Linda Caine, professor of English, has been selected to participate in a U.S. Department of Education study of the college academic preparedness of 12th graders for postsecondary education and job training after they graduate from high school. As a panel participant, Professor Caine will work with other panelists in a standard-setting process to determine what academic knowledge and skills are required for 12 graders to be placed in entry-level college reading, literature, composition or other comparable courses with no remediation. In addition, panelists will develop descriptions of the academic knowledge and skills that are required for these students to be prepared for a job-training program. Panel participants are required to have a broad background in high school to college/workplace transition projects and extensive experience teaching high school reading /English language arts as well as postsecondary teaching experience in developmental writing and composition. This study will be the focus of the National Association of Educational Progress meeting in St. Louis from May 24-27, 2011.
Associate Professor and Department Chair Jason Evans organized a program session for the 2011 College Composition and Communication Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The panel, "Our Conflicted Bourgeois Values: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Capitalism," included Rebecca Cox, author of The College Fear Factor, and Vershawn Young, author of Your Average Nigga. Prof. Evans’s paper, "Basic Writing as Bourgeois Enterprise," considered the concept "elaborated codes" in light of basic writing students’ economic aspirations.
Prairie State College students once again performed well at the Skyway Collegiate Conference Writers Fest. At Morton College on December 3, 2010, 80 students’ works were judged by professional writers in poetry, creative non-fiction, short fiction, and drama. Prairie State students received three awards:
- First place in Drama: Aeriel Robinson for her play "Is This My Heritage?"
- First runner-up in Short Fiction: Aeriel Robinson for her story "Excerpts of a Greater Work, Titled Prince of Denton"
- Honorable mention in Creative Non-Fiction: Eric Vonza for his piece "The Shooting"
Congratulations to these students.
Associate Professor Patrick Reichard organized the 2010 Skyway Writers’ Festival and Competition, which Prairie State College hosted. Four Prairie State College English students won awards this year, out of twelve awards given:
- First place in Poetry: Alice Wasney for her poem "Unfinished."
- Second place in Poetry: Jacquelyn McClaney for her poem "A Woman's Departure."
- First place in Drama: Alison Bodnar Jaros for her play "The Breakdown of the Mashed Potatoes."
- Second place in Drama: Dexter Overall for his play "In the Strangest Places, You Find Love." Mr. Overall is a repeat winner and has also performed this play at PSC.
Congratulations to these students and to Prof. Reichard.
Adjunct Professor Ivan Rodden successfully defended his dissertation, "Miracles of the Non-RealWorld," in the English Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The dissertation is a collection of eleven short stories about people in peril – a two-hundred-year-old malnourished Thomas Mann, Michael and Jane's premature baby, a family that marvels over their pregnant male dog while they wait for the return of their favorite son. Instead of trying to solve their problems through medicine or therapy, these characters look for "miracles" to undo their knots of personal crisis. Like in the original fairy tales, while these miracles often solve the problem, the solutions are not resolved in ways the characters had hoped. Instead, the solutions open up new possibilities in absurd, surreal, or unexpected ways. The stories range in style and tone, and the book plays with various genres including fable, micro-fiction, the tale, and drama while exploring themes in gender identity, the formation of memory, and the power of human imagination to shape and create reality.
The English Department welcomes Jessica Gravely as our newest Assistant Professor. Prof. Gravely earned a BA in History from the University of North Carolina and an MA in English from Wake Forest University. She also trained as a teaching associate at Guilford Technical Community College in North Carolina. Before joining us at Prairie State, Prof. Gravely taught at Oakton Community College and at Guilford Technical Community College.
Adjunct Professor Kathleen Lamp's dissertation, "A City of Brick": Visual and Material Rhetoric in the Principate of Augustus, was awarded the American Society for the History of Rhetoric Dissertation Award for 2009. The dissertation examines how non-traditional rhetorical media such as coins, monuments, city planning, and altars promoted dynastic succession and influenced practices of citizenship in the period between the Roman Republic and Empire (31 BCE-14 CE) and challenges the long-standing disciplinary narrative that rhetoric faded away in this period. The award committee agreed that the "study of visual rhetoric of the Augustan period was not only a superb piece of scholarship but also constituted an important contribution to the field." The award is granted annually to the best dissertation by a member of ASHR. Lamp recently received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Assistant Professor Thomas Nicholas gave a presentation entitled "The Use of Tablet PCs to Increase Student Engagement in the Developmental Classroom" at the League for Innovation the Community College’s Annual Conference on Information Technology.
Associate Professor Jason Evans was accepted as a participant in the Global Skills for College Completion Project (GSCC). He will join twelve other faculty in developmental writing from around the country. The project will aim to create innovations to transform how basic skills in English are taught in the US colleges.