Packing up

It’s the eve of my last day as a member of the faculty at Missouri University of Science & Technology. I’ve been packing up my office so that the new chair, Dr. Kristine Swenson, can move in. My family has lived in the same house for nearly 35 years, so I don’t have recent experiences of moving. I’d forgotten the reflections aroused by sorting and boxing papers, files, letters, books, manuscripts . . . a long list of types of items.

A good part of the things from my file cabinets will go to the university archives; a fair number will be left for Dr. Swenson to use. A small number, fewer than I’d expected, are coming home with me. Riffling through a folder of letters 25 or 30 years old is unsettling, partially because of the dust in them, more because of the memories of people and events. Much of my correspondence is with other writers, poets, editors, and teachers. These letters will go to the archives to be cataloged and will be available for scholarly research.

Part of the archives will be the issues of Christianity and Literature when I was poetry editor (1975-1983). Correspondence with the poets and my own records will also be there. When I first encountered C&L, it was a wire-stitched (stapled) newsletter with a lot of energy. I saw it go to perfect-binding and glossy paper. (Not that changes in format were my doing!)

I have had many books in my office; there are fewer now. I’ve been giving away books to colleagues, friends, students, and family members. Those that are left will go either to Reader’s Corner, the ones that that business will buy, to my library at home, or . . . I’m not sure where else, but certainly elsewhere.

My files, drafts of poems, and correspondence have been almost entirely electronic for twenty years. How do electronic files relate to archiving? Going through a mass of old email or document files would be less personal and engaging than digging out papers that I haven’t touched for years.

Empty Irons, Prize Filly

Empty Irons 06 08 .jpg Linda Sands, the department’s Administrative Assistant, also raises Quarter Horses. Early this month, Emma (her nickname) competed in the 2009 Iowa 7 Day Run in Des Moines. Linda’s explanation of Emma’s success follows:

Empty Irons, 4 yr old bay American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) filly by high point stallion Iron Enterprise, recently earned the title of High Point Open horse at the 2009 Iowa 7 Day Run in Des Moines.    She also won two circuit championships – the Green Hunter Under Saddle and the Open Hunter Under Saddle.

Emma has accumulated over 20 AQHA points in just a few shows, and our goal is for her to acquire her Superior HUS title (50 Pts) and to become qualified in Junior Hunter Under Saddle in time for the World Championship Show this November.  Emma is a 16-2 hand, quiet and elegant filly.  She is sweet and easy to be around, fun to ride also!   She has lots of ring presence with a big, sweepy and consistent stride.

Emma is trained byJoni and Craig Nelson, from Long Grove, IA.   They are doing a superb job in training and showing Emma.

See one of her winning rides.

Dr. Bruce L. Edwards

In 1977, Bruce L. Edwards received his BA in English from the English Department here at Missouri S&T. (We were the University of Missouri – Rolla at the time.) He went on to an MA from Kansas State University and then a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in 1981. From there, Dr. Edwards went to Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where he has been ever since.

Currently, Dr. Edwards is Professor of English and Africana Studies at BGSU, where he also is Associate Vice-Provost for Academic Technology.

His scholarly interests include C. S. Lewis and Kenneth Pike, both of which, I like to think, were encouraged here. Dr. Edwards’ Web site provides much information and many links for you to browse.

A Promotion in the Department

Dr. Ed Malone has successfully navigated Missouri S&T’s tenure and promotion process and been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. Dr. Malone has worked hard for this recognition, as a scholar, a teacher, and as Director of Technical Communication. If you see Ed, shake his hand and congratulate him.

Department Picnic

I’ve just returned from the Department of English and Technical Communication’s annual picnic. At the end of every spring semester, we gather to socialize, announce scholarship awards, give Academic Scholar’s List certificates — and eat.

Despite the afternoon’s being chilly, windy, and rainy, over 50 people, students, faculty, spouses, children, parents, came to Lion’s Club Park here in Rolla. It’s especially nice to see young children at department picnics and also nice to meet the parents of some of our students.

Perhaps you will be able to join us next May.

