Category Archives: News

#bsuenglish Remembers Dr. James Ruebel

James Ruebel Honors CollegeMany 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.”

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The Inside Scoop on Ball State's Literary Magazine: The Broken Plate

We sat down with Professor Mark Neely, faculty supervisor of The Broken Plate, and Jackson Eflin, a former Broken Plate staff member who has also had his work published in the literary magazine. 

What is The neelyBroken Plate?

The Broken Plate is a literary magazine that publishes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, art, and photography (among other things) by writers and artists from around the world. Each issue is edited by an interdisciplinary group of Ball State undergraduate students and released at our annual In Print Festival of First Books.

You’ve been the editor of the magazine for several years now. How have things changed over time?

When I took over as faculty adviser for the magazine, it was a small operation run by a few student volunteers. They only published the work of Ball State students, mostly that of a small group of friends.

I wanted to make it a more valuable experience for both the editors and for the Ball State writing community, so I used our existing course in Literary Editing and Publishing as a way to professionalize the magazine, and to spread the word more effectively about our submissions process. Eventually, we opened up submissions to all writers, which increased our pool of pieces to choose from, and I think it makes for a more rewarding experience for students.

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Meet Dr. Rebecca Manery!

Dr. Rebecca Manery received her MFA in Creative Writing at Bennington College, as well as her MA in Literacy Education from Northeastern Illinois University. Dr. Manery has recently earned her doctorate in English and Education from the University of Michigan. This semester, she is teaching four sections of ENG 103: Rhetoric and Writing.

How would you describe your perspective on teaching?

I share a view of teaching and learning as an interactive process in which understandings are constructed rather than given. As a teacher, my goal is to be a co-learner who actively engages students in their own learning.

When are your office hours?

Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:00-3:00 P.M. and by appointment.

What are you currently reading?

I’m eager to begin reading Building Home: A Citywide Poets Anthology. This collection of performance poetry by Detroit teens was recently featured in The Detroit Free Press. I just finished reading The True American, the Freshman Connections featured book. My students and I attended the moderated discussion with Anand Giridharadas and Raisuddin Bhuiyan which has us thinking about how we can promote a world without hate.


What is a text that you think everyone should read?

I don’t think there’s a single text that everyone should read. In fact, after reading my students’ literacy narratives, it’s clear that many of them lost their joy of reading because they were forced to read books that didn’t interest them. There are so many wonderful books out there, but not all of them speak to me. I want my students to discover the books that speak to them, but that’s difficult to do when all the reading they are assigned to do has been chosen by someone else.

What is your biggest pet peeve in the classroom or a big mistake that students tend to make?

Learned passivity is my biggest grievance with students. High school students often become dependent on teachers to tell them what they are supposed to do, remind them of deadlines, re-explain assignments, etc. That won’t fly in college. I understand it’s easier to shoot off an email to your professor than double-check the assignment sheet, ask a classmate, or come to office hours, but I have 100 students. If I answered all of the “what am I supposed to do” emails I get, I wouldn’t have time for anything else.

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Now Hiring! Come Join Our Department!

The English Department is currently hiring for two new positions. They are as listed:

  1. Assistant Professor for Early and 19th Century American Literature in the College of Science and Humanities
  2. Assistant Professor for Film and and Global Literatures in the Department of English

For more information, check out the flyers!preview-full-earlyand19thcentury_jobadpreview-full-filmandgloballiteratures_jobad

Come to the Stars to Steer By Lecture Series!

starstosteerbytalkThe Stars to Steer By Lecture Series was created in order to help students pursuing a Humanities Degree find their way after graduation. 

Calling all Humanities Majors! Do you feel worried that you won’t be able to find a career in your field? Are you tired of people telling you that your degree is useless? Have no fear, the “Stars to Steer By” lecture series is here! The Ball State University English Department wants you to know that there are many things you can do with a Humanities Major.

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Ace Howard: An English Major Working in the Software Field

Former English major Ace Howard describes his career in the software business. 

How would you describe your job?

I’m a technical writer for a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company.

I would describe my job as the bridge between technical information and users. I sit down with subject matter experts (SMEs) and translate their high level of knowledge into terms that our audience can easily understand. Part of this process involves deciding which medium works best for the message (shout-out to Marshall McLuhan). My work could take the form of software documentation, white papers, case studies, social media, or blog posts. Because I have a background in web development, I’m also responsible for updating the company website.

Some of this stuff sounds complicated (it can be), but all the writing and problem solving makes the job a fun and rewarding experience.

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Robert Bell Ball Winners

The Robert Bell Ball was a magical time. We had a great turn out, tasty refreshments, oh, and we gave out more than $13,000 in scholarships! Here you can read about the scholarships awarded as well as our winners.


The Elizabeth Martin Scholarship in English is a merit award given annually to those students who display the characteristics of scholarship, character, and leadership, which are essential for success in the field of English.

