Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Maggie Andrews is Career Services Intern of the Month

By Jessica Reagan

Maggie Andrews is a sophomore majoring in creative writing, public relations & strategic communication with a minor in Spanish. This past summer she interned with Jones’ Potato Chip Company as their communications and marketing intern. During her internship, Maggie established communication channels between the Jones' Potato Chip Company and Ashland University which ultimately led to product availability in the Eagles' Nest dining facility and sport concessions. In addition, Maggie worked with vendors for Jones’ throughout the state of Ohio as well as multiple local businesses and stores. She was able to utilize her strong social media skills to develop a social media guide for their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Maggie composed a portfolio of communication strategies, as well as job descriptions for the company, which the company plans to use for future interns and full- time professionals. While this list is not exhaustive of all the amazing things Maggie created and completed for Jones’ it is clear that her work was incredibly valued and appreciated!

One of Maggie’s highlights was writing an article for the Manufacturing Coalition Newsletter about the Jones' Company. According to Maggie, “This internship helped prepare me for my future career by giving me an inside look into the business side of communications and marketing. It was a hands-on experience and the company really gave me freedom to explore different aspects of the position. I'm a creative writing major, as well as a PR major, so it was nice when the company made sure to give me writing projects on top of communication/marketing projects. I was able to gain experience for both of my majors during the internship. I will be able to take this experience with me to my future career”.

Here is some wise advice from Maggie about her experience, “Always challenge yourself in your classes. I received my internship opportunity through the success of a class project. . . Everything I learned from my internship, I will carry with me in all my future career endeavors.”

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Fleming Gives NPR Radio Interview for Novel

Professor of English Dr. Deborah Fleming was interviewed on Thursday, Jan. 21, by Prairie Miller on Arts Express, a production of WBAI, a National Public Radio station broadcast in New York City and San Francisco, about her novel Without Leave. The interview is archived on the WBAI web site.

Listen to it here:

Monday, January 18, 2016

Alumnus Pays Tribute to Dr. Gary Levine

By Spencer Dolezal, class of 2014

I met Dr. Gary Levine during my junior year at Ashland University. He was teaching a course on English Grammar and Usage, and he had a reputation of being a tough professor. Shuddering at his syllabus, I was intimidated by him on our first day of class. It wasn’t a long process for me to understand and respect his teaching style. He commanded the classroom in a unique and, more importantly, genuine way. He was among the first people in the classroom to admit that certain grammar rules were confusing, that certain sentences were tough to break down, that he could easily make a grammar error if he wasn’t careful. In a later composition course, he would wade with us through essays that we sometimes struggled to understand. He wouldn’t leave us behind, but he wouldn’t simply give us the answers without making us think. He knew we had the tools to figure it out, and he helped us along the way. He built trust with his students not by having all the answers, but more simply by making it known that he did not. He was not perfect, and he was the first to admit it. I rarely left one of his classes without feeling altogether more empowered, more humbled, and with a stronger desire to work harder at being a better student, a better reader, and a better writer.

I believe that some of the brilliance of Dr. Levine’s teaching was lost to many of his students, but I think I understood a lot of it, and it helped me to respect him deeply. He gave us feedback for the first drafts of our first papers in that composition class, and at first it felt brutal. Someone asked what he thought the grades were like for the drafts.

“There isn’t a grade higher than a C in this bunch,” he said with a slight smirk on his face. He knew what reaction was coming. A mixture of despair, disappointment, fury, and pain wrote its way across many of our faces. He let out a short laugh and said, “Guys, a C is good.” He left it at that.

I worked hard in his classes for two reasons. I love English, and Dr. Levine would not put up with anything less than my best. The frustrating part here, and probably the part that can be so easily misunderstood, is that my best, our best, was sometimes only “good” for him. I learned to value the distinction between what is passable work, what is good work, and what is my best work. It has been transformational for me. To be humbled as a writer in this way leaves me an immense amount of space for growth. That space is what drives me. That space is what has kept me writing since graduation and what will keep me writing. Few people have ownership over building that space, but Gary Levine is without a shadow of a doubt one of them. That is a gift that is worth more than almost anything to me. To look back at my time with Dr. Levine drives me to write and read and pass on my love of both of those to everyone I know. I have him, among a few select others, to thank for that desire. Without his leadership, without his honesty, without his criticism, and without his meaningful exhortation and encouragement, I certainly would be a different person. I struggle to believe that that version of me would be better than I am now.

