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1.  Announcements

In sad news, we have lost another member of our CSUN English faculty extended family with the passing of Lila Fink on April 20.  Born on April 30, 1930, Lila was originally from Milwaukee, and was a long-time parttime lecturer at CSUN; Lila also taught at Pepperdine and East L.A. College.  Known as real dynamo who loved to talk and teach lit, she used to hold forth in the mail room to any and all and was tireless when it came to pushing students. As the April 29, LA Times obituary reads, “Lila was a great traveler and enjoyed visiting over 100 countries. Lila is survived by her husband Fred, a marriage that was great for almost 63 years, her children Steve, Larry, and Patty, seven grandchildren, one great grandson, and twin great grandchildren due in July, who will all miss her. Lila was a good bridge partner for Fred. She was also an expert at solving crossword puzzles. Lila was a superb cook. We’ll miss her cooking and her endless love and support.” An online guestbook can be found at http://www.legacy.com/guestbook/latimes/guestbook.aspx?n=lila-fink&pid=157206840&cid=gbsrchres

In sad and happy news, on Saturday, April 27, members of the English Department gathered at the home of Irene Clark to honor, celebrate, and say goodbye to too many wonderful people. The day was warm, the food, fantastic, and the tributes both funny and moving as a good time was had by all and we learned a few secrets, to boot. These are the colleagues we will be missing next year: Rei Noguchi, Pam Bourgeois, Pat Watkins, Patrick Hunter, Elyce Wakerman, and (now I am teary all over again) our very own Martha Alzamora. Congratulations to them all and our very “best wishes” for whatever in the world may be lie ahead in the next part of their lives that is coming. And thanks, as ever, to Irene Clark for her gracious and generous hosting of a very special event. Thanks, too, to Kathy Leslie, for another wonderful slide show of the event, which can be found at http://albums.phanfare.com/slideshow.aspx?i=1&db=1&pw=BwFvXg3Y&a_id=5560618.

Speaking of good times, the recent dedication of the Linda Joseph Nichols English Reading Room, previously known as JR 319, was a huge, and hugely moving, success. If you missed it, take the time to read the plaque in her honor now in the Reading Room. We remain both touched and grateful for her unexpected gift, and so are the future students who will benefit from her scholarship fund.

And in completely happy news, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious teaching honor, the 2012 Teacher of the Year Award,  goes to Northridge alumna and ex English Major, Rebecca Mieliwocki, who earned a single subject credential in English in secondary education from Cal State Northridge in 1996 and is known for her “unconventional” teaching techniques.  A seventh-grade English teacher at Luther Burbank Middle School in Burbank, Mieliwocki was recognized on April 24 by President Barack Obama  in a ceremony at the White House. “Students learn best when they have the most enthusiastic, engaged teachers possible,” she said in a statement, and ok, it’s worth at least noting she might have some pretty good models for this in her past.

Speaking of enthusiasm and engagement, retired Professor Robert Chianese is forging ahead with his impressive work in what looks to be a second career of intense involvement with the connections between the Humanities, Arts, and Sciences.  As current President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science—Pacific Division, Bob continues to promote the humanities in numerous ways, including featuring work on science-based fiction at the upcoming AAAS Pacific Division 93rd Annual Meeting in Boise this June. Bob also has a new book Art Inspired by Nature, with comments on more than thirty works of contemporary art, including paintings, and sculpture–some made by hand, many assisted by machine and computers–from an exhibit at the Schneider Museum in Ashland, Oregon that Bob co-curated, and including discussions on the ends and methods of art and science as ways of knowing. Congratulations, Bob!  Keep up the good work, but not too good, or you will make us look like slouches.

And a great big thank you from your students to all of you who took the time to nominate them or to write support letters for the soon-to-be-announced Department Awards. And another big thank you to the Amenities and Awards Committee for all its hard work in making these selections. We await your decisions with keen anticipation and real pride in our most deserving students.

Meantime, the Department hosted a highly successful visitation with external reviewers, James Kincaid, of USC, and Lisa Weston, from CSU Fresno. The team had a series of meetings with faculty, students, and administrators, and, as above, we also await their report with keen anticipation.

