Remote Learning

In the wake of the coronavirus, my faculty has been forced to shift to completely remote teaching for the remainder of the semester (and who knows how much longer). Few of them had been trained in this mode of instruction, and not all students are adequately outfitted at home with Internet-connected computers. Some students seem to be writing papers on cell phones now. Do we need to shift to a less rigorous expectation, even to mere morale-boosting?

Livening Up the Awards Ceremony

In about a month we’ll be holding our department’s annual awards ceremony, where we recognize scholarship and writing contest winners, favorite faculty, and the like. It’s generally well-attended by students and faculty, but I’ll confess that after about a decade in the department I find it repetitive and boring (shhh, don’t tell anyone). I say some words of introduction, then we move to representatives from our awards and scholarship committee introducing a succession of award winners, bringing them forward for applause and a certificate, and then we break for cake or cookies. Any ideas on how to change things up?

Maneuvering to Protect Writing Requirements

Students who have more training in reading, writing, and analysis are better off throughout their college careers and in their lives after college. Depriving them of the opportunity to work on their writing does them a disservice.

What Is Reasonable Accommodation?

I’m running into a problem with our disabilities services office, which on our campus reviews and manages student requests for accommodations such as extra time, alternative exam formats, and the like. In the opinion of some of our faculty, this office regularly moves from its management role to a more charged advocacy role that at times has become almost adversarial, especially in terms of pushing what might the boundaries of a “reasonable accommodation.” As chair I’m caught in the middle of this. I occasionally get informed by the office that some faculty are not being especially helpful, with the implication that I should intervene or pressure them. Similarly, faculty seek my support for the limits they believe they need to put on the office’s requests, which can include telling the office to respect the faculty member’s decisions. I’m sympathetic with both parties–how do I manage these sort of situations effectively?

Wearing Two Hats

To what extent is my role to be the manager of the decision-making process, and to what extent am I allowed to have an individual opinion on any given issue as a faculty member in the department? How do I balance the two (or more) roles I have?

IUPUI’s English Week: Community in Action

What’s a way to boost majors and credit hours, bring increased attention to the English department, and excite faculty?  A celebration called “English Week” brings all these benefits and more,…

Defending the Humanities

More and more seems to be expected of university faculty in all areas of our academic lives—research, teaching, and service. This is nowhere more true than in a humanities department,…

Building a Better Major

Like a lot of departments we tend to aim our programming at a type of student that I will call the Classic Major. If we are aiming to develop both depth and breadth of knowledge in our students, this is the kind of student that we are looking for. However, these majors are now in the minority, at least at my institution. But we have many more of what I will call the New Major. If there is a unifying principle to the category of the New Major, it is that many of these students identify their main interest as creative writing.

Approaches to Undergraduate Literary Study

At the 2015 ADE-ADFL Summer Seminar East in Arlington, Virginia, John David Guillory (NYU) and Domna Stanton (CUNY Graduate Center) presented papers that consider the problem of the content of…