Image by Jill Salahub

Image by Jill Salahub

  • John Calderazzo and SueEllen Campbell are in San Francisco this week attending the gigantic (over twenty thousand attendees) convention of AGU, the American Geophysical Union, as part of their work with ChangingClimates@CSU. John is running and participating in a session about science communication, and SueEllen is doing two talks about the need for a multidisciplinary approach to researching and teaching climate change. Both are also working at the AGU’s “Ask an Expert” booth on the subject of talking about science with the public.
  • Matthew Cooperman’s chapbook Little Spool recently won the Pavement Saw Chapbook Prize. Based in Ohio, Pavement Saw Press will bring out his chapbook in 2015 in an edition of 400. Prices tba, but let Matthew know if you’d like a copy, and he’ll make it happen.
  • Nora Gordon will be going to Ecuador for 27 months to serve in the Peace Corps as a TEFL volunteer.

     

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Some of the recent publications and award winners from faculty and alumni

Some recent and award winning books from faculty and alumni

New faculty publications and awards reveal the diversi­ty of scholarly and creative strengths in this department.

  • Sue Doe and Lisa Langstraat, Generation Vet: Composition, Student-Veterans, and the Post-9/11 University
  • Zachary McLeod Hutchins, Inventing Eden: Primitivism, Millennialism, and the Making of New England
  • Tobi Jacobi (with co-author Ann Folwell Standford), Woman, Writing, and Prison: Activists, Scholars, and Writers Speak Out
  • Todd Mitchell, Backwards, winner of the 2014 Colorado Author’s League Award, and a finalist for the 2014 Colorado Book Awards
  • Sasha Steensen, House of Deer
  • Steven Schwartz, Little Raw Souls, 2014 Colorado Book Awards Literary Fiction Winner

 

It’s been a productive time for not only the publication of books but also for essays, poems, book reviews, and cre­ative nonfiction pieces. Current and emeritus faculty with new work include (but are not limited to) Leslee Becker, Tony Becker, John Calderazzo, SueEllen Campbell, Pam Coke, Pattie Cowell, Mary Crow, Sue Doe, Judy Doenges, Camille Dungy, Aparna Gollapudi, Stephanie G’Schwind, Roze Hentschell, Tobi Jacobi, Lisa Langstraat, Ellen Levy, David Milof­sky, Cindy O’Donnell-Allen, Airica Parker, Dan Robinson, Bruce Ronda, Jill Salahub, Barb Sebek, Sarah Sloane, Debby Thompson, and Bill Tremblay.

 


We are also happy to share the news of recent alumni publications.

 


In other publishing news, the Center for Literary Publishing’s grant request to the National Endowment for the Arts has been funded for 2015 in the amount of $15,000. The grant will go toward printing, mailing, and author payments for Colorado Review and to support the publication of two new titles in the Mountain West Poetry Series (forthcoming in June and November 2015).

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From Department Chair Louann Reid:

Five faculty members were notified on Dec. 12 that they had received an award from the College of Liberal Arts. The awards will be presented at the spring CLA Faculty/Staff Meeting.

The Faculty Development Fund provides support for outstanding research and/or creative activity. Faculty submit a project proposal and, College-wide, 5 to 7 are funded each year with a summer stipend. The recipients in the English department are Tobi Jacobi, for “Incorrigible Girls: Research Findings from the NY State Training School for Girls, 1921-32; Zach Hutchins, for “Before Equiano: A Prehistory of the North American Slave Narrative”; and E.J. Levy, for “The Cape Doctor.”

CLA awards are given in several categories including teaching, outreach, development, and service. Faculty are nominated for these awards.

The CLA Excellence in Teaching Awards recognize exemplary teaching and are given to only one faculty member in each of 4 categories. The award includes a plaque and an honorarium. This year’s award in the Associate Professor category goes to Pam Coke.

The John N. Stern Distinguished Professor Award is presented annually by the College of Liberal Arts to honor faculty who have demonstrated exemplary accomplishments in all aspects of their professional responsibilities over an extended period of time. The award includes a plaque and an honorarium. This year’s award goes to Leslee Becker.

