Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stephanie Hartley Defends Thesis

Stephanie Hartley has successfully defended her thesis, "Reading Visuals in the Classroom: A Rhetorical Look at Students' Perceptions of Graphic Texts." Stephanie's committee consisted of Dr. Michael Charlton (chair), Dr. Stacia Bensyl, and Dr. Mike Cadden. Stephanie is the third person to defend a thesis in our MAA in Written Communication.

Congratulations, Stephanie!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Professor Honored for Volunteer Work

As a result of his over two years of volunteer work, Dr. Eduardo Castilla-Ortiz has been selected as Outstanding JayDoc Interpreter-Volunteer for the 2011-2012. JayDocFree Clinic is a free clinic operated by University of Kansas medical students under the supervision of attending licensed physicians. Its main goal is to "address the language, cultural, and financial barriers to health care access insurrounding communities by providing primary care services and preventive education at no charge, integrated with on-site language interpretation and adolescent youth outreach. The clinic is open to everyone, to serve especially the indigent, uninsured, Hispanic, adolescent youth, and people without access to basic health care."

Eduardo was invited to attend the Volunteer Recognition Ceremony on Friday, March 23.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that about 28,500 Wyandotte County residents, roughly 18 percent of the population, do not have health insurance. The clinic typically serves 10 to 25 patients per night. Last year alone, the clinic saw nearly 1,500 new or returning patients.

Eduardo says that he is glad to be a part of such free service 3 or 4 nights a month. "There I can also select what is a priority to teach my students here at MWSU when I teach SPA 211 Spanish for Medical Professions."

Congratulations to Eduardo for his recognition for this important work.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bergland Succeeds Hennessy as Faculty Senate President

In the early hours of Friday, March 23, 2012, after the late returns were counted, Secret Service vehicles pulled into drive at 5304 Pickett Rd. The Bergland Administration has begun.

The department of English, Foreign Languages, and Journalism can be considered the Cradle of the Presidency. Dr. Susie Hennessy concludes her term as Faculty Senate President this spring. Succeeding her is Dr. Bob Bergland. Susie will continue on the Executive Committee as Past-President.

Thanks to Susie for a strong year. Good luck to Bob on the challenges to come. In any case, EFLJ is well represented at the top.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Griffon Yearbook in Top 3%

The Griffon yearbook received a Silver Crown at Columbia University’s School of Journalism, New York City, March 18. The Griffon was one of 14 yearbooks to receive a Crown award from Columbia Scholastic Press Association, recognizing it as one of the top 3% percent of yearbooks in the country.

Editors of The Griffon were Raphael’le Drew, Editor-in-Chief, Jourdan Huffman, Copy Editor, Kelsey Saythaney, Photo Editor, fall semester,
Robin Gann, Photo Editor, spring semester, Erica Stevens, Design Editor, fall semester, Hanna Greenwell, Design Editor, spring semester, Sarah Hatten, Assistant Copy Editor, Courtney Slater, Assistant Photo Editor, Lindsey Roberts, Design Assistant, spring semester, and Heather Heater, Photo Assistant, fall semester and Design Assistant, spring semester.

Fall semester staff incuded Stephanie Garver, Ragan Hoezel, Andy Inman, Ruth Northup, Noelly Collier, Leah Cotton, Cheyenne Davis, Lauren Hicks, Olin Kinsey, Nick McCutcheon, Robyn Patti, Malia Sisk, Lauren Dillon, Molly Thomas and Robin Ussher. Spring semester staff included Michelle Allen, Tiffiny Bell, Brittany Bremer, Zac Couvalt, Nicolette Muller, Robyn Patti, Clifford Petersen, Bryant Porter, Lauren Dillon, Jessica Groves, Jeff Meyer, Molly Thomas and Robin Ussher.

The adviser of The Griffon is Dr. Ann Thorne.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sigma Tau Delta holds initiation

On March 6, 2012, the Tau Mu chapter initiated 20 new members to Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honorary Society. Requirements for admission are a 3.0 GPA, a declared major or minor in English studies, and at least 2 qualified courses in English studies beyond General Studies requirements. The initiates are:

Staci Hersh, Cory Verdi, Katie Walkup, Dalton Gentry, Margaret Slayton, Kristin Toll, Mercedes Lucero, Roxanne Chase, Rochelle Whitman, Kathryn Rawlins, Blake Thorne, Aly Rinehart, Sarah McClure, Jessica McMinn, Jocelyn Clubine, Amanda Johnson, Caitlin Cress, Kathryn Fimple, Kimberly Wright, and Adrian Fort.

Katie Walkup was elected President of the local chapter for the 2012-2014. Chapter advisors are Dr. Bob Bergland and Dr. Trish Donaher.

