd come to him with.

There is one particular occasion that really sticks out to me about him. As a broke college student, I would always sell back my textbooks after each term. One set of books, the Norton Anthology, was a set of 4 that retailed for over $300 at the time. I sold them back after my junior year once I had completed the classes I had needed them for in order to buy books for the next class. I found out closer towards graduation that I needed those particular books to study for my Praxis Content Area exam that would later lead to my teaching certification. I came to him venting, crying mostly about how I felt stupid for selling back those particular books because I couldn't afford to buy them again to study with. He stopped me and reassured everything would be alright. He then got up and pulled all 4 of those books I had needed off his bookshelf and handed them to me. He told me it was my early graduation present. That wasn’t his first instance of grace towards me. On another occasion, when I had come in just to have someone to talk to, he shared with me a short short story he had written about his rose garden. It was a symbol of hope and beauty during times of chaos, which was quite the metaphor in relation to my life during that time.

Out of all the professors I’ve had throughout the years, I can honestly say my favorite would have to be Dr. Stratton. He believed in me before I was fully able to believe in myself. When I wanted so badly to give up and just quit, he encouraged me to keep fighting and not give up hope. To never ever give up hope because without it we are nothing. I contribute not only my graduation from Ashland to his sincere efforts as my college advisor, but also the gift of compassion. He taught me to give beyond the job expectation, to give the gift of knowledge freely, and to focus on the good even during times of chaos.

After college, I moved down south. I taught high school English for over five years, earned my Master’s Degree, and am now enrolled in the PhD program for Education. I would have never considered continuing my education if it weren’t for Dr. Stratton pushing me during my undergrad years. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to go back and thank Dr. Stratton for his all of his sincere efforts and patience in having me as an advisee. I was probably annoying to him, and I’m sure I drove him nuts with my constant visits, but he always responded with grace and patience. He changed my life and I regret never taking the time to thank him for that.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Local Educator and Alumna Remembers John Stratton

By Aaryn (Faith) Wynn, class of 2003

I came to AU as an accounting major my freshman year, in 1998; little did I know how completely illogical that was for me. I had Dr. Stratton for my freshman English course, and he recognized my love for literature and writing. After much discussion with him and my adviser, I changed my major to Integrated Language Arts Education 7-12 that next semester. I took several additional courses taught by him, and not only absorbed the literature and crafted my writing, but also how to be an effective teacher. This is my fourteenth year in the profession, and I know I'm doing what I was intended to do.

I still use several of the selections he used and his methods of teaching in my own classroom, today. I have a packet of selections that he entitled "Poetic Prose", and use this as the introduction to my poetry unit in my Junior English classes at Crestview High school. He knew how to lessen the anxiety students feel about analyzing poetry and to foster interest in poems. When discussing essay writing, I often quote him, saying, "If it's only clear and concise, it's boring. Take risks. But don't make it muddy for the sake of being muddy, either; make it meaningful." I wrote that in my notes in one of his classes, and I've never forgotten it.

He was always jovial (I remember us laughing at/with him for wearing socks with his sandals) and kind, yet honest and critical when necessary. That said, he was willing to take time with anyone who needed help.

He is a legend.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

AU Mourns the Passing of Dr. John Stratton


John David Stratton, 72, died at his Ashland home Sunday morning, August 28, 2016 with his wife Dorothy and his daughters beside him. On the evening of August 27 they celebrated John and Dorothy’s 50th wedding anniversary just a few days early. Sharing the memories brought a smile to John’s face and even prompted a joke or two.

Friends and colleagues knew John as a man of integrity who lived his beliefs, often working quietly behind the scenes for the causes and organizations that were important to him. With a strong vision of pulling people together to resolve conflict and inequality without violence, he founded and served as the first Executive Director of the Ashland Center for Nonviolence. At his death, he was treasurer of the Ashland County Oral Health Services (9th Street Dental Center), which he also helped to establish. He also served on the board of directors of Directions Credit Union. While he won many awards for his work, he accepted them with humility, usually giving the credit to someone else.

