Category Archives: New Faculty Profile

The English Department wants to extend a warm welcome to its new faculty members! Here you can learn all about the new members of the staff and find out what you can expect if you have them in class. We hope our new members enjoy being here as much as we enjoy having them!

Meet New #bsuenglish Faculty Member Aimee Taylor!

Aimee Taylor earned her Bachelor’s in English at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio. She went on to complete her Master’s at Marshall University in West Virginia, and she is currently working on her dissertation for her PhD in Rhetoric and Writing at Bowling Green State University. This semester, she is teaching ENG 103: Rhetoric and Writing.

Aimee Taylor- Instructor at BSU

How would you describe your perspective on teaching?

I’ve always been a teacher. From a very young age, I related teaching to helping and working with people. I also believe that we all have something inside us that we can teach others, and we can always learn from others. So, with that said, teachers are life-long learners, too. Teaching is my way of making sense of the world.

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

I don’t have pet peeves per se, but I try to get students to stop saying “this is a stupid question” or “I’m so dumb” or “nothing I say matters.” It is my job to bring the scholar out of them. I greet them every day as fellow scholars, and instead of “freshmen,” I refer to them as “fresh-scholars.” Repeating that language and encouraging them to make mistakes in the safe space of my classroom begins to change that mindset.

What is a text you think everyone should read?

There is not a single text that I think everyone should read. Read everything! A foundational text in my teaching life, however, is bell hooks’ Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom.

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Katy Didden

Dr Katy Didden earned her BA from Washington University in St. Louis, her MFA from the University of Maryland, College Park, and her PhD from the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO. This semester she’s teaching one section of ENG 285 and one section of ENG 408. 

How would you describe yourself as a teacher?

One of the things I want the most, as a teacher, is for my students to have confidence in their convictions. I also want them to know how to use dialogue as a means of expanding ideas and testing assumptions, and to see the benefits of respecting and understanding other points of view. I want to convince students that because they each have unique life experiences, their contributions to class discussion and peer review are not just valuable but essential to helping the class articulate complex ideas. In my classes, I want to create an atmosphere that fosters students’ creativity, curiosity, and responsibility. I want what they learn in my class to help them succeed in all of their classes.

When are your office hours?

My office hours are Tuesdays from 2-3pm, and Wednesdays from 1-2pm, but I also meet with students by appointment.didden

What are you reading?

I’m often in the middle of several books at once, and right now is no different. Here’s what’s on my desk at the moment: Inger Christensen’s Alphabet, Ross Gay’s Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, Elaine Showalter’s Teaching Literature, George David Clark’s Reveille, Stanley Plumly’s Orphan Hours, and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad. I highly recommend these books! They were highly recommended to me, which is why I have them.

Truly, though, I am spending most of my time thinking about Marianne Moore’s poem “An Octopus” (her poem about Mt. Rainier). I am writing an essay about the importance of place in poetry, and about how Moore has influenced and continues to influence my writing in that respect. Soon, I will turn my attention to Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric—I’m presenting a paper on that book for a conference in November. I’m interested in how Rankine uses photographs and other visual images in Citizen to help her navigate difficult subjects such as race relations and the subjugation of women’s bodies.

What do you think everyone should read?

One short story that has stayed with me over the years, and one that has generated a lot of thoughtful discussion with my students, is Ursula Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.” A quick list of poems I love would be: “At the Fishhouses,” by Elizabeth Bishop, “The City of Light,” by Larry Levis, “A Small Needful Fact,” by Ross Gay, “What he Thought,” by Heather McHugh, “Rain Effect” by Mary Ruefle, and “The Layers,” by Stanley Kunitz.

What’s your biggest pet peeve in the classroom/what is a big mistake students tend to make?

The first thing that comes to mind is “eye-rolling,” though I’m also intrigued by it. On some level, people roll their eyes as a form of protest, and maybe more importantly to form a bond with their classmates (the ones for whom the eye roll is performed). What I don’t like about it is that it sets up the teacher/ student dynamic into clichéd, antagonistic roles, and that doesn’t interest me. I prefer to think of the classroom as a collaborative space. That is to say, I appreciate students who take responsibility for creating an engaged, positive environment in the classroom—it makes more of a difference than most students realize.