Our department has numerous outstanding teachers, scholars, and creative artists, who give generously of their time to the department, college, and community. My thanks go to the nominations committee of Zach Hutchins, Leslee Becker, and Bruce Shields, who helped several faculty members prepare their nominations for various CLA awards. We appreciate the effort it takes to prepare a nomination packet and recognize the excellence of all who were nominated.

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Professor Roze Hentschell and family (husband, Thomas Cram, daughter Eleanor, and son Felix) pictured attending the Newly Promoted and Tenured Faculty Reception at Colorado State University on Dec. 1. Other English faculty, Professor Ellen Brinks and Associate Professor EJ Levy, were also honored.

Professor Roze Hentschell and family (husband, Thomas Cram, daughter Eleanor, and son Felix) pictured attending the Newly Promoted and Tenured Faculty Reception at Colorado State University on December 1st.

  • Several faculty members began the academic year with changes in rank or appointment. EJ Levy received tenure and promotion to associate professor and Ellen Brinks and Roze Hentschell were promoted to full professor. Sharon Grindle, Jenny Levin, and Dana Masden received Senior Teaching Appointments in recognition of their years of excellent teaching. Todd Mitchell moved to the non-tenure-track rank of Assistant Professor and was reappointed as Director of Creative Writing Pedagogy.
  • Sue Doe was awarded the Paulo Friere Educator Award for 2014 on December 6 by the Denver-based Romero Theater Troupe for “work on behalf of contingent labor in higher education.” The Romero Theater Troupe, a Denver-based group, addresses social justice issues through organic theater.  Along with several graduate students and NTTF, notably led by former grad student Vani Kannan (now at Syracuse U), Sue helped put together last year’s performance called, Contingency: A Crisis for Teaching and Learning which was performed on the campuses of CSU and Front Range Community College. The Fort Collins performances were subsequently folded into a larger production of the Romero Theater Troupe. An Adjunct at Ludlow integrated stories of adjunct faculty, undocumented workers, discarded senior workers, marginalized female workers, and embattled union workers, among others. Organic theater is participatory theater that depicts the everyday, often invisible violences that people experience, in the workplace, on the streets, at home, and elsewhere. Participant-actors write short scenes to depict their own experiences. The act of writing the play brings people together to address the social justice issues in question and the differences between actors. This work builds on Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed.
  • Tobi Jacobi and Ann Folwell Stanford (DePaul University) are pleased to announce the release of Women, Writing, and Prison: Activists, Scholars, and Writers Speak Out, an edited collection of essays and narratives on women’s experiences in prison (Rowman and Littlefield).
  • Tobi Jacobi presented a paper ((Re)writing ‘Lila: Stories from the New York Training School for Girls, 1920-1935) at the National Women’s Studies Association conference in San Juan.
  • The Community Literacy Center is pleased to announce the launch of the fall 2014 SpeakOut! Journal.  The issue, titled, “We Make Our Future,” features 68 community writers from our youth and adult programs.
  • Kristin George Bagdanov’s panel “Cultivating and Communicating Crisis in Ecopoetics” was accepted for the Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE) in Boulder this June. Also presenting on this ASLE-sponsored panel is 3rd year poet, Gracie McCarroll.
  • Kayann Short’s (English BA 1981; MA 1988) essay, “Floodables,” about the aftermath of Colorado’s 2013 flood, appears in the Winter 2014 issue of The Fort Collins Courier.
  • Chris Vanjonack has two short stories accepted for publication: “The Last Times You Saw Jenny McCreary” – Buffalo Almanack – Issue 6 – December 15th and “Last Letter Home” – New Haven Review – Issue 15 – Winter 2014.
  • Upcoming Event: SpeakOut fall journal launch. Tuesday, December 16, 6:30-8 pm at the Wild Boar Coffee Shop (lower level).  “Please join us to celebrate writing with Fort Collins poet laureate and English Department alumna, Chloe’ Leisure, and our youth writers. Refreshments will be served.”

