It is with deep sadness that I again begin these Notes with the announcement of another loss to our extended family, this one more immediate and closer to home. Our long time colleague and Shakespearean scholar, Susanne Collier, passed away earlier this week of the long-term effects of her deteriorating health. Known for her ability to inspire a love of Shakespeare and poetry in students, Susanne started teaching here at CSUN in 1990 after earning her PhD in English from the Shakespeare Institute of the University of Birmingham, England. Prior to her appointment here, she taught at the University of New Hampshire and in the London Program for the University of Notre Dame. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1994 and granted tenure in 1996. In 1999, she was the recipient of a University Ambassadors Polished Apple award and in 2001 she was promoted to full professor. A memorial service will be held at her church, St Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church, in Simi Valley on Tuesday, 15 April, at 4 p.m. Here is a link with directions: http://www.stfrancischurchofsimi.org/BE/location.html. Until then, a card will be available at Frank’s desk in the main office for those who would like to offer their condolences. Susanne will be truly missed.
In happier news, Spring Break is upon us and not, I imagine, a moment too soon. While our students slave away over reading and papers (or so they assure me) and we slave away over reading and papers, I hope that we all find some time to notice and to celebrate, as yet another former colleague, Lesley Johnstone would have urged us, the trees and flowers that are in bloom. And while we are at it, let’s remember in our own way, the colleagues we have lost. And then, let’s all try to have a little fun, for as an old Wyoming cowboy used to tell me, “None of it matters if you don’t have fun.”
And when we get back, if you are still looking for fun opportunities, the Northridge Review publication party will be taking place on Friday, April 18, at 7:00 p.m. in CSUN’s beautiful Planetarium. Always a highlight of the semester, the NR readings feature food, good company, and fabulous stories and poems from a wide range of our most talented student writers. Come to support them and join the fun. A good time will be had by all.
On Saturday, April 19, at 4:00 in the afternoon, What Books Press will be holding another festive reading at Off Ramp Gallery in Pasadena. The afternoon will celebrate work by members of Los Angeles’ Glass Table Collective, including Kate Haake (me), Mona Houghton, and, also from CSUN, Ramon Garcia. Also featured will be art work by GRONK from What Books’ new collection of co-authored and illustrated science fiction poems, Tomorrow You’ll Be One of Us. Wine and yummy refreshments will be served. And another good time will be had by all. Off Ramp Gallery can be found at 1702 Lincoln Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103.
Here’s an idea for at least part of your spring break, which might be to set your mind on which of your stellar students you’d like to nominate for this year’s Spring department awards. There are a lot of them (awards), and that’s a good thing, as we have a lot of amazing students. Let’s take a little time out of the term end busyness to ensure that our very best students receive their well-earned recognitions (never mind their financial awards). And to make things a bit easier on all of us, the department Awards and Amenities Committee has been hard at work on developing a new recommendation form, which you can get by contacting Lauren Byler, Chair of said committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lauren will also be able to provide more information on the following awards:
The Linda Nichols Joseph English Merit Scholarship: In memory of Linda Nichols Joseph, an English major who graduated cum laude from CSUN in 1981, up to two prizes of $2,000 will be awarded this spring to undergraduate English majors who have demonstrated excellence in their studies.
The Henry Van Slooten Scholarship in English: A prize of $500 will be given to a student whose essay in ENGL 258, 259, 275, or 355 best demonstrates a passion for the English language.
The Lesley Johnstone Memorial Award: In honor of Lesley Johnstone, a professor of English at CSUN from 1965 to 2010 who specialized in Eighteenth-Century British Literature and who loved and cherished nature, a prize of $500 will be given to a student who is the author of the best written work on some aspect of the natural world or environment.
The Robert apRoberts English Honors Essay Prize: To commemorate Robert apRoberts, Professor Emeritus and founder of the Honors Program, an annual prize of $250 will be awarded to the English Honors student whose paper completed in the Honors Revision Seminar (497A) is judged to be the best submitted during that academic year.
The Professor Mitchell Marcus Prize in English: In memory of Mitchell Marcus, a former Professor in the Department (1958-1983), a prize of $3,000 will be awarded each spring semester to the graduate student whose achievements in the study of English are considered by the faculty as the most distinguished.
The Mahlon Gaumer Award In honor of Mahlon Gaumer: In honor of Mahlon Gaumer, a professor of English at CSUN from 1969-1997 who specialized in linguistics and Medieval literature, an award of $500 will be given to a graduate student who is the author of the best critical essay on English literature—with emphasis on the use of language.
The Harry Finestone Award in English: In honor of Harry Finestone, a gifted teacher and innovative administrator at CSUN from 1962-1983, an award of $750 will be given each year to the graduate student with the most distinguished essay in the study of literature completed in the department’s capstone graduate seminar, ENGL 698D.
The Richard Lid and Helen Lodge Scholarship: An award of $500 will be given to a graduate student enrolled in English and/or Secondary English Education to help pay fees for graduate work. The applicant must concurrently be teaching in middle school or secondary school or be on sabbatical.
Looking ahead, please mark your calendar for the upcoming, not to be missed, all College meeting with Provost Harry Hellenbrand, and Dean Elizabeth A. Say. This meeting will provide an opportunity to hear Provost Hellenbrand speak about the future of CSUN. You will have the opportunity to share your questions/concerns/observations regarding the university. The meeting will take place on Monday, May 12, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Whitsett Room, Sierra Hall 451. Light refreshments will be served.
On Friday, April 25, from 1:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., a conference titled, “Navigating the Writing Highway: Critical Transitions from Community College to University,” will be held at Woodbury College in Burbank. The conference will focus on the following themes: transferability of English courses, multimodal first-year composition assignments, and best practices for applying for full-time English positions at community colleges.
Calling your attention to an important reminder from Teresa Morrison, COH Grants Officer, which warrants repeating here:
For all of you who teach Stretch composition, don’t miss the upcoming workshop, Research: Best Practices, Effective Strategies. This important session will be geared, in particular, to Project Text, but additional topics will be covered that may apply to other writing projects from the B section of Stretch. The workshop will feature three librarians who will be presenting on their own recommended best practices/strategies, to be followed with breakout discussions. If there are particular topics you’d like to discuss, please contact Renee M. Moreno at email@example.com. The workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, April 16th from 9:30 am to 11:30 am in Sierra Hall 181. As with all workshops, faculty will be compensated for attending, $100 for their participation. Please RSVP for the workshop by filling out the short survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5Z5MYBX.
Scott Andrews recently attended the Native American Literature Symposium in Pryor Lake, Minn., where he presented a paper titled “Pop Go the Indians: Popular Culture Imagery in American Indian Art” and chaired a panel on Canadian writer Richard Van Camp’s film and fiction. In late May he will attend the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association meeting in Austin, Texas, to present a paper titled “The Significance of the Frontier in Comanche Poetry.”
From March 19 to 22, Irene Clark attended the Conference on College Composition and Communication in Indianapolis where she was part of a panel titled “Transfer and Transofrmation: Open Access via Threshold Concepts.” Her paper was titled “Genre Awareness, Threshold Concepts and Open Access.”
On March 23, Audrey Thacker led a discussion at Loyola Marymount University about Chaim Potok’s My Name Is Asher Lev, alongside the author’s son, filmmaker Akiva Potok.