Now that he has passed away, I have spent some time thinking about my interactions with Dr. Levine. I have thought about the humor he injected into his lessons, how quick witted he was. I have thought about the wisdom and knowledge he passed on to me in the classroom and out of the classroom. I have thought about his sobering encouragement to “find the classroom that is best suited for my teaching abilities,” to keep reading, to keep writing. I have thought about his words of exhortation written to me in a final email in my last semester as his student, about the articles he sent to me about my favorite authors after I had graduated, about the slightly awkward yet always enjoyable conversations we had passing each other across campus.

Of all the memories I’ve had swirling in my brain since his passing, one has continued to come to the forefront of my mind this whole time. It is from the classroom. We were discussing the effect that people have on the world around them. Dr. Levine brought up the film It’s a Wonderful Life. As he explained the plot, how George Bailey’s wish to have never been born opens his eyes to how much positive change he has brought to the world, Dr. Levine’s eyes began to water. He told us he had to stop thinking about it or he would break down in front of us. His near-loss of composure in this moment exposed his ingenuousness in a new way. He was no longer just a tough professor. In that moment he admitted his desire to do more in the lives around him than to simply teach, and that is what he did.

This memory that keeps coming back to me is so important because it is as if it plays out the fantasy of George Bailey’s life right before my eyes. I was able to get in touch with Dr. Levine before he passed, and I told him most of these things. I was able to let him know that my life was changed for having known him. I count myself lucky enough to have received a simple response from him because it gave me the peace of knowing that he heard my sincere appreciation. The beauty of Dr. Levine’s passing, the tiny silver lining, is that he was flooded with messages like mine from his students and colleagues sending him prayers and well wishes, telling him they believed in him, telling him they were changed because of him. He was able to experience the result of his efforts, to see how he changed the world around him.

To put it simply, I am a better person for having known Gary Levine. The most wonderful part is that I am not the only one.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Adventures of a Freshman ILA Major

By Corinne Spisz

As an Integrated Language Arts Education
(ILA) major, life at Ashland University involves a lot of writing. I am constantly writing drafts, re-reading and editing. I know now to think, always, about transition sentences, a strong, solid thesis statement, and the need for imagery. Looking over my papers from the beginning of the semester to the end, I am amazed at how far I have come as a writer, especially in poetry. I may only be a freshman but the skills I learned in the fall semester are preparing me for my upper-level courses and for my future profession as an English teacher. The English department at AU is extraordinary. My professors have explained each topic well and I feel comfortable teaching those skills already. Yet, there are things I wish I knew before beginning my first semester. 

I wish I knew that there would be times when I would be able to write four pages in an hour, and others days that I would have to take a walk around campus, to clear my mind over a draft paper I was working on. I wanted to know that writing a sonnet would be a lot more difficult than it sounds, but not entirely impossible. Or, that someone would have told me the department takes trips to Cleveland to see plays like King Lear performed at the Hanna Theatre; and you and other students will be able to sit with professors after the show and discuss it over dinner. Or even, that my creative writing prose section class would go to Pizza Hut at the end of the semester. I would have desired to know that observations for the education classes are fun, but at the same time, the observations are difficult because I cannot interact with the students yet. I would have wanted to know how amazing the professors at Ashland University are. That they are able to catch your mistakes and talk you through how to fix them. How each class is enjoyable to go to all because these professors are dedicated to their students. Unlike at larger universities, I am not on my own during this journey; I have professors who care. Lastly, I wish I knew how fun this ILA major is. Everyday I wake up excited for my classes, ready to see what I learn that day. When you study what you love, everyday is welcomed with excitement and one day closer to accomplishing your dreams. 

Deciding to major in Integrated Language Arts Education and attending Ashland University was the best decision I have made. My first semester was full of fun, growth and challenges. I cannot wait to see what the next seven semesters hold.