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Associate Professor Sasha Steensen teaches poetry workshops and literature courses. She is the author of House of Deer (Fence Books, 2014); The Method (Fence Books, 2008); A Magic Book, which won the Alberta duPont Bonsal Prize (Fence Books, 2004); Waters: A Lenten Poem (Free Poetry, 2012); A History of the Human Family (Flying Guillotine Press, 2010); The Future of an Illusion (Dos Press, 2008); and correspondence (with Gordon Hadfield, Handwritten Press, 2004). Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including Octopus, Omniverse, Jubilat, Denver Quarterly, and La Petit Zine. Her essays and reviews have appeared in journals such as The Volta, Boston Review, Chain, P-queue, and Interim. Steensen serves as one of the poetry editors for Colorado Review.

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How would you describe your work in the English Department? Like most faculty members, my work is split between teaching, service, and research/writing. In addition to the committee work, classroom time, and writing time (something that tends to dwindle when I find myself on too many committees), I spend a good deal of time meeting with graduate students and attending poetry readings.

What brought you to CSU? The MFA program, of course! But also the weather and the mountains.

What do you enjoy most about your work? I am so lucky to have a job where I can talk to people — colleagues, students, fellow writers — about poetry. I cherish these conversations.

Why is poetry important? What does it mean to or do for you, all of us? Poetry upends expectations; it challenges us; it gives us our language back to us anew. We use language everyday. When we can see the tool we use nearly every waking moment of our lives with fresh eyes, we are empowered.   Not only is poetry beautiful and inspiring, but it can help us to think critically about language. It can help us see the ways language — in advertisements, in politics, in our interactions with others — can be used to manipulate us. When we begin to see this, we can resist.

Who are some of your favorite poets, poems, lines? I will answer in terms of favorite poets: Emily Dickinson, Susan Howe, Wallace Stevens, John Berryman, Bernadette Mayer, Anne Carson, William Carlos Williams, H.D. There are many, but I find myself returning to these poets again and again.

What is your writing process, practice like? It depends a bit on what I am writing. If I am writing prose, it is usually slow and laborious. Poetry often, though not always, comes more easily. Regardless of what I am writing, I always have stacks of books around me while writing. Right now I have 99 books checked out from the CSU library because I am, thankfully, doing a good deal of writing at the moment. Still, I think it is time to return some of these books!

How would you describe the poetry you write? I suppose I would say it leans toward the experimental/avant-garde. It is generally sound-driven, but I like to think each project varies drastically from the next. Interestingly, I have also been told that despite the experimentation, my poetry is accessible. I suspect the accessibility has to do with the fact that I often write entire books of poems on one topic.

What fuels, feeds your poetry? Reading, first and foremost, and it need not be poetry. Any good writing will make me want to write a poem. Visual art is hugely influential for me, though I tend not to write directly about certain pieces all that often. I regularly do historical research while writing, and this research usually takes a predominate role in my poetry. Spiritual practice is helpful too — prayer, meditation, etc. Last but not least, daily life — my kids, domestic duties, routines, etc.


What sort of legacy would you like your poetry, your life to leave? I’m not sure I have ever thought about a “legacy,” per se. The first thing that comes to mind is that I want to be kind. I want to be a good mother, a good friend, a good teacher. That seems more important than any poem I could ever write.


Your latest book, House of Deer, uses a special picture for the cover. Tell us more about that. My mother is on the cover. I was about 2 years old when the photo was taken. She is in our garden in Ohio, where we were back-to-the-landers. The book is about that experiment, as well as the larger experiment of family, so it seemed fitting to feature her on the cover.

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What special project are you working on right now? I am working on several projects. I’ve just finished an essay on the experience of familiarity, and I am at work on an essay on embarrassment. Eventually, I am hoping these essays on emotion might turn into a book, but that is probably a few years in the future. I am also working on a series of poems that I am tentatively calling “Hendes.” I’ve taken Catullus’s hendecasyllabic form and adapted it so that each poem is 11 lines with 11 syllables per line. Lastly, I am working on a prose poem that looks at the history of the settlement of Fort Collins and Laporte. It also interrupts itself with observations about daily life now — my daily life, with my children, working on the land where I live.


Why are the Humanities important? There’s much to say here, but I will keep it simple. The humanities teach us to think critically and creatively. They teach us how to be good citizens and compassionate members of society.


