Monthly Archives: March 2016

Help Us Choose the Robert Bell Ball Theme

Hey #bsuenglish, the Robert Bell Ball is only one month away! It will be held on Friday, April 29 and we need YOU to help us choose a theme. The theme of the ball will determine the decorations AND dress for the event. Below is a poll featuring five great English-oriented options. Vote for your favorite and mark your calendar, we’ll see you on the 29th!

If you’d like to join the conversation on social media, use #VoteRbBall

 

New Immersive Course: Jacket Copy Creative!

We’re sure you know all about The Broken Plate and Digital Literature Review, the English Department’s two ongoing immersive learning courses. Well, we’re here to tell you about a new immersive learning opportunity launching this Fall: Jacket Copy Creative!

Jacket Copy Creative will be a team of students from English and other areas working to manage the public communications of two real-world organizations: Whitely Community Council and the Ball State English Department.

If you follow @bsuenglish/#bsuenglish on social media—or even if you regularly roam the hallways of Robert Bell—you will have seen all the hard work that students have put into creating a community and making all the great things happening in the department visible to everyone. That work is now becoming a part of Jacket Copy Creative, and you can be a part of that!

If you become a part of Jacket Copy Creative, you’ll work with your peers to produce promotional materials, manage social media, maintain websites, edit blogs, conduct focus groups, and much more. This is an incredible opportunity to gain valuable professional experience in a variety of fields, including editing/publishing, content marketing, public relations, graphic design, web development, strategic communications, and social media management.

Jacket Copy Creative will be listed as ENG 400 Section 2, and credit can count toward your major. While most students will earn 3 hours for ENG 400, course credits are negotiable, and, if you are accepted into the course, we will work with you to fit the class into your program of study.

You can apply to join by e-mailing Eva Grouling Snider (esnider@bsu.edu), and indicating your interest. Below you can read testimonials from our current interns!

Jacket Copy Creative

Taylor Wicker:
TaylorIt’s not often that you find yourself in a situation where you can create/contribute to something in a real-world context and also educate yourself simultaneously, but this internship is exactly that. During my time working for the English department’s PR team, I’ve been able to expand my knowledge of how marketing strategies are applied, how to brand a department, how social media impacts that brand, and how to work effectively and efficiently in a team setting. I’ve been able to accomplish these things while also being in a safe environment, an environment where learning is a priority and (while this is never what we strive for) mistakes become educational opportunities.

In this internship, I’ve worked with people just as excited about the marketing world as I am. I’ve learned to accept delegated work and to also delegate the work myself. I’ve learned how to write copy, design promotional materials, maintain an online presence, and update a blog regularly with information that is fresh and enticing. Even more importantly, I’ve learned how seriously these things affect our intended audience, and how every tiny thing I do contributes to a larger goal that will make a serious and lasting impact on the community I love so much.

Luke

Luke Bell:
This internship took me outside the classroom and allowed me to apply all that I’ve learned in my time as an English student to a real-world context. It’s been a perfect (and much-needed) step between the classroom and the professional world—an internship that gave me the real-world experience while emphasizing my learning in a supportive community. I am a Creative Writing major and a Professional Writing minor, and though this is branded as a professional writing opportunity, I use the skills learned in my major just as much as my minor because writing, even in a professional context, will always require creative facets.

I can’t stress this enough. In my time here I’ve managed social media by writing tweets, Facebook posts, and blogs; I’ve coordinated digital campaigns, and promoted events for a department I’m passionate about. It’s evident how much this experience has shaped me as a professional individually, but it has also been great to see us improve and become efficient as a team. We have fun and we make each other better. I really do love this department, and working to market it, brand it, and promote it to both its students and the public has been rewarding, and has given me skills I am confident I will use in a career in the future.

P.S.  If you’re interested in writing blog posts like this one, take this class!

Lauren

Lauren Birkey:
Nothing has better prepared me for a career than interning with the English department. Classes are great for learning the mechanics of professional writing, but they rarely offer anything in the way of practical experience. And as an English major aiming for the marketing/PR world, experience is something I need dearly. I’ve learned so much during my time with the English department—not just skills in social media editing, or design, or branding, but project management and communication skills that have to be learned through practice and sometimes awkward emails.

English classes already teach how to write for different audiences, but as an intern I can see the relationship between writing and audience more clearly, often immediately, thanks to social media. But the best part of my job, by far, is that on top of all the experience with copyediting, brand promotion, and professional writing, I get to interact with the English community and all the lovely people therein every single day.

