English Department News

Congratulations to Mohammed Albakry for winning a National Endowment for the Arts Grant for translation from Arabic of plays from the Egyptian Revolution.
The official announcement was released while I was out of town, so this news is somewhat less than new.

Michael Neth's co-edited volume three of the Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), containing over 600 pages out of the volume's 1100 of Dr. Neth's edited text of Shelley's Laon and Cythna (200 pages) and his extensive historical, linguistic, and critical commentary (400 pages) has just been announced winner of the 2013 Richard J. Finneran Award, presented biennially by the Society for Textual Scholarship for the best edition or book on editorial theory published over the past two years. The award will be presented at Loyala University in Chicago to general editors Neil Fraistat and Donald Reiman in March.    

Congratulations are very much in order to recognize Dr. Neth's outstanding achievement through nearly ten years of dedicated research and commentary that make brilliant new contributions to Shelley scholarship.

 MTSU Foundation Awards--banner year for English Department. Congratulations to the following colleagues for their accomplishments in 2012:

  • Martha P. Hixon--Outstanding Teacher Award
  • Ronald E. Kates--Outstanding Teacher Award
  • Jennifer W. Kates--Outstanding Public Service Award
  • Claudia Barnett--Creative Activity Award
Dr. Philip Phillips recently published A Companion to Boethius in the Middle Ages. Edited with Noel Harold Kaylor, Jr. Brill's Companions to the Christian Tradition 30. Leiden and Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2012.
Read in the Chronicle story about new thinking regarding the role and professionalization of full-time Instructors at MTSU.  While still in the planning stage, we at MTSU are nonetheless being cited as a model to consider for the near future in improving employment practices across the nation.  It's some of the best news coming out of Murfreesboro in recent memory. 
Congratulations to Dr. Mohammed Albakry, Fulbright winner; he will teach applied linguistics at Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco.
Congratulations to Dr. Philip Phillips, named Interim Dean of the Honors College for 2011-2012.
Congratulations to Dr. Mohammed Albakry, recipient of one of the 2009-10 MTSU Foundation's Outstanding Teacher Award.
Dr. William R. Wolfe, Professor Emeritus in the English Department, passed away on 6 January 2010. A specialist in Restoration and 18th-century literature, Dr. Wolfe served in the department from 1969 until his retirement in 1996. He taught at all levels of instruction, including the doctoral program, and the William R. Wolfe Graduate Writing Award memorializes his many contributions as a scholar and teacher to graduate education in English.
Dr. Gaylord Brewer is awarded the Tennessee Arts Commission 2010 Individual Artist Fellowship for Poetry.
Dr. Maria Clayton receives MTSU's 2009 Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Technology and is recognized at the International Conference on College Teaching and Learning as one of seven nominees for the Ernest L. Boyer International Award for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Technology.
Dr. Philip Phillips receives one oftwo MTSU Foundation Distinguished Research Awards for 2008.
Dr. David Lavery returns to the department after a two-year leave of absence to teach and conduct research at Brunnel College in West London. Welcome back, David!
Homage to Dr. Charles Wolfe
Programs sponsored by the Virginia Peck Trust in 2007-08.
Dr. Kevin Donovan assumes the Directorship of the department's Graduate Program; Dr. Tina Johnson assumes the Directorship of the Women's Studies Program. Congratulations to both.
University Writing Center dedicated to Dr. Margaret Ordoubadian in 2008.

On behalf of the Graduate Programs in English, we are pleased to announce the recipients of the William R. Wolfe Graduate Writing Awards for 2008. Please join us in congratulating the two winners, Holly Tipton and Collin Olson, as well as Emily LeClear, Nicole Guertin, and Cassandra Bishop for their Honorable Mentions. The awards are funded by the Virginia Peck Trust Fund. Recognition also goes to this year's judges fortheirwork in determining the winners: Drs. Hopkirk, Kostkowska and Marchant.

