Keep an eye out for the English Society’s biggest event of the semester: the Halloween Murder Mystery Party! Literary characters galore from very separate works of fiction are all brought together for a dinner party, only to find out that one of their number has been murdered. Show up on October 31 in St. Mary’s from 4-6 to help us figure out who dunnit. Also, check out the club’s biweekly book-sharing’s at theenglishsociety.wordpress.com. If you have any questions, email Grace Kirk firstname.lastname@example.org or McKenzie Parker email@example.com
Author Dan DeWeese will read from his work as the first 2014-2015 guest of the English department’s Readings & Lectures Series on Monday, September 22, at 7:30 p.m., in Buckley Center room 163. His reading is free and open to faculty, staff, students, and the public.
DeWeese is the author of a novel, You Don’t Love This Man, and a story collection titled Disorder. He is also founding editor of Propeller, a web magazine of books, film, art, and culture, and of Propeller Books, the magazine’s publishing imprint. He teaches writing and film courses at Portland State University.
For more information contact Genevieve Brassard, English, at 7543 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Though some students may take an adventure to downtown Portland or grab a cup of coffee at Cathedral Coffee to step outside the UP bubble, it’s not often that UP students are able to share their ideas or showcase their work in the greater Pacific Northwest community. For the past 11 years, however, the Northwest Undergraduate Conference on Literature (NUCL) has broke this bubble right on campus by inviting all undergraduates in the Pacific Northwest to share and discuss their writing.
On Saturday, April 5, UP hosted the eleventh annual Northwest Undergraduate Conference on Literature (NUCL) in Franz Hall. NUCL gives students an opportunity to present their own papers or creative works to a panel of their peers for discussion.
Sophomore Hope Dorman, an English major, worked as a respondent last year to help moderate discussion on scholarly papers or creative works submitted to NUCL. This year, Dorman submitted her own essay to NUCL and was selected to present her paper at the conference.
“While it’s great to share within your own English department, nothing’s greater than discussing your work with a stranger that is also educated in the same field as you,” Dorman said.
Dorman’s essay discussed women’s oppression in the context of the book “Season of Migration to the North” by Tayeb Salih. This work takes place in Sudan in the 1960s and touches upon different elements of oppression within Islamic culture.
“I’m a super-feminist and this issue was very apparent in the novel, so it was cool to analyze and pick out all the pieces of something that’s really important to me,” Dorman said.
Senior Jonathan Cruz, an education and English major, chose to submit a short story about his home back in Hawaii.
Cruz’s essay discussed his personal experiences about what home really means to him and the economic limits of Hawaii that people outside of the island don’t often realize.
“I wanted to be published and I think that NUCL is a great way for undergraduates to be published. It’s difficult as an undergrad to be recognized for work, and NUCL is a great way to realize that our works are greater than ourselves and that our works actually matter to other people,” Cruz said.
Aside from presenting papers and listening to papers written by their peers, students are invited to attend NUCL’s keynote speakers who are distinguished in the field of literature. NUCL was sponsored by the English department, the Provost’s Office, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Dean of Admissions, and the University of Portland as a whole. Submissions for NUCL ran between Dec. 1, 2013 to Jan. 20, 2014 and English professors Sarah Weiger and Genevieve Brassard were co-chairs for this conference.
Sourced from Beacon
Chosen over hundreds of scholars applying for a handful of highly competitive placements, English professors and married couple Lars Larson and Molly Hiro have been awarded Fulbright U.S. Scholar Teaching Grants to India.
They’ll be embarking to the southeast Asian country in August with their two daughters to teach comparative American literature courses and enjoy the international experience as a family.
It’s unusual for couples to be selected for Fulbright awards to the same country in the same year, and Hiro and Larson are honored and excited to spend five months of their sabbatical teaching together in India.
“We wanted the challenge,” Larson said. “We wanted to figure out what questions we were not asking in life. To step outside of the American bubble, and see what it means to be human outside of that definition.”
Only recently alerted of their successful applications, Hiro and Larson are making practical preparations as they await details on their placements. They hope to be assigned the same university in New Delhi, teaching courses in their respective areas of interest and allowing India to revitalize their intellectual and personal perspectives.
“One of the downsides of working in American literature is that you don’t have global interests,” Hiro said. “As a professor, I’m very excited to allow this to change my scholarship.”
It was Hiro’s wanderlust that inspired the couple to apply for Fulbrights. Neither she nor Larson studied abroad as undergraduates, so after attending a Fulbright workshop in summer 2012, Hiro saw a second chance for travel.
The couple chose India as their destination not because of research interests, but in hopes that the vast number of grants offered in that country would increase their chances of both being selected. And pragmatic considerations aside, they expect their experience in India to be a mix of work and vacation.
Last summer Hiro and Larson researched India through books, films and histories in order to craft intelligent application proposals, but they recognize there’s a limit to what they can prepare for.
