Gerry Cox: Professor of Sociology

Cover of Gerry Cox’s book, Children Surviving Traumatic Death

Gerry R. Cox is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology at University of Wisconsin- La Crosse. He is the Director of the Center for Death Education & Bioethics. His teaching focused upon Theory/Theory Construction, Deviance and Criminology, Death and Dying, Social Psychology, and Minority Peoples. Cox graduated with a B.A. in sociology with a minor in English in 1965 from Ball State. He earned an M.A. in sociology in 1966, and a Ph.D. in 1975.

He has been publishing materials since 1973 in sociology and teaching-oriented professional journals.

He is a member of the International Work Group on Dying, Death, and Bereavement, the Midwest Sociological Society, the American Sociological Association, The International Sociological Association, Phi Kappa Phi, and Great Plains Sociological Society, and the Association of Death Education and Counseling. He serves on the board of Director’s of the National Prison Hospice Association.

What was your first job after graduation?

Immediately after graduation, I flew to Philadelphia to start my Peace Corps training. It was an extremely fulfilling vocation. I would not call it a job. After returning from the Peace Corps, I chose not to go to law school, but rather began my career as a teacher.

What does a typical week look like for you?

I work on Habitat for Humanity projects several days a week. I mow for three to four hours at our Church. I write. I enjoy my grandchildren and children. I also travel extensively. I have been to forty-nine states and almost aa many countries. I have authored and edited thirty books and have published poetry in a number of venues.

What was the most fulfilling part of your job?

Making a difference in people’s lives. I taught for forty-three years. I still hear from students about how I impacted their lives. I enjoyed the classroom, the colleagues, and the many activities involved in being on University campuses.

Do you have any advice for English majors who are trying to figure out the next step?

For me, it was doing what you love. I could have become a lawyer as was expected by my family, but I followed my heart and became a teacher and worked with the dying and bereaved

What are the most valuable skills you learned as an English major? How have they helped you post-graduation?

Probably the one that impacted me the most was a love for words. I think that the words opened up my ability to think and to appreciate life and the people in the world. I also learned how to write, though I do not consider myself to be a great writer. I think that the reason that I have been able to publish books is because I have something to say that is hopefully worth reading. I have also been fortunate to work with many of the leading people around the world in my field. Professors like Porter Nesbitt helped my appreciate my place in the world.

Publishing + Law: Sarah Roth

Sarah Roth is a 2003 graduate of Ball State University, where she earned a B.A. in English, and a 2007 graduate of Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

She currently works as Publications Manager of Michigan Judicial Institute (MIJI), and prior to this was a research attorney with MIJI and a law clerk with the Friend of the Court Bureau.

You can connect with her at linkedin.

 

What was your first job after graduation, and how did that lead you to your current position?

After graduating Ball State, I went on to law school in Michigan. As a law student, I held a variety of part time positions. However, my first full-time position following graduation of both Ball State and law school was as a research attorney with the Michigan Supreme Court’s Michigan Judicial Institute (MJI).

I am currently still employed by MJI and was promoted to the Publications Manager in 2011 where I oversee a team of attorneys who maintain a library of publications designed for trial court judges.

What does a typical week look like for you?

A typical week involves:

  • reviewing e-mails for recently-published cases and amended statutes and court rules
  • culling through all of this information and determining whether and where the new information needs to be included within our library of publications.
  • editing the work of three full-time attorneys
  • overseeing the publication process from start to finish every month
  • overseeing two monthly e-mail distributions
  • serving as liaison with a third party website vendor
  • attending meetings where I advise our director on issues affecting our office as well as our organization.
  • serving as the content manager for our website and ensuring it is functioning and getting updated as necessary

What is the most fulfilling part of your job?

I find the fact that our work is serving the judiciary, and ultimately the public, very rewarding. While we directly serve the judiciary, our work helps serve the public by providing more informed and educated judges and court personnel.

Do you have any advice for English majors who are trying to figure out their next step?

Coming out of Ball State, I was sure I wanted to become an editor at a huge publishing firm in NYC – mainly because I thought that was all that was available. Just know there are a ton of options for you, both big and small.

Explore and discover what it is you like to do, do as many internships as possible, and I assure you that something is out there that you will love.

What are the most valuable skills you learned as an English major? How have they helped you post-graduation?

In terms of helping me professionally, the writing skills I developed at Ball State have been second to none. In order to advance my career, writing exercises have been a large part of the interview process, and in order to get the job, I had to outperform all other applicants.