The awards will be presented at the College of Liberal Arts Awards Reception on Tuesday, April 22, 2008, from 2:30-4:00 p.m. in the James Union Building . We invite you to attend this reception in honor of these outstanding students and their achievement.

Dr. Gaylord Brewer's new collection of poetry, The Martini Diet , which won the 2006 Orphic Prize, has just been published (Aptos, CA: Dream Horse Press, 2008).
Dr. Claudia Barnett's play Feathers had its opening in Chicago, Wednesday, 7 November 2007, for an eleven-night run. This is a big night for Dr. Barnett, for the department, for the college, and for the university. Congratulations to Claudia!

Richard Peck was the first chair of this department. Upon his death Virginia , his widow and a member of the department, established the Richard C. and Virginia L. Peck Fund with the mission to provide scholarships to deserving English majors and English graduate students. The plaques on the wall near PH 302 list the names of Peck Award recipients since 1974, the first year of the awards.

On behalf of the Peck Fund committee, Dr. Larry Mapp invites faculty to nominate English majors and/or graduate students to be considered for the2007-2008 awards. Please identify your most academically accomplished and/or promising students—the ones whosewriting, responses to literature, enthusiasm,and improvement have attracted your attention.

To expedite the process:

  1. Send via email ( lgmapp@mtsu.edu ) the names of your nominees right in October 2007--or as soon as possible.
  2. Contact your nominees and havethem contact Larry Mapp via email ( lgmapp@mtsu.edu ) immediately so he can begin to gather the other information the committee considers in its deliberations.
  3. Send a letter of recommendation for each student—a page detailing the student's accomplishments and/or promise—as an email attachment to lgmapp@mtsu.edu by Friday, October 26. An attachment is necessary, not a hard copy.
On October 25-27, 2007, the MTSU English Department will sponsor the Conference on John Milton. This will be the ninth biennial Milton conference held in Murfreesboro since 1991. The conference attracts scholars interested in Milton from all over the U.S. and from abroad as well (past participants have come from as far as Japan, Australia, Korea, Norway, and New Zealand, as well as from every region of the United States and Canada. Since its inception the conference has attracted most of the leading American scholars in the field of Milton studies. It has also resulted in a series of collected essays, two of which have won the prestigious Irene Samuels Prize awarded by the Milton Society of America.

The co-directors of the conference are MTSU Professor Emeritus Charles W. Durham; Kristin A. Pruitt, Professor Emerita of Christian Brothers University; and Professor Kevin Donovan of MTSU. Drs. Durham and Pruitt have both served as president of the Milton Society of America. This year's plenary speakers are Professor Richard J. DuRocher of St. Olaf College and Professor Laura Knoppers of Pennsylvania State University.

