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1.  Announcements

Welcome back to one and all after what I truly hope will have been fabulous summers filled with rest, fun, adventure, and maybe even a little reading or writing or other good work so that you are retuning fully recharged and happily optimistic and energetic about the coming year which, all at once, is upon us.

And a big welcome, too, to the newest members of our Department–Lauren Byler and Marlene Cooksey. We are very glad to have you joining us and wish you both the most seamless of transitions and the best of years ahead.

This not quite just in but at the very top of our announcements is the fabulous news from the Leilani Hall household, now larger by one brand new member of the human race. Leilani Hall and husband Joshua are the new proud parents of Ethan Thomas Hall Freedman, born July 14 at 4:33 p.m. in New Delhi, India, weighing in at 8 lbs, 4 oz, and measuring 20 inches, head to toe. Although subject to more red tape in his first days of life than most of us will be in a lifetime, baby Ethan is thriving and all are safe and well in Northridge. What an amazing saga this baby has already lived, and so it begins. Big hugs all around and welcome, too, to Ethan!

So, too, for new TA Morgan Mayreis-Voorhis, who gave birth to her new son, Declan Voorhis, on 7/6/12 at 4:19am. Baby Declan weighed in at 9lbs, 13oz, and was 21.25 inches long!  Well done, and best wishes to the new family.

This year’s Freshman Convocation will be held on Thursday, September 6, at 6:00 p.m. on the Oviatt Lawn. All campus faculty and staff are encouraged to attend and support this welcome celebration of the Class of 2016. Keynote Speaker will be Chitra Divakaruni, author of this year’s Freshman Common Reading, One Amazing Thing.  Divakaruni will lead an informal faculty-and-staff discussion of her book at 4:00 p.m.in the Oviatt Library’s Ferman Presentation Room. A reception will follow the Convocation. There are lots of ways for faculty to participate in this event, so if you are interested, please visit the website at http://csun.edu/nso/convocation. Meantime, welcome, Freshman!

And while we’re on the subject of the Freshman Common Reading, please do what you can to support this important project. Details can be found at http://www.csun.edu/afye/One-Amazing-Thing-Book-Groups.html. Be current. Read what everyone else is reading. Talk about it with students. And use it, if you can, in class.

Speaking of freshman, please mark your calendars for the upcoming Wings/New Voices ceremony, in which the fabulous work of our students is recognized and celebrated. In the words of Irene Clark, this event “reminds us of why we entered this profession. It will make you happy.”  The ceremony will take place on Friday, September 21st from 3:30-5:30 in the Grand Salon. Light refreshments served. And please encourage your students to attend as well.

Closer to now, indeed this very night, Sigma Tau Delta is hosting a fundraiser at Chili’s. 15% of all purchases made by people who can produce flyers (available on the elevator board and from representatives at Chili’s) will be donated to Sigma Tau Delta. Please come out and support our fabulous honors students.

Thanks in part to a grant from the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation, Bobby Lopez will be organizing a series this fall and spring called “Myth Goes to the Movies,” celebrating the 50th anniversary of six legendary films: The Music Man, Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. No, Cleopatra, It’s a Mad Mad Mad World, and The Birds. The first event will feature a guest appearance from Ms. Shirley Jones, who played Marian the librarian in the 1962 version of the Music Man opposite Robert Preston. Please encourage students to come to this event and spread the word. The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature a viewing of The Music Man, beginning at 4:00 PM in the Armer Theater, followed by a guest appearance from Ms. Shirley Jones. Please contact Bobby if you need further details.

And don’t forget that if you’ve hosting an event, the Dean’s office want to know. Please send the following information to Noreen Galvin (noreen.galvin@csun.edu):  Event title, start date, end date, event description, event website, contact person (phone and email), sponsor, cost, and location.  And please attach a flyer if you have one.  You can request, for example that the event be shared with other colleges, or with such campus institutions as the Institute for Sustainability, or the Library, or the Matador Involvement Center, or NCOD Events, or the Office of the Provost, or the University Events Calendar, or the Valley Performing Arts Center. Just let Noreen know and she will take care of the rest. And a big thank you in advance to Noreen and the COH for helping us spread the word!

On Tuesday, September 4, from 1 to 2 p.m.,  some of last year’s award-winning faculty will be holding a panel in the Whitsett room. Join Joyce Burstein, from Elementary Education, Eric Garcia, from the Oviatt Library, and Jerald Schutte, from Sociology, winners of the 2012 Distinguished Teaching/Counseling/ Librarianship award, as they share their advice at the start of the semester. And there will be coffee and cookies.

For those of you who need a little break in the week, Kathy Leslie has returned to us (welcome back, Kathy), bringing with her her lovely yoga class. All interested yogis will be meeting in the Linda Joseph Nichols Room on Wednesdays this fall, from 12:15 to 1:15. If you haven’t tried it before, now is a great time to do so. The class is open to all who are encouraged to come when they can. Don’t worry if you have to come late or leave early, or even if you can’t touch your toes. Bring a mat and come find out how yoga can really change your life (and this from someone who, for the better part of her adult life, rolled her eyes at yoga).

Finally, since no official announcement was made last spring, it’s worth noting here that the CSUN Native American PowWow last spring won the Diversity Award.

2.  Reminders

The first Department meeting of the year will be held on Friday, September 14, at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon. Please plan to be there and continue to good work we started at the Department retreat. And for those of you who will be attending the Chair’s Advisory meeting, this first one will take place on Monday, September 10, at 12:15 p.m. in ST 703.

If you’re thinking of doing any university-related foreign travel, first–lucky you, and have a wonderful trip. And second (or perhaps this should be first, but never mind), please consult the new university foreign travel policy, which includes, but is not limited to, pre-paperwork and the requirement to obtain Foreign Travel Insurance through CSUN’s Risk Management office. Tonie can help. Bon voyage!

