in this issue


News & Events
Strickland Memorial 1
Author Weisman to Visit UWG 3
Sigma Tau Delta 1
Faculty & Staff News  
Hartley's Farewell 1
New Asst. Professors 1
New Faculty and Staff 2
Members of Dept. of English Present at Women's Conference 3
Program Highlights  
Film Studies Program
English Ed Sees Significant Changes 2
Doyle Named M.A. Program Director 2
New Film Class 3

Alumni Spotlight  
Freeman Finds Work at HowStuffWorks 3
Spring 2006 Courses 4


Fund Established in Memory of Thomas Strickland

The Department of English has created an ongoing memorial for Thomas Strickland, a former English major who was killed August 15 while serving our country in Iraq. In honor of his memory, a collection of books related to his literary interests has been started at the Irvine S. Ingram Library. An annual agreement was set up to ensure the life of this memorial and will be used to make an annual book purchase for the collection. A special nameplate commemorating Tom will mark the collection. The first book was donated by Lorene Flanders, Director of the Ingram Library. She selected a new Poe biography by James M. Hutchisson since Tom took a Poe seminar while in school.

If you would like to contribute to this memorial, please contact Kimily Willingham at kwilling@westga.edu for details.

New Professors in Film Studies and English Ed

The Department of English is pleased to welcome two new professors to our teaching roster this fall. Barbara Brickman will head the Film Studies Program, and Tom Dvorske, who worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor in our department for the last couple of years, was recently named the new Assistant Professor of English Education. Here is more insight into each of their backgrounds and interests.

Barbara Brickman grew up in Norfolk, Virginia, but has lived all over the East Coast--from Wallingford, CT to Athens, GA. She received her M.A. in English from the University of Georgia in 1999. She then moved to Rochester, NY to work on a Ph.D. in Film Studies, which she finally received just this past "summer" (it's cold there). While at the University of Rochester, Barbara won the Susan B. Anthony Institute Teaching Fellowship, the Ball Dissertation Fellowship, and the Gilman Memorial Prize for excellence in graduate study of American or English Literature. When she's not watching teen movies or old episodes of "My So-Called Life," Barbara enjoys any outdoor activity with her dogs and working on house projects with her partner.

Tom Dvorske received his Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University for which he wrote a collection of poems he's currently shopping around in a form that bears scant resemblance to the dissertation. In addition to poetry, his scholarly interests include anything that investigates how the socially constructed world more or less imprisons us in a funhouse of despair. Of late, that interest, along with his job, has turned him toward violence in young adult literature: morally reprehensible or a good time had by all?

Andrew Hartley's Farewell Letter

I had thought that this would be easy to write. It’s not.

In the nine years I was at West Georgia I met too many people, went through too many things for it all to be tidily addressable in a single letter. This can thus be little more than a gesture of thanks and affection and farewell the heart of which is between the words—beneath them, perhaps—which I can only hope will speak more than I seem able to say.

It was instantly clear to me when I arrived at UWG that the department was full of bright, dedicated teachers, and capable, eager students. I will be blessed indeed if I can find that combination at my new job. Never before has the tired truism that teachers learn from their students rung so true for me. I always felt that I took at least as much away from the classroom as I brought to it (though I should add for legal reasons that no tuition reimbursements will be granted by me personally) and that whatever I have to offer in North Carolina grew directly out of Georgia clay. I was always amazed at the sheer potential of my students at UWG and, if you will permit me a moment of avuncular pomposity (if not now, then when?) then I would offer the following snippet of advice: demand more, of yourselves, of your subject, even of your teachers. There is nothing sadder than untapped potential. If there is one area in which UWG students are lacking it is in their tendency to sell themselves a little short, to imagine themselves to be somehow less than their peers at UGA or Emory, to assume that the very best work is beyond them. I never found that to be true. Indeed, I frequently found to my delight that students who were pushed hard—and who pushed themselves hard—generated richer, more subtle work than even they believed they could, work that could stand beside that produced by students at the nation’s top institutions.

I always felt privileged to be at UWG. True, we had our struggles, our disagreements, our small intellectual (mostly) battles, but I find that with hindsight all have developed an oddly rosy patina, part nostalgia, part a sense that they were never anything like as bitter or deeply entrenched and rancorous as my friends encountered at other institutions. This is an extraordinary testimony to the capacity of the faculty (and those who led them on a department level) to “keep it on the field” as sports players say, to disagree with civility and find ways to create other areas of common ground. That is rare and I know I will miss it greatly.

My gratitude to the English department at West Georgia dates, of course, from my hiring, when I was  delighted to get a job anywhere with the job market as horrible as it was/is, but it never faded. I still feel it for a thousand kindnesses and shows of support I received in my time there, particularly from my colleagues: what Wordsworth calls those little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love. I cannot recount them all, but I feel them deeply and will take them with me. I name no names: you know who you are. Thank you and best wishes.

Andrew Hartley

PS. I buried twenty thousand dollars in used notes in the quad by the Humanities building. Happy digging!

Sigma Tau Delta

Sigma Tau Delta is an international honor society designed to recognize and foster academic excellence; it is open to students majoring or minoring in English. At West Georgia, it’s also an active club open to all interested majors. This year’s features include a monthly Open Mic where students can share creative work with a lively and receptive audience and a film series focusing on representations of the south. Plans are in the works for a panel discussion on applying to graduate school, a charitable book drive, and a range of social events. The club’s possibilities are endless--each year, interested members shape its focus and coordinate projects and activities.

This year’s co-advisors are Dr. Margaret Mitchell and Dr. Josh Masters. If you are interested in joining the national organization (which sponsors an annual conference, a magazine, and various scholarships), pick up an application from one of the advisors or from the English Department office. Prospective members must be English majors who have completed two English courses beyond 1101/1102, have a B average in their English classes, and have completed at least three semesters of college study. A lifetime membership fee of $37 should accompany applications.

You don’t have to join the national organization to get involved with the West Georgia chapter, though. Everyone is welcome at Sigma Tau Delta events.

--Dr. Margaret Mitchell

Sigma Tau Delta information can be found online at www.westga.edu/~mmitchel/sigma_tau_delta.htm.

Last Updated October 10, 2005
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