He was an avid reader and collected far too many books. He loved music and collected far too many CDs. He loved art; major art museums were his favorite travel destinations. He had a deep knowledge of many subjects and loved to converse about them, often over a cup of hot tea. His garden of historic roses scented the neighborhood early every summer. Flowers were grown out of a love for beauty, vegetables for his more practical wife.

John was a loving son, brother, husband, father and grandfather. Having fun, making jokes, and otherwise livening things up were second nature to him, as was gently offering support and encouragement to those in difficult situations. He was a generous man with a good heart. He encouraged others to do better simply by his example.

John was born in Southern California on April 9, 1944. He graduated from California Western University with a BA degree in 1966 and married Dorothy Jarsensky on September 3 of that year. They moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, where he completed a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in English at the University of Nebraska.

John taught English at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock from 1970-84. In 1984 he gave up his tenured position to move to Ashland for his wife’s new position as a faculty member in social work at Ashland University (then Ashland College).

John began teaching again in Ashland, first on a part-time and then on a full-time basis. He helped to establish AU’s Writing Center and served in many capacities on campus, including Dean of Arts and Humanities at a time of organizational changes at the University. Colleagues and students knew John for his self-deprecating humor, his ability to challenge conventional thinking, his capacity for innovative problem-solving, and his work ethic.

John was a long-time member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). He attended Wooster Friends Meeting. Deeply spiritual and always seeking moral rightness, he had the ability to take matters seriously, but not so much himself. He often spoke of joy, which he thought was lacking in our serious and conflicted world, and did his best to bring a smile or a laugh to people’s hearts. While John was a person with strong passion for causes he believed in, his views were not forced on others. He could move a discussion in a deeper direction by asking challenging questions without making judgement.

In addition to his wife Dorothy, John is survived by daughters Catherine (Nathan) Stratton Treadway and Elaine (Florian) Stratton Hild and three grandchildren: Tobias Hild and Oliver and Elise Stratton Treadway.

He is also survived by his mother, Mildred Stratton, and sisters Marie (Paul) Cole and Judith (Karl Krauskopf) Stratton, sisters-in-law Patricia Reel and Sylvia (Jack) Elzner, and their families.

Calling hours will be Friday, September 2, from 1-4 p.m. in the lower level of Ashland University Chapel. A memorial service will be held Saturday, October 1, at 1 p.m. in the Ashland Theological Seminary Ronk Memorial Chapel. Arrangements for a private “natural burial” at Kokosing Nature Preserve in Gambier are being made through the Flowers-Snyder Funeral Home in Mount Vernon.

Memorial contributions in honor of John’s life and work can be made to the Ashland Center for Nonviolence at Ashland University, either on-line at or by mail: Ashland Center for Nonviolence, 401 College Avenue, Bixler 108, Ashland, OH 44805.

Expressions of sympathy may be made to the family by visiting

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

English Department Majors Complete Career Ready Internships at Bookmasters

Emily Cardwell and Garrison Stima
From the AU News Center

8/23/16 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University students Emily Cardwell and Garrison Stima completed summer internships with fellow-Ashland organization and book publisher services company Bookmasters as part of the Great Lakes Career Ready Internship Program.

The Career Ready Internship Program, funded through a grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation and available to eligible students through the spring 2018 semester, allows Ashland University students to engage in paid internships while exploring possible career paths.

At Bookmasters, one of the United States’ largest providers of publisher services including book manufacturing, warehousing, sales and distribution, and eBook conversion, Cardwell was part of the metadata team while Stima worked with the sales and marketing team. Placed in different, but equally important departments, the students have undertaken several tasks at the complex and gained a plethora of experience in their respective offices.

Cardwell, a senior from Norwalk, Ohio, majoring in English and history, was supervised by Bookmasters’ metadata and eBooks manager, Claire Holloway.

