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New Faculty Profile: Jennifer Bryan

Dr Jennifer Bryan received her BA in English with minors in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She received an MFA in fiction from Bowling Green State University and a PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This semester, she’s teaching four sections of Eng 103. 

How would you describe yourself as a teacher?

I would describe myself as balanced, and I try to be fair in the classroom while creating high expectations and standards so students can challenge themselves. I also try and introduce topics and discussions that students can engage with and be interested in. I want students to feel invested in the class and critically see their environment.

When are your office hours?

11-12:30 MW, 10-12 T, and by appointment

Gmail PictureWhat are you reading?

Kent Haruf’s Plainsong

What do you think everyone should read?

I think people should read what interests them. There are so many books and genres in the world, and in order to passionate about reading, one has to be passionate about what he/she is reading. There is value in reading, and when students tell me they don’t like reading, I say they aren’t reading the right books. By right I mean what is of interest to them, not what they think they should read.

What’s your biggest pet peeve in the classroom/what is a big mistake students tend to make?

Texting in the classroom is annoying, but pretending one isn’t texting can be even more so. I tend to feel mistakes are villified in our culture. We only improve and learn about ourselves by making mistakes. We’re all afraid of failing, and yet through failing I’ve learned the most about myself and what I want. In terms of students and the classroom – I think students who miss class regularly tend to dig themselves into a hole. It gets easier to miss as the semester wears on because of sickness, cold weather, lack of sleep, lack of assignment.

What are you working on right now?

Grading papers. In my creative work, I’ve just started writing a new novel. It’s super new. Like three pages new.

What are your other hobbies?

I love to bake. Cooking comes a close second. I love to drink coffee and hang out with my family. I love binge watching Netflix series. I look at a lot of art, talk about a lot of art.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Jennifer Bryan to our department!


The Visiting Writers Series Presents Mark Irwin, October 14th

The English Department’s Visiting Writers Series invites you to an evening with poet Mark Irwin on October 14th at 7:30 PM in Letterman Building 125.

Who is Mark Irwin?

Mark Irwin is a multiple award-winning (including four Pushcart prizes and fellowships from the Fulbright, Lilly, Wurlitzer Foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts), accomplished poet and translator. His American Urn: New & Selected Poems (1987-2014) appears in 2015.

What does he write?

Mark Irwin’s poetry is most commonly noted for the commentary on the world in which we live. John Ashbury indicates that “Mark Irwin’s poetry is astir with liquid light, light wind, leaves, blossoms, and the slight but weight questions that anchor us in his trembling landscapes.” It seems Irwin’s poems embody the world through a grandiose and colorful lens. And as M.S. Merwin notes, Irwin’s “subtlety of ear, of phrasing, of language all together, and a light-play of feeling…” add to the experience of his poems. Irwin’s poems have been compared to music that is compassionate and fearless. One thing is for sure: Irwin’s poetry is bound to make you look at the world in a different light.

Where does he live and teach?

He lives in Colorado, and Los Angeles, where he teaches in the Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature Program at the University of Southern California.

Meet Mark October 14th at 7:30 PM in Letterman Building 125.

All students and faculty are encouraged to attend. If you plan to attend, please add the event to your calendar and tell your friends on social media.

Blog Series Banner (Good News)

Good News: September

In the latest installment of the “Good News” series, the Ball State English department highlights the accomplishments of our faculty and students. 

Prof. Jill Christman has three essays coming out this month:

Oct-15-Cover-FINAL-819x1024“The Eleven-Minute Crib Nap” will be released in a new literary anthology about all things baby on Oct. 5th, Oh Baby!: True Stories About Conception, Adoption, Surrogacy, Pregnancy, Labor, and Love edited by Lee Gutkind and published by In Fact Books. Creative Nonfiction is giving away 23 copies of the book through their site & Goodreads is giving away 20 copies here.

“Burned Images” appears in Scars: An Anthology, edited by Erin Wood and published by Et Alia Books (October 2015)

“Leading the Children Out of Town” is online in the Fall 2015 issue of Brain, Child magazine.

Dr. Jackie Grutsch-McKinney was recently elected to the International Writing Center Association Executive Board. She will assume the position of Vice President in November at NCTE, serving for two years in that role, followed by two years as President, and then two years as Past-President.

Dr. Robert D. Habich published the review-essay “Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, and Transcendentalism” in American Literary Scholarship 2013: An Annual, ed. Gary Scharnhorst (Duke University Press, 2015), pp. 3-21.  American Literary Scholarship contains commissioned chapters that evaluate the year’s criticism and scholarship on a variety of American authors.

Prof. Silas Hansen was recently notified that one of his essays was listed as notable in Best American Essays 2015.

Sarah Isaacson and Alicia Miller, both IEI graduate assistants, received an Aspire Grant for their presentation, “Benefits of Electronic Textbooks on Second Language Literacy Development.” They presented at the Second Language Research Forum from October 29 to October 31, 2015 in Atlanta, GA.

Dr. Lyn Jones spent her summer working with the Wheeler Mission Ministries Center for Women and Children in Indianapolis, where she collected women’s stories for a memoir titled, Where Mercy and Truth Meet: Women of Wheeler Speak. Dan sbw_wheeler_mission_writing_center_blog_threeCarpenter, the former and long time editor of the Indy Star, wrote a wonderful article praising the memoir, which can be read here. English education major Rita Mitchell and recent BSU English graduate Elizabeth Wilkes helped Dr. Jones with this project. Jones also presented at these conferences:

“Worlding: Rewriting the World and the Word in Disability Studies,” Diversity Research Symposium, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN, Submitted June 2015, Accepted September 2015, Presented October 24, 2015

 “Self-Publishing Student’s Work from the Writing Classroom: How to, Why, Outcomes,” (with Michael Baumann, Ph.D. Rhet/Comp Student at the University of Louisville), Indiana Teachers of Writing, Indianapolis, IN, Submitted June 2015, Accepted August 2015, Presented September 26, 2015

Prof. Craig O’Hara‘s flash fiction piece, “Terminal Lounge,” is now out in the fall issue of Phychopomp magazine. It’s available online here.

Amory Orchard had an essay come out in the national undergraduate nonfiction magazine, Thoreau’s Rooster, last month.

Dr. Emily Rutter recently won the South Atlantic Review Best Essay Prize for her essay “the story usually being’: Revising the Posthumous Legacy of  Huddie Ledbetter in Tyehimba Jess’s leadbelly.” SAMLA will award her a cash prize at its annual conference in November. She also presented “‘this is how you are a citizen’: Documenting Racial Trauma in Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric” at the Issues in Critical Investigation Biennial Symposium on the African Diaspora at Vanderbilt University.