Evan

Evan Andreae:
It would be extremely difficult for me to start my job search without having this internship under my belt; being a part of the English PR team has allowed me to apply and improve my communications skills in a professional setting. As a designer, I was able to take the skills I had been learning in my classes, from typography to rhetoric, and apply them to the projects we would take on as a team. As a social media coordinator, my organizational and task management skills were greatly refined, since being a voice for a community requires you to be actively engaging with the events and people that are a part of that community. This includes larger scale things like speaking events, as well as smaller scale things like a single Tweet from an English student.

After two semesters on the PR team, I’ve learned that managing a community like #bsuenglish is hard work, but uniquely rewarding. It’s a rare and significant opportunity to bring your love of English to a position that encourages and even requires that kind of love. As someone who has struggled with finding the right course of study, this internship has solidified my proud position as an English student.

Introducing the Book Arts Collaborative

Do you want to learn how to make a book from sheets of paper, thread, and glue?  Do you want to be one of the few who carry on the art of letterpress printing? Do you want to be an apprentice and teach fellow apprentices these skills? We have two opportunities for you.

1. The Book Arts Collaborative seminar at the Virginia Ball Center
VBC participants will get to pilot the courses for the proposed minor in Book Arts and assist in teaching community workshops, supervise open community press hours, work in the print and binding labs, create products for the Collaborative to sell, and prepare materials and lesson plans for workshops. They’ll also be working on the first publication of the Alice Nichols Press, an artist’s book edition to be released in spring 2017. Participants will be required to take just 6 credit hours during each semester of the regular 2016-17 school year. Interested? Either print and fill out, or download and fill out, this BAC Application and email it to rai@bsu.edu. The selection process begins March 14 and will continue until all positions are filled!

2. ENG 421: Book Arts
Do you aspire to write books, teach books, critique books, edit books, collect books, or even burn or ban books? Take this cool course about where books come from, how they have shaped and influenced texts and readers over time, and where they might be headed by mid-21st Century. This course includes some hands on time in a bindery and letterpress shop, in library archives, in your own book collection, and always, always, in your head. ENG 421 is a prerequisite course for advanced classes in book binding and letterpress printing at the brand new Book Arts Collaborative. If you take it, you can sign up for more courses in that maker space.


An Interview with Dr. Rai Peterson

-What first attracted you to book design and manufacturing?

My spouse is related to Julia Miller, who is a book conservator, book historian, and artist’s book maker. She has edited two collections of essays on book binding called Suave Mechanicals, and a historical bindings taxonomy called Books Will Speak Plain. Originally, my interest in it was just in petting the lovely papers she ordered and collected from all over the world, and when we would visit her, I would ask if we could go “tour” her flat files and admire the papers.

I wanted to learn book binding, but I was shy about asking her to teach me. I tried a few experiments on my own, but they came out poorly. Then, in 2005, while I was at Yale doing research on something else, there was an artist’s book conference going on, and one of the rare manuscript librarians invited me to go. While I was there, I realized that I should teach book binding, so I asked Julia to start teaching me, and she did.
IMG_1264

Students in Dr. Peterson’s current ENG444: Book Binding class 

In the way things snowball in academe, I now know a few former students who are well connected in the book world, and they add to my knowledge whenever we talk. Andrew Gaub, who graduated from our department in 2001 is a rare book dealer with extensive knowledge of ancient printing and binding practices, and his insights into the publishing industry in Europe and America from the incunabular (cradle of print, around 1500) period are fascinating.

Laura Kuhlman is another alumnae of our department who has gone on in the book world, pursuing graduate studies at the Center for the Book at the University of Iowa. My circle of book binders and collectors keeps growing, and I’m excited to continue to invite students into that coterie.

Was there a catalyst of some kind that inspired you to propose the minor?

I have been friends with Sarojini Johnson, who is a print-making professor in the School of Art for many years, and we have been tossing around the idea of creating a team-taught book binding class since we first met. This year, we decided to go big or go home and propose a full-year VBC seminar in book binding and letterpress printing, and as we were developing that proposal, the English Department’s own Dr. Adam Beach suggested that we should consider creating a minor so that we could extend these opportunities to students from a variety of majors, including English, of course, into the future.

Why do you think this course/minor is needed at this time?

Book binding and letterpress printing used to be apprentice-taught skills. They were not professions, and the people who did them were hard-working laborers who did not write the books or the texts they type-set. As these skilled workmen have been replaced by machines a few generations back, creative people have expressed an interest in keeping the techniques alive by learning them and passing them back and forth. English majors and art majors are particularly keen to learn these skills so that they can create the texts or images they’re printing and binding and have complete creative control over how they are presented to the public.

As computers make publication easier than it has ever been (think WordPress and “send”), people are eager to learn and remember the ways books and ideas were propagated before. As Phil Repp, the Vice President for Technology at BSU said to us recently, “People crave authenticity.” Phil has also told us that making things in the physical world is a very valuable experience for designers of virtual products because it is so much easier to judge functionality, versatility, and design qualities in an analog product like a hand-bound book or a hand-printed page.