“My time at Bookmasters was incredibly rewarding,” Cardwell said. “I was only there for three months, but I learned a great deal of invaluable information about the publishing industry firsthand, especially concerning the importance of metadata, an aspect of publishing that is often overlooked. The people at Bookmasters were welcoming and supportive, and I was able to explore a new career path open to English majors that I had not yet considered. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”

“We have thoroughly enjoyed having Emily on the team this summer,” Holloway said. “She has worked hard and, I hope, has seen that the hidden side of publishing is actually quite interesting. I found my first publishing position through an internship and know that getting your foot in the door and learning the vernacular creates possibilities in the future. I've perhaps given Emily too many ‘life lessons’ about publishing, but if I can help her get in and move up in her future career, then it is time well spent. I know she will go far and I hope she remembers her time at Bookmasters fondly.”

Kristen Steele, Bookmasters’ director of marketing and publisher relations, supervised Stima, a junior from Crestline, Ohio, majoring in creative writing and religion with a minor in ethics.

“This past summer at Bookmasters has been immensely fulfilling,” Stima said. “While I was also only present for three months, my life was opened up to the world of publishing and advertisement on a level that I had never experienced before. From the day-to-day lessons in the office, to the expansion of options in my vocational fields to various advertisement routes and to creative marketing practices, this has been a vital time in my life. Not to mention the extreme kindness I’ve received from everyone at Bookmasters during the whole process. I truly loved being there and couldn’t have been more satisfied.”

“From his first day, Garrison jumped right into every task given to him, which not only says something about him as an individual but also much about Ashland University and their ability to prepare students for their future careers,” Steele said. “Garrison’s skill set and work ethic were a perfect fit for Bookmasters’ sales team and even though he only spent a few short months with us, we’re thankful for his contributions and will miss his smile and sense of humor in our office!”

Altogether, from the students who were able to foster new skills and knowledge to Bookmasters who covered a widespread expanse with them, the experience was rewarding for all parties involved. Finally, with the summer of 2016 drawing to a close, Bookmasters is extending a hand toward the future in the hopes of further partnerships with Ashland University.

About Ashland University: Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.

About Great Lakes: Dedicated to making college education a reality since 1967. Knowing that education has the power to change lives for the better, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates was established as a nonprofit group focused on a single objective: helping students nationwide prepare for and succeed in postsecondary education and student loan repayment. As a leading student loan guarantor and servicer, we have been selected by the U.S. Department of Education to provide assistance and repayment planning to more than 8 million borrowers—as well as assistance to colleges and lenders nationwide. Our group’s earnings support one of the largest and most respected education philanthropy programs in the country. Since 2006, we have committed nearly $172 million in grant funding to promote higher education access and completion for students of color, low-income students, and first-generation students. For additional information, visit

Article written by Emily Cardwell and Garrison Stima

Monday, August 8, 2016

Seventeen Students Graduate from AU's MFA

The summer residency for the MFA program—two weeks of workshops, reading, and literary fellowship—came to a close on July 30. On July 28, the program recognized seventeen students who completed their degrees. Read about it here:

Ashland Bids Farewell to Steve Haven

Steve Haven, Professor of English, gave his final reading as a faculty member on July 27 during the Master of Fine Arts residency. Reading from his collection The Last Sacred Place in North America as well as some poems in progress, Haven capped a career at AU that started in 1992. He has taken a position as the director of the MFA program at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Congratulations, Steve, and we will miss you!


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

MFA Summer Residency Sessions Open to Public

The public is invited to a number of events during the summer residency for the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from July 16-29.

Read the AU News Center article here:

For the full schedule of events, visit this link:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Gallion Finishes Master's Degree and Lands Job in Florida

By Erika Gallion, class of 2014, Creative Writing and English major

Erika Gallion
Upon graduating from my master’s program at Kent State University, I packed up and moved to sunny Jacksonville, Florida for a job at the University of North Florida. I’ve taken on the role of Short Term Study Abroad Advisor within the Coggin College of Business, meaning that I work extensively with incoming exchange students to the College of Business as well as UNF students wanting to participate in one our many study abroad programs. This position requires me to work with faculty, staff, and students, and permits me to travel to our many international partnerships in South America, Asia, Europe, and elsewhere. 