What inspired you to pursue a degree in English, the Humanities? Growing up, I was fascinated by history, and I loved both research and writing, so I completed an undergraduate degree in History. Pursuing graduate work in English was completely selfish on my part. I longed for more time to read and write. When I finished my MFA and went into a PhD program, I had no idea I would become a professor. I simply entered the PhD program at Buffalo to find a community of writers and thinkers and to give myself five years to write a dissertation.  I also completed my first book of poems while pursuing my PhD (a critical PhD in American Poetry), so it was a relatively productive time for me.

What had the greatest influence on your career path? When I was finishing my BA in History, I applied to graduate programs in American Studies programs. I was admitted to several, and I was in the process of deciding which to attend. That same semester, I was enrolled in a poetry workshop with the poet Claudia Keelan. When I told Claudia I was in the process of deciding which program to attend, she said, “you must do an MFA!” I was baffled because, as much as I loved writing, I didn’t trust my ability. But she did, and I listened to her and enrolled in the MFA program she was in the process of starting at UNLV, and here I am!

What did you want to be when you were a kid? A pilot.

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What moment in the classroom stands out as the most memorable? I often ask my Introduction to Poetry students to rate their interest/ love of poetry on a scale of 1-10. At the beginning of the semester, most students write down (anonymously) somewhere around 2-3. They often attribute their lack of enthusiasm to their inability to “get” poems. At the end of that semester, I ask again, and nearly all of the students write down 7, 8, 9 or even 10. I love this moment because my entire goal for that class is to offer students various ways into the poem, to teach them that a poem is not a puzzle to solved, but a piece of art to experience. When I see them starting to experience the poem as opposed to “solving” it, it thrills me.

What is your favorite thing to teach? Favorite thing about teaching? Obviously, I love teaching poetry — at all levels, from Introduction to Poetry to Graduate Poetry Workshops. But I also absolutely love teaching early American Literature — sermons, captivity narratives, political documents like the Federalist and Anti-federalist papers. I am enamored with that early period in American history.

What advice would you give a student taking a class in the English Department? It might depend on the class s/he was taking, but I would probably suggest that the student keep a separate notebook, or a separate page in their class notebook, where they record a list of all the texts that are referenced but not required for the class. Full-time students don’t have time to read everything related to the topics or periods covered in their classes. But now that I don’t have required reading lists, I find myself going back to lists of texts I made many years ago.

What’s the best advice you ever received? It is from Emerson, “Do your work and I shall know you. Do your work and you shall reinforce yourself.” In other words, don’t be competitive and feel let down if you don’t receive the recognition, the publications, the awards that others receive. This was crucial advice for me in graduate school when everyone was competing for the same jobs, the same book contests, etc. I learned to celebrate with my cohort when their hard work was rewarded and know that my job was to keep working, to keep writing.

What or who inspires you? Other poets, usually other poets who are also mothers — Bernadette Mayer, Julie Carr, Laynie Brown. At this moment (literally—I have a sick kid calling for me in the other room as I write this), I am juggling motherhood and writing (not to mention teaching/service work). I try to surround myself with people (either in person or by reading their work) who are managing both well.

What accomplishments are you the most proud of? Well, I am beginning to sound like a housewife, but I am most proud of my children. They have required more work than any book I could write or class I could teach, so when they succeed — when they treat another child kindly, or master a song on the piano that they’ve been practicing for weeks, or learn to read, etc. — I feel immensely proud.

What are you currently reading, writing? I am reading lots and lots of affect theory, and all sorts of recent poetry—Claudia Rankine’s brilliant book on race, Citizen; Kate Middleton’s (Australian poet, not the Duchess of Cambridge) book on the Colorado River, Ephemeral Waters; Caroline Bergvall’s Drift, and many more. I am also reading Karl Ove Knausgaard’s 500 page memoir, curiously titled My Struggle. It is addicting, and apparently there are two more volumes yet to be translated!

