Like so many other disciplines in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Film Studies Program begins from a central goal of educating students to be critical thinkers. While it is one thing to appreciate and enjoy popular films, it is quite another to read films critically, engaging with them in a scholarly or analytical way. In fact, to many students’ distress, thinking critically, or pulling back the curtain that veils the inner workings of film, can often disrupt their enjoyment as viewers.
However, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the form of critical awareness and cultural literacy promoted by Film Studies (i.e. media literacy) could not be a more important skill to learn or teach. Students who critically examine and analyze the audiovisual medium of film, as well as the cultural, economic, and historical contexts for its creation and reception, gain new insights into the production of other facets of culture--news, politics, information technologies such as the internet, and even larger systems of values. In such information-drenched and visually bewildering times, these insights are invaluable. Accordingly, learning to articulate those insights will be a major focus of the Film Studies Program.
But, in truth, the purpose of Film Studies on a university campus does not only entail serious work such as cultural analysis. Of all visual and textual media, film is perhaps the most social, the most public. Without the presence of an audience, film loses meaning and, some might argue, its greatest pleasure. Therefore, the Film Studies Program hopes to serve a social function in the university community through the presence of film screenings, festivals, and presentations. Students who may not want to analyze films critically may still be very active in a film community where films of all sorts, even student productions, are enjoyed and celebrated.
--Dr. Barbara Brickman
Katie Chaple, Ph.D., Georgia State Univ.
Donna Colemanm M.A., Jacksonville State Univ.
Lucy Curzon, Ph.D. Candidate, Univ. of Rochester
Lee Moon, M.A., Univ. of West Georgia
Karey Perkins, M.A., UNC, Chapel Hill
Benjamin Rollins, M.Ed., Berry College
Tarshia Stanley, Ph.D., Univ. of Florida
Gayle Smallwood, M.A., Univ. of West Georgia
Stephanie Wilson, M.A., Univ. of Alabama, Huntsville
Patricia Burgey, M.A., Univ. of West Georgia
Elizabeth Hetzel, M.A., Univ. of West Georgia
Jason Kesler, M.A., Univ. of West Georgia
Mandi Lesak, M.A., Univ. of West Georgia
Jane McClain, M.A., Univ. of West Georgia
Visiting Assistant Professors
Debra Bourdeau, Ph.D., Univ. of Georgia
Joseph Milford, M.F.A., Univ. of Iowa
Barbara Brickman, Ph.D., Univ. of Rochester
Tom Dvorske, Ph.D., Oklahoma State Univ.
|| | Learning to Teach and Teaching to Learn:
The New English Secondary Education Major
The Department of English has made significant changes to the B.A. with Teacher Certification. For one thing, English majors and English Education majors all face the same requirements for graduation. The department has also hired a not-quite-so-new faculty member to teach the Education-related courses in our department. Dr. Tom Dvorske comes, most recently, from our First-Year Writing Program and holds valuable experience in content, writing-curriculum development, and pedagogy. These changes and more come in response to student demand, and fit within the broader context of Georgia Educator preparation.
Georgia and national accreditation agencies will no longer base their evaluations of the quality of an education solely on what should go in to a school or a curriculum, but rather on what comes out: that is, what students and teachers can actually do will determine the quality of the program and the value of the education received. To support these welcome changes, we are working to build into the program the values of reflective practice with a strong foundation in literary and teaching theory. As developing scholars, teachers, and professionals, English Education majors should become aware of not only what they are learning but how they are learning. Recognizing and cultivating the interrelated processes of teaching and learning will create the structure for all classes in the major.
This semester’s ENGL 4295 (Reading and Literature in the Secondary English Classroom) sets the tone for the kind of work we’ll do. Students will read several young adult and graphic novels and consider their cultural significance, the production of texts for young adults historically, and the social history of reading and reader-response theory paying special attention to the cultural construction of adolescence in contemporary culture. This scholarly foundation underpins much of the practice that makes up secondary school pedagogy today.
In the upcoming semesters, sections of ENGL 2300 Practical Criticism, ENGL 3200 Creative Writing, and other courses will be designed with the English Education major in mind. These courses will differ from the other B.A. non-teaching track classes only insofar as they have the added practicum component.
Also new to the program is the English Education website, available at www.westga.edu/~enged. On this site, you will find important information about the program, updates and news, important links to University resources and resources in Education and literature. Finally, the website houses a discussion board devoted to issues in English and Language education available for use by anyone who teaches or is learning to teach English or Foreign Languages.
Along with these changes, the English Department also has in the works plans to offer a Master of Arts in Teaching. This degree is intended for those who hold a B.A. in English but with no teaching certificate. Stay tuned for updates on this and other important innovations in UWG’s English Education Program.
--Dr. Tom Dvorske
| Doyle Named Director of Graduate Studies
With Dr. Lisa Crafton stepping down as Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Maria Doyle takes the helm this fall. Doyle, who was formerly the chair of the Graduate Program Committee, will advise students, help plan course offerings, and see to the general management of the program.
The program is in the early stages of much change, some of which was initiated by Crafton. According to Crafton, the program has been working toward a larger sense of community over the past few years by creating a listserv for better communication among students and faculty. She notes, "Part of the excitement of thinking ahead about possibilities for the program stems from all that we have accomplished in the last few years."
Another new element of the program is the Graduate Steering Committee. The committee is composed of five students who will work to enhance the program by handling issues related to Graduate Teaching/Research Assistants, undergraduate recruitment, local secondary and middle school communications, preparations for the oral exam, and presentations and conference information and scheduling. One of the most exciting events that the Committee will be working on is the creation of an undergraduate literature conference, which will feature presentations of scholarly and creative works. Crafton says these elements are ways to build a stronger community within the program.
Doyle sees the new direction of the program building from Crafton's work, explaining, "Our program has a strong reputation on campus. Dr. Crafton has done so much to help the program grow, and I'm very excited to have the opportunity to continue to foster that growth—and to work with this group of students." She goes on to say, "Graduate students are working towards becoming independent scholars and thinkers—it's different from undergraduate work because it requires more independent investment on the part of the student, but it's through the collective enterprise of critical inquiry, in seminars, in working with faculty on research projects, in study groups for the oral exam, in thesis research, that students gain the mastery of the discipline implied by the degree title."
As the Graduate Program pushes ahead with change, students can be assured that future course offerings are looking bright. The growth of faculty allows "us to offer a wider variety of courses and research opportunities in literary history, genre, creative writing and theory," according to Doyle.
-- Jesse Bishop
Last Updated October 10, 2005