I am confident that the English department at Ashland University contributed to my job acquisition in a major way; it was at Ashland that I first realized my passion for travel, multiculturalism, and intercultural communication. Courses at AU allowed me to familiarize myself with other cultures, examine my own identities, and observe the ways that human beings relate across cultures. Without AU’s English department, I would not have had the confidence to move states away and to pursue this career that relies heavily on my ability to adventure into the unknown. I will forever be grateful for the confidence and passion that AU gave me, and hope to one day return to the English academic field in order to continue discussing these topics via literature.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Professor Deborah Fleming's Books Garner Accolades

Professor of English Dr. Deborah Fleming's collection of nature and environmentalist essays, Waiting for the Foal, is a finalist for the Many Voices Project of New Rivers Press at Minnesota State University at Moorhead. 

Fleming's novel Without Leave was reviewed by Editor James A. Cox in Midwest Book Review's "Small Press Bookwatch," the Fiction Shelf, for June 2016. The review can be located at

Article Discusses the Importance of Reading for College Preparation

Here is a link to a wonderful article, "An Open Letter to High School Students about Reading," from the May-June 2016 newsletter of the American Association of University Professors. Please forward the article to any high school students you know!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Creative Writing News

—One of the River Teeth web site's Beautiful Things columns won a Pushcart Prize:

—Anna Meek's The Genome Rhapsodies (Ashland Poetry Press) has been reviewed:

From the Southeast Review:

It was reviewed in her local newspaper the Star Tribune as well:

—Deborah Fleming's novel Without Leave was a finalist for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction given by Chanticleer Book Review of Bellingham, Washington.​

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Donatini Wins the Outstanding Female Faculty Member of the Year Award

On Sunday, April 24, Dr. Hilary Donatini, Associate Professor and Chair of the English Department, won the award for Outstanding Female Faculty Member of the Year at the Leadership and Service Awards held in Upper Convo. She was nominated by the Student Senate. Dr. Dolly Crawford from the Biology department won the award as well. Dr. Naomi Saslaw was also nominated this year. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

2016 Recipients of English Department Honors

On Sunday, April 24, AU held its annual honors convocation in the Jack and Deb Miller Chapel. Three majors from the English department won awards for their academic achievements. 

Jacob Demers, a Creative Writing major from Shelby, Ohio, won the award for Outstanding Sophomore. When asked what his favorite English department memory was so far, Jacob mentioned Dr. Russell Weaver's emotional rendition of the St. Crispian's Day speech from Henry V in his Shakespeare course. 
Jacob Demers
Maria Cardona, a Creative Writing major from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, won the award for Outstanding Junior. Cardona's favorite memory so far " has to be meeting diverse students with different perspectives which help me to expand my thoughts. As nerdy and cheesy as it may sound, the other thing I've loved about my time here at AU has been being part of the English department. The texts have taught me not only about English, grammar, and the properties of genres, but have challenged me with profound topics that really make me think. Moreover, the professors are incredibly helpful, kind and passionate about their students and their work."
Maria Cardona
Kristen Herrick, an English major from Mansfield, Ohio, won the award for Outstanding Senior. Kristen writes, "I will always remember meeting Helen Benedict, author of the novel Sand Queen, which I read in Dr. Mondal's Literature and Gender course​. I am so grateful that Dr. Mondal included me in a small discussion among a handful of students, faculty, and Helen herself. It was an amazing opportunity to hear from Helen firsthand and learn more about a novel that deeply impacted me." 

Kristen Herrick with her niece

Dr. Stephen Haven Wins 5th Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award

Dr. Stephen Haven, Professor of English and MFA Program Director, won a 2016 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award in Poetry. The award is for $5,000. This is the fifth time Haven has received an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council since his arrival at Ashland University in 1992. The poems that Dr. Haven submitted are all from his new collection, The Flight From Meaning.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

English Department Students Present at URCA 2016

By Dr. Linda Joyce Brown

The Department of English was well represented at this year’s College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium, which was held April 12 in the John C. Meyers Convocation Center.

Four Creative Writing majors—Maggie Andrews, María Cardona, Emily Nieberding, and Garrison Stima—read from their work. Andrews, Cardona, and Stima were advised by Dr. Joe Mackall, and Nieberding was advised by Dr. Maura Grady.