When you’re not working, what do you do? What do you love? What are you obsessed with? We live on almost 4 acres, so I am usually doing something on our property — tending chickens, bees, goats (a recent addition). Or working in the garden. I also love all sorts of fiber arts — knitting, sewing, embroidery. Lately, I have been doing lots of canning and fermenting. I know it sounds like I am planning for the apocalypse, but I actually just enjoy doing these homesteading activities. Oh, and cycling. I love cycling!

sashabike

What don’t your colleagues know about you? Good question. This made me realize that many of my colleagues know me quite well, for which I am grateful. I might say that many don’t know how much I love to travel, mostly because I haven’t been traveling lately. I have been to South and Central America, Europe, and India, and I am off to Vietnam at the end of December, so I am managing to fit it in again! I am traveling to Vietnam to visit two sets of tunnels built during the Vietnam war, one by the Viet Cong and another by an entire village that went underground to survive. I plan to write an essay on these tunnels (and others) when I return.

What’s one thing you dream of being able to accomplish in your tenure at Colorado State University? I would love to see all graduate students in the English Department fully funded. We all know that graduate school is expensive, and, depending on what students hope to do after graduation, jobs afterward can be hard to find. My graduate degrees felt like a true gift. I worked hard, but I also didn’t have to worry about amassing debt because I was funded. I lived off of very little money (GTAs in my PhD program made about $8000 a year) but I managed to avoid loans during these years. I would like to see our students offered this same gift.

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The end of the semester is typically a mix of relief, exhaustion, and joy. Students who have worked hard all semester are looking forward to a break and some rest, to celebrating the holidays with family and friends. It is a bittersweet moment for many faculty because while they are looking forward to the same things, they also have amazing students who they might not see in class again. I am feeling mostly sad today because I had my last meeting with intern Tim Mahoney. He’s been so much fun to work with, is so enthusiastic, has done so much good work for the department, and wrote some of our most popular posts. He gets excited about good writing, has a sense of humor, and is happy to spend a good fifteen minutes discussing whether or not to use a comma in a particular phrase. He set a high standard for next semester’s incoming interns.

Tim is graduating this semester, making the move from student to alumni, so it seems appropriate that one of our last alumni profiles of Fall 2015 is his. Join me in wishing all the best to intern Tim Mahoney. He will be missed.

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Why is it important to study the Humanities?

I have been asking this question during all of my interviews with the English faculty this semester. This is a much better than, “What are you going to do with an English degree.” I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that the latter question usually gives me an awkward feeling; like there is a right answer for what I should be doing with my degree.

I think that it is important to study English (and the humanities in general) because it helps you understand things in a broader context. Sure, we read a lot of books during our time as English majors, but I would consider the bulk of our work to be the critical thinking it takes to unpack our texts and more fully understand them. As English majors, our schooling makes us highly intellectual and critical people, who take the time to understand an issue before trying to solve it.


I think our critical minds and creative thinking are more crucial now than ever, as a lot of the problems facing our world are man-made. However, this also means that they can be solved by people as well. As English majors, we have the power to incite positive change in our society by using the critical processes we have been practicing here at the university.


What brought you to CSU?

My brother Thomas came to CSU in 2008, and was a senior here before I graduated from high school in Denver. I knew I wanted to stay in-state for college, but I thought Boulder was a little too close to home. I had visited Fort Collins a couple of times, a really liked the feel of the town. The people here love the outdoors, and biking, and I really just felt comfortable here. I knew I wanted to come to CSU, so this was actually the only school I applied for in high school. I knew I had the grades and the test scores to get in, so I felt it would be a waste of time to apply anywhere else.

What are you reading?

This semester, I have gotten really into nonfiction. I have been reading anything David Sedaris writes, including his collection of essays When You are Engulfed in Flames, and Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. I am about to leave the university so I have also been reading a lot of books on the craft of writing, including Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, and On Writing by Steven King. Anything that will help me learn and improve my writing is worth reading.

What else do you do besides go to school?

For the past year and half, I have been volunteering as a mentor with Campus Corps, a mentoring program here at CSU which pairs youth from the Fort Collins community with students on campus. It’s a really fun way to do some good in the community, and it’s really incredible to get to meet and hang out with those kids.

How does it feel to be graduating?

I am fully aware that it is a cliché, and I don’t like how it sounds, but the experience is bittersweet. I am really excited to start the next chapter of my life, and go out and have new experiences, but I am sad to leave behind the university and the people I have met here. My friends, classmates, and professors have made my college experience so wonderful. I will miss meeting with professors and getting to know them and the incredible things they do.


I think I’m going to miss the culture of the university the most though. Here, we have such a vibrant community of learners where everyone is devoted to learning. It’s a pretty incredible place.


