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Stop and Smell the Achievements

By Katie Clark
Office of University Communications

November 21, 2014

 

Stop and Smell the Achievements

The faculty in Drexel’s Department of English & Philosophy are hard-working dynamos assembling an impressive portfolio of scholarly, research and creative activities worthy of attention.

It’s that attention thing that’s been the issue. Until this year, the department didn’t have a mechanism for showcasing the work of its faculty to colleagues, to Drexel students, to the community at large. And that needed to change.

“It’s very easy to lose sight of what other people are doing at a busy place like Drexel," said Doreen Alvarez Saar, PhD, director of English programs. “We have some really interesting things going on in this department and we weren’t really sharing that information among ourselves nor with the outside world.”

So, Saar and a few colleagues organized the English Faculty Research Seminar, a new quarterly lecture series meant to get the word out about what faculty members are working and what unique experience they each bring to the department.

Saar mentioned just a few examples:

  • Jennifer Yusin, PhD, who recently won the College of Arts and Sciences' Antelo Devereux Award for Young Faculty, has been published in Textual Practice, Culture, Theory and Critique and The Journal of Contemporary Literature, two top-ranked journals in English and cultural studies.
  • Stephen Mandell, PhD, for many years, was the most-published freshman textbook writer
  • Department Chair Abioseh Porter, PhD, is editor-in-chief of the Journal of African Literature Association
  • Kathleen Volk Miller, is co-editor of the Painted Bride Quarterly
  • Miriam Kotzin, PhD, the author of four books of poetry, is also founding editor of Per Contra, one of the early places where Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie published
  • Richard Astro, PhD, a Steinbeck scholar, was the founder of the National Consortium for Academics and Sports

Kicking off the new series on Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. is André Carrington, PhD, who will lead a presentation on "Aya of Yopougon," a French/African graphic novel by author Marguerite Abouet and artist Clement Oubrerie. It’s part of a developing research project he’s working on and will present at the American Comparative Literature Association conference in March 2015.

It’s so important for a humanities department to have a strong identity, especially when it’s part of an institution known for its strong programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Saar said.

“We want to put an identity out there that people can see and relate to,” Saar said. “And we want our English majors to say ‘I’m a part of that.’”