What aspect of this course/minor are you most excited to teach, and for the students to learn?

Sarojini and I are excited about all of it! In addition to the BSU minor in Book Arts, the Book Arts Collaborative that we are starting downtown will offer classes for children and adults in all kinds of binding, printing, and related skills. For example, we’ve talked to a local press collector who will be teaching classes in safe press operation and maintenance, and the owner of a local comic books store is planning to offer a course in designing and writing comic books.

Previously, Sarojini and I have only been able to offer introductory courses in book binding, and Ball State has not been teaching letterpress printing. So, we’re very excited about getting students to more advanced skill levels and finally having the presses and other tools to teach students to manually set text and print their own work.

In addition to the 18th, 19th, and 20th century presses we’ll have at the Book Arts Collaborative, we will also have 21st century technology, and participants will be able to print longer works on a laser printer using Adobe software to format their text, and we’ll be making polymers, which are extremely hard plastic molds made from computer designs for printing. In the minor and the scope of the Book Arts Collaborative, we’ll be covering printing methods from about 900 A.C.E. up to the present day.

Check Out These Great Courses for Fall 2016

Registration approaching and still don’t know what to take? We’ve got you covered. Below you can find the info for some of our best classes offered in Fall 2016.


Intro to African American Literature
ENG 215 with Dr. Emily Rutter

MWF 12-12:50 pm

This course will provide you with foundational knowledge about African American literary traditions, while centralizing the work of contemporary black writers. What sociopolitical and artistic commitments distinguish African American writers born during or after the Civil Rights movement from their predecessors? In what ways do these distinctions reflect shifting notions of race, gender, sexuality, and class? This multi-genre course pursues these questions by examining a wide range of twenty-first-century African American texts. We will also put contemporary authors in conversation with both their forebears and current cultural phenomena, including music, sports, the visual arts, and political movements. We will encounter Claudia Rankine, Terrance Hayes, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Colson Whitehead, Natasha Trethewey, and Tyehimba Jess, among others. Assignments will include active class participation; an oral presentation; and short textual analyses that will build up to research papers. No prior knowledge of African American literature is required; all are welcome.

Rethinking Black Children’s and Young Adult Literature
ENG 299x with 
Dr. Lyn Jones
TR 12:30-1:45 pm

This is a three-credit hour course open to English majors, creative writing majors, elementary and secondary education majors and any other humanities students interested in the African Diaspora. We will read, study, and analyze critical children’s and young adult literary works. In addition, we will partner with black children and young adults in the Muncie community through the MP3 program. Together, we will feature and write new pieces of literature for Volume 4 of the Rethinking Children’s and Young Adult Literature digital magazine. (www.rethinkingkidlit.com) Design students from the Unified Media lab in the Department of Journalism will assist with graphics, technology, magazine design, and layout. If you have questions about the course, please email Dr. Jones at ljones2@bsu.edu.

History of Rhetoric
ENG 303 with Dr. Paul Ranieri
MWF 1-1:50 pm

What could be more interesting than studying rhetoric during a presidential race?

Beginning with ancient rhetoric and focusing on major historical periods, ENG 303 surveys the historical development of rhetoric, emphasizing the cultural context of ideas and the construction of rhetorical “traditions.”  ENG 303 is a required course for the Rhetoric and Writing Major, and can serve as an elective for the English Studies, Literature, and Creative Writing Majors.

Phonetics and Phonology
ENG 332 with Dr. Mary Lou Vercellotti
TR 9:30-10:45 am

This course uses a linguistic approach to explore speech sounds as physical entities (phonetics) and as elements in language systems (phonology). How are the various speech sounds made? Participants will learn the linguistic methods employed in their description, classification, and analysis. We will learn the International Phonetic Alphabet and common diacritics. Using linguistic software, we will “see” speech to better understand its linguistic properties. How are the various speech sounds used? Participants will also learn how to find and describe general speech sounds patterns in natural languages and the systematic relationships between the actual sound produced and the more abstract cognitive patterns.

