Tag Archives: New Faculty Profile

Meet Our New Academic Advisor, Jennifer Wells

New #bsuenglish academic advisor Jennifer Wells earned her undergraduate degree from Ohio State in 1990. She was always interested in liberal arts, but started out as a film major before she chose to pursue an art history major. She has a passion for studying abroad that she hopes to share with her students. 

preview-chat-jennifer-wellsWhat are your office hours?

My office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. Occasionally, I have meetings on Wednesdays, so Wednesday mornings usually aren’t good. A lot of students schedule appointments. But if somebody walks in and I’m free, I am happy to see them.

What are you currently reading, if anything?

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. You need to read that book! It’s a real story. And it’s about a woman who, back in the 50s, had ovarian cancer and the hospital took some cells from her. She eventually passed away, but her cancer cells grew like nothing they had ever seen. So they started using her cells to do experiments on and they’ve made all this medical progress just from her cells. And it talks about her family and how they didn’t know the hospital was doing this and it gets into a real medical-ethics murky area. Lacks’s cells are still alive. Her cells are still growing from the 50s. They just keep regenerating and regenerating and growing new cells.

What is a book that you think everyone should read?

I have a book that I love. It’s fiction. It’s very small, it’s a very quick read. But it’s called Rain by Kirsty Gunn. It was something I just picked up on a fluke at a bookstore. I read it and I was drawn right in. It was just something I completely related to (even though it takes place in New Zealand and I have no experience in New Zealand). I still felt like I was right there. It was about a twelve year old girl and her family.

What are the biggest mistakes that you notice students tending to make?

Probably the biggest one we see here is waiting too long to take the Writing Proficiency Exam or not even realizing that students have to take the exam. Another common mistake is that students wait too long to come see me before registration. So they’re waiting until the last minute and then they can’t get in. I think it’s a good idea just generally to check in with me. I want to know that you’re okay and things are going okay, even if it’s boring or you don’t really have anything to talk about. And it helps me to get to know the students.

Are you working on any projects at the moment?

Really, I’m still just learning. They want us to update the four year plans for students on DegreeWorks. So I’m kind of getting used to that. I have other advisors I talk to and we all help each other. I don’t really have other projects yet. I know we are going to be looking at doing some group advising  before summer and fall registration starts, so hopefully we’ll have some more information about that coming up soon.

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I have always been interested in art. So, I do paint, I do a little bit of sculpture. And back home in Columbus, my family is involved with a scholarship at Ohio State. It involves making a gigantic cake shaped like Ohio Stadium. It’s about a 300-pound cake. My cousin started it as a dare one year. We’re still doing it 26 years later. I paint all the little figures we put in the stadium and around the stadium. It takes nine of us about a week (with people taking off work and everything). We’ve raised more the $150,000 for students and it goes straight into a scholarship fund.

What piece of advice would you offer your students?

Don’t be shy to ask for help. The one thing virtually every other former college student I ever talked to says, “I wish I would have taken advantage of the resources I had in college. Why didn’t I do that? I should in the writing center, I should have been in the math tutoring center. I should have been in all of that.”

Meet Dr. G Patterson!

How would you describe your perspective on teaching?

Whatever class I teach, I really like to focus on social justice. For example, a professional writing class doesn’t seem like it would have anything to do with social justice, and yet, in my classes students are working with campus groups and nonprofits to make a difference in their communities. Even in introduction composition courses, I want to he11156378_1624207644462444_9146109308537578909_nlp students understand the consequences of the stories they’re telling, and the stories they refuse to hear. I think that’s the crux of what I do: I think about the tangible impact that I’m making in students’ lives. I want to empower students to write into existence the world they want to see; I want them to really feel like they’re agents of change when they leave my class.

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Meet Professor Rani Crowe!

Assistant Professor Rani Crowe has been making and performing her own work for over twenty years, from stand-up comedy and solo performance art, to multimedia installations and filmmaking. This semester, she is teaching one section of ENG 310: Screenwriting and two sections of ENG 425: Film Studies.

How would you describe your perspective on teaching?

rani-croweThrough watching, reading, discussing, and practical application exercises, I guide students to learn skills and build muscles that build towards a culminating final project where they practically synthesize the skills they have learned. I like to create early non-precious exercises where exploration, risk, and failure are permitted and encouraged in order to learn the process. I try to guide students to be able to articulate their own artistic goals and standards, and help them successfully meet them in their final projects.

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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.

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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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Meet Dr. Jeff Spanke!