Maggie Andrews reads her short story, "My Return to Route 77"
María Cardona notes that it can be difficult to choose a particular creative work to present. She eventually chose part of her historical novel, Lares, and found that sharing it was rewarding: “I loved being able to share my story with faculty and students, and the feedback I received afterwards was great!”

Maria Cardona reads from her historical novel Lares in traditional Puerto Rican garments
Garrison Stima had a similarly difficult but equally fulfilling process of choosing and revising a piece to present. Stima, who read from his nonfiction essay “My Tree House,” emphasizes that the experience of presenting at URCA can be ground-shifting for a writer. He notes, “the impact my stories have had on the people who’ve come to listen has easily been the most amazing and gratifying feeling of all. To have a person or group thank you for a connection they were able to make with your work is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever known.”

Department of English students also presented their scholarly research. Kouri Weber, an Integrated Language Arts major, and Alexandra Newhouse, who is studying Integrated Language Arts and Creative Writing, both presented original arguments in literary criticism. Weber, who was advised by Dr. Deborah Fleming, explored some of the differences between Ralph Waldo Emerson’s and Walt Whitman’s views of spirituality and nature. Newhouse, who was advised by Dr. Linda Joyce Brown, analyzed the illustrations in Willa Cather’s novel My Àntonia. Newhouse recommends that students who are interested in presenting at URCA choose a topic they are truly interested in. She explains, “While I loved the initial idea of my presentation, I didn't consider the fact that I would be spending time with it on not only my happy days, but also my grumpy I-don't-want-to-do-anything-today kind of days, and the only way to overcome that loss of motivation is if you have a topic that you are truly passionate about.”

Allie Newhouse presents her interpretation of the illustrations in Willa Cather’s novel My Àntonia 
Several other students affiliated with the Department presented at URCA. Dane Zunich, an English and Psychology double-major, studied how reliant people have become on the Internet to provide and store information. Joey Barretta, a minor in English, presented on Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.

Furthermore, two Department of English faculty sponsored projects by students who are majoring in other disciplines: Dr. Maura Grady advised Lucas Trott’s presentation, “Pressure and Time: A Critique of the American Penal System in The Shawshank Redemption,” and Dr. Sharleen Mondal advised Charlie Michel’s project, “#BlackMindsMatter: The Psychological Repercussions of Racial Prejudice.” Both of these projects grew out of courses offered by the Department of English.

Charlie Michel with his faculty sponsor, Dr. Sharleen Mondal
The planning of this year’s symposium was led by Dr. Diane Bonfiglio, Associate Professor of Psychology, and Department of English chair, Dr. Hilary Donatini. Dr. Donatini notes the unique perspective that her service on the committee affords her: “From the perspective of a co-chair of the URCA committee, I love to see the evolution from the original project—often for a class or senior thesis—to the abstract and to the finished oral presentation or poster. Over the course of this process, I see tremendous growth and improvement in even the most polished submissions. Our students gain skills in professionalism as they respond to the committee's feedback on the abstracts and try to communicate their discipline-specific ideas to a broader audience. In both the poster session and the oral presentations, presenters learn how to respond to questions about their work. URCA is an affirmation of our students' membership in our academic community and a showcase for their talent and hard work.”

This sense of personal development is shared by the students who participate. Garrison Stima hopes that more students will take advantage of the opportunity of presenting at URCA: “I believe URCA to be an all-around fantastic experience worth every step.”

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

English Major Wins National Graduate Fellowship

From the AU News Center:

Ashland University’s Kristen Herrick, a senior who is majoring in English and minoring in business administration and psychology from Mansfield, Ohio, has been awarded the Kathryn Phillips Graduate Fellowship for the 2016-2017 academic year by the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. The fellowship is in the amount of $3,000. Herrick was recognized as one of 24 students who received a graduate fellowship. She is the daughter of Shawn and Denisa Herrick, and is a  2012 graduate of Madison Comprehensive High School.

Kristen Herrick and Dr. Jason Ellis, Associate Professor of Education at AU

Herrick was recognized as one of 24 students who received a graduate fellowship. She is the daughter of Shawn and Denisa Herrick, and is a 2012 graduate of Madison Comprehensive High School.