Nineteenth-Century British Literature: Fast Food, Werewolves, and Other Victorian Obsessions

ENG 365 with Dr. Joyce Huff
TR 3:30-4:45 pm

Since the premiere of MTV’s The Real World in the early 1990s, we’ve been fascinated with narratives that purport to give us intimate glimpses into the lives of others. From big events like scandals and heartbreaks to the mundane details of the everyday, we want to know how other people live and how they think and dream. In the late 90s, these shows began to take us back in time, placing people from today in historical scenarios to see how they would cope. Is it all that surprising that the first of these was set at the close of the nineteenth-century? The nineteenth-century was not so long ago, and we have inherited many of its struggles and innovations. Evolution, industrialization, and women’s rights represent just a few of the hot button Victorian issues that we still debate today. Who wouldn’t be curious about how people lived back then, how they imagined their world, and what they dreamed of when they wanted to escape from it? In this class, we will immerse ourselves in the literature and culture of Victorian Britain, from their daily lives (did you know the average person existed mainly on “fast food”?) to their wildest flights of fancy (did you know they loved to read about vampires and werewolves?). Some possible texts for study in this course include: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, short stories by writers such as Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Sheridan LeFanu and Thomas Hardy, and poems by writers such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Rudyard Kipling and Christina Rossetti. We will also contribute to the website, The Victorian Character Commonplace Project.

Special Topics in English: Digital Literature Review: Monsters
ENG 400 with 
Dr. Joyce Huff
TR 5:00-6:15 pm

Contribute to and help produce issue #4 of the Digital Literature Review: Monsters. Literature abounds with monsters, from the dragons that plague medieval towns to the vampires that rise from nineteenth-century graves to the aliens, cyborgs, and zombies that serve as the basis of our contemporary nightmares. The prevalence of these creatures prompts literary critics to ask why they haunt us. What can we learn from a closer examination of these fictional monsters? In “Monster Culture (Seven Theses),” Jeffrey Jerome Cohen defines the monster as “the embodiment of a certain culture moment—of a time, a feeling, and a place.” For Cohen, monsters are the manifestations of societal fears. In attempting to understand them, we learn about the cultures that produced them as well as about ourselves. Literary monsters can force us to confront the things we’d rather repress. They can police our cultural boundaries or push heroes and heroines beyond them. They enact our hidden fears or our secret desires. Monsters bring out our best selves or reflect our worst; they can reaffirm the norms in the face of otherness or force us to question those norms. In Cohen’s words, monsters “ask us why we have created them.” In this course, we will investigate some of the philosophical, political, and artistic issues arising from the study of literary monsters. We will read theories of monstrosity and examine literary and filmic representations of monsters. Students will carry out research over two semesters that will culminate in their capstone project in the spring, a project that will be considered for publication in the fourth issue of the Digital Literature Review (DLR). As part of the DLR team, students will also be responsible for contributing to and producing the DLR blog, for designing and creating the fourth issue of the DLR, and for publicizing and promoting our work as well as for soliciting and editing papers from undergraduate students around the globe. In addition to earning course credit and immersive learning experience, you will gain experience in research and scholarship, professional writing and editing, digital design and publishing, and/or emerging media and publicity. While most students will earn 3 hours for ENG 400 in the fall and 3 hours for ENG 444 in the spring, course credits are negotiable, and, if you are accepted into the course, Dr. Huff will work with you to fit the class into your program of study and to negotiate with your home department about course equivalencies. Contact Dr. Joyce Huff (jlhuff@bsu.edu) if you are interested in participating.

Born Digital: Creating Oral Histories of Digital Literary Practices
ENG 435 with Dr. Laura Romano
TR 11 am-12:15 pm

College students are arguably of the first “born digital” generation; they were born into and raised in a digital world. As this generation comes of age, its members offer unique insight into the ways all areas of life have been shaped by digital technologies, including culture, politics, family life, and the way we view community. Taking the opportunity to reflect critically upon these changes is timely, interesting, and can be powerfully insightful. This course offers students the opportunity to learn and practice qualitative research methods such as oral history interviewing and ethnographic observation as they create an autoethnographic reflection on their own digital literacy practices.

Senior Seminar: Lives and Literature of the New England Transcendental Writers
ENG 444 with Dr. Robert Habich
TR 5-6:15 pm

In this course we will spend time in the company of a stimulating group of nineteenth-century poets and essayists known (reluctantly) as the “Transcendentalists”–Emerson and Thoreau, certainly, but also Margaret Fuller, Bronson Alcott, Louisa May Alcott, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, Jones Very, and the Brook Farmers. Canonized now, in their own time they were on the cutting edge of literary, educational, and social issues as they explored what it meant to be an individual in an increasingly conformist and commercialized society. These were the bad boys—and girls—of American literature. We will read a generous selection of their writing, talk about their lives as authors and thinkers, and take up issues of social and religious reform that contextualize transcendentalist thinking: the miracles controversy, women’s rights, anti-slavery and abolitionist efforts, communitarianism, and the like. We’ll explore some of the research and critical issues of interests to scholars of Transcendentalism–and each of you will interview by email a practicing scholar and report to the class. And we’ll give an ear to those writers who qualified or questioned transcendentalism—ones you’ve heard of, like Hawthorne, Whitman, Poe, and Dickinson, and ones new to you, like Andrews Norton.