Retirement Reception for Professors Frick and Thorne

Join us on Monday, April 30 in Spratt 214/216 on MWSU's campus from 4-6 PM to honor Dr. Jane Frick, Professor of English, and Dr. Ann Thorne, Professor of Journalism, as they conclude their many years of service to EFLJ and the university.

We hope that all of our alumni, current students, faculty (current and emeritus), and members of the community will be able to visit with Jane, Ann, their families, and all of us in EFLJ on that day.

We will be serving light refreshments and showing many and sometimes embarrassing photographs of both Jane and Ann.

Come and celebrate some impressive careers with us!

Trio of Griffons Study in Angers, France

Here's news from Angers, France, written by Caitlin McKinney, Sharon Moore, and Stacey Weidemann, all French majors (pictured at left).

Caitlin: When I first arrived in Angers I was both intimated and overwhelmed by culture shock. I was so scared of making mistakes that I actively avoided speaking French for my first few nights. When I was forced to speak it, I would spend five minutes practicing all the sentences I might have to use during a conversation in my head. As one can imagine this isn’t a very effective approach as it takes a long time, and it is nearly impossible to predict every phrase you will say. Needless to say it was very difficult to meet French people with this strategy of silence and hiding in my room. I spent my first two weeks in the city running around trying to complete all of my administrative duties such as choosing classes, filling out paperwork, and buying insurance. These tasks proved to be very helpful in developing my language skills as I was constantly lost and had to ask for directions. Luckily most of the locals were very understanding and accommodating. When classes started a whole new kind of apprehension settled in. I was anxious when I sat down in my first history class and realized that I couldn’t understand a single word my professor was saying. As time passed, however, my comprehension and speaking skills slowly started improving, life began getting a little easier, and I finally started meeting people. I also started exploring the city and realized how beautiful and historic it is with its castle, original wall, and cathedral. As if living next to a castle isn’t exciting enough, the city is full of stunning parks and quaint houses. After having been here for about two and half months, I can’t imagine a better place to live and study.

Sharon: One of the first sensations that struck me after arriving was the enormous antiquity surrounding us. Everything here is old, and the old is all mixed up with the new. The French have an instinct for preservation that can be seen everywhere in the city. Nothing is torn down or thrown away that can be saved and incorporated. And yet, those who’ve lived here their whole lives are oblivious to it all. ‘It’s just a wall’, one French friend told me dismissively. Our first month here, for me, was miserable. I missed my family and friends, I was overwhelmed by language and culture shock, and every week it seemed more impossible to meet French students and practice French. The French were friendly on casual acquaintance or when we asked them for help, yet seemed cold and reserved. There was a clear boundary between us which we were never invited to cross. Almost overnight, though, things improved. We made friends with a student studying English, who gave us our first warm welcome. The language barrier began to feel less intimidating, and more like an enthralling challenge. Comprehension in our classes improved, and understanding and respect grew between us and our French professors (though I have to admit, the American student-teacher relationship is my favorite). All over Angers, trees burst into blossom, and the fencerows and gardens were starred with white. Daffodils and hyacinths leapt out of the ground, splashing yards with color. Mad waves of foreign birdsong swirled from tree to tree. And France began to feel, in a funny way, like home.

Stacey: There is nothing more intimidating than being lost in a train station thousands of miles away from home in a country where none of the locals seem to understand your accent. France is beautiful, but the first few weeks of my semester, all I could think about were the people I left back at home. I left the comforts of Missouri to become a foreigner in France (and the employees at the train station did their best to remind me that I was, in fact, a foreigner). Everything seemed so different here, but gradually we all have adjusted to life in France. All the things, specifically relating to the university system, that seemed outrageous a few months ago (no textbooks and only having class once a week, for example) aren’t strange at all anymore.

Monday, March 19, 2012

High School Writing Day 2012

180 high school students and teachers from twelve area schools were on the Missouri Western campus on Thursday, March 8, for Praire Lands Writing Project's "Writing Road Trip" High School Writing Day.

This year's event was coordinated by Mark Henderson, Missouri Western English education graduate and Prairie Lands Writing Project Teacher Consultant, who teaches communication arts at Savannah High School.

Prairie Lands' Teacher Consultants and Missouri Western BSE English graduates who led workshops at High School Writing Day included Tina Janc (Robidoux Middle School communication arts teacher), Kyla Ward (St. Joseph Central High School Communication arts teacher), Sara Capra (Parkhill High School communication arts teacher), and Melisa Harper Stemberger (Cameron High School communication arts teacher).