And now that we’ve told them our stories, we might want to memorialize at least some of them in the CSUN Story Cube, now returned for its second year. How about sharing highlights of your university experience with the important project, which aspires to collect and preserve the oral history of our campus by recording the stories and memories of individual members of the faculty, staff and student body. You make the university what it is today, so help us document what it means to be a part of the CSUN community. The StoryCube booth is set up near the front entrance of the Matador Bookstore and interviews may be scheduled to take place Monday through Friday, 9am-4pm, April 30 to May 11, and during Commencement Week, May 22-24. To set up an interview time, please email the StoryCube staff at storycube@csun.edu<mailto:storycube@csun.edu>.

On Friday, May 11th, the Northridge Playwrights Workshop will present performances of new student writing. The show, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in JR 319, will feature aesthetically innovative plays, comic monologues, and free refreshments. For further information, please contact Professor Rick Mitchell (rick.mitchell@csun.edu).  Also, on May 20th, SPIT will be presenting a bunch of plays and monologues from English 512 at Two Roads Theatre in Studio City.

The  Center for the Digital Humanities is creating an “Undergraduate Digital Showcase” for the best digital projects by undergraduate students. The program is being undertaken as part of the Humanities Undergraduate Outreach Project of the 4Humanities initiative, a multi-institution consortium that advocates for the Humanities. The Undergraduate Digital Showcase will display five of the best student projects on the Center for the Digital Humanities web site, and the showcase may also be duplicated on the 4Humanities site. A “First-Year Feature” subcategory will highlight the most outstanding digital project by a first-year student on a subject in the Humanities or a closely related field. All formats are accepted, and projects can either be individually or collaboratively authored. Projects must be nominated by a faculty member. If you would like to nominate a student project from one of your classes during the 2011-2012 academic year, please e-mail the student’s name and the project URL, or send the project as an attachment (if it is not web based), to Scott Kleinman (scott.kleinman@csun.edu). Please check that your students agree to having their work made public in the showcase before nominating their projects. The deadline for nominations is May 15.

Graduates students at Binghamton University are excited to announce the return of the national Writing By Degrees annual conference, the nation’s oldest graduate student run creative writing conference. Binghamton University invites graduate student poets, prose writers, essayists, and critics from all theoretic and aesthetic backgrounds to submit paper or panel proposals by September 1. This year’s conference will take place at the historic Bundy Mansion & Museum in Binghamton, New York, on October 19-20, and will feature panels, readings, and presentations by accomplished keynote speakers, as well as other events and informal gatherings, and a key note address by Marie Howe and Catherine Sneed. For more information and the call for papers, please see Writingbydegrees2012@gmail.com should you have any questions about the event or submissions.

But you don’t have to go all the way to New York to be impressed by graduate students, as Dorothy Clark’s 698 D class amply demonstrated on Friday, April 30, with their culminating conference, “Looking Askew: Odd-Angle Approaches.” Congratulations on a highly successful day and to all our soon-to-be-new-MA’s.

Please inform your faculty that the Office of Graduate Studies, Research and International Programs will conduct a Faculty Fulbright Program Workshop on May 9, Wednesday, from 10 to noon, in Room 211, University Hall.  The latest information on Fulbright application will be presented and former Fulbrighters at CSUN will share their personal and academic experiences abroad on Fulbright awards.   Refreshments will be served. We are very pleased to announce that two of the five CSUN students who applied to the Fulbright Student Award Programs this year were recommended by the U.S. Fulbright Commission.  One of the students, Grady Turnbull, a graduate of our special education program, was awarded the English Teaching Assistantship to Serbia and a second student, Andrew Taylor, a student in multimedia, was an alternate for the ETA award to Malaysia.Please RSVP via e-mail to Dr. Justine Su at zsu@csun.edu by May 7, and we hope to see many of you there!

Finally, for the second time in the still new 21st century, the California Faculty Association has voted, by a resounding 95%, to authorize a strike in our current stalled contract negotiations. Please stay informed through the CFA. A spokesperson for the Chancellor’s office was heard last night on NPR to assert that there are only a “few outstanding” issues separating the two sides, but that’s not what we hear from the Union. Maybe it’s time to dig out your pickets.

