News and Events
May 2021 Highlights and Awards
Dr. Stephen Souris, TWU’s Fulbright Program Adviser for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, is pleased to report that a Fulbright applicant from the fall semester has reached “Finalist” status for an all-expenses-paid, four-year award to obtain a doctorate from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. She is no longer in competition against other applicants; at this point, she just has to submit paperwork, pass a medical exam, pass a background check, and so on. He will present a paper (virtually) at the XVII International Bakhtin Conference in Saransk, Russia this summer. He will draw upon Mikhail Bakhtin and V.N. Voloshinov (a member of the Bakhtin Circle) to analyze dialogic agreement in Anne Tyler’s short story, “Holding Things Together.”
Dr. Ashley Bender and Dr. Jackie Hoermann-Elliott's essay "Asking Big: Creating a Culture of Support for Academic Mothers' Advocating in Times of Crisis" will appear this week in Advance Journal, a peer reviewed journal committed to change in higher education.
In addition, Dr. Bender has a new op-ed out on the importance of paid family leave in the Austin American Statesman.
Drs. Jackie Hoermann-Elliott and Rachel Daugherty have been selected as Book Review co-editors for Composition Forum, a journal of the Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition. Composition Forum is a peer-reviewed journal of pedagogical theory in rhetoric and composition and publishes two issues biannually.
Dr. Jackie Elliott has been active publishing a number of op-eds this spring, including "Going All in on OER (Open Educational Resources)” for Faculty Focus and "Writing to Live" for Fort Worth Weekly.
Michael Cerliano, an adjunct faculty member in English and recently admitted doctoral student, had an essay, "Witchcraft and the Enlightenment in The Blood on Satan's Claw," appear in a special issue of Horror Homeroom commemorating the film's 50th anniversary.
Brian Fehler's review of James Berg and Chris Freeman’s edited collection Isherwood in Transitwill appear in spring issue of the journal QED. He has been Invited to speak at the “SangSaeng, Coexistence, and Future Prospects in the Post-COVID-19 Era” conference in South Korea, April 2022, most expenses paid. Finally, he was elected to a three-year term as TWU's representative to the Texas Council of Faculty Senates!
Kathy Nguyen (PhD candidate in MWGS) had an essay, "Echoic Survivals: Re-Documenting Pre-1975 Vietnamese Music as Historical Sound/Tracks of Re-Membering," published in Violence: An International Journal and it has been translated into French. She has been invited to participate in a talk with other emerging Vietnamese writers, led by Viet Thanh Nguyen, later this summer. She also has a short story, "Phở Cart No. 7." forthcoming in Food of My People: The Exile Book of Anthology Number Nineteen.
Congratulations to the following faculty, who received service awards in 2020 and 2021: Dr. AnaLouise Keating, 20 year; Dr. Agatha Beins, 10 years; Dr. Danielle Phillips-Cunningham, 10 years; Dr. Jennifer Phillips-Denny, 10 years; Dr. Graham Scott, 10 years; Dr. Ashley Bender, 5 years; Dr. William Benner, 5 years.
Associate Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator Gretchen Busl, PhD, made the front page of Tor.com with her essay, "What Speculative Fiction and Possible Worlds Theory Taught Me about Grief." Tor.com is a leading science fiction/fantasy web magazine, publishing house and online community.
Drawing on her experience as an adoptee in the state of Texas, TWU graduate student Shannon Quest discusses the potential impact of House Bill 1386. "If this bill, and its counterpart, SB 1877, pass into law, it will be a monumental milestone for Texas adoptees who will be able to request and obtain their original birth certificates from the state without a court order, a basic right that’s been denied since 1957."
04-26-21 Call for proposals: 'New Directions for the Dissertation Process' collection co-edited by Dr. Busl
Editors Gretchen Busl, Kristina Reardon, and Courtney Ferriter invite contributions to a collection tentatively titled Getting to the Finish Line: New Directions for the Dissertation Process. This collection will explore the practical and theoretical underpinnings of dissertations that look like something other than a single-authored scholarly monograph, exploring both the process and product of the dissertation as it moves into new conceptualizations.
