In this interview, #bsuenglish professor Patrick Collier discusses his Virginia Ball Center seminar “Everyday Life in Middletown.”
What did the project entail?
These Virginia Ball seminars are semester-long projects where students get up to 15 credits for their participation, the teacher gets a fellowship, and that gets him or her out of teaching responsibility or any other responsibility on campus. The subject of the seminar was “Everyday Life in Middletown.” Middletown, I assume you know, is Muncie. There’s this history of Muncie being referred to as Middletown since the ’20s when the Lynds did their sociological study in Muncie and it became a national best-seller.
The panel for this event included Nuha Alsalem, Tiffany Ellis, Leslie Erlenbaugh, Shane Lanning, and Matthias Raess. Each speaker had valuable information regarding their experience with teaching abroad and also teaching English as a second language. Students interested in teaching English to non-native speakers should check out the TESOL minor. The minor in TESOL offers the skills and knowledge necessary for teaching English to non-native speakers of English both domestically and internationally. If you are looking to teach abroad, you should look at the Fulbright Scholarship.
If you missed out on the last Stars to Steer By event this semester, have no fear! We’ve got a whole lot more coming to you in the spring semester! Our first event entitled “English Majors Can Make Millions (for Good Causes) with speakers Cheri O’Neill and Bruce Hetrick is scheduled for Tuesday, January 31 at 5 pm in Bracken 104.
Stars to Steer By is an event series hosted by the English Department to help Humanities majors find their way. The next event is November 29th in BL 104.
On October 26, we hosted our most recent Stars to Steer By event, “Personal Branding: Uncovering Your Authentic Self,” in BL 104. Monica Scalf, founder of The Playground Group, was the main speaker at the event.
Tiffany Austin received her BA in English from Spelman College, her MFA in Creative Writing from Chicago State University, her JD from Northeastern University, and her PhD in English from Saint Louis University. She currently teaches rhetorical and creative writing at the College of The Bahamas. Her research and teaching field also includes African Diaspora literature—African American, Afro-Latin, Caribbean, and African literature.
How would you describe your writing?
My writing has been described as one with a gendered blues aesthetic, but I don’t relate this descriptor to how we generally perceive the blues. I’ve always admired blues music, not only for its melancholic tones, but for its protest-like and freeing qualities. I grasp its expressive possibilities because of its creative use of language and sound (especially its disguised protest element). I’m most interested in the embodiment of language—readers’ visceral responses—so my poetry is full of images and elliptical narratives. The themes range from historical and personal memory to “tenderness” amongst tragedy-fraught events and experiences. I find myself asking, “What do we desire from memory?” Within those themes subsist the subjects of cultural belonging, dislocation, gender, and age. I don’t overtly point to sexuality because I’m more invested in how we sensually engage with ourselves and one another. Pondering the possibilities for poetry, it’s about how I treat you and you treat me—personally, socially, politically—and that’s what the blues delves into and how it relates.
BSU English would like to invite you to a talk given by Gary Younge. The event will take place on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 pm in 104 Bracken. Copies of Mr. Younge’s book will be available for purchase, and he will be holding a book signing at the event.
Gary Younge is a British journalist and an editor-at-large for The Guardian. He is covering the U.S. election from Muncie in a series of articles called “The View from Middletown.” Mr. Younge has also made several radio and television documentaries on subjects ranging from the tea party to hip hop culture.
#bsuenglish student and Reacting Out Loud found Levi Todd shares his impression of the Get Loud Poetry Slam, sponsored by the Marilyn K. Cory Speaker Series, that occurred on October 16th at Two Cats Cafe.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a junior English Studies major at Ball State. I enjoy rock climbing, biking, and am waiting for the day I can adopt a pug named Gus.
What is your connection to Reacting Out Loud?
I am the Founder and Executive Director of ROL. Reacting Out Loud is an independent organization devoted to uplifting poetry and affirming community in Muncie, Indiana. We intentionally deliver our programming to Muncie as a whole and are not campus-affiliated, though we did do a one-time collaboration with #bsuenglish at this last event. We firmly believe that poetry is the most accessible form of self-expression that people have, and that it has the potential to build powerful connections within communities.
Stars to Steer By is our monthly event series focused on helping #bsuenglish students make the best of their degrees after graduation. This month, #bsuenglish alum and owner of The Playground Group Monica Scalf will be presenting “Personal Branding: Uncovering Your Authentic Self” on Wednesday, 10/26 at 6:30 P.M. in Bracken Library 104. Below, Monica shares the career journey that led her to developing The Playground Group.
I studied Secondary Education and English while at Ball State. I also have a Master of Arts in English from Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH. When I first enrolled as a Freshman at BSU, I thought I wanted to major in telecommunications. After my freshman year, I realized I wanted to teach and study English, so I switched my major. I had always loved reading and writing, and this major was a natural fit for me.
I currently run my own corporate consulting and training business, The Playground Group, LLC. It’s called The Playground Group because we teach engaging and interactive workshops in corporate settings that are fun, but not corny. Employees get to “play” and learn at the same time. We specialize in teaching Team Building, Productivity, Personal Branding, and Personal Effectiveness.
Many English Department students and faculty are also affiliated with the Ball State Honors College and were deeply affected by the passing of Dr. James Ruebel, who had been the Dean of the Honors College since 2000.
“I’ve been acquainted with Dr. Ruebel since he arrived at Ball State many years ago,” Professor Elizabeth Dalton remembers. “We’ve worked closely for the past six years working together to teach an integrated humanities class every fall. For four of those six years we also led field studies to Rome and, usually, Florence, Italy. These were two-week field studies where students explored art, architecture, history, and literature of the cities.”
Stars to Steer By is an event series hosted by the English Department to help Humanities majors find their way. The next event is October 26th in Bracken 104.