What are you working on right now?

Currently, I am working on two new manuscripts of poems. The first project builds upon and advances work I began in my first book, The Glacier’s Wake. That book includes persona poems where I write in the voice of a glacier, a sycamore, and a wasp to confront the contrary impulses of consumerism and conservation. For “The Lava on Iceland,” I am erasing a series of source texts about Iceland, from a variety of disciplines (from literature and history, to politics and pop culture) into a lyric voice of lava. The project is multi-modal, and collaborative; I am working with graphic designer Kevin Tseng to set the erasures over a series of photos, alternating between the archival photos of Frederick Howell and color photographs by numerous contemporary artists and writers. The final texts are a palimpsest of photographs, source texts, and erasures.

Even while I am working on more experimental poems with the erasure project, I have been steadily working on a series of sound-driven poems, some in blank verse, and others in looser, rhyme-dense forms. These poems address a range of subjects from super derechos, to opera, to Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” I see one theme emerging among the new poems, which is that many poems are in dialogue with other writers and artists, from photographers like Travis Dove, to writers like Cavafy, Dante, and Shakespeare. I have also recently returned from the Pilgrimage to Compostela in Spain, and have begun a series of poems inspired by my research of medieval Christian iconography and Spanish mystics like Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and the hermits who lived at Montserrat.

What are your other hobbies?

I love to be outdoors, so some of my favorite hobbies are running, hiking, swimming, and cycling. I also love yoga, especially Iyengar, or alignment-based, yoga. I enjoy playing the guitar, and I’m currently taking guitar lessons for the first time in fifteen years!


Please join us in welcoming Dr Katy Didden to our department!

Jennifer Bryan

Dr Jennifer Bryan received her BA in English with minors in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She received an MFA in fiction from Bowling Green State University and a PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This semester, she’s teaching four sections of Eng 103. 

How would you describe yourself as a teacher?

I would describe myself as balanced, and I try to be fair in the classroom while creating high expectations and standards so students can challenge themselves. I also try and introduce topics and discussions that students can engage with and be interested in. I want students to feel invested in the class and critically see their environment.

When are your office hours?

11-12:30 MW, 10-12 T, and by appointment

Gmail PictureWhat are you reading?

Kent Haruf’s Plainsong

What do you think everyone should read?

I think people should read what interests them. There are so many books and genres in the world, and in order to be passionate about reading, one has to be passionate about what he/she is reading. There is value in reading, and when students tell me they don’t like reading, I say they aren’t reading the right books. By right I mean what is of interest to them, not what they think they should read.

What’s your biggest pet peeve in the classroom/what is a big mistake students tend to make?

Texting in the classroom is annoying, but pretending one isn’t texting can be even more so. I tend to feel mistakes are villified in our culture. We only improve and learn about ourselves by making mistakes. We’re all afraid of failing, and yet through failing I’ve learned the most about myself and what I want. In terms of students and the classroom – I think students who miss class regularly tend to dig themselves into a hole. It gets easier to miss as the semester wears on because of sickness, cold weather, lack of sleep, lack of assignment.

What are you working on right now?

Grading papers. In my creative work, I’ve just started writing a new novel. It’s super new. Like three pages new.

What are your other hobbies?

I love to bake. Cooking comes a close second. I love to drink coffee and hang out with my family. I love binge watching Netflix series. I look at a lot of art, talk about a lot of art.


Please join us in welcoming Dr. Jennifer Bryan to our department!

Michael Begnal

Michael Begnal received his BA from Penn State University, and went on to earn his MFA from North Carolina State University. This semester he is teaching four sections of Eng 103: Rhetoric and Writing. 

How would you describe yourself as a teacher?

I tend to combine a number of different modes, variously employing Socratic seminar-style discussion, in-class writing or group work, handouts, videos, and yes, even lecturing occasionally.M.Begnal.recent

When are your office hours?