They are swift to note the diverse challenges they’ll face: language barriers, infrastructure troubles, bureaucratic red tape, sickness from exposure to unfamiliar foods and microbes, the relentless heat, cultural misunderstandings and possibly adjusting their teaching styles.
Also their two children – soon to be 7 and 10 – have never left the country and may be five months without formal education. Since American and international schools in India have long waitlists, Hiro and Larson might prefer their daughters to learn by exploring the cultural and historical aspects day-to-day of India.
“We fully expect, from how different life in India is – how hot it is, how crowded, how conspicuous they’ll be – they won’t think it’s fun on a daily basis,” Hiro said. “But we hope and believe that they’ll look back with a kind of fondness and feel like they’ve learned a lot.”
Senior English major Cerice Keller, who worked as Hiro’s research assistant, said Larson and Hiro’s humility and self-awareness will help them adapt to life in India.
“They are so deserving of this,” Keller said. “I can’t wait to hear about their experiences when they get back.”
Hiro said the English department has been very supportive, despite how unusual it is to lose two professors to sabbatical at once. English professor Geneviève Brassard will replace Hiro as department chair July 1, and a one-year replacement with a doctorate will be hired as an adjunct to teach American and introductory literature courses. An additional adjunct will be brought on if necessary next fall.
Hiro and Larson plan to return to the States in early January, and spend the second half of their sabbatical researching and writing. They’re excited to discover how taking American literature abroad will reshape their viewpoints, and how a semester in a foreign country will bring them closer together as a family.
It’s that challenge of defamiliarization, according to Larson, that’s central to this Fulbright teaching experience.
“Portland, as everybody knows, is a comfortable town, it’s smug and self-conscious,” Larson said. “We want to get outside of this pristine zone and maybe bring back some things Portland may have forgotten.”
Sourced from Beacon
While the University of Portland takes pride in their small student to faculty ratio, few professors get to know their students well enough to about one’s passion for glitter. However, senior English major Cerice Keller and English professor Dr. Molly Hiro are an exception to the rule. The pair spent the summer of 2013 working together on an undergraduate research project.
“This was one of the key moments of my undergraduate career,” Keller said of the research experience. “It was working one-on-one with a faculty member, which I don’t think many students get to do very often.”
Hiro seized the opportunity when Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Terry Favero offered to give scholarships to students working on research with faculty members. Over a six week period, Keller worked to compile a bibliography (essentially, an annotated list of sources) for Hiro on Hiro’s research topic: Racial Feeling and Empathy. The project ended up being the motivation for Keller’s senior thesis.
“I thought, ‘I should look into that…working on a student with something’,” Hiro said. “So I apporoached Cerice and asked if she wanted to do it…when I was a grad student, I was hired by one of my professors and mentors to be a research assistant for her to compile a bibliography.”
Keller feels that she gained a better understanding both of herself and her field of study through her research experience.
“I got to create the environment that I had always wanted for my first three years of college. Being able to wake up in the morning and have a cup of coffee and sit with my blanket on my couch and I’d have spread of books on one topic that I am, as well, very interested in,” Keller said. “It was just my own enclave of fantasy, but it was actually happening.”
Hiro agrees that she witnessed growth in Keller throughout the process, as well as growth in herself.
“I had to kind of pin myself down and explain the questions I was interested in,” Hiro said. “Conversations like that make you become a teacher because I think it makes you realize how much you take for granted and how much explaining foundational concepts can be really useful.”
Additionally, Keller cited the value of working so closely with a professor in completing such a project, and in developing as a student in general.
“A lot of people are surprised at how excited I was to get to meet with my professor once a week,” Keller said. “Getting to talk with somebody who knows more than I do about literature and life stuff, too, it was like a mentorship.”
Hiro and Keller agreed that the experience was extremely positive, and that students and professors alike can benefit from working together on such a project. Hiro cautioned interested professors to choose carefully when considering which student to collaborate with.
“I would say, don’t be hesitant to show how passionate you are for a subject,” Keller said, offering advice for students considering undergraduate research. “Don’t be afraid to ask those questions that you may think are stupid because chances are other people have the same questions.”
Story by Clare Duffy
University professors Lars Erik Larson and Molly Hiro have been selected to receive Fulbright U.S. Scholar Teaching Grants to India for the 2014-2015 academic year. Larson and Hiro are both English professors at the University, and a married couple as well. They joined the faculty in 2005. Larson and Hiro anticipate that they will serve for one semester at a university or set of universities in India, possibly New Delhi. The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board will inform them of their destination at a later date.
Hiro was an award-winning teacher at UCLA before coming to UP, and currently serves as chair of the English department. Her academic areas of expertise include African-American writers, American women writers, multi-ethnic American literature, American literature and social change, nineteenth-century American literature, and American modernism.
Larson also taught at UCLA before coming to Portland, and his academic interests include twentieth-century American literature, nineteenth-century American literature, western American literature, literature and the visual arts, cultural geography, literature of the environment, and spatiality nonfiction. He received the University of Portland Faculty Outstanding Teaching Award in 2013.