The Kathryn Phillips Graduate Fellowship is recognized in honor of Kathryn Phillips, who contributed greatly to the Department of Guidance and Student Personnel Administration at Teachers College, Columbia University, which is the graduate school of education for Columbia University. She also was one of the founders and served as the first president of the National Association of Deans of Women.

Since Herrick was inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta her first year at AU, she was able to apply for a national graduate fellowship her senior year, which included completing an extensive application process.

Herrick is more than deserving of this national fellowship. In addition to her involvement with Alpha Lambda Delta, Herrick is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society and is the current president of the Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society. She has been named to AU’s deans’ list every semester of her college career, and presented research at the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium in 2015. Being an active member on campus, Herrick has been involved with AU’s Social Work Club and the Ashland Commuter Eagles organization.

Upon graduation, Herrick will be pursuing an advanced degree in higher education administration.

The Alpha Lambda Delta national honor society for first-year students credits individuals who have achieved a 3.5 cumulative grade point average in their first or first two semesters. Their purpose is to encourage superior academic achievement among students in their first year, to promote intelligent living, and to assist students in recognizing and developing meaningful goals. Alpha Lambda Delta continues to celebrate academic excellence among first-year students.

Scott Russell Sanders

English Department Spring Reading Series
Scott Russell Sanders Nonfiction Writer

When? April 13th

Where? Hawkins Conard Student Center Auditorium

Time? 4:00 PM

About Scott Russell Sanders:
Scott Russell Sanders is the author of twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including Hunting for Hope and A Conservationist Manifesto. His most recent books are Earth Works: Selected Essays (2012) andDivine Animal: A Novel (2014). A collection of stories titled Dancing in Dreamtime will be published in 2016, along with a new edition of his documentary narrative, Stone Country. Among his honors are the Lannan Literary Award, the John Burroughs Essay Award, the Mark Twain Award, the Cecil Woods Award for Nonfiction, the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2012 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at Indiana University. He and his wife, Ruth, a biochemist, have reared two children in their hometown of Bloomington, in the hardwood hill country of Indiana’s White River Valley.

Questions? Call Kari Lindecamp at ext. 5110 or (419)289-5110           

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fall 2016 English Department Course Offerings

Below are selected descriptions of courses offered in the fall 2016 semester.

English 201 A&B Introduction to Creative Writing--Poetry Section
Dr. Deborah Fleming
MWF 10:00-10:50
Requirement for Creative Writing Major & Minor, Elective in the Integrated Language Arts Major

In this seminar class we will discuss students' own poems as well as learn about poetic forms.

Requirements: During each week devoted to poetry, students will write one or several poems to be discussed in class; portfolio submitted at the end of the semester.

Text: Mark Strand and Eavan Boland, The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms

English 301 Writers' Workshop: Poetry
Dr. Deborah Fleming
MWF 1:00-1:50
Requirement for Creative Writing Major & Minor, Elective in the Integrated Language Arts Major

In this seminar class we will discuss students' own poems as well as review poetic forms, technique, and style.

Requirements: One poem per week, reaction papers most weeks on assigned poems, one paper on an Ashland Poetry Press book; portfolio submitted at the end of the semester.

Text: Ferguson, et. al., Norton Anthology of Poetry, Shorter Fifth Edition or similar Norton Anthology of Poetry; one Ashland Poetry Press book.

ENG 314OL8A: Literature and Gender
Dr. Sharleen Mondal
Online Course (Mostly asynchronous; group meetings via Blackboard Collaborate TBD)
Core Humanities, Elective for English and Integrated Language Arts majors

This is an eight-week online course with seven weeks of instruction (the eighth is designated for final grading by the University). The course offers the equivalent course work and student learning outcomes as the regular sixteen-week version of the course. Students are strongly encouraged to read the novels and/or watch the films ahead of time. This course will focus on the theme of Intersectional Worlds--that is, how experiences of gender intersect with and are shaped by factors such as race, class, sexuality, nationality, language, and religion. We will begin our inquiry with a short research assignment in which each student will investigate the role of gender in their respective career field. Thus oriented to each of our individual and professional stakes in the study of gender, we will proceed to a series of essays, films, and novels spanning then nineteenth century to the present day.

