*Photo provided by Jenny Smith
As an English professor, I am often given to hyperbole. But, it is not an overstatement to say that Ball State’s English department changed my life. Before enrolling in 1999, I was a good student, not a great one. I’d always had a passion for books, but I did not use or cultivate it. I lived with an apathy typical (although not unique) to an eighteen year old.
That changed once I began taking English classes. The faculty engaged with the life of the mind in ways I did not even know existed. The department inspired me to think my life could be whatever I wanted it to be, and that soon involved study abroad, graduate school, and, eventually, a career in teaching.
When people ask me what I’m going to do with my English major, sometimes I don’t know what to say. And before you think it: No, it is not because there aren’t any options for me. It’s because there are too many.
By working as a part of Ball State’s Unified Media, I’m exploring several professional options that not only enhance my resume, but also benefit me by helping me decide what career path to pursue. Unified Media encompasses numerous organizations: The Daily News, Ball Bearings, Ball State Weekly, WCRD, and NewsLink. That means there are a lot of chances to learn outside the classroom.
Assistant professor of English Peter Davis recently published “TINA,” his third complete poetry book, in April 2013. In 2010, he published “Poetry! Poetry! Poetry!”, and in 2006, he published “Hitler’s Mustache.” For an inside look on “TINA,” read the interview below conducted by English department intern Daniel Brount.
My life path, in terms of finding a career, has certainly been a winding one. I first graduated from Ball State in 2010, when I received my B.A. in Anthropology and History with a minor in French. During the following year, which I spent working with elementary-aged students, I learned quite a bit about myself—like the fact that although I enjoyed teaching and working with students, I missed higher education and interacting with both college-aged students and faculty.
Upon entering the M.A. program in English at Ball State, I had vague ideas about getting a teaching license in secondary education, but was mostly just interested in further developing my writing and research skills through creative writing and literature courses. As my graduation date of December 14, 2013 loomed nearer and nearer, I began to think more seriously about what, exactly, I ought to do for a career. I took stock of my interests: reading and writing, collaborating with students and faculty, soaking up the atmosphere of working in a college or university. I decided to look into administrative faculty positions—particularly those in academic advising.
Online Teaching Boot Camp Offered by the Writing Program
The Writing Program is pleased to announce that we will be offering a special two-day workshop this semester on online teaching. We’d love to have you join us if you have any interest in teaching online or hybrid courses for the Writing Program. Your participation in the workshop will open up the possibility of being assigned an online/hybrid course at Ball State. For TAs in particular, the training will add another marketable credential to your CV.
Though the workshop will focus on teaching first-year writing, faculty who teach other courses are welcome to join us.
We will meet face-to-face on Saturday, April 19 from 12:30-5 and online on Saturday May 17th. You’ll hear advice on using Blackboard for peer review, communicating, generating learner engagement, creating audio lectures, and more.
Participants will receive a copy of Scott Warnock’s Teaching Writing Online: How and Why and lunch on the 19th. Please register by April 14th by emailing Melissa Hull (email@example.com).
The workshop is organized by Andrew Scott. Please feel free to email him with any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In our final post about the 2013 Outstanding Faculty Awards, we spoke to Dr. Darolyn Jones about her Excellence in Teaching Award. 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.
Dr. Jones earned the award for her work on leading the first issue of “Rethinking Children’s Literature: Read for Change.” The free app is available on both Apple tablets and Android tablets.
Learn more about Dr. Jones’ award below by reading the interview conducted by English department intern Daniel Brount. To read about the other award winners, read the posts on Dr. Susanna Benko and Dr. Matt Mullins.