A team of ESFL and MWGS faculty (Dr. Busl, Dr. Phillips-Cunningham, Dr. Bender and Dr. Hoermann-Elliott) submitted a proposal to the Jane Nelson Institute for Women's Leadership that has been funded. The program will start this summer to lay the groundwork for an on-campus thought leadership program for students, faculty, staff and the larger community to develop specific skills needed to lead. If the program is funded through the biennium, it will explore the creation of a thought leadership certificate to be housed in the department.
Dr. Genevieve West's "Sin and Salvation: Marita Bonner's Early Explorations of Christian Theology" appeared in Religion and Literature (51.3-5 p. 77-100). "Sin and Salvation" explores three of the author’s overlooked writings - a short story and two essays - to establish their theological underpinnings and the ways in which they engage larger cultural debates about religion in the Harlem Renaissance.
"This essay wouldn't have been possible without early guidance from Dr. Fehler!" West said.
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced that it awarded a Humanities Connections Grant of $99,426 to Texas Woman’s University. The grant will support the very first interdisciplinary and experiential learning initiative to integrate the history of Quakertown into courses at TWU. It will also enable the future development of a digital humanities archive of Quakertown-related research and reflection, which the project co-directors aim to connect to a public platform that will promote community engagement with Quakertown’s history for decades to come.
Professor Emeritus Dr. Lavon Fulwiler, a former chair of ESFL at TWU, passed away at the age of 92 on Feb. 23. Fulwiler was a Chaucer and medieval English literature scholar, and she implemented the department's PhD program in rhetoric. She began teaching at TWU in 1961, and served as chair from 1971 until her retirement in 1992.
Her family has asked that "in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Lavon B. Fulwiler Endowed Scholarship for TWU students whose majors are within the Department of English, Speech and Foreign Languages; the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research; Planned Parenthood Federation of America; or the Center for Biological Diversity."
In addition to her recent acceptance into the UNT's Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism, undergraduate ESFL student Amber Gaudet has received the highly competitive Mayborn Graduate Scholarship to support her first year of full-time study. The institute awards "$10,000 scholarships to exceptionally qualified graduate students each year."
The Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Inc. (BCALA) announced the winners of the 2021 BCALA Literary Awards during the virtual Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association. The awards recognize excellence in adult fiction and nonfiction by African American authors published in 2020.
"Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories," written by Zora Neale Hurston and edited by TWU ESFL professor and chair Genevieve West, PhD, was named an Honor Book for Fiction. Recipients will receive awards recognition during the 2021 virtual National Conference of African American Librarians.
TWU alumna Jordan Dokupil to teach English in South Korea
TWU alumna Jordan Dokupil has accepted a position teaching English at a private school in Namyangju City, South Korea. Following a mandatory two-week quarantine, Dokupil will begin teaching kindergarten and elementary students March 2. Dokupil earned a bachelor's degree in English literature in 2020 and was a member of the National Society for Leadership and Success.
The SAT is dropping parts of its exam. What does that mean for Texas students? After going test-optional last year, some Texas universities consider suspending standardized test requirements altogether after the pandemic.
“It makes it less tempting for institutions to subscribe to or require a product that, from my perspective ... has always been a problematic test,” said Gray Scott, Ph.D., who is the assistant director of academic assessment at TWU.
TWU ESFL assistant professor Johnathan Smilges' essay, "Bad Listeners," appeared in a recent volume of "Peitho Journal of the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition." The essay explores rhetorical listening, disability and neurodivergence.
"Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick," the critically acclaimed collection of Zora Neale Hurston works posthumously gathered, edited and published by TWU ESFL professor and chair Genevieve West, PhD, has been selected for The Guardian's best books of 2020 list. Naoise Dolan, author of "Exciting Times," chose the book for its "fluid, polymathic voice."
Graham "Gray" Scott, PhD, associate professor of English at TWU, has been nominated for the 2021 Pushcart Prize. His short story, ‘A Parable of Things that Crawl and Fly’, was co-authored by Wallace Cleaves and appears in Pulp Literature's 25th issue.
The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses series, published every year since 1976, is one of the most honored literary projects in America.
By merging her passion for music, writing, rhetoric and film, TWU graduate student Regan Dianne Campbell developed an extremely unique area of research: Sonic rhetoric and the use of sounds and music in horror movies and TV shows.
