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.

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.

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,

Weathering the Storm

Surely everyone knows by now that a series of economic catastrophes are shaking up our lives. Everyone I know has more questions than answers, and the answers seem to shift each day–or more often. The University of Missouri system faces serious budget cuts; the amount isn’t known yet.

This post expresses strictly my own views, stating my attitude more than what I know, because what I know isn’t much. The serious budget cuts that the University of Missouri system faces will affect the way each campus, each department, and each faculty member functions. The cuts will affect the educational process of students.
As chair of the Department of English and Technical Communication, my goal is to do all I can, and to support the department’s faculty and staff to do all they can, to ensure that we come through this storm with the least possible damage. The quality of our courses, our degree programs, our research will remain as high as before the crises.

Jambalaya and Literature

trent-1.jpgOn October 4 this year, Dr. Trent Watts was a featured author at the Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge, an all-day event in and around the outstanding 34-story Art Deco state capitol, where Huey Long was assassinated in 1935. The organizers of the festival invited Dr. Watts and a number of other authors, including novelists, poets, and non-fiction writers, to present panels at which they discussed their books before interested and enthusiastic public audiences. About 20,000 people came to hear the authors, watch cooking exhibitions, and listen to music ranging from zydeco and traditional fiddling to the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra.

The event was very family-friendly, with lots of children’s authors reading their books. The organizers of the festival also brought three contributors to White Masculinity in the Recent South, a collection of essays edited by Dr. Watts and published by Louisiana State University Press. These authors appeared on the panel with Dr. Watts. These contributors are Ted Ownby, Susan Donaldson, and Chip Arnold, outstanding scholars and writers. After their discussion and questions from the audience, Dr. Watts and his colleagues signed books.
The Louisiana Book Festival is only six years old, but it’s already grown into one of the best events of its kind in the country. Everything about it was first-rate. The authors were picked up at the Baton Rouge airport in a limousine, which was a treat. The night before the event, the Louisiana Book Festival threw a party for the authors at the Louisiana State Library. A jazz ensemble played while they ate jambalaya, gumbo, shrimp, catfish, and lots of other good southern food.

On Saturday night Dr. Watts and his wife, Jennifer, skipped another author event to go out to dinner at a great Baton Rouge restaurant. Their driver (the event organizers thought of everything) was an LSU student. When Jennifer said that it was a shame they weren’t going to be able to see the LSU campus, the driver insisted on giving us a nighttime tour. The campus is gorgeous, with magnificent old oaks everywhere. When Dr. Watts wanted to see Tiger Stadium, where LSU plays football the driver insisted that they stop to meet Mike the Tiger, the school mascot. He’s a Bengal/Siberian mix who’s well on his way to the 700 pounds he’ll weigh when he’s fully grown. Mike lives next to the stadium in a 15,000 (yes, 15,000) square foot enclosure, complete with a stream, a waterfall, and an Italianate tower.
Trent says, “I wish Missouri had an event like this one. It’s a great opportunity to present one’s work to the public. It’s also a good place to meet other scholars. A fellow I met at the Friday night party has agreed to work with me on my next book project.”

The Middle Ages Return to S&T!

This fall, Dr. Eric Bryan joined the faculty of The Department of English & Technical Communication. Dr. Bryan’s scholarly field is medieval literature. He received his PhD from St Louis University in 2007. This fall, Dr. Bryan is teaching our upper-level course in Chaucer, a welcome return of a significant course. In the spring 2009 semester, Dr. Bryan will be offering Fantasy Literature, a course that discusses a number of fantasy authors, including J. R. R. Tolkien.

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In response to my asking what about Tolkien’s work attracts him, Eric answered with three points:

1) “When you read Tolkien, you can’t help but think, “now here’s a guy who was fascinated by absolutely everything.” ??Languages, obviously. ??Literature, of course. ??But beyond that, Tolkien was curious about everything from the environment to food preparation, from sociology to military tactics. ??All of those fascinations come out in all of his writing, whether it be LOTR or “Leaf by Niggle” (another great word that Tolkien makes good use of, “to niggle”).”

2) “What I mentioned earlier about mythology. ??When I’m working on Norse or Celtic mythology and folklore, I’m constantly faced with the realization that I’m trying to solve a problem that has no solution. ??We can’t be sure whether the accounts we have are accurate or contaminated by the obviously Christian scribes who wrote them down. ??We know so little about it not so much because there’s not enough evidence, but moreso because we just don’t know how to interpret what we do have. ??It’s a wonderful challenge, but it’s also exhausting. ??With LOTR and, of course, the Silmarillion, I can just enjoy the stories. ??It’s NOT a mythology, as much as Tolkien makes it look like one. ??We don’t have to be skeptical.”

3) “Finally, I enjoy watching Tolkien pull from the very same literatures and mythologies that I study, myself. ??It’s just wonderful to see him revive Anglo-Saxon culture in the people of Rohan, to see him bring to life the mythology of the Norse Eddas, and to see him create a world that supports those vague and ancient stories of heroes and dragons.”

The department and Missouri S&T are fortunate to have a scholar and teacher of Dr. Bryan’s promise with us.

What Happens after Graduation? Ask Amy Edwards . . .

An English student
with minors in business and marketing, Amy Edwards, English 2007, stayed active at
the Missouri University of Science and Technology through KMNR, Blue Key,
International Friends and Southwinds Literary Journal. In addition, she served
as a writer at the Missouri S&T Department of Public Relations and
Communications, where she reported to Mary Helen Stoltz, English 1990. “Mary Helen
was an excellent mentor,” Amy said, adding that this writing and new media
experience paved the way for later positions.


Currently a graduate student at
Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., Amy spent the last year serving as a
new media specialist and marketing intern for Chicago-based companies Aptium
Global and Azul Partners. She remains a regular contributor to company blogs
MetalMiner (http://www.agmetalminer.com) and Spend
Matters (http://www.spendmatters.com). “We cover a
range of topics,” Amy explained to me. “I’ve written about everything from the
price of steel and the metals technology behind samurai swords to the metal
content in Olympic medals. I try to find topics that are fresh and
exciting, with a focus on the role of metals in global


Amy has firsthand experience with
“global society.” Taking advantage of Missouri S&T’s study abroad programs,
Amy’s semester in Lund, Sweden, spurred a life-long interest in comparative
literature. With
research interests that include postmodernism and feminist rhetorical theories,
Amy cites professors Anne Cotterill and Irina Ivliyeva as major influencers and
role models during her academic career at Missouri S&T.
Now that Amy
has completed the coursework for her master’s degree, she moved to Wisconsin
this fall, where she continues to work on her thesis. She serves as adjunct
faculty in writing and communications at Moraine Park Technical College.

What Happens after Graduation? Game Nite!

Sean Cordes, who received a BA in English from S&T (then UMR) in May 2000, currently is instructional services coordinator at the University Libraries Western Illinois University at Macomb. Recently, Sean brought the idea of Game Nite to WIU; he also was instrumental in organizing Game Nites at the the WIU library.
The accompanying newspaper story and video clip give more information about Game Nite and about Sean, whose commitment to learning through alternative media is strong. We’d like to think that commitment began when Sean was an undergraduate here in the late 1990s.