What advice do you have for future students?

You have probably heard it a hundred times, but that doesn’t make it any less true: Meet your professors. Go in and talk to them. My professors have been an incredible source of knowledge and inspiration for me, and I never would have had the experiences I have had if I never went in a talked to them. They have interesting stories and perspectives, and are incredible people who still love to learn.

I would stress that future students should go out and find community here at CSU. There are so many interesting clubs and groups I wish I would have joined. CSU, and college in general, has had such an impact on me as a person. I have had a lot of fun off campus, but the people I have met and lessons I have learned here on the campus are what I am going to remember for the rest of my life.

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The sky over Ingersoll Hall today.

The sky over Ingersoll Hall today.

  • Stephanie G’Schwind is pleased to announce that the Center for Literary Publishing’s grant request to the National Endowment for the Arts has been funded for 2015 in the amount of $15,000. The grant will go toward printing, mailing, and author payments for Colorado Review and to support the publication of two new titles in the Mountain West Poetry Series (forthcoming in June and November 2015). Stephanie is very grateful to Catherine Coleman Kane, Director of Research Support in the Dean’s Office, for all her help with shaping and submitting this grant, and to Amparo Jeffrey, for providing assistance with the budget.
  • Dan Beachy-Quick gave a reading at Harvard this past week with Fanny Howe, Peter O’Leary, and Patrick Pritchett.
  • “Imagining the Planet: Arts & Environment”: Part of the monthly “Managing the Planet” series run by CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES), this panel will include SueEllen Campbell (English), Erika Osborne (Art), Liz Hobbs (Landscape Design), and Kurt Fausch (Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology). Free and open to the public. Avo’s, Wednesday December 10, 5-6:30 pm.
  • Debby Thompson has a blog post on Assay, the new journal of nonfiction studies, as part of the “My Favorite Essay to Teach” series. Her post discusses teaching Gerry Callahan‘s essay “Chimera.” Her post can be read at: https://assayjournal.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/deborah-thompson-on-gerald-callahans-chimera/
  • Kristin George Bagdanov’s poems “Monster Body” and “Fault Line” were accepted for publication in The Laurel Review.
  • Mandy Billings will be leaving CSU Friday, Dec. 5th to pursue other opportunities in San Francisco. She would like to say thank you and best of luck to all her colleagues and friends in the English Department.
  • Four of Joanna Doxey’s poems were selected for publication in CutBank literary journal. CutBank 82 will be issued in the winter.
  • Samantha Iocovetto, Creative Nonfiction program alumna, has an essay on Roxanne Gay’s new website on The Toast. Sam’s essay, “Highlights from the Apocalypse,” which some of you may remember from her reading last spring, was a chapter in her thesis “The American Dream Starts Here” and can be read at: http://the-toast.net/2014/12/01/highlights-apocalypse/view-all/
  • Chloe’ Leisure’s (MFA, Spring 2006) Chapbook, The End of the World Again is being published by Finishing Line Press.

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Tim Amidon is an assistant professor in English at Colorado State University where he teaches courses designed to explore the intersections between rhetoric, composing, and multimodal literacies. His research interests surround the intersections of digital rhetorics, working-class literacies, economies of production, and technical communication.

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Why is it important to study the Humanities?
I study rhetoric, which I consider a humanistic discipline. I was taught a critical version of rhetorical theory. It helps you understand and unpack certain things in life, but there is also an action component of rhetoric that is equally important. I think of it as a social justice side of rhetoric that works to impact change. To some extent this idea comes from Marx who said, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways, the point is to change it.” In this way, I think rhetoric works to broaden certain democratic practices and spirit in society. Rhetoric should work to create spaces and invitations for people to speak. It’s important in a democratic society to listen for voices who have been silenced and give them the platform to voice their perspectives, and use those perspectives to incite positive change.


Rhetoric should work to create spaces and invitations for people to speak.