How To Make a Difference

“I’m an engineer, not a poet. How can English classes be important to me?” Terry Bollinger, Computer Science major at Missouri University of Science & Technology, answers clearly, “If you want to make a difference in the broader scheme of things, you
have to be able to communicate your thoughts clearly and convincingly.”

Back in the 1970s, the English Department of Missouri S&T (then UMR), began offering a writing minor. One of the first students to take a minor was Terry Bollinger, then a B.S. Student in Computer Science. Terry received his B.S. in 1977 and an M.S. in Computer Science in 1980,both from S&T. The title of this post comes from Terry’s statement quoted above.

Terry was on the S&T campus on April 23 and 24 as a member of the Computer Science Department’s Advisory Board. The Department of English and Technical Communication was fortunate to have Terry meet with an English/Tech Com 260 class. Terry carried on a lively informal conversation with the class, centering on a project the class has been working on.

Currently, Terry works for DeVenCI as their main technology assessor of emerging IT and hard science products. DeVenCI works together with the Department of Defense. Writing is a major component of Terry’s career. If you visit Terry’s personal Web site, you can find many examples of his reports and his advocacy of open source software and of Linux.

It was a real pleasure for me to talk with Terry and sit in on his conversation with the class. He was one of my students here and one of the best I’ve had in 42 years.

Kate Drowne: Woman of the Year

Dr. Kate Drowne, Associate Professor of English and Technical Communication, was named Woman of the Year at the annual Woman of the Year luncheon on April 20. This Award is given annually by Missouri University of Science and Technology.

The program from the luncheon says that the “Woman of the Year Award is given to a female faculty member dedicated to student education and committed to diversity. . . . the Woman of the Year exemplifies the abilities and qualities that improve the campus climate for women.”
As chair of the Department of English and Technical Communication, I’m proud of Dr. Drowne and delighted that she has received this well-deserved award. I am also

Dr. Kristine Swenson to be Department Chair

Dr. Kristine Swenson, Associate Professor of English and Technical Communication, has accepted the position of chair of the department. Dr. Swenson’s duties will begin on July 1, 2009. Dr. Swenson’s years of experience at Missouri S&T (UMR when she came here in 1998) make her well-qualified to handle the demanding job of administering the department.

During this academic year (fall 2008 – spring 2009) Dr. Swenson has been on research leave, pursuing her book project on the Kenealy sisters, Arabelle and Annesley. The sisters were trained in medicine, one as a doctor, the other a nurse. They were active feminists and popular writers. I was privileged to hear Dr. Swenson’s presentation on this research at the 2007 Woman of the Year banquet. It’s very promising.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Swenson as department chair.

Retired . . . to a Sports Car

With my own retirement drawing near, I wonder about the situation of retired colleagues, friends who began teaching here when I did and have had the good sense to retire before me. One of these is Michael Patrick, Associate Professor Emeritus of English. Mike retired nearly twenty years ago. When I asked for news for the department newsletter, Mike replied with a generous amount of new, more than would fit into Panoply. For the interest of those who know Mike, perhaps took classes with him, here is a slightly edited version of what he sent.
Currently, he and his wife, Sheena, live in Fairhope, Alabama. Mike has continued scholarly activities focused the book,

Celebrating the Humanities at Missouri S&T

We do have Humanities at Missouri University of Science & Technology.While some may think of the Humanities as an ornament to educating engineers and scientists, the areas in Humanities – English, History, Philosophy, the Arts, Languages – are important areas of research in their own right. Scholars and creators in these areas create knowledge and experiences that benefit society beyond the bounds of the campus.

On March 18, the second event Celebrating Excellence in the Humanities will be held in St Pat’s B in the Havener Center. The event starts at 2:00 and ends about 3:00. The scholars being celebrated are Michael Bruening, History and Political Science, Kate Drowne, English and Technical Communication, Eric Bryan, English and Technical Communication, and Audra Merfeld-Langston, Arts, Languages, and Philosophy.

Each scholar will speak briefly on his or her research, topics as diverse as the Reformation, the flapper in American culture, Old Norse mythology, and responses to globalization in rural France. Publications by other members of each department will be on display.

Members of the public, as well as the campus community, are welcome. See you there!