Or, if you have a secret hankering to be University Writing Council chair for 2012-13 (or if you know anyone else who does), Elizabeth Adams is looking for nominations. The deadline is Friday, August 31st, though, so please be quick.

Also, if you can’t get enough of our amazing students, or are just a soft touch in general, please remember that there will be no penalty this year (at least so far) for going over your course cap limits. Some students can’t get any classes; some need only one to graduate. (A word, though, of caution, it’s probably a good idea to confirm their stories before you award priority where priority might not be warranted.)

And here, again, is the list of campus resources available for students who might need some extra assistance.  Jackie distributed this earlier via email, and I am including it here for future reference.

And here’s just another reminder that SOLAR waitlisted students may show up in your Moodle, so use caution when using the “email all” function. Students are struggling enough with enrollment–let’s please not dishearten them further by sending them emails about yet another class they haven’t been able to get in to. Academic technology is working on this and hopes soon to have sorted things out. (This lingering trace of the shadow student also applies to those who have dropped your class, who may have to be manually purged from your Moodle lists.)

3.  Opportunities

Please bookmark the College of Humanities funding opportunities webpage at http://www.csun.edu/humanities/grants/openfundingopportunities.html and check it frequently. Grant opportunities coming up include ACLS Fellowships to fund replacement time (six to twelve months) for scholarly pursuit of a major project, the Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships for untenured faculty, and the Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for recently tenured scholars. More opportunities are listed on the COH website and will be posted as they come up throughout the year. This is a valuable resource, and given the new CSUN commitment to applied research, it is important for those of us in Humanities to bring in outside dollars too.

The 2012 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award is still open for submissions. But poets, you will need to be quick–the postmark deadline is August 31, 2012. Prize includes $3000 and publication. For more information, please see http://redhen.org/awards-2/bsa/.

Further in the future, Arizona State University is hosting the 18th Annual Southwest English Symposium (SWES) on February 15th-16th, 2013. This year’s conference is titled “-isms, -ologies, and -istics: Conversations Across the Disciplines” and the goal is to bring together scholars for an interdisciplinary conversation about the theories and ideologies that both unite and isolate us within academia. Please visit  http://english.clas.asu.edu/swes2013 for more information.

Omnidawn Publishing has announced its first annual Fabulit Fiction Chapbook competition, which joins its award winning poetry contest.  The deadline is October 15, and the winner will receive a $1,000 prize, publication of the chapbook with a full color cover by Omnidawn, 100 free copies of the winning book, and extensive display advertising and publicity. Full details are available at http://www.omnidawn.com/contest/fiction/

4.  Achievements

One important function of Thursday’s Notes, as we all know, is to make note of faculty achievements, but some of us try to keep a low profile by garnering recognition during the summer months. So we begin with  Evelyn McClave’s recognition as one of the Princeton Reviews best 300 professor in America, with a 2010-2011 ranking of 13 on the top 25 of ratemyprofessor.com. If Evelyn likens the recognitions as being equivalent to “Greatest Mom in the World” award, what can we do but envy her children? Really, Evelyn, way to go. (And yes I know that technically Evelyn is no longer one of us, but I know I speak for others when I say that she will always have an honorary place in English.)

Next up is Charles Hatfield, super-academic-hero of the Comic-Con and recipient of this year’s Eisner Award for the best academic book in the comics field. Charles’ book, Hand of Fire, is a study of the legendary comic book figure Jack Kirby, co-creator of Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Hulk. According to Slate.com, Hatfield waxed emotional in his acceptance speech, raising both fist and voice to declare, “I want to thank my subject, one of the greatest narrative artists of the 20th century—Kirby lives!”

Dr. Robert Chianese, Emeritus Professor of English, CSU Northridge, delivered his Presidential Address, “When Art Connects to Science,” to the 200 scientists and students at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Pacific Division, held this June in Boise, Idaho.  Chianese has been President of the Pacific Division for the academic year 2011-2012. He is the first non-scientist president in the organization’s 100-year history. This western division, with its 27,00 members, is one of four divisions of the national AAAS, which publishes the weekly Science magazine. Chianese’s address was based on his recent AAAS-PD book, Art Inspired by Science,  which  grew out of an art exhibit he co-curated at Southern Oregon University in 2010 that displayed the works of thirty-five artists from throughout the United States and included a hundred paintings, watercolors, sculptures, and constructions inspired by science techniques, ideas, and theory, as well as from mathematics.

For the fifth year in a row, a student from Audrey Thacker’s ENGL 371 course (“Issues in American Jewish Writing”) won the annual Jewish Studies Essay Contest, sponsored by the Jewish Studies Department. Kelly Anderson‘s essay, “The Plot against America: A Thoughtful Conclusion,” won the honor and its $250 prize for her excellent rumination on the text and its controversial conclusion. And, Audrey notes, she’s not even an English major. Maybe we should look into that.

From June 17th to 22nd , Irene Clark attended a five day seminar in Raleigh Durham titled, Elon Research Seminar on Critical Transitions: Writing and the Question of Transfer. On July 19th, she presented a paper at the Writing Program Administration conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was titled “Academic Writing and Transferability: Print and New Media.”

Alum Abby Pikop McMillen had an opinion piece on remembering Ray Bradbury published this summer in the Santa Clarita local newspaper.  Read it here:  http://www.the-signal.com/section/33/article/68183/.

Alum Patricia Colton‘s indie novel was nominated for the Foreward Reviews’ Book of the Year award in the genre of Fantasy. You can read about it here:  http://www.smdp.com/Articles-local-news-c-2012-06-11-74195.113116-Author-nominated-for-book-award.html.