Former ESFL faculty member Dr. Mary Turner S. Kobler passed away Friday, Nov. 27. Dr. Kobler taught for many years at TWU and retired in 1996. Because of the pandemic, Dr. Kobler's family is not planning a memorial at this time. She is survived by her daughters, Laura and Linda, who also works at TWU. Visit Dr. Kobler's obituary page to read her full bio or share a memory in the guest book.
To make a donation in memory of Dr. Kobler, please visit the League of Women Voters website.
Assistant professor Johnathan Smilges' dissertation, "Queer Silence: Rhetorics of Resistance," recently won the Presidents Dissertation Award from the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition, the premier organization of feminist rhetoricians. The award is presented biennially to the "doctoral dissertation that makes an outstanding contribution to our understanding of feminist histories, theories, and pedagogies of rhetoric and composition.” One judge wrote the following of Smilges’s project:
“Smilges’s work savvily moves between theory and analysis, offering up important insights in the ways that silences work in queer and trans rhetorics. Their chapter on ex-gays is compassionate, smart, aware of its limitations, and deftly ties together queer theory and disability theory.”
Former faculty member Dr. Ninfa Nik was born on December 19, 1946 and passed away on November 13, 2020. She taught Spanish and French for the TWU Department of English, Speech and Foreign Languages, and she will be greatly missed. She is under the care of Fairhaven Memorial Services. Because of the pandemic, no public service is planned at this time.
To share a message in memory of Dr. Nik, please visit her Mission Viejo obituary page.
TWU ESFL doctoral student Angela Johnson has been named a Modern Language Association (MLA) bibliography fellow. She will serve until 2022.
Bibliography fellows work with approximately 100 field bibliographers, from all parts of the world, who cover subject areas, journals and languages that cannot be indexed in the New York office. Each spring, five to ten fellowships are awarded to field bibliographers who, on completion of their fellowships, receive a stipend of $500 and a certificate during the awards ceremony at the MLA convention.
Johnson earned both her MLA and MA at Texas Woman's University and currently works as a school librarian.
The TWU Write Site hosted the annual North Texas Writing Center Association Conference, which was held fully online this year due to COVID. The event was organized by Write Site Tutor Coordinator Jennifer Phillips-Denny, PhD, and all presenters were TWU faculty, staff or students. The North Texas Writing Centers Association is a subset of the South Central Writing Centers Association, which includes member schools from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Jackie Hoermann-Elliott, PhD, gave the key-note presentation, "Under (Good) Pressure: The Diastolic Effects of Writing Center Work on Tutors' Career Trajectories." Her presentation wove professional anecdotes into relevant research findings to argue that the writing center serves as an important site for fostering workplace readiness in tutors, particularly for those interested in careers in editing and publishing.
Two ESFL graduate students were honored with awards during the event. Daniel Stefanelli and Desiree Thorpe won the Mary Nell Kivikko Excellence in Scholarship Award for their paper, "(Re)imagining Writing Centers: Strategies for Multimodal Tutoring." The Mary Nell Kivikko Excellence in Scholarship Award is designed to recognize outstanding scholarship in writing center theory and practice. They received an honorarium and presented their findings at the conference.
Gray Scott, Ph.D., associate professor of English and self-described "writer of occasional truths and recreational falsehoods," is making a name for himself in micro and speculative fiction.
Professor Emeritus William Tanner, Ph.D., passed away at the age of 82 on August 24, 2020. Tanner enjoyed a long and fruitful career in the TWU Department of English, Speech and Foreign Languages. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Glenda Tanner Vasicek Cancer Treatment Center, Baylor Scott and White Hospital, Foundation Office, 2401 S. 31st St., Temple, TX 76508.
The U.S. Department of State has awarded a $35,000 grant aimed at increasing education abroad opportunities for minority students to William Benner, PhD, an assistant professor of Spanish, and Annie Phillips, PhD, executive director for International Affairs.
To help chronicle the impact of COVID-19 and add rich context to its ongoing challenges, Texas Woman’s University is embarking on a project to collect writings in multiple forms. It's a new collection called Voices of the Coronavirus Pandemic: The Chancellor Carine M. Feyten Collection. KRLD's John Liddle talked with Phyllis Bridges, Cornaro Professor of English at TWU about the project.
Phyllis Bridges, Ph.D., Cornaro Professor of English, has been unanimously elected to a three-year term on the Board of the Texas Folklore Society and has been appointed to the search committee for the secretary-editor of the society. The Texas Folklore Society is in the process of moving from Stephen F. Austin State University to Tarleton State. Bridges has served as President of the Texas Folklore Society and has published numerous articles in their publications and proceedings.
