Tag Archives: Dean Ben Withers

CLA Dean Ben Withers opens the Spring 2017 CLA Awards Ceremony

Recently, the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) held their annual awards ceremony. Five members of the English department were honored. Sheila Dargon received the State Classified Award, Zach Hutchins and Kylan Rice were awarded for Excellence in Teaching, Tony Becker was presented with the Faculty Development Award, and Bruce Ronda was presented with the John N. Stern Distinguished Professor Award.

When presenting the CLA State Classified Award to Shelia Dargon, Roze Hentschell said,

The College of Liberal Arts State Classified Award recognizes outstanding contributions and achievements by state classified employees. This year, the award goes to Sheila DArgon, who has been with the Department of English for the last 10 years. Sheila’s nomination letter celebrates her exemplary leadership in supporting faculty and students to ensure their success. She anticipates problems before they manifest, can handle a crisis with composure, and is a careful listener who guides students to make the best decisions about their academic careers and helps them feel welcome, comfortable and confident. She is the first point of contact for all students who come to the third floor of Eddy (thousands of students, since all Composition students come that way as well) and a fine example of the excellence of State Classified employees. Congratulations, Sheila!

CLA Dean Ben Withers presents Sheila Dargon her award

Sheila Dargon
Undergraduate Program Assistant

What brought you to CSU?

I moved to Fort Collins in 2005. My sister and her family had lived here for years and I needed to start over, so I came out here and started working for a temporary agency while applying for jobs everywhere! I remember when filling out the application for a job here at the University, that I really liked the energy of being on campus, and thought it would be a great place to work. I actually got the offer from the English department on the day I would have been hired by the company I was temping!

What’s your favorite thing about working in the English Department?

My favorite thing about working in the English department is that every day is different. Some days I see and speak to a lot of students and faculty, and the next, I am working on the computer.

What’s one thing you’d like students in the English Department to know about you?

I want English students to know that I’m here to help and really want them to succeed here at CSU.

What’s your secret? By which I mean: what makes you so good at keeping track of so much information and so many people?

I have no idea, I guess when you like what you do and the people you work with, it makes it easy.

CLA Dean Ben Withers presents Kylan Rice his Excellence in Teaching Award (GTA)

The Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes one outstanding teacher in each of the following categories: Tenured Faculty, Tenure-Track Faculty, Special & Temporary Faculty, Graduate Teaching Assistant.

CLA Dean Ben Withers presents Zach Hutchens his Excellence in Teaching Award

Zach Hutchins
Assistant Professor of English: Literature

Professor Zach Hutchins received the Excellence in Teaching Award for his hard work as a tenure track with the English Department since joining in 2013.

Associate Dean for Faculty and Graduate Studies Bruce Ronda introduced Hutchins’ award, calling him a “curricular innovator, brilliant scholar, dynamic classroom presenter, mentor and role-model” who is known for his “witty, relaxed and deeply informed teaching.”

From faculty to student support, Hutchins has made an impact within our own English Department. Bruce reminisced that his colleagues praised his “ease in front of the class “and his “invite interaction” coupled with “evident joy in teaching the class.”

But first person testimonials from his students speak louder than those. Bruce explained that these students “drew the attention of the Committee on the Liberal Arts.” One student said “Professor Hutchins is a no-brainer when it comes to being recognized as an excellent teacher in the College of Liberal Arts, and I’m all too happy to officially give him my personal seal of approval.”

This award will not slow Hutchins down. We were able to ask him a few questions about his time in the English Department and how he plans to continue doing what he’s doing.

 

What has been the most rewarding moment(s) at the English Department, or in Eddy?

I think my most rewarding moment here at CSU came in the spring of 2016, when students from my fall 2015 senior capstone course, “Your Success Story,” emailed me to say that assignments completed in the course had helped them secure the dream job they had targeted. I love to see student work find a second life, outside the classroom.

Do you plan on working on any projects this summer?

I’ve got too many projects this summer, but the most exciting is an essay on Herman Melville’s epic poem Clarel that will take me to London in June, for the International Melville Conference.

Who (or what) had the greatest influence on your career path?

Probably a high school teacher who was willing to talk books (and play chess!) with me after school—not just during class hours. He helped me see that literature mattered and that teacher/student interactions could be more meaningful than an exchange of paperwork.

In one word, how would you describe Eddy/the English department?

Energizing!

CLA Dean Withers presents Tony Becker with his Faculty Development Award

The Faculty Development Award, presented to Assistant Professor Tony Becker,provides support for outstanding research and/or creative activity, and is funded by participants in the Great Conversations Speaker Series.