 2.  Reminders

It’s a busy time of year in any event, so mark your calendars now and plan ahead to attend the 2012 College of Humanities Graduation, on Wednesday, May 23, at 6:30 p.m. on the Oviatt Lawn, with the English Department Reception and Awards Ceremony immediately preceding. If you can be there for your students and their families, it will mean the world to them.

Also, don’t forget the Honors Convocation on Monday, May 21,at 6:00 p.m. on the Oviatt Lawn, another very special occasion.

But before we get between here and then, there is finals week, from Monday, May 14, to Saturday, May 19, with grades due by Friday, May 25. Hang on to your hats, and don’t wish for time to go too quickly because it always does.

It probably also needs also to be said that, looking ahead, the 2012 Composition Meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 22nd, from 12:30-3:30, with the Department Retreat tentatively scheduled the following day, on Thursday, August 23. But this information is for planning purposes only–don’t give up on summer before it’s even here.

3.  Achievements

Scott Andrews presented “Julia Kristeva and the Pups: Theorizing a Tlicho Abject” at the recent Native American Literature Symposium in Albuquerque, N.M., and his review of Sy Hoahwah’s poetry collection, Velroy and the Madischie Mafia, appears in the most recent issue of Studies in American Indian Literatures.

MA Student Kristin Cornelius has won one the 2012 Kairos award for Graduate Students and Adjuncts for Teaching. The $500 award is given by Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy to graduate students and/or adjuncts in the field of computers and writing based upon service, scholarship, and teaching.

Nate Mills presented “Writing Civil Rights Politics: The Dozens and Conspicuous Consumption in Ralph Ellison’s Three Days Before the Shooting…” at the Stephen J. Meringoff Seminar on Ralph Ellison, a session of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics and Writers Conference at Claremont. On other most excellent news from Nate, his  2011 dissertation “Ragged Figures: The Lumpenproletariat in Nelson Algren and Ralph Ellison” has been awarded a ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award by the University of Michigan and the Clarence D. Thorpe Dissertation Prize by the English Department at Michigan. Congratulations on both counts!

Jutta Schamp presented “What’s Cooking? Food, Alchemy, and Individuation in Anton Nimblett’s Sections of an Orange and Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming’s Curry Flavour” at the conference “Narrating the Caribbean Nation” at Leeds Metropolitan University, U.K., April 14-15.

Our amazing poet and alum Dan Murphy has had a poem,  “Faithless II,” accepted for publication in the esteemed literary journal Field.

And Kate Haake (me) and Mona Houghton, will once again be reading from their new books tomorrow, May 4, at 7:30, at Stories Bookstore in Echo Park, and then again at the Richard J. Riordan Central Library on May 17, at noon.

4.  Opportunities

Summer job opportunities for 74 college students are now available through the L.A. County Arts Internship Program. Descriptions of and contacts for the internship positions are posted on the Arts Commission’s Web site, at  www.lacountyarts.org. Interested students should act as soon as positions are posted and apply directly to the organization offering the internship, not the Arts Commission. The organizations make final candidate selections quickly as internships begin on June 1.  Graduating seniors who complete their undergraduate degrees by September 1, 2012 are eligible, as well as undergraduates. The positions are for 10 weeks and pay $350 per week. Interns also take part in educational and arts networking activities generously funded by The Getty Foundation. Through the program, interns gain real work experience to strengthen their resumes and develop business skills that can be put to use in their future careers. Please let your students know.

The office of Los Angeles City Councilmember Richard Alarcon, along with local education based organizations, is looking to organize a Summer Speaker Series for Youth in their Community Room at the City Facility located in Pacoima. They are looking for Speakers to speak on a variety of topics, whether its career and life choices or lecture on a specific topic such as financial aid, access to higher education or historical events. If you are interested in speaking to youth with the intent to inspire them to be successful in life or educate them on a subject matter that you specialize in, please contact Jaime Rodriguez,Education Liaison, at jaime.p.rodriguez@lacity.org, or (818)-485-0600. They are looking to coordinate as many events and activities for youth during the Summer before students go on Summer Break. Also, if you or students are interested in holding a Summer workshop for youth in the area as well, please respond. Finally, if you know of Summer internships, paid or un-paid, Summer employment opportunities or volunteer opportunities for youth, please let the office so they can share with local schools.