Here is a link to the MJI website if you are interested: https://mjieducation.mi.gov/

Marianne Boruch: Visiting Poet at Ball State University

Poet and author Marianne Boruch will be visiting Ball State University on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. in the Arts and Journalism Building (AJ) 225.  This event is free and open to the public.

Boruch will also be making one classroom visit to discuss her poetry on Thursday, October 18th: Boruch will visit ENG 408 (Advanced Poetry Workshop), from 9:30-10:45p.m. in the L. A. Pittenger Student Center 303.  This visit is also free and open to the public.

Chicagoan Marianne Boruch is the author of nine books of poetry, most recently, Eventually One Dreams the Real Thing, and Cadaver, Speak.  She has also published three collections of essays, the most recent being The Little Death of Self, and a memoir, The Glimpse Traveler.

Her work has appeared in Poetry, The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere.  Among her honors are are four Pushcart Prizes, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation, and two Fulbright Professorships.

Boruch was the founder of the MFA program at Purdue University, where she became a Professor Emeritus there last May.  She continues to teach in the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Continue reading

Welcome Prof. John Carter

John Carter is a 2018 graduate of Ball State University, where he earned his Master of Arts in Creative Writing and where he also holds a B.A. in English—Creative Writing with a Professional Writing Minor. He’s interested in using description and lyricism to bring a love of nature, farming, and the rural American Midwest to what is (hopefully) an accessible space. More information about him and his work can be found on his website.

How would you describe your perspective on teaching?

Practice and revision-oriented. I grew up working on my family’s farm, where the only way to learn how to do something was often through practice, and the skills or tools required for one job were typically also applicable to another. When I started studying creative writing in college (and later in graduate school), I was surprised by the similarities between farm work and the work of a writing workshop—collaboration, self-evaluation, out-of-the-box thinking, problem-solving, recognizing the dis/connections between objects or ideas, etc.

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September Good News: Publishing Frenzy!

Faculty News

Prof. Emily Rutter’s The Blues Muse: Race, Gender, and Musical Celebrity in American Poetry (University of Alabama Press) is now in print! Order it now!

Prof. Deborah Mix’s Approaches to Teaching the Works of Gertrude Stein, co-edited with Logan Esdale of Chapman University, is finally in print! Order it now!

Cover of Prof. Emily Rutter’s newly published book.

Prof. Michael Begnal’s poem “The Traitor’s Flag” was published in Writers Resist issue 71.

Prof. Molly Ferguson’s article, “‘To say no and no and no again’: Fasting girls, Shame, and Storytelling in Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder” was published in the Summer 2018 (vol 22:2) edition of New Hibernia Review.

Prof. Jill Christman had two essays published over the summer: “Naked Underneath Our Clothes” (Creative Nonfiction) &  “Life’s Not a Paragraph”(River Teeth). Spinning: A Love Story (a collection of essays) was a finalist for the 2018 Gournay Prize at The Ohio State University Press. She will be attending the NonfictioNow conference in Phoenix, Arizona next month to present on two panels: “Writing the Day” and “Our True Voice(s).”

Cover of Prof. Deborah Mix’s newly published book.

Prof. Rai Peterson will be the Banned Books Week “prisoner” at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library during the last week of September.  While she is incarcerated in the front window of the Library, she will be meeting with visitors of the KVML, blogging on its website, and speaking at her release event on Saturday, September 29.

Prof. Gui Garcia gave a workshop on RMarkdown earlier this month in the Applied Statistics and R group (ASR) at Ball State. The group, which is now led by Dr. Garcia, is resuming its monthly meetings this fall. Look out for future dates and topics. Also earlier this month, Dr. Garcia gave a talk at the Montreal Symposium in honor of Lydia White, who created the field of Second Language Acquisition in the 1980s—and who just retired. Later this month, Dr. Garcia will present two papers at the 8th GALANA (Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America), a biennial meeting held at Indiana University (Bloomington) this year. Finally, he has recently published an online tutorial on his website on how to graphically explore vowels using the R language. Continue reading

Star Party: Find Your True North

Okay, so what’s the Star Party?

It’s like the College of Communication, Information, and Media (CCIM) Super Party. But for people who want to learn more about getting involved in the humanities at Ball State.

When and where?

Monday, Oct. 29, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM in the Stu East Multipurpose Room

Why did you call it Star Party?

Well, a star party is a “star gazing” party, getting together with friends to check out the stars. And in this case, the stars are OPPORTUNITIES.

Have you heard of “Stars to Steer By”?

What’s that?

It’s a career series targeted specifically at humanities majors, and it shows you all the things you can do AFTER college with your degree.