Em Ramser receives TWU Alumni Association's Outstanding Student Award
The Awards and Honors Committee of the TWU Alumni Association has selected Em Ramser to receive the 2020 Outstanding Student Award. Ramser graduates in May 2020 with two degrees, the M.A. in English and the M.A. in Teaching with a concentration in English.
"Em embodies the dedicated, fearless spirit of a Pioneer... She is a talented poet, accomplished teacher, and a tireless advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. In the very short time that Em has been at TWU, she has published numerous poems in professional creative journals and been featured in an installation at the Dallas Museum of Art; she has progressed from substitute teacher and library aide to full-time teacher at Braswell High School, earning a number of awards and two grants; and served the community as a volunteer for organizations like Spiderweb Salon, OUTreach Denton, and Casa of Denton County. She has presented (and will present) her research on-campus at the TWU Experiential Education Symposium (as an ELL scholar) and the ESFL department SmartTalks event, and off-campus at conferences like the Southwest Pop Culture/American Studies Association. Her thesis fills a critical gap in poetry studies, offering the first comprehensive history of the blackout/erasure poetry movement.
"As her advisor, I am delighted (and astounded, really) by her ability to consciously weave her creative and scholarly passions into her teaching and service to at-risk communities. We are extraordinarily proud for Em to represent the ESFL department as a poet, scholar, and teacher – we are thrilled for her to receive recognition at the university level as well," said Gretchen Busl, Ph.D., assistant professor of English and graduate program coordinator.
TWU doctoral student in rhetoric Margaret Williams won the William Tanner Award for Best Rhetoric Paper by a Graduate Student at the 2020 meeting of the Conference of College Teachers of English (CCTE). Her paper, "Vir Bonus, Hortensia: A Good Woman Speaking Well in Ancient Rome," grew out of her History of Rhetoric I class at TWU. She argues that in Hortensia’s 1st-century BCE speech in which she convinced the three post-Julius Caesar rulers to refrain from over-taxing 1,400 of her fellow widows, she was a good woman speaking well (a feminist play on the good-man-speaking-well trope). This award comes with a $100 cash prize and publication in the next issue of the CCTE Studies Journal.
The undergraduate English program at Texas Woman's University is featured at #13 on the 2020 GradReports Best Colleges list. Rankings are based on median early-career salary data of over 5 million graduates from the U.S. Department of Education.
ESFL professor and chair's Zora Neale Hurston collection hits shelves, tops 2020's most anticipated book lists
Congratulations to TWU ESFL's Genevieve West, Ph.D., editor of Zora Neale Hurston's short story collection, Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick. The collection, which hits shelves today, includes 8 "lost" Harlem Renaissance tales and has already received a rave review from The New York Times. It is one of Forbes' and Newsweek's most anticipated books of 2020, and the Miami Herald and Seattle Times, among many others, also listed the book in their "5 most highly anticipated books of 2020."
A new edition of our newsletter is now available!
Our annual newsletter will keep you up to date on departmental activities and events as well as student, faculty, staff and alumni awards and achievements.
For additional archival copies of the ESFL newsletter, or to submit a faculty, student or alumni story, please contact us via email at email@example.com.
2020 Texas Poet Laureate Emmy Pérez visited Texas Woman’s University on Wednesday, Nov. 13, to lead a daytime writing workshop followed by an evening poetry reading. Pérez draws much of her inspiration from her personal relationships and natural surroundings. Her experiences working with Native American reservation communities, female prison inmates and young people in juvenile detention centers have shaped her work. Her travels along the Texas borderlands and Rio Grande Valley informed her most recent collection, "With the River on Our Face."
Texas Woman’s University will host a writing workshop and poetry reading led by the 2020 Texas Poet Laureate, Emmy Pérez, on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Both events will take place in Administration and Conference Tower Building room 301 on TWU’s Denton campus.
We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the Texas Woman's University community for their support as we mourn the passing of our beloved family member, Dr. Katie McWain. We also send our deepest sympathies to her family, friends, colleagues, and students. Katie was an extraordinarily bright presence among us, a gifted teacher and a brilliant scholar. We will strive to honor her kind, generous spirit in our words and deeds. She leaves a lasting legacy not only with her research, but through the example she set as a leader, educator, and friend.