Shakespeare: Rise of the Villains
ENG 464 with 
Dr. Vanessa Rapatz
TR 2:00-3:15 pm

When we think of a villain we likely call up the evil mastermind of a James Bond film, criminally brilliant Hannibal Lecter, a Whedon “Big Bad,” or perhaps a mustache-twirling vaudevillian. However, the term originally referred to a low-born person or a rustic. In Shakespeare we find both definitions at play and sometimes used to describe the same character. From the innocently rustic William in As You Like It to the unapologetically manipulative Iago in Othello, we will chart villains and villainy in eight of Shakespeare’s plays.  We will read two comedies, As You Like It and Much Ado About Nothing; a problem play, The Merchant of Venice; a history play, Richard III; and four tragedies, Titus Andronicus, Macbeth, Othello, and King Lear. Class lectures and discussions will attend to the language and formal conventions of these plays as well as to their stagecraft, their historical context, and their modern reception. We will also be considering modern adaptations of the plays as we discuss the villainous characters that we love to hate.

The Broken Plate: Practicum in Literary Editing and Publishing
ENG 489 with Prof. Mark Neely
TR 3:30-4:45 pm

The students in this class will be responsible for producing the Spring 2017 issue of The Broken Plate, a national literary magazine produced by Ball State undergraduates. Student editors will be responsible for all aspects of magazine production, including soliciting submissions, selecting quality work, designing the magazine, and promoting and selling the issue. Other requirements include magazine and book reviews, readings and quizzes, software tutorials, and an individual literary editing project. Texts will include books by our fall visiting writers, online readings, and handouts.

English 489 is a year-long, 6-credit, immersive learning course.  Students will also enroll in English 489 in Spring 2017. Permission of Instructor is required: please email Mark Neely at maneely@bsu.edu if you are interested in this class. Students in the course have gone on to careers and/or graduate study in writing, editing, publishing, journalism, marketing, and others.

Literature and Gender – Beyond Belles and Mammies: Women in the Literature of the American South
ENG 490 with 
Dr. Andrea Wolfe
MWF 9-9:50 am

The figures of the Southern Belle, the beautiful and charming daughter of a wealthy planter, and the Mammy, the Belle’s doting and sometimes sassy slave attendant, were perhaps most famously developed in the characters of Scarlett and Mammy in Margaret Mitchell’s spectacularly popular 1929 novel Gone with the Wind and its critically acclaimed and commercially successful 1939 film adaptation. If current GWTW book and movie sales, Southern plantation tourism, and the profusion of Scarlet and Mammy figurines available on eBay are any indication, these two figures have continued to hold cherished positions in the US popular imagination. Even recent media attention to the racism still present in US education, housing, and law enforcement has not curtailed the sales of GWTW memorabilia, as an auction of props from the film, including one of Scarlet’s dresses and Mammy’s hat, raised more than $890,000 just last year. This course will investigate how Southern literature subverts and complicates the depictions of Southern Belles and Mammies as they are portrayed in GWTW and other popular texts. It will examine depictions of a wide range of female experiences in Southern literature from the late 19th through the early 21st centuries, illuminating the intersecting politics of not only gender, race, and region but also age, ability, class, mental health, sexual orientation, and other aspects of identity. Ultimately, the course will provide students with the tools needed to analyze literary depictions of these Southern women in the context of the historical and contemporary South, as well as the broader US. In addition to critical articles and theoretical readings, the course will likely include poetry, drama, short stories, and novels from the following authors: Kate Chopin, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Lillian Smith, Alice Walker, Lee Smith, Suzan-Lori Parks, Harryette Mullen, and the recently published Cynthia Bond. Each student will compose a short close reading essay and a longer research-driven paper as well as a written final examination.

American Ethnic Literature
ENG 493 with Dr. Emily Rutter
MWF 2-2:50 pm

In this course, we will consider the ways in which contemporary American authors, including Junot Diaz, Monique Truong, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Danzy Senna, among others, address the intersections of race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and class. Throughout the course, our readings and discussions will be framed by critics and theorists specializing in African American, Native American, Latino/a, and Asian American literature. In addition to actively participating in class, students in this course will deliver an oral presentation; write informal digital responses that will build up to formal essays; and complete a written final exam. No prior knowledge of Multi-Ethnic American literature is required; all are welcome.