Likely texts include the following:
"I Want A Wife" by Judy Brady (essay)
"Yes, Ma'am" by Deirdre McCloskey (essay)
"Just Walk On By" by Brent Staples (essay)
The Brandon Teena Story (documentary, 1998; directed by Susan Muska and Gréta Olafsdóttir)
"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (short story)
Excerpt from Of Queens' Gardens by John Ruskin (essay)
"Statement Repudiating the Rights of Husbands" by John Stuart Mill (paragraph)
"Professions for Women" by Virginia Woolf (essay--originally a speech)
Passing by Nella Larsen (novel)
Sand Queen by Helen Benedict (novel)
Edward Said, On Orientalism (interview, 1998 with Sut Jhally)
The Invisible War (documentary, 2012; directed by Kirby Dick)
Literary criticism and historical documents as relevant

The course will require a short research assignment, short close reading papers, two longer papers, two presentations, and regular discussion board and journal assignments.

ENG 316REHON: Postcolonial Literature
Dr. Sharleen Mondal
MWF, 11:00-11:50 AM
Core Humanities, Elective for English and Integrated Language Arts majors

This Honors course will focus on postcolonial literature and film from South Asia, specifically India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. We will begin with the late colonial period, examining the end of British rule and struggle for independence, decolonization, modernity, and postcolonial nationhood through the perspective of poetry, short stories, essays, novels, and film. We will consider the nuances of everyday life under British rule, what it meant for colonized Indians to seek independence (inspired the Irish "Home Rule" movement), and the religious and linguistic tensions that led to the formation of Bangladesh.

Likely texts include:
Timothy Corrigan's A Short Guide to Writing about Film
Rudyard Kipling's "The White Man's Burden" (poem)
Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain's "Sultana's Dream" (short story) and Padmarag (novella)
Tahmima Anam's A Golden Age (novel)
Selected short stories by Rabindranath Tagore
Selections from letters and speeches by Mohandas K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru
Selections from Malala Yousafzai's I Am Malala (autobiography)
Gandhi (film, 1982, directed by Richard Attenborough)
Rang De Basanti (film, 2006, directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra)
My Name is Khan (film, 2010, directed by Karan Johar)
Literary criticism and historical materials as relevant

Class activities include regular discussion, reading quizzes, two exams, short close reading papers, two longer literary argument papers, and two presentations.

English 319: Modern Drama
Dr. Jayne E. Waterman
T Th 1:40-2:55 p.m. (Hybrid)

Core Humanities, elective in the the English and Creative Writing majors and minors
This course will begin with the close reading analysis of some powerful one-act plays from the late nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. We will also consider a range of full plays from, for example, Chekhov’s trivialities, Beckett’s absurdism, and Pinter’s pauses to Churchill’s body politics, Mamet’s language uncorrected, and Nottage’s triumph in trauma. All of these texts will help the class explore key issues, ideas, texts, and contexts of European and American modern drama. The main focus of the course will be to examine plays from different periods and styles. Attention will also be paid to the cultural, historical, political, sociological, and dramaturgical aspects that surround and inform the works. Themes of gender and race, the tension of illusion and reality, and the crisis of the individual and the family will also be of significance as we explore modern dramatic sensibilities and discourse. In addition to the texts, the course will, where relevant, consider the adaptations and interpretations of the plays in performance and film.

Assignments: Two essays, a presentation, in class and online projects and participation.

English 325: Major Writers Seminar: Paul Laurence Dunbar
Dr. Jayne E. Waterman
TTh 12:15-1:30 p.m. (Hybrid)
Required for English majors, elective in the Creative and Integrated Language Arts majors

This course provides a comprehensive understanding of one major writer: Paul Laurence Dunbar. During his lifetime, this young author from Dayton, Ohio was both critically acclaimed and commercially popular. Indeed, at the time of his death, he was the most famous poet in America. Classes will include extensive reading of selected Dunbar works – in his short but productive life he produced twelve collections of poetry, four novels, four collections of short stories, and numerous lyrics, plays, and essays, which were all published in leading magazines and journals. This reading will be supplemented with critical, biographical, and historical/archival materials. In addition to an examination of Dunbar’s literary career, the course will consider his work in relation to his contemporaries, focus on his role in American literary history, and assess his literary legacy. Underpinning this exploration of Dunbar’s work will be an engagement with the idea of identity, the trope of the mask, the historical complexity of race, and the tensions of his critical reception and literary production.

