Tag Archives: Adam Beach

Rani Crowe's Short Film Featured at Film Festivals (and More September Good News)

The beginning of the semester has been filled with many accomplishments. Read more to learn about the department’s achievements!

Rani Deighe Crowe‘s short film, Texting: A Love Story, played at the Broad Humor Film Festival at the beginning of the month. The film also:Texting: A Love Story

  • Played at the Milwaukee Women’s Film Festival in August, winning the Audience Award for short film
  • Has been accepted to 74 festivals around the world, including screenings in Israel, South Africa, Japan, Greece, Italy, Austria, Germany, and the UK

In October, the film will screen at the Indie Hype Film Festival in Sydney, Australia and the Portland Comedy Film Festival in Portland, Oregon.

In other news…

Dr. Darolyn “Lyn” Jones accepted an invitation to serve as a three year term board member for the Indiana Teachers of Writing (ITW). She also:

  • Presented at the conference “#blacklivesmatter: And So Do Authentic Writing Prompts” at the Indiana Teachers of Writing Annual Conference with Michael Baumann, a Ph. D. in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Louisville.
  • Spoke with Dr. Sheron Fraser-Burgess at the Indiana Association of Black School Educators (IABSE) Annual Fall Meeting on the topic of “How and why we should create more clubs like the Alliance of Black and Latino Teachers (ABLT) club.”
  • Released her new book “Memory Workshop” with co-author Barbara Shoup

Dr. Adam Beach‘s essay, “Aubin’s The Noble Slaves, Montagu’s Spanish Lady, and English Feminist Writing about Sexual Slavery in the Ottoman World” was accepted for publication in Eighteenth-Century Fiction.

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Good News for April 2015

In the latest installment of the “Good News” series, the Ball State English department highlights the accomplishments of our faculty and students up through the month of April. 
Yes, we’re a little late. Finals are tough!

Faculty

Dr. Carolyn Mackay working in Yecuatla, Mexico.

Dr. Carolyn Mackay working in Yecuatla, Mexico.

Drs. Frank Trechsel and Carolyn Mackay have each received a sizable fellowship which will allow them to do a year of research in Mexico. The grant was part of a joint initiative between National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support fieldwork and other activities relevant to recording, documenting, and archiving endangered languages. Their project title is “A Dictionary of Misantla Totonac,” and it was one of just 232 humanities projects awarded in the United States and one of seven in the state of Indiana.

Dr. Pat Collier will be a Virginia Ball Center Fellow in Spring 2016. In his symposium, “Everyday Life in Middletown,” students will study and create a documentary film about everyday life in Muncie, drawing on the growing body of “theory of everyday life” and borrowing from the radical aesthetics of the revolutionary Mass Observation project in 1930s Britain. The project will thus partake in—and revise and expand—the tradition of “Middletown Studies.”

Dr. Mary Lou Vercellotti‘s article “The Development of Complexity, Accuracy, and Fluency in Second Language Performance: A Longitudinal Study” was recently published in Applied Linguistics, one of the top three linguistics journals in her discipline. This study is note-worthy because the results offer the field important evidence to inform language learning theories and will most likely inform future language-learning pedagogy.

Prof. Liz Whiteacre is the recipient of a 2015 Excellence in Teaching Award. She will be provided the assistance of an instructional development team and stipend for her project, titled “Building Community: Engaging Students through Literary Citizenship,” to redesign her ENG 308 Poetry Writing course. Prof. Whiteacre will also be recognized at the Fall Convocation.

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4 Takes on the Human Body: Come to Take 4 on 4/3

April 3, 2015 (4:30 – 6:30 PM)

You can listen to Adam Beach, Debbie Mix, Joyce Huff, and Liz Whiteacre share their research and writing in Robert Bell 361!

Each presentation will be about the human body, and there are a lot of ways to do that. Some bodies are accepted as “beautiful,” while others aren’t. Some injuries can change a person’s life. Some industries see the body as a commodity.

Following their presentations, you’ll have time to ask questions, learn about other upcoming events, and mingle. The event is free and open to the public.

We hope to see lots of people there: undergraduates, graduate students, and all faculty!


A little bit about the speakers


Dr. Adam Beach Adam Beach


Deborah Mix Debbie Mix


Joyce Huff

Joyce Huff

  • She earned her Ph.D. in English at George Washington University, and she specializes in Victorian literature. Her research explores the representation of stigmatized human bodies.
  • Her poem, “The Hymn of a Fat Woman” was selected for the Library of Congress’ Poetry 180 Project.
  • She’ll be running Ball State’s academic journal next year: Digital Literature Review. The theme will be “Freak Shows and Human Zoos,” and you can e-mail (jlhuff@bsu.edu) her if you’re curious about joining the immersive learning project.

Liz Whiteacre Liz Whiteacre


We hope to see you there!

Dr. Beach and Tyler Fields Go to the Job Fair. Part II: How You Can Make Yourself More Marketable! (By Tyler Fields)

On February 21st, Dr. Adam Beach and English department intern Tyler Fields attended the Ball State Job Fair to ask employers about their views of job candidates who hold a degree in English.  In this post, Tyler writes about the suggestions of the company recruiters for ways that English majors can make themselves more marketable.  Click here for Dr. Beach’s previous post about the recruiters’ positive views of English majors.