Bruce Ronda with his John N. Stern Distinguished Professor Award

Bruce Ronda
Associate Dean for Faculty and Graduate Studies

Bruce Ronda was presented the John N. Stern Distinguished Professor Award, which recognizes faculty who have demonstrated exemplary accomplishments in all aspects of their professional responsibilities over an extended period of time. As he’ll be retiring this year, we took the opportunity to ask him a few more questions about his experience at CSU and what his plans are for after.

What will you miss most about working at CSU?

Despite its many challenges and difficulties, colleges and universities like Colorado State are still very special places.  They provide an opportunity to reflect, create, analyze, propose, and converse in company with people who are also committed to those tasks.  So I will miss spending my days in the midst of such a community of thoughtful people: students, faculty members, administrators, and support staff.

Now that you’ll be retired, what are your plans?

I have several plans for the near future, some of which will start happening even before June 30.  I’m working on two book projects, one a biography of early-mid twentieth-century American poet Stephen Vincent Benet, the other a biography of Robert Coles, child psychiatrist and cultural commentator.  Then, I’ll be away for two weeks at the end of May for a trip to Scotland.  After I truly retire, I plan to keep working on those book projects, travel to Cape Cod for our annual post-Labor Day week there, see my family in Michigan, Oklahoma, and California some more, work in the garden, and spend more time playing the piano. . . and the banjo!

What wisdom do you have to offer about working and/or studying at CSU?

Maybe the most important advice I’d give to students at CSU is to appreciate and work with the faculty. We have amazing faculty members in English, in Liberal Arts, and throughout the university, and all the ones I know are eager to talk with their students. So: cultivate your teachers, talk with them about your questions, ask about their research or creative work, see if you can serve as a grader or intern in some capacity. As for working at CSU, I’ve found that the most important relationships to nurture have been with support staff. They are the true historical memory of our departments and colleges and are truly important contributors to the teaching/learning and outreach mission of the university.

Why do you think it’s important to study the Humanities?

I want to include the social sciences, too, in my response. This is a hard question, because it goes in so many ways. I’ll limit myself to two big reasons: the first is to understand better our “moment” in time by understanding history, economics, politics, society, and forms of expression in the arts. We come into a world not of our own making, and it’s enormously important to understand the forces that made the world the way it is and how those forces are expressed. Knowing where our “moment” comes from empowers us to live in it and change it. The second is to grow in empathy. While we cannot live in another’s skin or experience, we can grow in appreciation of the vast diversity of life, human and more-than-human. Here the arts and humanities have particular value, since they present us with the lived experience of people very different from us, and yet also strangely recognizable. Empathy, I’d say, is strikingly missing from our political and social discourse these days.

What project/paper/book have you most enjoyed working on?

All my projects have provided moments of pleasure and satisfaction, as well as frustration and anxiety. In many ways, my most recent project, the book called The Fate of Transcendentalism, has given me the most satisfaction because it brings together so many of my interests explored over many years.

What course have you enjoyed teaching the most?

That’s another hard question to answer, since courses differ so much in content, students, and the whole “feeling” of the course. Several CSU courses come to mind: a graduate authors course on Faulkner and grad topics courses on Hawthorne and Stowe, American Transcendentalism, and Terrorism and the Novel, and this most recent course on pragmatism.

What was it like teaching the Pragmatism course as your last course at CSU?

While it’s true that I’ve been thinking about this course for a long time, and reading in and about pragmatism for an even longer time, teaching it, of course, was something else again. I had wonderful students from the MFA and the MA lit programs—thoughtful, articulate, interesting people doing their own work and thinking their own thoughts. Their comments illuminated the texts in ways I hadn’t anticipated, so that was a real gift. It’s equally true that I taught this last course in a very different political and cultural moment than the one in which I planned it. The entire course was inflected with our awareness of the changes brought about, and the forces unleashed, by the presidential election. I think the election made us read Emerson and James, Stein and Susan Howe, in different ways. That was painful, but good.

