From (Under) The Chair’s Desk
These are busy times! Crafting of the curriculum for 2016-17 is in full swing, with special thanks to Doris Witt for chairing curriculum committee and Hannah Rounds for staff support. Meanwhile, Spring 2016 curriculum is now fully visible on ISIS and students will be registering from November 9, with thanks to Kate Torno for advising them. And summer has moved, at least as far as registration is concerned: Summer 2016 is also now fully visible on ISIS and students will be registering for summer at the same time as spring.
Undergraduate matters saw further discussion at the recent Pedagogy and Pastries breakfast, with special thanks to Lena Hill for organizing and hosting. Aaron Elam from the ITS Office of Teaching, Learning, & Technology talked a group of us through the new ACE evaluation forms, in addition to some tips on ICON. The ACE evaluations will be accessible through the ICON interface, with plentiful ways of viewing the resulting data. Any instructor can add additional questions about their teaching, including fully expository questions, and Aaron clarified how answers to such additional questions will never be visible to anyone save the instructor.
At the same time, graduate matters are very much under attention with the Graduate College requesting an update to the 2010 review of graduate programs, as a result of which, you may remember, the English Department programs were deemed exemplary. (For the reports and data from the last review, click here). After some initial uncertainty, it seems that the Graduate College is confining the latest review to doctoral programs, at least at this stage, with a report due by November 20. Thanks to Alvin Snider for taking the lead in compiling this, with whom feel free to share any suggestions or ideas.
Meanwhile faculty promotion reviews are proceeding apace, with thanks to the four distinct promotion review committees, and to Loren Glass for coordinating the efforts. A sequence of Departmental Consulting Group meetings will be coming up in the next few weeks, with the DCG differing in composition for each meeting. Check in with me or Loren if you find yourself confused.
And faculty research continues undaunted. It was a delight to celebrate the recent books of Eric Gidal, Kerry Howley, and Peter Nazareth at the latest book launch event. For additional recent achievements, see Faculty Matters below.
Which almost gets me to the end without mentioning the UI presidential search. Let me just conclude by appreciating the strong English Department involvement in all aspects of the process, including yesterday’s expressions of concern, as well as our thoughtful and articulate collective presence in local media. While the English Department graduate twitter account (with thanks to Alvin) remains a good source for gathering reporting, I have found Nicholas Johnson’s website particularly good for providing a large compilation of coverage on the issues, which can be found here. The future remains uncertain, but the English Department continues humming along
Congratulations to Patricia Foster, who will serve as a fellow at the International Writing Residency at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China for twelve days this November. Her essay “Awakening” (Antioch Review) was a Notable Essay in Best American Essays, 2015 and her essay “What Can Be Seen” was nominated for Best of the Web, 2015. Her novel, Girl from Soldier Creek, won the Fiction Prize at Stephen F. Austin University Press and is forthcoming. She has essays forthcoming in Off Assignment and The Spectacle.
Lithub.com has published an article by Loren Glass titled, "The Invention of Mid-Century Cool: On the Revolutionary Book Covers of Roy Kuhlman" that can be accessed here.
Lena Hill has an article in the current issue of American Studies 54.3 (AMSJ), "Staging Political Responsibility: Ralph and Fanny Ellison's Appeal to Visual Arts."
Congratulations to Garrett Stewart, whose latest book, The Deed of Reading, was recently released by Cornell University Press. As the elegant blurb puts it, “To take the measure of literary writing, The Deed of Reading convenes diverse philosophic commentary on the linguistics of literature, with stress on the complementary work of Stanley Cavell and Giorgio Agamben. Sympathetic to recent ventures in form-attentive analysis but resisting an emphasis on so-called surface reading, Stewart explores not some new formalism but the internal pressures of language in formation, registering the verbal infrastructure of literary prose as well as verse.” See here for more detail, and the wonderful cover art on the notice board outside 308 EPB.
Also on the publications notice board, notice Kevin Kopelson’s pre-publication cover. This includes a blurb surely worth pausing to read. For the book itself, watch kevinkopelson.com.
David Wittenberg weighs in on time travel fiction in North Carolina Public Radio's program, "What is Time? An Exploration Through Theater, Physics, Philosophy and Fiction."
English Department mail functions will be migrating from Outlook to Office 365 on November 16th. The move is supposed to be painless and life is supposed to be better ever afterward. Apparently, we’ll be entering the cloud and our storage space will vastly increase. While I’m sure it will be an improvement, I find I can’t help worrying when someone thinks it necessary to print up a handome card telling me not to worry. There’s a website with information (of course - please click here). Fortunately Dianne Jones will be on hand to trouble-shoot if my fears prove justified.
Unrelated, but in the same ball-park, all university laptops and tablets are going to be encrypted by the end of the year. Details can be found here. Again, I believe Dianne can help do the deed.
And, speaking of security, I am charged to exhort you all to run Identity Finder to track down and, at your discretion, bracket or eliminate personal identifiers (such as SSN or credit card numbers) that might be tempting targets for computer baddies. See this page for more details. I’m not eintirely convinced that is going to be a painless process, but I am convinced that it is probably a good idea.
Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism: Stanley Plumly, Oct. 29th, 4:00 pm, Old Capitol Museum
Pedagogy and Pastries, Nov. 11, 9:00 am, Gerber Lounge (304 EPB)