Contemporary Multi-Ethnic American Literature (1960-Present)
ENG 646 with 
Dr. Emily Rutter
Mon 6:30-9:10 pm

In this course, we will conceptualize Multi-Ethnic American literature in aesthetic, theoretical, and institutional terms. Using a comparative approach, we will examine the resonances and distinctions among various ethnic literary traditions, especially African American, Native American, Latino/a, and Asian American, from the 1960s through the contemporary era. The first half of the course will centralize the poetry and prose engendered by social consciousness and women’s movements, including the work of Amiri Baraka, Audre Lorde, Rodolfo Gonzales, Gloria Anzaldúa, Toni Morrison, Paula Gunn Allen, and Lawson Fusao Inada. In the second half of the course, we will consider how more contemporary writers, such as Junot Diaz, Monique Truong, Sherman Alexie, and Percival Everett, to name a few, complicate notions of unified ethnic aesthetics or worldviews, reflecting the changing landscape of identity politics. Along the way, we will also examine the institutionalization of Multi-Ethnic American literature, including the establishment of ethnic studies programs and the so-called “canon wars” that erupted during the 1980s. Throughout the course, our readings and discussions will be framed by critics and theorists specializing in African American, Native American, Latino/a, and Asian American literature. You will also play a crucial role in the ways that we examine and theorize these fields, actively engaging in class discussions, giving presentations, and producing a final seminar paper. No prior knowledge about Multi-Ethnic American literature is required; all are welcome.

 

 

Lauren Lutz

Lauren Lutz is a content strategist for Cleriti, an inbound marketing agency in Cincinnati. She graduated in 2014 from Ball State with a degree in English Studies. She’s passionate about her career, national parks, traveling, and food.


How would you describe your job?

I’m a content strategist for an inbound marketing agency, so I’m responsible for generating ideas for digital content (think blog posts, eBooks, whitepapers) and then actually producing and publishing it on clients’ websites. The whole goal of Lauren Lutzproducing that content is to gear it towards their target buyer persona (the customers they’d like to reach). So, the content has to be highly relevant to that target person so they’ll actually read and engage with it, and then engage with other elements on my clients’ websites. If we can hook that persona with great, relevant content and get them to provide their email address, etc, to download the content, then our clients can work on selling their products/services to them. It’s “inbound” because we want our clients’ content to show up in Google searches as their target buyer personas look for answers to their questions or try to solve their problems. It’d be “outbound” marketing if we were producing direct mailers or cold calling. Instead, we engage our clients’ buyer personas naturally — they find us.

How did your English major lead to your job/what skills did you learn as an English major that helped you transition into that job?

I actually met the person who hired me at Cleriti at the Ball State Writing Center. We worked together there for a year, and right after I graduated she reached out to me about a job opening at her marketing agency, Cleriti. I was hesitant to apply because I thought, “I’m not in marketing, I’m an English major!” But, I trusted her recommendation and took a long, hard look at my skill set. I realized that I had the research, writing, organization, and storytelling skills necessary to perform the role of content strategist. Not to mention all the courses I took in rhetoric! Being able to change the tone/feel of my writing for different clients was a must, and I had picked up that skill (or knew something about it) from studying rhetoric. And, I felt like I was a versatile writer because I knew how to be academic and creative, or a mash-up of both when necessary. And, I can’t stress enough the importance of my critical thinking skills when I started working here! English majors thrive on thinking outside of the box, and that is VERY appreciated in the workplace.

What’s a typical day like for you?

My day consists of: communicating with clients on the quality of the content I produce for them; making appropriate edits before publishing said content; working with/managing other writers who help me out; coming up with ideas to share content on social media; working with my team to make sure our campaigns are on time and that we’re delivering work to our clients consistently; learning marketing best practices from my boss, who’s an inbound marketing guru and inspiration!

Is there a particular class or professional opportunity that helped guide you into your job field?

I’d say that my professional writing classes really helped me out. The intro course is all about rhetoric and the digital landscape, and the rest teach you skills to use your writing in various ways within that digital environment. Those classes made me realize that my writing interests were transferrable outside of academia, so I pursued other projects, as well. I started working for the Digital Literature Review during its first and second year. I also worked as a public relations intern for the BSU English Department. I even did an immersive learning project where we all went out into the community, did research and conducted interviews, and produced radio stories for IPR. Plus, I got an internship at Angie’s List so I had professional experience on my resume when it came time to job hunt (and I wouldn’t have gotten that internship without all of my other experience). Basically, I really went out of my way to use my English major skills in a variety of contexts so I could show future employers that I was versatile even though I was an English major.

What’s your advice to current English majors?

My advice to current English majors is pretty simple: work hard in your English classes to develop strong critical thinking and writing skills; practice using those skills in other contexts besides class; and build up your resume with internships and big projects outside of classes to show that your English skills are transferrable. Most of all, don’t wait to start building your resume during your senior year! I started during the 2nd semester of my sophomore year, which made getting my pretty-serious Angie’s List internship the summer before my senior year easier to do. But, if you have waited, don’t be discouraged! There’s always a project at Ball State you can get involved in to start building up your experience. Sometimes the things that scare you most are the best experiences you can have.

