Professor/Chair, Department of English
AUTHOR

Mark West

Monday Missive – February 6, 2017

Celebrating Black History Month —  February is Black History Month (also known as African American History Month).  For the members of the English Department, the history of African Americans relates in significant ways to our research and teaching.  A perfect example of this relationship is Janaka Lewis’s current a research project on the history of girls’ play in African American communities.  When I contacted Janaka and asked her for more information...

Monday Missive – January 23, 2107

Celebrating the Centennial of Carson McCullers’s Birth — Copper Restaurant, known for its Indian food, is located just a few blocks from our home.  Whenever I walk our dog along East Boulevard, we pass by it as we get our exercise.  Our dog doesn’t seem to care that the famous novelist Carson McCullers lived in the building where Copper Restaurant is now located, but it matters to me.

McCullers and her husband rented an apartment in the building in 1937. ...

Monday Missive – January 9, 2017

Coming in from the Cold — As I made the frigid walk from the East Parking Deck to the Fretwell Building on this first day of the Spring 2017 semester, a phrase popped into my head the moment I felt the welcomed warmth of the building.  “Aah,” I said to myself, “the professor who came in from the cold.”  Then I started wondering where the phrase came from, and I remembered a spy novel that I read in college titled The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John...

Monday Missive – December 12, 2016

Turning Pages — I often think of semesters as chapters in a larger story.  As we prepare to turn the last page of the chapter about the fall 2016 semester, I am impressed with how much happened in this chapter.  We saw the debut of new characters, such as Melodye Gordon, Matthew Osborne, and Matthew Rowney.  We saw established characters take on new roles, such as Sarah Minslow, Jen Munroe, and Lara Vetter.  A whole new advising system came into place over the course of...

Monday Missive 28, 2016

Harry Potter’s World Exhibit – A few weeks ago I received an email from Abby Moore, the Education Librarian at the J. Murrey Atkins Library.  She informed me that a traveling exhibit titled “Harry Potter’s World:  Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine” is making a stop at the Atkins Library from the end of November through January 6, 2017, and she wanted to meet with me to brainstorm programming ideas related to this exhibit.   We met...

Monday Missive – January 30, 2017

International Holocaust Remembrance Day — This past Friday (January 27) marked the observance of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and this event sparked me to reflect on my family’s connections to the Holocaust.  Everyone on my father’s side of the family came from the Jewish community in Warsaw, Poland.  A small group of them immigrated to New York City in the early years of the 20th century.  My great-grandparents were among those who...

Monday Missive – January 16, 2017

John Lewis and Jim Zwerg

Reflecting on Dr. Martin Luther King Day — A few years ago a student in my children’s literature course made an appointment to talk with me about her interest in doing an independent research project related to our class session on the history of African American children’s literature.  She was especially interested in nonfiction books for young people about the history of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.   She signed up...

Monday Missive – January 2, 2017

Innovative Teaching — I do not usually make resolutions at the beginning of the new year, but this year I have resolved to write a bit more about teaching in my Monday Missives.  In my 33 years of teaching in the English Department, I have long been impressed with my colleagues’ innovative approaches to teaching.  Starting with today’s Monday Missive, I am going to celebrate some noteworthy examples of innovative teaching by members of our English Department....

Monday Missive – December 5, 2016

Nudging as Mentoring — Last week I had a conversation with Ron Lunsford about his experiences as an undergraduate student in our English Department in the late 1960s.  Like many of our current students, Ron was a first-generation college student.  The thought of going to graduate school or pursuing a career in academia never occurred to him until some of his professors suggested that he consider applying for graduate school.  Ron credits an English professor named...

Monday Missive 21, 2016

Our Students Rock — I often hear great news about our students, but last week I was practically inundated with reports about our students’ accomplishments.   In today’s Monday Missive, I thought I would share this great news with everyone in the English Department.

The first report that came in involved the students in Sarah Minslow’s course “War and Genocide in Children’s Literature.”  On November 14 and 15, these students...

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