Valerie Weingart is a junior Creative Writing and Vocal Performance double major from Salem, Ohio. She is also a member of the Honors College and the President of Student Honors Council. In the School of Music, Valerie sings with the Ball State Chamber Choir and has appeared in multiple Ball State Opera Theater productions. This summer, she will be singing in Cancun, Mexico with the Opera Maya Program, then returning to Muncie to attend the Midwest Writers Workshop. Valerie is very excited to join next year’s staff of The Broken Plate and looks forward to next year’s opportunities in both the School of Music and the English Department.

Hannah Partridge is a Sophomore from Brown County, Indiana studying Creative Writing with minors in Professional Writing and French. She enjoys poetry, young adult literature, and creative nonfiction. Along with writing, she is also passionate about music, and currently serves as the Coordinator of The Parallels A Cappella.

Cody DeHaven is an English student majoring in Literature from Kokomo, Indiana. He joined the English department after realizing that studying biology was not near as fun as being an English major. In addition to his academic responsibilities, Cody works at Bracken Library and teaches music at Elwood High school. He would like to thank Dr. Rai Peterson and Dr. Emily Rutter for their continued encouragement and support.


The Hanson Rhetoric and Composition Award is given annually to support graduate research in the field of rhetoric and composition.

Mary McGinnis is a third year Ph.D. student in Rhetoric & Composition. She holds a B.A. in English and a M.A. in English & American Literature, both from Indiana State University. She also holds a M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Roosevelt University in Chicago. Mary is interested in the use of transformative pedagogies and multimodal literacy in the composition classroom. Her research usually takes a gender studies/queer theory angle on public rhetoric and pop culture.


The Leslie and Patrick Ballard Scholarship is awarded annually to future teachers of English who display an exceptional devotion to the field of education.

Joel Summer is a junior English Education major heading into his last year at Ball State University. He is actively engaged in the Ball State Navigators, an on-campus Christian ministry group focused on sharing lives and time in building lasting relationships with others, and in the Learning Center, where he is a Level 3 Master Tutor for Spanish and writing. Joel loves anything and everything to do with Star Wars, he dabbles in a Lego addiction, and he hopes to always be willing to sacrifice himself and his desires for the good of those he is put together with in life (especially since he’ll be getting married this summer and knows he better start shaping up if he wants to stay married long).

Emily Mack is a sophomore English Education major and creative writing minor from West Lafayette, Indiana. She dreams of teaching middle schoolers and improving education for students with disabilities. Emily describes herself as a lover of of books, dogs, coffee, and summer camp.


The Barry Wright Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually in recognition of artistic excellence in the writing of poetry by undergraduates at Ball State.

Elyse Lowery was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, South Holland, IL. She grew up with a strong sense of family and family drama, so that appears in her writing a lot. For Elyse, Ball State was quite the (positive) change from her high school experience, which was set in juvenile detention-like facilities and had few writing endeavors to speak of. In light of that, she’s very happy to receive this award and be making it on into her fourth year here at Ball State.

Levi Todd is the Founder and Executive Director of Reacting Out Loud, an independent organization devoted to uplifting poetry and affirming community. He looks forward to serving as Programming Intern at The Poetry Center of Chicago this summer, as well as joining the masthead for The Broken Plate in the fall. One day he hopes to adopt a pug named Garbanzo. Levi is grateful to accept the Matt Jones and Barry Wright scholarships, and looks forward to his continued career within the BSU English department.


The Matt Jones Creative Writing Scholarship is awarded annually by the Department of English to a Ball State University student who exhibits a dedicated interest in creative writing.

Levi Todd is the Founder and Executive Director of Reacting Out Loud, an independent organization devoted to uplifting poetry and affirming community. He looks forward to serving as Programming Intern at The Poetry Center of Chicago this summer, as well as joining the masthead for The Broken Plate in the fall. One day he hopes to adopt a pug named Garbanzo. Levi is grateful to accept the Matt Jones and Barry Wright scholarships, and looks forward to his continued career within the BSU English department.


The Patricia and Anthony Martone Scholarship is awarded annually by the English Department to M.A. Creative Writing students who produce new writings about place and community, in particular about the Muncie, Indiana area, the state of Indiana, and/or the Midwest region.

George Hickman is completing the first year of his M.A. program in creative writing. He has a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He will use the Patricia and Anthony Martone award to fund a visit to the southwestern U.S., where he will conduct research and interviews in order to add verisimilitude to an ongoing creative project.

Robert Young was born in Fort Wayne, IN. He has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Ball State, where he primarily studied and wrote poetry. He also loves to experiment with other genres. Robert likes to write about everything from music to video games to outer space to kitchen appliances.