Assignments: Two essays, a presentation, in class and online projects and participation.

ENG 351 A: Advanced Composition 
Dr. Linda Joyce Brown
MWF 1:00-1:50

Requirement in the English and ILA majors 
This advanced course is designed to give you extensive practice writing, revising, and editing nonfiction prose, with an emphasis on revising for rhetorical and stylistic effectiveness. Our goal will be to write prose that is not only clear and efficient but stylish enough that a reader will want to read it. The skills you develop in this course should help you beyond college, no matter your career path. 

English 365 Greek Literature 

Dr. Russell Weaver 
MWF 9:00-9:50
Core Humanities, elective in the the English and Creative Writing majors and minors

In this course we will read some of the great masterpieces of Greek Literature. This particular semester we will be reading Homer’s Odyssey along with ten plays by Sophocles, Euripides, and Aeschylus. Sophocles: Antigone, Oedipus the King, The Women of Trachis, Ajax and Philoctetes

Euripides: Medea, Hippolytus, Iphigenia at Aulis, Electra.Aeschylus: Agamemnon.There will be two take-homes, one on either Antigone or Medea and one on The Odyssey and one presentation on two of the other plays. 

English 372: Nietzsche and the Problem of Values 

Dr. Russell Weaver 
T Th 9:25-10:40
Core Humanities, elective in the the English and Creative Writing majors and minors

We will be reading Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Conrad’s Lord Jim, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Dostoevksy’s Crime and Punishment, and Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons. Two papers and two presentations. No philosophy background necessary.

English 408: Eighteenth-Century English Literature

Dr. Hilary Donatini
T Th 12:15-1:30
Elective in the English, Creative Writing, and ILA majors, Elective in the English and Creative Writing minors

The eighteenth century is often referred to as the “Age of Reason” or “Age of Enlightenment”—a time when philosophical inquiry and scientific discovery blossomed. English 408 will examine poems, novels, and plays that both reflect and resist the rational and empirical—often in the same work. The great eighteenth-century works are endowed with intellectual seriousness yet bursting with vitality and joie de vivre. Our attention will be constantly trained on literary form, as we explore poetic, novelistic, and dramatic form. Throughout the semester we will appreciate what is often called the golden age of satire, a mode that cuts across all genres, skewering its targets and setting forth a moral vision. Because the literature of the period was so grounded in its world, we will pay attention to relevant historical contexts as well.

Selected Texts: 

Frances Burney, Evelina 
John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel 
Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer 
Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock, Essay on Man
Samuel Johnson, Rasselas
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels

English 417 Grammar and Usage
Dr. Deborah Fleming
MWF 11:00-11:50
Requirement for Integrated Language Arts, Major Elective for Middle Grades Language Concentration, Major Elective for English

The course format will consist of lecture, discussion, and workshop as we learn the entire grammar of the English language as well as discuss ways of using grammar in the teaching of writing and teaching grammar and usage to secondary and middle grades students.

Requirements: Three midterms and final; homework, quizzes, practice; one paper.
Text: Kolln, Martha, et. al., Understanding English Grammar, Tenth Edition, Pearson

ENG 425 A: American Literature I: Colonial to Federalist 

Dr. Linda Joyce Brown
MWF 12:00-12:50
Elective in the English, Creative Writing, and ILA majors, Elective in the English and Creative Writing minors

Our course will begin with precolonial oral narrative, move to colonial-era texts, and conclude with literature from the early republic. The course will provide an introduction to the origins of American literature and an opportunity to closely study significant works.

Readings will include travel journals, captivity narratives, essays, poetry, and fiction. Texts will likely be chosen from the writing of the following authors: Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Mary Rowlandson, Jonathan Edwards, Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano, Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Allan Poe, William Grimes, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.