More information is available at the conference website:
< http://www.mtsu.edu/~english2/milton.htm >.
The website will soon be updated to include registration forms and the full conference schedule. All conference events will take place at the Doubletree Hotel on Old Fort Parkway in Murfreesboro.
Dr. Philip Edward Phillips (English) recently published New Directions in Boethian Studies, Studies in Medieval Culture Series XLV (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Medieval Institute Publications, 2007), a collection of interdisciplinary essays on Boethius (ca. 475-524) coedited with Dr. Noel Harold Kaylor, Jr. of Troy University. In addition to the essays, the volume includes a reedited critical edition of the late fourteenth- to early fifteenth-century, Middle English translation, The Boke of Coumfort of Boece [Bodleian Library, Oxford MS AUCT. F.3.5.], also coedited by Drs. Phillips and Kaylor.
Dr. Carl Ostrowski earned the Ph.D. is the 2007 recipient of the Eliza Atkins Gleason Book Award for Books, Maps, and Politics: a Cultural History of the Library of Congress, 1783-1861 (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2004). This award is presented every third year to recognize the best book written in English in the field of library history, including the history of libraries, librarianship and book culture. The award bears the name of Eliza Atkins Gleason, the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago.
Dr. Kevin Donovan is spending the month of August on a short-term fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library to work on a survey of interpretive criticism of King Lear that will be published as an appendix in the New Variorum edition of the play edited by Richard Knowles.
Dr. Ron Kates has been awarded the Academic Affairs Administrative Fellowship in the Office of the Provost for the 2007-08 academic year.
Dr. Philip Edward Phillips was invited to France in August 2006 to serve as a plenary speaker at an interantional conference on Boethius, entitled "Colloquia Aquitana--II, "Boece (Rome, ca. 480-Pavie, ca. 524): l'homme, le philosophe, le scientifique, son oevre et son rayonnement," held at the Musee Conservatoire du Parchemin et de l'Enluminure in Duras. He presented two papers, one in French and the other in English: "Boece, le Quadrivium, et la Consolation de la Philosophie" (August 3) and "Translating and Remaking Boethius's The Consolation of Philosophy into English from the 9th to the 21st Centuries" (August 4).
Dr. Philip Edward Phillips has recently published an article, "Robert Browning's Poetry of Loss: 'Prospice' and 'To Edward FitzGerald,'" in the Sun Yat-sen Journal of Humanities 22 (Summer 2006): 135-146.
Aleka Blackwell receives Outstanding Teacher Award and David Lavery the Distinguished Research Award from the MTSU Foundation, presented at the annual faculty meeting on August 25, 2006.
Women's Studies' Ayne Cantrell Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the program, has been awarded to Trixie Smith.
A nice tribute to Charles Wolfe appears in the Nashville Scene .

Jimmie Cain's new book Bram Stoker and Russophobia: Evidence of the British Fear of Russia in Dracula and The Lady of the Shroud will be out spring/summer 2006.


Allen Hibbard has received the MTSU Foundation Distinguished Research Award at the 2005 Fall Convocation. Allen's teaching and research interests are in the areas of twentieth-century American literature, literary theory, and Middle Eastern literatures. Congratulations to him on this well deserved recognition of his work.

