Monthly Archives: March 2014

English Department Will Host An Open House for Prospective Graduate Students April 5

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We are having an information session on our graduate programs in English on April 5 from 10 A.M. to 1 P.M. in the Robert Bell building. A Ball State M.A. makes a great stepping stone to Ph.D. and M.F.A. programs; our M.A. students have gone on to join prestigious programs. M.A. students also continue on to degrees in other areas, such as Law, Museum Studies, and Library Science. In addition, an M.A. degree can be the next step toward a career in writing, publishing, editing, curating, marketing, or community college teaching or toward an alternative career within academia, (such as administration, marketing, etc…).

If students want to find out more about graduate school in English at Ball State, they can take a study break to consider what they will do after graduation. They will need to register in advance (the link to do so is on the main page of the English department website), but it’s free and they get lunch!

Dr. Susanna Benko Receives Excellence in Teaching Award

Three English Department faculty members won Outstanding Faculty Awards in 2013. These awards were announced at the annual Fall Convocation in August.  Dr. Matt Mullins received the Creative Endeavor Award. Dr. Susanna Benko and Dr. Darolyn Jones each received Excellence in Teaching Awards.

The Creative Endeavor Award recognizes a faculty member for their involvement in the university’s creative arts programs. Students nominate professors for the Excellence in Teaching Award, and the faculty members with the most votes are invited to submit course enhancement proposals. A committee composed of faculty and students selects the winners.

Learn more about Dr. Benko’s award below by reading the interview conducted by English department intern Daniel Brount. Look forward to posts on Dr. Mullins and Dr. Jones in the near future.

1) Can you tell me a little bit about your career as a professor, such as where you’ve worked before and how long you’ve been working here?

This year is my second year at Ball State.  Before I came here, I completed my doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh.  Before that, I taught middle and high school English in Pennsylvania and Indiana.  At BSU, I specialize in English education, and teach courses for our Teaching English Language Arts majors (like ENG 150 and ENG 350), and I also teach courses on young adult literature (like ENG 414).

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Elmar Hashimov to Present at April’s First Friday Series

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Most writing instructors are well-versed in teaching secondary research: browsing databases, choosing sources, creating bibliographies, and citing sources properly. At the same time, many of us seem to avoid teaching primary, hands-on research. Perhaps, this is an issue because this type of research can be more intimidating or less familiar, or simply because instructors have little experience and few examples.

To help Ball State instructors learn more about teaching primary research, Elmar Hashimov, recipient of the Writing Program’s 2013 Summer Research Fellowship, will present “Go Do: Heuristics for Hands-On Research for Writing Teachers” as part of Ball State University Writing Program’s First Friday speaker series. Hashimov is a doctoral candidate in rhetoric and composition and assistant director of the Writing Center. He studies and teaches writing, digital literacies, and qualitative research.

His talk explores the research of “how things work” (Stake, 2010)—specifically ethnography and case study, which are arguably the most useful for learning, researching, and teaching writing. Learning through hands-on qualitative research not only helps fill the gap in our students’ education, but also makes their learning experience more engaging. Moreover, as Creswell (2009) argues, this type of research “honors an inductive style, a focus on individual meaning, and the importance of rendering the complexity of a situation.” It emphasizes the interpretive nature of knowledge, as well as the importance of the particular that serves in understanding the complex.

His presentation will explore the theory and practice of hands-on qualitative research as well as help build a hands-on research toolkit for writing teachers.

The event will take place on Friday, April 4, 2014 at noon in the Schwartz Digital Viewing Room on the first floor of Bracken Library. Please direct questions about the series or the presentation to the Writing Program office.

Interview with Recent Alum Tyler Gobble on Living the Writer’s Life and Winning a Book Award


Tyler Gobble graduated from Ball State University in May 2011. He is a multi-hat wearer for Magic Helicopter Press and host of the Everything Is Bigger reading series at Malvern Books in Austin, TX. He has plopped out four chapbooks, with two others called Other People’s Poems (Radioactive Moat) and Collected Feelings with Layne Ransom (Forklift INK) forthcoming, and his first full-length will be out from Coconut Books in the fall of 2014. He likes disc golf, tank tops, and bacon, and yes, in that order. Feel free to mosey a message over to for whatever reasons.

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Student Andrew Neylon Reflects on His Visit To Dresden To Present on Vonnegut

“Hands Across Dresden”
Andrew Neylon

Note: Andrew Neylon was one of three students invited to travel to Germany to present about Kurt Vonnegut’s life and work.  The trip started and ended in Dresden and was timed to coincide with the anniversary of the bombing of that city during World War II.  Kurt Vonnegut, who was a prisoner of war in February 1945, survived the bombing by being held in an underground slaughterhouse building, an ironic situation that forms the basis of his most popular novel, Slaughterhouse Five.

Every February 13 at dusk, the citizens of Dresden gather to hold hands around the restored center of their city to keep out the neo-Nazi protestors that have historically converged on their city to battle over the anniversary of the bombing.  Churches all over the city peal their bells for 15 minutes while the people form a human chain around the city.  This is Andrew’s report from Dresden.

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Paid Internships Available for BSU Students at Midwest Writers Workshop 2014


Midwest Writers Workshop is offering eight paid internships to current Ball State students (or Spring 2014 graduates) so that you can professionally benefit from our summer workshop in July 2014.

MWW is an annual writers’ conference which gathers agents, editors, and publishing professionals, and which includes 35+ concurrent panels on the craft and business of writing, as well as agent pitch sessions, query critiques, and readings. Attendees range in age from 16 to 80 and come from all over the country. The conference will take place in Muncie July 24–26. Please visit to learn more about the conference.

Payment: 34 hours at $9.00/hr = $306.

Download the application here: MWW Internship Application

Application Deadline: 12:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Get Ready for In Print 2014 by Reading These Interview Excerpts

The 2014 In Print Festival is coming next week in Assembly Hall at the Alumni Center! On Tuesday, March 18 at 7:30 PM, the visiting authors will read from their work.  The authors, along with editor Jodee Stanley, will also participate in a panel discussion on Wednesday, March 19, at 7:30 PM. By attending the Festival, you will be able to reach out to the writing community and gain insight into life as a writer from experienced authors. To get a taste of who will be speaking at the Festival, take a look at these interview excerpts from the In Print panelists.  Full versions of the interviews can be found in the newest edition of The Broken Plate, which is available for free to all who attend In Print.

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The Writing Program Announces Fall 2013 Contest Winners

The Writing Program is pleased to announce the winners of the fall 2013 Writing Program contest. It was a very competitive field this year, as 46 students submitted essays and multimodal works for consideration. The Program also wishes to thank the 21 instructors who encouraged students to submit their projects. The following is the full list of winners, whose work will appear in the 2014-2015 edition of Ball Point!

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Dr. Rai Peterson Blogs About Trip to Germany

Recently, Dr. Rai Peterson and several students who participated in the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library immersive learning project had the opportunity to travel to Germany on a lecture tour and “talk about Vonnegut’s most famous novel, Slaughterhouse Five, the impetus for which was the fire-bombing of Dresden in February of 1945.” Check out Dr. Peterson’s travel blog, Feeding the Turtle, where you can read more about the trip. You can also check out Gail Werner’s blog post for tons of photos from the trip.