What else are you doing other than teaching?
There is a lot I am working on at the present moment. I am really interested at looking at the relationships between people’s positions and their access to tools in discourse. A lot of my work and thinking is heavily influenced by professional and technical communication. I look at how working class folks communicate and communicate risk in their workplace environments. For this approach, we need to look beyond discursive texts and towards other rhetorical practices they are engaging in. This research involves looking at practices at are rhetorical in nature, and looking at how blue-collar workers utilize these practices to create and construct knowledge. One of my projects involves observing firefighters and applying a broader methodology to their practices that are rhetorical in nature. I’m really passionate about this work because there are really broad implications to the kind of rhetorical practices firefighters use. My research looks at the ways in which they communicate workplace risks, such as training practices, which are inherently dangerous, and looking for ways to improve their communicative practices to create a safer work environment.

Tim Amidom fighting a fire

Tim Amidom fighting a fire

What classes are you teaching this semester?
I am teaching CO301C: Writing in the Social Sciences. I am also teaching CO302: Writing in Online Environments. And next semester I am teaching CO402: Advanced Writing in Online Environments. CO402 is a completely new course in which we will be looking coding and multimodal writing. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

A lot of the courses I teach look at rhetorical practices beyond analog writing and publishing, and apply the same principles to situations that people may not see as rhetorical.

What brought you to CSU?
I love the people here, and geographically Colorado is so beautiful. I think Fort Collins is such a cool place. There is so much going on here from craft breweries, to the biking and outdoor culture. I also like that Fort Collins is a college town, with so many young people who are doing really neat things and creating new ideas. It’s really inspiring. So when I was invited to come teach and do research here, it was a really easy decision to make.

Where were you before coming to CSU?
I was a graduate student teaching assistant at the University of Rhode Island. Before that I was working as a lecturer for the Coast Guard. I have also worked as an adjunct at the University of Connecticut at Avery Point. I also taught at Indiana Purdue at Fort Wayne as a graduate assistant.

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What has had the greatest impact of your choice to be a rhetorical scholar?
In my undergraduate career, I doubled majored in English and Political Science, and I see rhetoric as a field that exists between those two subjects. I really care about social justice and ethical practices, and looking at how language can make tangible impacts. It was a really easy decision to make considering my educational background. I see rhetoric as a tool to help influence positive social change and help shape our world. I have always been passionate about those ideas.


I see rhetoric as a tool to help influence positive social change and help shape our world.


What are you reading?
I am reading a lot right now. A lot of the books I am reading are for my research, so I am reading a book about risk communication and better understanding that conversation. I am reading manuals about coding and programming language, which will help me teach CO402 next semester. There are a lot of conceptual ideas that I’m working through at the moment.

What don’t your colleagues know about you?
People might not know that I was a pretty avid surfer, and had been doing it for a long time. I also worked as a firefighter and was really invested in that career.

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When you aren’t working what are you doing?
I used to surf a lot, but obviously I can’t do a lot of that in Colorado, so I have been mountain biking and trying different things.


My wife and I have a four month old son named Cole, so I’m spending a lot of time with him and learning how to be a dad. I’m watching how he is learning and really trying to be a great parent.


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louannhardhat
The displaced faculty and staff of the English department are thrilled that the revitalization of Eddy is on schedule for our spring/summer return. When I toured the building — thus, the hard hat — I could see the potential. What are now just holes in concrete will carry pipes (or maybe just the ducts — we were moving quickly, and my lack of specialist knowledge may be showing here) for the new heating and cooling system. A set of steel bars in the northwest corner of the first floor marks off a lounge area. The sharp hammer blows on concrete floors and walls prepare the way for the roomier Writing Center, designed with features that improve functionality and aesthetics. Our third floor home is eerily unchanged except for a slightly smaller Eddy 300 computer lab that makes space for a lounge area in front of it and the west wall where there are now 5 offices roughed out in the space that held the Eddy library and 3 offices. Eventually, doors will be refinished and there will be new paint and, possibly, flooring, but now those are still just plans.

The windows are in, the exterior walls are clad with spandrel (a stone-like material), and the new atrium becomes more real every day. Students (more than 10,000 a day), faculty, and staff will have a much better place to teach, learn, and work by the fall semester of 2015. We appreciate the work of all the people on campus and in Denver who played any role in this complicated and exciting project. Believe me, the number of them would amaze you. The tireless work of Bruce Ronda and Tony Flores, especially, deserves acknowledgment. Thank you.

 

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