The Star Party, on the other hand, shows you all the things you can do RIGHT NOW.

We want to show you all the things you can do in the departments of English, Philosophy & Religious Studies, History, and Modern Languages & Classics.

Hmmm. What can you do with a major like that?

Anything!

Who is the Star Party for? 

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Bill Bradford: From Teacher to Administrator to Federal Grants Specialist

Bill Bradford graduated from Ball State University in 2007 with a BA in Education with a concentration in English. He later obtained an MS in Educational Leadership from Indiana University: South Bend.  He has served as a school administrator, athletic director, and as a teacher in South Bend Community School Corporation and Indianapolis Public Schools.  With over 10 years of field experience, he is now serving as a Federal Grants Specialist for the Indiana Department of Education

How did your English major lead to your current position?

As an English major, I was presented with several really important leadership opportunities in the field of teaching. Since Language Arts is heavily tested in the K-12 environment, I was given the responsibility of leading collaborative discussions, curriculum planning and developing assessments. Later, I was given some administrative opportunities as an Athletic Director and Assistant Principal in a large school corporation. In my current position, I work for the Indiana Department of Education as a Federal Grant Specialist.

What skills did you learn as an English major that helped you transition into that job?

While I was an English major at Ball State, I developed skills that are very important to my current position such as: communicating effectively with school leaders, editing and revising large grants with great attention to detail, and the collaborative skills needed to work in a small team of other specialists. Critical thinking plays a huge role in my work since federal education funds are often subject to cuts, which means that school districts need expert advice on how to coordinate all of their funding sources, so that they can accomplish their programming goals for students.

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Welcome Prof. Allyson DeMaagd

We welcome Dr. Allyson DeMaagd in a full-time contract faculty position. She received her PhD in English from West Virginia University. Her dissertation focused on the works of Modernist women writers, including H.D., Mina Loy, and Virginia Woolf, and she will be teaching first-year writing.

Where are you from and what led you to Ball State?

I’m originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, but I’ve lived in Monterey, California, San Antonio, Texas and, most recently, Morgantown, West Virginia. I was drawn to Ball State because of its commitment to community and its encouragement of collaboration between faculty and students. My partner is also a new English faculty member at Indiana Academy. We feel lucky to have great jobs on the same campus.  

What are you currently reading, if anything?

I’m always reading something—usually several somethings—and I like to shift among genres and time periods. I just finished Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Next up are Virginia Woolf’s The YearsTa-Nehisi Coates’ We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedyand Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo.” Continue reading

Welcome Prof. Roman Lesnov

Dr. Roman Lesnov is a Visiting Assistant Professor who will teach TESOL and Linguistics courses. He received a PhD in Applied Linguistics from Northern Arizona University in May of this year. He has over 10 years of experience teaching English and linguistics in the US and Russia.  He will be teaching in our MA and PhD programs in Linguistics.

What led you to Ball State University?

Before joining Ball State, I worked on my dissertation at Northern Arizona University. I investigated the validity of video-based L2 academic listening tests, so I was preoccupied with collecting and analyzing data and writing up the results. I also worked part time as an ESL teacher and ESL assessment specialist in the local intensive English program for about 4 years in Arizona. I was both a high school English teacher and a college linguistics instructor in Russia for several years, before my time at Northern Arizona. I see Ball State as a great place where I can continue to grow as an applied linguist and enjoy the company of talented students and colleagues.

How would you describe your perspective on teaching?

I strive to be a learner-centered teacher. With the goal of enabling students to become their best as scholars and educators, I try to be supportive and transparent and have students share their voices through interaction.    Continue reading

Hanif Abdurraqib: Visiting Poet at Ball State University

Poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib will be visiting Ball State University on Thursday, September 27th, 2018 from 7 – 9 p.m. in Teacher’s College (TC) 121.  This event, sponsored by the Ball State English Department, African-American Studies, the Multicultural Center, and the Office of Institutional Diversity, is free and open to the public.

A native of Columbus, OH, Hanif Abdurraqib is the author of The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, his first collection of poems; it was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize, and was also nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award.

His collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was named book of 2017 by Esquire, Buzzfeed, Oprah Magazine, NPR, and others.  It addresses many topics such as racial profiling, the n-word, and contemporary music and sports.

Not only does Abdurraqib write poetry and essays, he’s written for the 2016 live shows VH1’s Unsilent Night and MTV Video Music Awards. 

Abdurraqib works as a poetry editor at Muzzle Magazine, an interviewer at Union Station Magazine, and for the poetry collective Echo Hotel. Continue reading