February

51op7cqjbhl-_sx311_bo1204203200_Profs. Mark Neely and Sean Lovelace are proud editors of Nice Things by James Franco, and yes, we mean the real-life movie star legend James Franco. Mark and Sean were recruited through a publishing connection and the rest, as they say, is history. This chapbook of Franco’s musings has been published through New Michigan Press.

Sean Lovelace also published two flash fictions, “University of W” and “University of B” in the spring issue of Sonora Review.

Elisabeth Buck has accepted a position as an Assistant Professor and Director of the Writing Center at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

Dr. Jennifer Grouling has been granted research leave for Fall 2016 to work on her project “Adapting VALUES: The Life of a Rubric.” She will be studying the ways that different universities have adapted the VALUES rubric for Written Communication by the Association of American Colleges and Universities for assessment across the curriculum.

Alicia Miller, currently pursuing an MA in TESOL, has been accepted to the PhD program in Curriculum and Instruction at Mercer University. Congratulations!

A review of What Middletown Read by Dr. Frank Felsenstein has been published in the March issue of Choice, a publication for academic libraries.

Prof. Michael Begnal presented on a creative panel at the 44th Annual Louisville Conference on Literature & Culture since 1900, reading a sequence of poems titled, “A Colony of Ticks.”

Several of our fabulous grad students also presented at the Louisville Conference. They rocked it.

Jeremy

  • Olivia Gehrich presented “Change vs. Progress: Analysis of the Gender Outlaw’s Function in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando”
  • Jesse Sopher presented “‘The Manly Love of Comrades’: A Whitmanian Tradition, Edward Prime-Stevenson’s Imre, and the Effects of the Closet on Homosocial Behaviors, Relationships, and Desires”
  • Danita Mason presented “Heteronormativity and Lesbian Invisibility in Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt and the Film Carol
  • Jeremy Flick presented “Be a Good Girl: Power Dynamics in The Price of Salt, Carol, and Lolita

Prof. Emily Scalzo had three senryu accepted by @7×20 in January, and they were published this month on Twitter. Check them out! In addition,

  • her poem “Duplicity, or Why I Will Not Support Hillary for 2016” will be published in the Winter 2016 Blue Collar Review, available in March, and
  • her poem “Stardust” was accepted by Mobius: The Journal of Social Change in late February, and is now available online.

FRONT-where mercy and truth meet_ homeless women of wheeler speak

The public memoir Where Mercy and Truth Meet: Homeless Women of Wheeler Speak, edited by Prof. Lyn Jones, was chosen as the class reader for a required freshman course at Butler titled: Families and Urban Poverty in U.S. History. The anthology was created by the Indiana Writers Center and Wheeler Mission Ministries Center for Women and Children, and was published last September. It centers on the stories of homeless women seeking assistance at Wheeler Mission. Lyn presented her talk “Using Public Memoir as a Way to Make Change for the Homeless” to the class at Butler.

In addition, Lyn published a chapter entitled “I Want to Write for Regular People” in the book Permission: The International Interdisciplinary Impact of Laurel Richardson’s Work. 

Dr. Susanna Benko published “More than social media: Using Twitter with preservice teachers as a means of reflection and engagement in communities of practice” in Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, an interactive online journal. The article was co-authored with Dr. Megan Guise, Casey Earl, and Witny Gill.

The Ball State Speech team was crowned Indiana Forensic Association 2016 State Champions for the fifth year in a row, and the Quality Award for the third year in the row. Four English students on the team carried home other awards and prizes:

  • Lauren Seitz, senior, won the scholarly essay contest with her entry: “‘Funny’ Feminism: An Ideological Criticism of Sarcastic Twitter Account @MeninistTweet.” She was also named Extemporaneous, After Dinner Speaking and Impromptu Speaking Champion.
  • Madison Gillespie, junior, was named Poetry & Prose Interpretation Champion.
  • Sarah Martin, freshman, was named Duo Interpretation Champion and Novice Prose Champion.

Congratulations on the awards!

Jeremy Flick

Jeremy Flick is native of Indianapolis, IN. He currently holds a B.A. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and is studying for his Master’s in Creative Writing at Ball State University. In his free time he writes poetry and prose, gets into shenanigans with his dog, Fenway, and occasionally performs music. He recently released an album titled “Journal Entries” under the name Your Silent Modern War. You can visit his website to learn more.


In my final spring semester at Ball State, before the air became toxic from the dogwood trees near the Atrium, I was over college. The sleepless nights and the mountains of reading were something I had been looking forward to leaving behind. My mighty keyboard had vanquished all of the research papers lurking in the shadows, and the hefty textbooks could find new homes. 