The Midwest Writers Workshop Scholarship is awarded annually to the student with a dedicated interest in creative writing who best demonstrates in the application essay and writing sample that attending that summer’s Midwest Writers Workshop will benefit the applicant as a writer.

Valerie Weingart is a junior Creative Writing and Vocal Performance double major from Salem, Ohio. She is also a member of the Honors College and the President of Student Honors Council. In the School of Music, Valerie sings with the Ball State Chamber Choir and has appeared in multiple Ball State Opera Theater productions. This summer, she will be singing in Cancun, Mexico with the Opera Maya Program, then returning to Muncie to attend the Midwest Writers Workshop. Valerie is very excited to join next year’s staff of The Broken Plate and looks forward to next year’s opportunities in both the School of Music and the English Department.


The Dr. Janet Ross Scholarship for Teachers of English as a Second Language is awarded annually by the English Department to students who display characteristics of scholarship, character, and leadership which, in the judgment of the selection committee, are considered essential for success in the field of teaching English as a second language.

Emilie Schiess is a student pursuing an English as a New Language education license. Currently, she works at the Writing Center and the Honors House on campus. In her free time, she runs a blog about languages and education. Emilie is interested in teaching abroad and working in the field of language edutainment. She hopes to use her teaching experiences to develop accessible ESL materials and internet content for a variety of English Language Learners.

Morgan Aprill graduated last year from the English Department with a degree in Literature and is now pursuing a Master’s degree in TESOL/Linguistics at Ball State. She is currently a graduate teaching assistant in the Intensive English Institute and hopes to move abroad to teach once graduating, and then eventually return to the U.S. for her ultimate goal: earning a Ph.D.

Sharon Jackson is a long-time resident of Delaware County. She has raised two daughters here, one of whom graduated from Ball State in 2012. The other will graduate this week! She is an active member of the Compass Church in Selma, where she plays piano and sings on the worship team. She also coordinates the local food pantry there. She earned her B.A. from Michigan State University, and she will finish her M.A. next spring. After she graduates, Sharon hopes to continue pursuing her passion for teaching overseas as a missionary English teacher. She also plans to teach adult ESL classes in a community education setting here at home.


The Frances Mayhew Rippy Scholarship is awarded annually by the English Department to fund research projects in the field of literary studies.

Hayat Bedaiwi is a second-year doctoral student in English Literature at Ball State. Her academic interests include Arab-American and Ethnic literature. She also has a burgeoning passion for cultural studies. She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts and a Master’s of Arts in English Language and Literature at King Saud University. Hayat is also an amateur painter, amateur Middle-Eastern cook, and aspiring writer.

Danita Mason is in the second year of her doctoral program in Literature. She will use the Frances Mayhew Rippy award to fund her research in dystopian fiction and, particularly, in the portrayal of women in dystopian works.


Department Honors in Writing are awarded each year to students with a GPA of at least 3.8 who also demonstrate excellence in writing.

Kristal All, English Education major

Daniel Brount, Creative Writing major


Academic Honors in Writing is a university-wide award granted to those Ball State students who demonstrate noteworthy writing ability.

Luke Bell, Creative Writing major

Sara Huber, Literature major


The Outstanding Senior award is the final award of the ceremony, and is awarded to a senior English student who goes above and beyond both in the classroom and out. Here is what our faculty had to say about the winner:

This person is awesome in the classroom. Talk to the faculty who’ve had this person in their classes, and every single one of them will provide rave accolades. As one of his teachers said, he is “an exceptional student and a wonderful person. He would be a perfect choice for this recognition.” Another professor called him “a tremendous example of an English major, a great thinker and student, and just generally an awesome person.”

But this person’s awesomeness could not be contained within the bounds of the classroom. This person is an incredible department citizen, showing up to and even helping coordinate events left and right. This person took advantage of seemingly all of the professional development opportunities the English Department offers: The Broken Plate, The Digital Literature Review, and even the department internships, where one of our faculty called him “one of the kindest office workers I’ve ever met.”

We have been privileged to experience such awesomeness in our department, but this person’s awesomeness extended far beyond that. He furthered the larger Ball State and Muncie communities through the Ball State Daily News and the Midwest Writers Workshop. He even spread his wings to an entirely different part of the country, participating in the New York Arts Program, where he interned with DAW Books and The Rights Factory.

But this person’s awesomeness will not stop there. He will most certainly be going on to great things, and whatever he does, in the words of one of our faculty, will “make Ball State so proud.” It is our great pleasure to present the Outstanding Senior Award to…

Daniel BrountDaniel Brount!

To learn more about Daniel you can check out his website, his book reviews, and our blog post on his experiences in New York City.

Congratulations to all of our scholarship winners. We are proud of you!


Advice for Graduating Seniors

In just one short week we’ll be saying goodbye to our graduating seniors, though we hope they’ll come back to visit. In the latest installment of our Department Dialogue series, our faculty offers them advice on starting this new chapter of their lives, and our #bsuenglish seniors share their plans for the future.