The English Department would like to introduce you to Dr. Jeff Spanke:

How would you describe your perspective on teaching?

I think that teaching is first of all a reciprocal enterprise. So I don’t like the idea that there’s a person with knowledge that gives that knowledge or gifts that knowl20150413_183438035_iosedge to students who are otherwise incapable of learning. I like the idea that teachers serve as guides and facilitators of students’ own learning process, and that ideally teachers are learning along the way too. So it’s a mutually beneficial and a reciprocal process that doesn’t need to take place in a classroom and often doesn’t take place in a classroom. In my experience this idea that we’re treating students as incomplete globs of clay just doesn’t make sense and it’s totally unrealistic. Students are complete individuals, they have worries and fears and motivations and goals, so within the institution of schools, teachers need to adapt to those needs and those learning styles, otherwise we’re just going to keep reproducing a system that every year leaves millions of kids feeling marginalized and othered. So I think teaching is the most noble and important and rewarding thing any of us can do, but I also think that it’s one of the most difficult, and one of the least understood professions in the world.

When are your office hours?

Right now they are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:00 until 2:00 pm in Robert Bell 246. Continue reading

Meet Professor Allison Layfield!

The English Department would like to introduce you to Professor Allison Layfield

Layfield_Allison.jpg Professor Layfield sees the classroom as a time for brainstorming and collaboration. Her goal in the classroom is to get students to think and actively participate in class discussion. She also wants her students to think about the discussions at home and then write about their ideas on the subject.

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New Faculty Profile: Dr. Mary Lou Vercellotti

This week, the department continues our series of new faculty profiles by featuring Dr. Mary Lou Vercellotti, who joined our department this year after earning a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012. Continue reading below to read the interview conducted by English department intern Liz Palmer.

*Photo provided by Mary Lou Vercellotti

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New Faculty Profile: Prof. Emily Jo Scalzo

This week, the department continues our series of new faculty profiles by featuring Professor Emily Jo Scalzo, who joined our department this year.  Prof. Scalzo earned her MFA in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno in 2010. Continue reading below for the interview conducted by English Department intern Nakkia Patrick.

*Photo provided by Emily Scalzo

*Photo provided by Emily Scalzo

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New Faculty Profile: Dr. JoAnne Ruvoli

In the fall of 2012, the Ball State English Department began a short series to celebrate and profile our newest faculty members. This week, the department continues the series of new faculty profiles by featuring Professor JoAnne Ruvoli, who joined our department this year. Continue reading below to read the interview conducted by English department intern Liz Palmer.

*Photo provided by JoAnne Ruvoli

*Photo provided by JoAnne Ruvoli

A great deal of your experience has bridged the gap between English studies and Italian-American studies. How did you get interested in Italian-American studies? Tell us a bit about your interdepartmental teaching and education.

I discovered Italian American literature while teaching Multi-Ethnic American literature as a high school teacher. My students were reading writers like Sandra Cisneros, Maya Angelou, Richard Wright, Richard Rodriquez, Maxine Hong Kingston, Sherman Alexie, Rudolfo Anaya, and Dee Brown. I would tell the students that they had to go out of their way to find their family’s stories if they weren’t reading them in school. One class in particular was very sharp and reflective. Those students turned that challenge back to me, and asked me where I had found my stories. My family migrated from Sicily to the United States in the early 1900s, but I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago in the 1970s and 80s after the old Italian neighborhoods had been dispersed. Most of my traditional undergraduate education had focused on British literature as an English major, and I had never even thought about the possibility of Italian-American literature before that moment. When I started my Masters degree a year or two later, I found a rich body of scholarship on Italian-American writers, which paved the way for my work and that of my colleagues. I research Italian-American literature, which is a specialization in the field of American literature. Italian-American texts are written in the English language with some Italian dialect phrases included. My study and training includes a range of literatures from the British, American, and Anglophone literary traditions, but I write about Italian-American texts in the context of Multi-Ethnic American literature.

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New Faculty Profile: Brian Morrison

This week, the department continues our new faculty profile series by featuring Brian Morrison, who joined our department this fall. Brian earned his M.F.A. at The University of Alabama in 2010. He has published 19 poems in various literary journals, has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, and has also won the Academy of American Poets Prize.  Brian also has served as assistant poetry editor at Black Warrior Review. Continue reading below to see Brian’s interview, which was conducted by English Department intern Nakkia Patrick.

*Photo provided by Brian Morrison

*Photo provided by Brian Morrison

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