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Lady Moon Meadow, image by Jill Salahub

Lady Moon Meadow, image by Jill Salahub

  • Tim Amidon and Michele Simmons (Miami University) gave a research talk titled “Negotiating ‘messy’ research context and design through adaptive research stances” at the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Special Interest Group on the Design of Communication (SIGDOC) in Washington, D.C.  While at SIGDOC, Tim also participated in “Draw to communicate: How geometric shapes, blank pages, and crayons can improve your collaboration and creativity,” a workshop lead by Abigail Selzer, Kristen R. Moore, and Ashley Hardage (Texas Tech University). The workshop introduced participants to research and pedagogy in technical communication surrounding sketch-noting and incorporated hands on practice applying concepts such a geometric and visual metaphors to communication design problems.
  • Tim Amidon spoke as an invited panelist at the Faculty and Instructor Open Textbooks Workshop about his experiences adopting Doug Eyman’s Digital Rhetoric: Theory, Method, Practice, as an open textbook in CO402: Principles of Digital Rhetoric and Design. The event was hosted at the Morgan Library by Associate Professor and Open Education Resources Librarian Merinda McLure and Assistant Dean for Scholarly Communications and Collection Development Meg Brown-Sica.
  • Steven Schwartz’s story “The Theory of Everything” has just been published by Electric Literature on its Recommended Reading site. The story is from his newly released collection, Madagascar: New and Selected Storieshttps://electricliterature.com/the-theory-of-everything-by-steven-schwartz-52ad1978996f#.3okj44mzn
  • Bill Tremblay has received acceptances of two new poems, “Bukowski” and “The Sun’s Hands” at Cimarron Review for their Winter issue, 2016-17. Bill read with Jared Smith in Evergreen, CO, last Saturday evening. Besides the audience the reading was streamed out to 177 homes in the area. Bill will read in Laramie, WY, at the Night Heron Bookstore, Friday October 15, 7 pm. He is also scheduled to read with Joe Hutchison at the Innisfree in Boulder, 6 PM, October 20th. A reading-interview with Bill talking about Walks Along the Ditch will be broadcast and streamed from KBOO.fm Portland OR 11PM October 17. It will also be archived.
  • Andrew Mangan’s short story “Any Good Thing” has been accepted for publication by Zyzzyva. Andrew graduated from the MFA program in 2016. This is his first publication.
  • Thank you to everyone who helped to make PBK Visiting Scholar Nora Naranjo Morse’s campus visit a success.  A special thank you to Louann Reid, for her tireless support of this opportunity; Gloria Blumanhourst, who is, herself, a PBK member; she helped do all of the planning, and then she was called away to help with a family emergency; Patty Rettig, a PBK member alongside Gloria, who stepped in to help us with this event; Dean Ben Withers, also a PBK member, for his involvement in Nora’s campus visit; Colleen Timothy, who helped  with scheduling Dean Withers; Jill Salahub, our English department communications coordinator, who went above and beyond to help us to publicize this event; Sue Russell, one of our English department administrative professionals, who helped to organize the logistics of Nora’s visit; Sheila Dargon, another of our English department administrative professionals, who helped to publicize this event; Leif Sorensen, who hosted Nora in his Ethnic Literature in the United States class; Camille Dungy, who hosted Nora in her Literature of the Earth course; and Pam Coke, who served as faculty host. Thank you to everyone who attended any of the events while Nora was here.  Her visit was co-sponsored by Phi Beta Kappa and the CSU English department.

bookfest-_FINAL-273x300

The inaugural Fort Collins Books Fest: Brewin’ Up Books! is a FREE, one-day public literary festival bringing attention to the expansiveness of Fort Collins’ craft brewing culture through books and authors involved with beer, coffee, tea, and more. With over 40 speakers, readings, panels, and workshops, there is sure to be something for just about everyone.

The CSU English Department is a sponsor of this event. As part of our in-kind donation, we are asking for volunteers to help staff the day’s festivities. We need handlers to help make sure panelists are able to move comfortably between venues as well as people who can serve other necessary roles in helping to make sure the festival runs smoothly. If you are able to serve on a 2 to 5 hour volunteer shift on October 22, please write me Camille Dungy soon as possible. Conference organizers are hoping to schedule all the volunteers by the end of this week (October 7).  (Contact Camille Dungy at camille.dungy@colostate.edu). Volunteers will have access to a few backstage perks as well, so sign up soon so we can get you on those lists! http://www.focobookfest.org/

 

Cover of the latest edition

Greyrock Review: Get your work published!

Fiction: 5,000 word limit, format should be double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman or Galibri fonts. Two pieces of your best work may be submitted.

Nonfiction: 5,000 word limit, format should be double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman or Calibri fonts. Two pieces of your best work may be submitted.

Poetry: Up to 5 poems may be submitted, each poem should be placed on a separate page in a single document. If poems have a visual formatting component, please use Adobe PDF files. Otherwise, Word (.doc files) are preferred.

Visual Arts: Any visual art form is accepted, excluding video. Please photography your work and submit digitally. 300 dpi and CMYK colored .TIFF file is preferred.

For more information please visit http://greyrockreview.colostate.edu or email Baleigh Greene at bmgreene@rams.colostate.edu

Submissions accepted from October 3, 2016 – December 16, 2016

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