M/W 4:00-5:00pm and TH 12:30-2:00pm, at RB 393.

What are you reading?

I recently finished Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, and now I’m beginning to re-read Everything’s an Argument (Lunsford, et al.), a composition textbook.

What do you think everyone should read?

Haniel Long’s documentary poem Pittsburgh Memoranda (1935), a forerunner to Muriel Rukeyser’s Book of the Dead and William Carlos Williams’s Paterson. Long’s focus is the relation between the personal and the political in the face of economic exploitation, and Pittsburgh Memoranda can be approached both as a response to its own time (the Depression) and as a possible way forward in our current context.

What’s your biggest pet peeve in the classroom / what is a big mistake students tend to make?

I’d like to slightly reframe this and simply remind students that they are here for a reason, which is to learn and therefore to better themselves, that even today attending a university is still a privilege not everyone in the world is able to have, and that they are (or perhaps someone close to them is) paying a lot of money for the opportunity. Thus, it behooves all of us to be focused on the work at hand, to take it seriously, and to seize every available moment. That tweet or text can wait for an hour—learning how to sustain one’s concentration is a good and valuable thing.

What are you working on right now?

Some last minor edits to a chapbook-length collection of poems. I also recently completed a rewrite of an academic article I’ve been working on.

What are your other hobbies?

Music, film, baseball, Gaeilge (the Irish language).


Please join us in welcoming Professor Begnal to our department. We’re very grateful to have him! 

Emily Rutter

Dr. Rutter received her BA in History from UNC-Chapel Hill, then went on to earn her MA in English from North Carolina State University. She then earned her Ph.D. in English from Duquesne University. This semester, she is teaching one section of ENG 230 Reading and Writing About Literature and one section of ENG 250 American Literature 2: 1860 to the Present. 

How would you describe yourself as a teacher?

In the classroom, I am committed to helping students forge connections between the literature we read, discuss, and write about and the world beyond the classroom walls. Thus, a lot of my teaching focuses on concrete strategies for rutterstrengthening students’ analytical thinking and writing skills—skills that are transferable to students’ personal and, ultimately, professional lives. Also, as a teacher and scholar of Multi-Ethnic American literature, I am often asking students to leave the comfort of their own experiences and think across boundaries of gender, race, sexuality, class, and culture. Sometimes this means leaving the classroom and visiting an art museum or taking a walking tour of historical sites; other times, these cross-cultural exchanges might happen as we share our thoughts on a poem or novel in a Socratic-seminar style discussion. Whatever the structure of the lesson, my goal is for students to view themselves as astute cultural critics capable of making original insights and teaching me a thing of two in the process.

When are your office hours?

Tuesday and Thursday: 1-4pm; or by appointment.

What are you reading?

I recently read Adam Mansbach’s Angry Black White Boy, a fascinating novel about race and performance (and baseball history thrown in for good measure). And, I am about to begin Fran Ross’s Oreo, which takes up similar issues.

What do you think everyone should read?

Claudia Rankine’s recent collection Citizen: An American Lyric (2014) and Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved (1987).

What’s your biggest pet peeve in the classroom/what is a big mistake students tend to make?

My aim in the classroom is to create a safe and productive space, where every student feels comfortable taking intellectual risks. I think it is important to remember that we are a collective striving toward a common goal, rather than a group of individuals striving to make the “best” comment or to score the highest grade. Thus, my proudest moments are when students build on each other’s comments or give a classmate a constructive idea of how to revise an argument. We achieve the most intellectually, I believe, when we work together.

What are you working on right now?

I am working on a monograph about literary representations of African American baseball experiences. I suggest that writers use their representations to trouble the myths about baseball as an athletic and distinctively masculine manifestation of the American dream. Moreover, I contend that playwrights, poets, and novelists play crucial archival roles by filling in the gaps in the historically whitewashed records of the “national pastime.”

What are your other hobbies?

I enjoy listening to music, cooking, and, of course, reading and writing. When given the opportunity, I also really love traveling.