Will Brantley receives the 2004-2005 Outstanding Honors Fculty Award at the annual Honors College Awards Ceremony in april 2005.
In collaboration with Bobbie Solley, Elementary and Special Education, Trixie Smith has garnered a $71,000 matching grant which makes MTSU the 2nd state site for the Nationanl Writing Project. The NWP is a federally funded program launched in 1974, by professors at the University of California at Berkeley interested in helping K-12 writing instructors teach writing more effectively.
Charles Wolfe has been awarded the second President's Silver Column Award, a faculty/staff honor given for extraordinary service to the university.
Elvira Cassel is presented the Anye Cantrell award at the AFAW International Women's Day Breakfast, March 18, 2005, for outstanding contributions to Women's Studies.
New York Times feature article on Charles Wolfe, 15 March 2005 .
Carl Ostrowski has a conversation with John Seigenthaler Sunday, February 20, 2005, on Word on Words (NPT), beginning at 10:30 a.m. The topic is Ostrowski's new book titled Books, Maps, Politics--A Cultural History of the Library of Congress.
Nashville Scene reviews Gaylord Brewer's latest poetry collection, Exit Pursued by a Bear.
Elyce Helford is awarded the Tennessee Board of Regents Distance Learning Committee's 2005 "Innovations Award" for her work in designing, teaching, and mentoring adjuncts in a correspondence study version of WMST 2100 (Introduction to Women's Studies). The award "recognizes the demonstrated success of creative and original activities in the distance learning field."
Judy Cox receives MTSU's Quarterly Secretarial/Clerical Award, February 2005.
Martha Hixon has recently published "Tam Lin, Fair Janet, and the Sexual Revolution: Traditional Ballads, Fairy Tales, and Twentieth-century Children's Literature" in Marvels and Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies 18.1 (Spring 2004): 67-92. She is also serving on the Board of Directors for the international Children's Literature Association (2003-2006).
Fabulous Five feed the masses!
Dr. Michael Dunne has a new publication titled American Film Musical Themes and Forms, and it couldn't have been better timed. During October, Turner Classic Movies is celebrating 50 years of great American musicals from The Jazz Singer to New York, New York. Dr. Dunne says, "The book examines how reality injected itself into these flights of fancy, including economic crises, race, a sense of place, and the generation gap." Examining great shows in historical and political context, Dunne includes works as recent as Moulin Rouge and Chicago.
Dr. Charles Wolfe has been notified that a book of liner notes done by him and well-knows WSM DJ Eddie Stubbs was awarded the Best Liner Notes prize by the International Bluegrass Music Association at its recent meeting in Louisville. This has yet another MTSU connection: all the records in the set were originally produced on the Gallatin-based independent company, Dot. It was one of the first great independent labels in the area in the 1950's and was the brainchild of MTSU alumnus Randy Wood. Randy Wood is one of the most important innovators in American popular music.
Dr. Carl Ostrowski has a new book on the history of the Library of Congress up to the Civil War, published in March: Books, Maps, and Politics: A Cultural History of the Library of Congress, 1783-1861, University of Massachussetts Press.
Dr. John Minichillo has a short nonfiction piece in the fall 2004 "Politics and Religion" issue of The Mississippi Review.
Dr. Pat Bradley's book Robert Penn Warren's Circus Aesthetic and the Southern Renaissance is out this month, published by the University of Tennessee Press. Dr. Bradley's book was recently showcased by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Dr. Gaylord Brewer is honored at the Fall General Faculty Meeting on August 27, 2004 as the recipient of the MTSU Foundation Creative Activity Award. A renowned poet and playwright, he has distinguished himself with the publication of three full-length collectoins of poems: Devilfish (winner of Red Hen Press's inaugural book award, 1999), Four Nails (winner of the Snail's Pace Press Book Award, 2001), and Barbaric Mercies (Red Hen, 2003). An additional full-length collection, Exit Pursued by a Bear, appeared in June from Cherry Grove Collections. He has just completed a new manuscript, Let Me Explain, a collection of apologias in verse. For more information on Dr. Brewer visit this site.
Dr. Jill Hague is recognized by President Sidney McPhee at the Fall General Faculty Meeting on August 27, 2004 for having her book Fiction, Intuition, and Creativity: Studies in Bronte, James, Wolf, and Lessing nominated for Phi Beta Kappa's Christian Gauss Award, the most prestigious honor for research and criticism in the humanities.

Congratulations to the following faculty on their promotions and tenure effective AY2004-05:

  • Professor: Dr. Claudia Barnett, Dr. Ellen Donovan, Dr. Ted Sherman
  • Associate Professor: Dr. Martha Hixon, Dr. Justyna Kostkowska, Dr. Carl Ostrowski, Dr. Philip Phillips
  • Tenure: Dr. Patricia Bradley, Dr. Martha Hixon, Dr. Justyna Kostkowska, Dr. Pete McCluskey, Dr. Carl Ostrowski, Dr. Philip Phillips, Dr. Jack Thomas (Vice Provost for Academic Affairs)

Two new tenure-track faculty join the Department effective AY2004-05. Dr. Susan Hopkirk was selected for the Classical-Early European Literature position, and she will join the department as an Assistant Professor after receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Alberta and teaching the past two years at Auburn University. Dr. Divya Saksena was selected for the 20th Century British/Anglophone position, and she will join the department as an Associate Professor after earning her Ph.D. from George Washington University and teaching at GWU and at the University of Delhi, India, for a combined eleven years.

Two new full-time temporary faculty join the Department effective AY2004-05, Professor Paige Klein and Professor Jason Sublette.

Will Brantley edits a 50th aniversary edition of Lilian Smith" Now is the Time.

Comments/questions/suggestions should be directed to mclayton@mtsu.edu. We are especially interested in hearing from alumni of the English Department.

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