Since 1996, there have been a total of 13 Faculty Fulbrights awarded to professors at the University of Portland, including business professor Arjun Chatrath in 2005; English professor John McDonald, education professor Blaine Ackley, and business professors Richard Gritta and Mark Meckler in 2007; and biology professor Katie O’Reilly in 2012.
The United States Fulbright program began in 1946 after World War II to “assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United States and other countries of the world” through the exchange of students, scholars and professionals. The program operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.
For more information contact Molly Hiro, English, at email@example.com.
Sourced from UpBeat.
Caption: Caccavano, Brown, Hecht, and Good gave professional advice to English students.
As an English major, one might hone skills that seem applicable to a wide variety of occupations, such as reading, writing, and communicating effectively. However, because this area of study doesn’t necessarily point students in the direction of any one job in particular, the thought of seeking out the right one can be somewhat daunting.
In order to combat some of this uncertainty, the English department at the University of Portland holds an annual panel event where UP English alumni come to speak with students about their current careers and the paths they took to get there.
“These panelists are living proof of the different paths that an English major can take you on,” said Molly Hiro, Chair of the English Department.
This year’s panel, held on February 10, featured four UP graduates of the last ten years: Dan Caccavano, Developer at RightSignature and Class of 2005; Kelly Brown, Finance and Marketing Administrator at Tears of Joy Theatre and Class of ‘08; Rachel Good, Proposal Specialist at Ecova and Class of ‘08; and Morgan Hecht, Domestic Violence Advocate at the Raphael House and Class of ‘11.
These panelists are currently doing everything from software development to grant writing, but all cited their English background as instrumental in attaining their current careers.
“The ability to structure and organize thoughts is an invaluable skill,” Good said. “A lot of people without English degrees seem to struggle with those things.”
Caccavano agreed. “I think a lot of us take for granted our ability to express ourselves coherently,” he said.
One connection that several of the panelists had was having done volunteer work as a step on their paths to their current careers. Caccavano taught abroad for a year after graduation, and Good and Hecht both volunteered in their field of work before eventually getting a job.
“Take opportunities even if they’re not exactly what you envisioned for yourself because they lead to other things,” Brown said.
On a related note, the panelists discussed the importance of making and maintaining connections when looking for jobs as an English major. Several of them cited doing informational interviews as a useful way of getting one’s foot in the door at a company or organization.
“Talk to people in the positions you want about what they do. Who you know is the most important thing,” Good said.
Hiro concurred with this conclusion and was able to discuss its effectiveness from a different standpoint.
“I can speak to the flattery that informational interviews involve,” Hiro said. “Most people like the idea of other people wanting to follow in their footsteps.”
Overall, the panelists had only positive things to say about their experiences in UP’s English program and beyond.
“If you’re really interested in something, it’s always valuable to pursue it,” Good said.
Story by Clare Duffy
The University of Portland’s Schoenfeldt Distinguished Writers Series will welcome former U.S. Poet Laureate Louise Glück to campus on Thursday, February 13, at 7 p.m., where she will read from her work in Buckley Center Auditorium. The event is free and open to faculty, staff, students, and the public.
Glück recently released Poems 1962-2012, a collection spanning her entire career. The collection was awarded the 2013 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. The author of more than 10 books of poetry, Glück explores, as Donna Seaman noted, “the turmoil of family life; the fever, bliss, and misery of lust and love; the circular battle with the self; age and death.”
The Schoenfeldt Distinguished Writers Series was founded in 1988 by Rev. Arthur Schoenfeldt, C.S.C., of the University’s Holy Cross community, and his sister, University regent Suzanne Schoenfeldt Fields, in honor of their late parents. The series is designed to honor and celebrate the art of writing by bringing some of the finest writers in the United States to the UP campus. For more information contact John Orr at 7857 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Teaching and Scholarship Committee invites all faculty and staff to presentations offered by the teaching and scholarship faculty award winners, 2013. Lars Larson, Winner of the Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, will present “Dialectical Teaching in a Righteous Age” and Russ Butkus and Steve Kolmes, Winners of the Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship, will present “Children in Jeopardy: Anthropogenic Toxins and Childhood Exposure”. The presentations will take place on Tuesday, March 4 at 4:30pm in BC 163. Coffee and cookies will be served. Contact Lauretta Frederking email@example.com if there are any questions.
Please join the English department for “Life after the English Major,” a panel discussion featuring recent English major alumni, on Monday, February 10, at 4 p.m., in Franz Hall room 128. All humanities majors and the humanities-curious are welcome. The panel will feature:
- Kelly Brown ’08, finance & marketing administrator for Tears of Joy Theatre
- Dan Caccavano ’05, software developer for RightSignature
- Rachel Good ’08, proposal specialist at Ecova
- Win Martin ’07, associate at Perkins Coie.
For more information contact English department chair Molly Hiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sourced from UpBeat