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Volume 19, Issue 5, Dec 05, 2013

From (Under) The Chair’s Desk

Strategic Communication was under discussion at the last DEO meeting as we heard from Joe Brennan, the new Vice President of just such.  His message was that we need to get the public to think academics rather than just sports when they think about the University of Iowa.  Saying that to a room full of DEOs, he was preaching to the choir, of course, but the question remains how do you get the word out there?  Old media, new media, and everything in-between was Brennan’s answer.  But how to find time to do that when we are already busy working full tilt at generating and teaching the very scholarship we would want to boast about?

One answer is probably boosting the department’s self-presentation on the web.  Now that Hannah Rounds is joining us as administrative services coordinator at the front desk (welcome aboard, Hannah!), we should have sufficient support staff to resume updates to the departmental website.  The research section may need particular work.  Let me know if you have suggestions for other website improvements. 

Robust student enrollments for Spring 2014 courses suggest that students are already conscious of the exciting teaching we can offer.  Thanks to Megan Gioielli for guiding undergraduates into appropriate courses.  You can check current enrollment in your classes on ISIS, and feel free to spend a moment in class reminding students of any of the outstanding offerings that are not yet heavily enrolling. 

Meanwhile, as this semester’s classes race towards their close, great teaching moves towards its climax, grading begins to pile up (final grades will be due through MAUI by December 26 this year), seminar series and colloquia wrap up for the semester, even as research and writing continue apace.  And don’t forget the English Department winter reception on Saturday, December 14, 5:30-7:30 p.m.  I’ll hope to see you there! 

Faculty Matters

Patricia Foster’s essay “The Red Chair” was named a Notable Essay in the 2013 Best American Essays (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).  Her essay “Fog” in the December issue of The Sun has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her conversation with Joy Castro on editing anthologies will be part of the Essay Press series (along with conversations between John D’Agata and Phillip Lopate;  Robert Atwan and Jill Talbot), presented by David Lazar.