5. Very Special Announcements:  Our Amazing Students

And now, as promised, the good news you have all been waiting for as to where our students will be headed next year and what they will be doing. This is a good year for our graduating seniors. And please accept my public apologies in advance if I’ve neglected anyone, but here is what’s been reported to me to date.  And with one more TN to go in this academic year, if anyone has been left out–or receives late good news–there will be time for additions and proper announcements two weeks hence. Meantime, congratulations to them all. We will miss them, but wish them all the best.

As noted in these notes before, Cesar Leon Soto was accepted to the University of Maryland and Marquette University in Milwaukee packages and is excited to be continuing his studies in British Romanticism. As the spring progressed, Cesar was also accepted at Fordham and Notre Dame, also with good financial packages.  Cesar, in fact, was accepted, with funding, at all seven doctoral programs to which he applied, and–the envelope, please–has decided to accept the offer from Notre Dame, which includes the Joseph L. Gaia Distinguished Latino Studies Fellowship. In addition, Cesar was awarded the prestigious Ford Fellowship, which among its several benefits includes an annual stipend of $20,000 for three years of doctoral work, as well as the opportunity to be mentored by a former Ford Fellow and thereby gain access to the national Ford Fellows Liaisons network.  Cesar wishes to thank his mentors again, Ranita Chatterjee and Irene Clark, for writing him letters as well as for their constant support. He also wants to thank Julie Carlson (English, UCSB) and Margarita Nieto (Chicano Studies, CSUN) for writing letters of recommendation for the Ford Fellowship. And a warm thank you to CSUN’s English department–professors, administrators, colleagues, and friends for always providing an intellectually stimulating environment filled with friendly faces and ready smiles.

Loretta McCormick (B.A, M.A. 2011) was accepted into Ph.D. programs in English with Creative Writing dissertations at both the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, the alma mater of our own Leilani Hall, and the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.  After visiting both places, Loretta has decided she can’t miss the chance to march with beleaguered state workers (yes, there, too) in Wisconsin, where we will be looking for her in news footage.  And Loretta has been offered funding, too, including a first year fellowship along with a four-year TA-ship.

Kathy Torabi has been accepted to doctoral programs in Medieval English literature at UC Irvine, Arizona State, and Texas A&M, and will be attending Texas A&M with full funding. Kathy has also received the Texas A & M University Diversity Fellowship.

Marina Mularz has been accepted into three MFA programs in Fiction: Northwestern University, Roosevelt University, and Butler University, and is thrilled to be returning to the Midwest, from which she comes, to earn an MFA at Northwestern University. All are invited to stay with her if they ever want to visit the great city of Chicago.

Djinji Jimenez has been accepted into the California Institute for the Arts MFA writing program in fiction and the Antioch LA low residency MFA program. She is thrilled to be attending Cal Arts.

Zach Fromson has been accepted into the UC Riverside MFA writing program in fiction.

Ramsey Mathews was accepted by and will be attending the MFA program in poetry at Cal State Long Beach.

Ani Bakhchadzyan has been accepted into four MFA programs for Fiction: CalArts, California College of the Arts, CSU Fresno, and CSU San Bernardino, and has also been placed on the wait list at the New School. She was offered a full fellowship at CSU Fresno and a partial fellowship at CalArts. She will enroll in the CalArts program in Fall 2012.

Kelly Moreno has been accepted into the Law School at the University of New Orleans.

Steve Bockover has been accepted into the MFA program in Fiction at Mills College. He will enroll in Fall 2012.

Jared Thomas (B.A. Fa ’11) has been accepted and has enrolled in the MA program at CSUN.

Cody Deitz (B.A. Sp ’11) has been accepted into the MA program at CSUN and will enroll in Fall 2012.

Eric Barnhart (B.A. Sp ’11) has been accepted into the MA program at CSUN and will enroll in Fall 2012.

Miles Simon, Deanna Herbert, and Jacklyn Himes have been accepted into the MA program at CSUN and will enroll in Fall 2012.