Jeremy Flick

I had finally made it. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English—not something I had anticipated when I was eighteen years old—and I was ready to take on the world. At that time I worked for Target and was hopeful to find another job with my shiny, new degree that would prove to employers I was worthy enough to work for them. However, throughout all of my searching, I found no such position—I beat myself up for not using the Career Center when it was available to me—and continued my work as a nonthreatening security guard at a Target in Indianapolis. The job was not stimulating and the hours were less than desirable, but I made enough to live on my own comfortably. 

At some point, catching “bad guys” became less exhilarating and dealing with management was more of a hassle, always demeaning and an insult to my intelligence. It was around that time I visited my friends at the ol’ alma matter and set up an appointment with Mark Neely to discuss graduate school opportunities. It seemed like it would be the only option to find my way into a better job that I actually enjoyed. I was mostly looking forward to the meeting to catch up with Mark and maybe get an idea of whether or not graduate school would be something to further explore. But by some wizardry Mark convinced me—some six months after I swore I was done with school forever—that graduate school was the next path on my journey. It was then that I started preparing to submit to the MA Creative Writing program at Ball State.

I only had a month or so to submit my information. I only had a week to prepare for the GRE. I needed to revise my creative submission. I was stressed. But the moment the acceptance came in the mail, all of the anxiety was worth it. I was going to grad school and getting out of the hellhole. There is no sweeter feeling than telling your boss that you’ll be leaving on x day in x amount of weeks to go to graduate school. What’s more is I was excited. I was so happy to be able to continue my education. I wanted to go back to school.

So why does all of that matter? What does my personal experience with a crummy job have to do with expectations of graduate school? First and foremost, I like to think that I’m not the exception to the rule. Most people graduate with their Bachelor’s Degree and don’t want to continue their education. Among those, there are people who aren’t going to find their ideal job. What’s important to note is: that’s okay. Going to graduate school should be something you want to do, not something you feel obligated to do. What’s also okay is changing your mind and deciding you do want to go to graduate school after swearing off of school forever.

When it came to expectations, I think nearly everyone anticipates a lot of work. And I hope they expect to do something they love, whether that be writing poetry or researching rhetorical theories or reading Dickens. Those were things I expected, but I also expected to hone my craft, to learn to love writing again, and find my new place in the hierarchy of higher education. I was awarded an assistantship—If I could give any advice, it would be to find a graduate program with funding (Ball State English has a pretty sweet set up *cough cough*)—this meant I would be teaching. What I didn’t expect was to make friends with such talented people that will last well beyond the two years it has taken to get my Master’s Degree. I didn’t expect to find love in reading books like The Price of Salt or Other Electricities or Life on Mars (among countless others)—books I never would have looked at if it weren’t for my classes. I didn’t expect to find my purpose in life—I’ve always wanted to work in the publishing industry, but after my time teaching, I’ve realized that teaching is my calling. Needless to say, grad school exceeded my expectations ten-fold.

Disclaimer: All encouragement for use of and application to Ball State programs is provided shamelessly and genuinely.

As with most things, graduate school is difficult at times and it’s hard to like it in those moments where you have a twenty-page paper due or you have to read a four-hundred-page novel in two days. It’s hard to like it when your students don’t understand a concept you’ve explained meticulously or one of them plagiarizes. But honestly, the good moments outweigh the bad. There were times I wished I didn’t take a certain class or could sleep for a week, but working through the difficult times gave me determination, pride, and, most of all, knowledge. And that’s the main reason graduate school is something to consider: knowledge. Not knowledge of all things—the kind of knowledge that helps you achieve the title of “the pretentious know-it-all in the room”—but knowledge of the important thing(s), the ones most important to you. Undergraduate courses are fascinating and you can learn many concepts and techniques, but taking the extra step to dedicate my education to the study of writing (specifically poetry), which I love, has helped me in more ways than I can count. Not only that, but the experience I have gained by teaching, tutoring, researching, and administrating is valuable no matter where I end up after graduation.

So no, graduate school isn’t for everyone, nor should it be. It takes knowing yourself enough to know when and if you are ready. It takes time. It takes determination. And sometimes it takes every last bit of shear will you can muster. And maybe you’re not sure about whether or not graduate school is for you. My suggestion would be to talk to a professor you trust. Talk to current graduate students. Get involved in your community and see if you genuinely enjoy what you’re doing. But no matter what, if you decide to go to graduate school it will be one of the best decisions you’ve made, for your career, and, most importantly, for yourself. Remember: there will always be hard times to trudge through, but you miss 100% of the chances you don’t take and, even if you struggle, the outcome can be far greater than you ever imagined.