Katie was a passionate advocate for graduate students and contingent laborers. In lieu of flowers, donations in her name may be made to the TWU Foundation and will be used to support these communities with a named scholarship or award in her memory.
We will never forget you, Katie.
"Neither of us knew then that this long-distance correspondence—Morrison from her longtime post at Princeton University, us from Boston and Cambridge—would add building blocks to the foundation of our relationship and extend to my other graduate students, present and future, and to young students in middle school classrooms," says Jocelyn A. Chadwick, Ph.D.
Chadwick is an English teacher and scholar who works with K-12 students and teachers around the country, focusing on literature, writing and curriculum development. She was a full-time professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education and is now lecturing and conducting occasional seminars there. She has worked with Ken Burns, PBS, WGBH, BBC Radio and was invited to the White House as a panel member for the series Celebrating America’s Authors.
“I am a Trekkie, I love science fiction and fantasy,” said Meredith Martin, a TWU graduate student pursuing her doctorate in the history and theory of rhetoric. “I have always wanted to write a paper on the character Data from Star Trek, and after taking a film studies class as part of my doctoral coursework, I finally decided to do it."
It is very rare for publishers of journals to actually approach a writer asking for an article. Most writers and researchers submit unsolicited articles to journals in hopes that they will be accepted. The Journal for Strategic Innovation and Sustainability is a multi-disciplinary publication that addresses the many challenges of managing innovation and sustainability.
The Board of Ada County Commissioners has announced that Elizabeth Duncan joined Ada County as its new public information officer. Duncan has 15 years of experience in public information, most recently as the public information officer for the Idaho Office of Emergency Management. Prior to her career in public information, Duncan was an award-winning television anchor and news director, and worked in various markets around the country, including Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Washington, D.C. and the Treasure Valley. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English from Texas Woman’s University
Bedford/St. Martin's, an imprint of Macmillan Learning, named TWU doctoral candidate Salena Parker one of ten new graduate students chosen to become part of the 2019 Bedford New Scholars program, an advisory board of graduate students for English Composition. Parker is pursuing her Ph.D. in Rhetoric with a concentration in World Literature in the TWU Department of English, Speech and Foreign Languages. She currently teaches Composition I and II while serving as an English professor at Collin College.
"I have seen firsthand the transformative power of education. Despite the overwhelming challenges, I completed my bachelor’s degree and graduated magna cum laude in 2001, a master’s degree in 2003 and my doctorate from Texas Woman’s University in 2009," writes Rochelle Gregory, who earned her Ph.D. in Rhetoric at TWU and now serves as chairwoman of the English, Speech and Foreign Language department at North Central Texas College.
The Santa Barbara City College Board of Trustees has announced the selection of Helen Benjamin, Ph.D., to serve as interim superintendent/president. She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in English from Texas Woman’s University.
Elaine Cho, Ph.D., TWU alumna (M.A. in English and Ph.D. in Rhetoric) and professor of English and director of Asian American studies at Eastfield College, has been invited to present her research in Seoul, South Korea in June of 2019. Her paper is titled Digital Bojagi: Unwrapping Korean American History and Culture. Cho recently completed a study internship at the Smithsonian. She is also serving as chair of the Asian American section of the Southwest American Culture Association and last week chaired three panels at the conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Elaine serves on the council for the English Alumni Chapter.
Ph.D. in Rhetoric student Salena Parker has been selected to participate in the Bedford New Scholars program. The designation comes with professional responsibilities, a stipend and a fully covered trip to Boston for a seminar/meeting. Parker was nominated by assistant professor Katie McWain, Ph.D.
Each year the Bedford editorial team asks program directors from ten leading graduate programs to nominate one of their outstanding graduate TAs to serve on an advisory board for the calendar year. Selected board members from across the country have the opportunity to connect with other graduate students, to learn a bit about how publishing works, and to provide feedback on the direction of new books and projects in the pipeline.
TWU English, Speech and Foreign Languages alumna Raquel Hutchens Schmitz (MA '94) and her husband, Eric Schmitz, recently donated $250,000 for construction and provisions for a new and expanded Denton Community Food Center. The food center provides provisions for approximately 14,000 persons per year.
Page last updated 3:19 PM, May 11, 2021