The pictures: top left is Tom Pankiewicz and Mark Henderson handing out carryall bags with copies of Best Teen Writing 2011 at the teachers' luncheon, right Melisa Harper-Stemberger leading her "Poetry Around the Home. . ." workshop, and bottom left is Michael Charlton leading his "Writing the Graphic Story" workshop.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dockery Publishes Book of Poetry

Mary Stone Dockery, English BA alumna, has published her first book of poetry. Mythology of Touch is already available for purchase: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mythology-of-touch-mary-stone-dockery/1109455601

Mary has had some good press on her book as well:

"Here’s a first collection of poems that is a sensual joy ride through the language of love, longing, and loss. Dockery wields an enviable palette of colors, scents, and images, to keep her poems vivid and memorable. She plies you with drink, covers you in dead flowers, buries you in rotting fruit and broken glass, brushes your lips with fragile kisses, and then darts quickly out of reach like shrapnel, like a laughing child."
-–Richard Peabody, editor Gargoyle Magazine

"Mary Stone Dockery is hilarious. She is biting. Bitter. Rude. Powerful. This debut book of verse ranges from prose poems to lyrics. All have punch. She is a fine writer, yes, but more so she tells real stories: about death in 'Self Portrait as a Mortician' and about debauchery in 'Too Much to Drink.' This is compelling work. Pick up this book and feel the sizzle."
--Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-2009 and author of Ghost Stories of the New West, winner of a Kansas Notable Book Award

"The images conjured within Mythology of Touch are lasting as if carved in marble. Mary Stone Dockery has the ability to illustrate beauty and intelligence in a way that traverses the contemporary voice of intimacy alongside the classic boundaries of guilt and responsibility. This intensely physical poetry, blended with gentle colors and sounds, taps into the truth of what it is to discover one’s self through experience and memory. These are warm-blooded poems, full of passion not only for the stories they contain, but for the essence of poetry itself; a shared union of emotion."
--Matthew Porubsky, author of Fire Mobile (the pregnancy sonnets)

Mary will be reading from her book on March 25th at 5pm at the Tap Room in Lawrence, KS, on April 6th at 8pm at the Writer's Place in Kansas City, MO, and April 21 at 7pm at the Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, KS. She plans to have a book release/reading in St. Joseph as well.

Congratulations, Mary!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Faculty February Activities

Dr. Mike Cadden gave the talk “Children’s Literature: Text, Subtext, Context” at Washington University in St. Louis, MO as part of a lecture series on children’s studies.

Dr. Cynthia Jeney presented her paper, "‘Have This Horse’: Sir Thomas Malory, Medieval Horsemanship, and The Boke of Marchalsi" at the 18th annual international Conference of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Tempe, Arizona.

Dr. Jane Frick received a recognition award for her work in coordinating the Missouri Scholastic Writing Awards from the Missouri Association of Teachers of English (MATE) at MATE's annual meeting, held at this year's Write to Learn Conference for language arts teachers. Frick and Amanda Moyers, St. Joseph Central High School language arts teacher, also coordinated this year's Missouri Scholastic Writing Awards ceremony for winning students, their parents, and their teachers, held at the Write to Learn Conference, on Friday, March 2.

Heidi Mick's Student Wins Writing Award

Heidi Mick, Platte County High School Language Arts Teacher, is pictured to the right with her student, Ben Shively, at this year's Winner's Ceremony for the Missouri Scholastic Writing Awards Contest, held at the Write to Learn Conference on Friday, March 2.

Heidi is a Missouri Western BSE English graduate and the professional development director for Prairie Lands Writing Project. Shively, an eleventh-grader, won a Gold Key award for his personal essay.

Huzzah for Heidi and Ben!

Blake Thorne given Greef

Blake Thorne, Missouri Western BSE Senior English major and pictured at left with Jane Frick and Tom Pankiewicz, has received a Robert J. Greef award as an outstanding 2012 English teaching graduate.

Thorne was one of 13 winners selected from throughout the state. Blake and the other state winners received the award, sponsored by the Missouri Association of Teachers of English, at this year's Write to Learn Conference for language arts teachers, held at Osage Beach.

Blake is, fittingly, named for a famous English poet, though we forget which one.

Congratulations, Blake!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Come and Howl Along--Open Mic Reading

This year's first "New Lit Out Loud" open-mic reading of original poetry and prose will be Wednesday, March 7, from 6 -9 at Whiskey Mansion B & B, 1723 Francis Street, St. Joseph. Area writers and MWSU alumni are invited to join current students in sharing new works.

The event will be hosted by the student staffs of The Mochila Review and Canvas, MWSU's national and student literary magazines, respectively. Food and beverages will be available. For directions or more information phone Whiskey Mansion

(816) 676-1529 or Assistant Professor of English Bill Church (816) 271-5966.