Mai Kuha, Linguistics:

Make friends. It’s not easy at any stage in life, but your time as a student offered more opportunities, making you interact frequently with others who were going through similar experiences as you were. Your social network after graduation, in a new community and in a new job, may be one in which planning, initiative, and ongoing effort are required to cultivate connections with others.

Jennifer Grouling, English Ed:

Advice: It’s okay if the future is temporary.

Upon graduating with a B.S. in English Education, I was sure that I would find the ideal teaching position that I’d been dreaming of. Substitute teaching was something I resisted as temporary, and honestly, I thought it was beneath my abilities. But instead of stumbling into that perfect first job, I just stumbled. When fall came and I had no teaching job, I allowed my summer temp work to turn into my first full-time position doing data entry, not what I had dreamed, but it paid the bills. That fall, I left to go to teaching, but not the position I wanted. Rather, I started as a full-time substitute teacher, which led to a long-term maternity leave substitute where I not only taught AP classes but also directed the newspaper. That gave me the experience I needed to land a full-time teaching job. My take-away: don’t avoid temporary work when it has the potential to lead somewhere, but also know when to move on.

Eva Grouling Snider, Professional Writing:

Embrace those tricky conversations about what you do. You know the ones I’m talking about? Those times when a distant relative asks you what you’re doing with your life and you panic? They may be painful, but they’re also productive. Try to really truthfully answer, and listen to yourself answer. Don’t just answer with a few words, either: provide details. I do many things in my job, but when I have to articulate what my job is to other people, that’s when I find myself identifying my true passions, the things that I do because I love them, not because I have to. Knowing those things is the first step toward carving your own path in this crazy, crazy world, and talking it out is one of the best ways to know those things.

Lyn Jones, English Ed:

For our graduating English education students who are about to embark on what I hope is a long and successful career in secondary teaching,

  • Create and design a community, not just a classroom.
  • Engage your students in “tough talk” over topics of social justice; encourage civil disobedience.
  • Teach your students to read the world, not just the word. (Freire)
  • Model being a dreamer, a designer, and a user of the content you teach.
  • Believe in the power of student’s stories; make room for their stories in your classroom.
  • Design and delivery are both equally important when it comes to curriculum and teaching.
  • Discourse is everything. Always be mindful of what you say and how you say it.  Students hang on our every word.
  • Remain a learner… about literature, writing, and the profession.
  • Come back to Ball State… to learn more about your craft, to interact with students, or simply to visit.

Cathy Day, Creative Writing:

Way too many of you think that the path from college to career is a straight line, but English doesn’t map its curriculum to specific career outcomes, like other majors do.

You tend to think this way: 

As an English major, I developed the skill of writing research papers about villains in the plays of Shakespeare and the gothic imagination of Faulkner, which I’m sure will come in handy in this marketing position at Marketing Firm, Inc.

But the path from college to career is NOT a straight line. You have to think about how what we’ve taught you could translate to a variety of jobs.

Think like this:

My final project as an English major was a 25-page research paper on Faulkner, from which I learned how to independently manage large projects, appreciate other cultures, analyze and synthesize information, and form an original idea. I’d like to bring my communication and research skills to Marketing Firm, Inc.’s marketing department.

Rory Lee, Professional Writing:

People have told you, and they will continue to tell you, that the real world is like this or that. And in many ways, it is like this or that. In other words, their advice has value, and it can offer you insight. Advice–what this is–is important; I wouldn’t be writing this tidbit otherwise. But remember that such advice is always a way, not thee way, to see, do, and think about things. Advice comes from people’s accrued experiences. So use it as a means to guide and understand your own but not in a way that precludes you from doing and being you. So, in the spirit of this advice, feel free to completely disregard it. Oh, and have fun, be the change you want to see, be the pontificating third, and all that jazz.

Senior Mary Pat Stemnock will be attending Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law.

Senior Lauren Seitz is participating in an exchange program through the Ball State French department and will be moving to Nancy, France for a year to teach in the English department of the Université de Lorraine.

Senior Amory Orchard was accepted to Ball State’s M.A. in Creative Writing program, and will be returning to BSU in the fall. Hurray!

Senior Daniel Brount is applying for editorial assistant positions at publishing houses in NYC.

Senior Evan Andreae will be pursuing any job that can get him experience in design, public relations, or marketing. His goal is to fulfill that “2-3 years experience” requirement he is always seeing on job applications. We wish him luck!

Senior Krista Sanford will be sending her work to literary magazines and publishers.

Senior Adrianna Martin is moving to South Bend and looking for employment or freelance work.

Senior Luke Bell will be applying for writing positions in Indianapolis and getting a cat.

Congrats to all of our graduating seniors! We are proud of you!