From parents of prospective students to graduates entering the job market, many find themselves asking the same question, “What do you do with a BA in English?” A creative writing major myself, I have asked my share of similar questions; however, after visiting Ball State’s job fair this past February with English Department Assistant Chair Dr. Beach, I discovered that the answer is, “Quite a lot, actually.” After visiting 30 job fair booths and talking with representatives, Dr. Beach and I began to notice the distinct pattern that many professions – ranging from insurance to media – were not only accepting of the idea of hiring an English major, but were often excited about the prospect. Many representatives noted a lacking skillset in their work force such as communication, critical thinking, and leadership among others. The English major can offer many of these skills and also allows for unique customization, where many other majors cannot. The question should not be, “What can I do with a BA in English?” but rather, “How can I enhance my BA in English?”

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Dr. Beach and Tyler Fields Go to the Job Fair. Part One: Yes, They Do Hire English Majors! (By Dr. Adam R. Beach)

“It doesn’t matter what your degree is—it matters how capable you are.  You have to have good communication and writing skills.”

“We can teach a good writer how to do other things, but we can’t teach people how to write!”

“We need people who can think critically and who are able to make decisions. We don’t need black and white thinkers.”

“We want people who can write, learn, and communicate—we will teach them the rest in our training program!”

“When we look at your online profile, we want to see pictures of you reading The Odyssey.  We want serious, intellectual people who read. Readers make for good employees.”

Many people have the erroneous impression that the English major is an impractical degree that does not lead to gainful employment after graduation.  Some believe that English majors are only good for teaching jobs, or that creative writing majors are doomed to work in coffee shops while they pursue their dreams of being successful and published authors.  These impressions stem from the increasingly prevalent idea (at least in American society) that the main purpose of college is job training of one kind or another. Thus, many students feel pressured to take a course of study that they think is “practical,” by which they mean a major that is, in fact, intended for professional training in a specific field: accounting, nursing, pre-medicine, architecture, etc.

Those of us who work in the English Department like to tell a different story, one in which we encourage students to see college as a time to pursue their passions, to expand their minds, to engage in intellectual adventures, to read great books, and to develop their skills in writing, analysis, research, creative thinking, and communication.  We tell them that there is work out there for smart, hardworking English majors who have those skills.  We tell them that you cannot “major” in most of the jobs in our economy, nor can we totally anticipate what kinds of jobs will be available in the future as our economy and technology develop.  Over the years, those of us who have worked on the blog have collected enough great alumni stories to reaffirm our view.  You can read these stories here. But, we wanted to have more evidence to support this view, and, to that end, we decided to ask employers directly about their views about students who graduate with English majors.

On Thursday, February 21st, I attended the Ball State Job Fair at Worthen Arena along with department intern and graduating senior Tyler Fields.  Our goal was to pose a simple question to as many company recruiters as we could: do you hire English majors?  We talked directly with 30 company and organization recruiters, and only 4 of them told us that they were exclusively hiring people who hold specific or technical degrees like software engineering or accounting.  Every one of the rest of the recruiters told us that they would certainly hire a student who held an English major who was right for the job and showed interest in their company and field.

These recruiters represented companies that worked in the following fields: insurance (general and medical malpractice), banking, energy market brokers, financial planning, media (TV and print), large box retailer (store management training program), homebuilding, logistics and transportation, software development, international resorts, industrial manufacturing, industrial scale food production, consumer products manufacturing, and clothes manufacturing/fashion.  Every one of these recruiters said that English majors would be competitive for jobs in their companies and industries!

The quotes that lead this post were taken directly from different recruiters that we spoke with at the fair.  They express the recruiters’ sense that college is not necessarily for job training, but rather they see a college degree as only a first step towards a professional career, a place for students to develop a set of dispositions and skills that will serve them well in any number of jobs and careers throughout their lives.  Many of the most desirable dispositions and habits that employers are looking for, in fact, can be developed in the study of English and other humanities degrees!   The recruiters also offered many tips for English students about how they can make themselves more marketable.  Next week, Tyler Fields will post about the recruiters’ advice and about how English students can enhance their prospects on the job market.

Dr. Adam R. Beach Recommends “Finn: A Novel” by Jon Clinch

In the latest installment of our “Recommended Reads” series, Dr. Adam Beach, assistant chairperson to the Department of English, recommends Finn: A Novel by Jon Clinch.

Some of my favorite books are those modern or contemporary novels, sometimes called metafiction, that rewrite a classic piece of fiction from a different point of view.  For example, Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), which is perhaps my favorite such book, rewrites Jane Eyre (1847) by focusing on the life of Bertha, the madwoman in Rochester’s attic, and her life in the Caribbean as well as her marriage to Rochester, events that are only dimly referenced in Charlotte Brontё’s novel.  Another of my favorites in this line, J.M. Coetzee’s Foe (1986), takes a postmodern approach to Robinson Crusoe (1719) by giving us the doomed figure of Susan, a woman who was shipwrecked on Crusoe and Friday’s island.  Susan paints a rather dim picture of Crusoe, his domination over Friday, and the island itself—the first part of the book represents Susan’s narrative account of the island, which she subsequently gives to the author “Foe” upon her return to England in hopes of getting it published.  This Daniel Foe adds a fake “de” to his name, and in Coetzee’s book, becomes both an appropriator of Susan’s work and its enemy, for he takes her story, writes her out of it, and creates one of the most enduring British—and highly masculine—imperial fantasies.

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