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1. Announcements

Dorothy Rankin

Before launching in to our traditional welcome’s back and hope you all had great summers and it’s going to be a great year ahead (all of which in due time), I’d like to urge us all to take a moment to remember our feisty colleague, Dorothy Rankin, who passed away last spring after our final TN. Dorothy earned her MA degree from our department in 1975 and taught as a lecturer among us for more than thirty years. Well known for her passion and indefatigability — and indeed, she continued teaching well into her eighties and into her final months of her life — Dorothy will be remembered for her spark, her liveliness, her steadfast devotion to CSUN, her students, and teaching in general, and she will be sorely missed. It is also worth adding that, in the words of Evelyn McClave, “for a couple of years, Dorothy went over regularly to help take care of Lesley Johnstone’s mother (and of Lesley).  She cooked, cleaned, brought food….  Dorothy was one of the most selfless people I have known.  She was modest about her contributions, accomplishments, and generosity of spirit.” Although Dorothy requested no memorial service, we can still all take a little time individually to think about her and to raise at least a metaphorical glass to her memory.

In other sad news, lecturer Nancy Taylor’s much beloved father, Charles (Chuck) R. Taylor, passed away on August 6. Our hearts go out to Nancy in her time of bereavement. Here, too, is a link to a moving eulogy Nancy wrote for her father and would like to share with us: http://confessionsofahawaiianprincess.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/a-tribute-to-my-father/.

But the start of the year is also a time for reunion and excitement about the coming year, so here’s a big welcome back to you all, with hopes everyone had terrific summers. The road ahead is full of new challenges and opportunities, and now is the time to embrace them with fervor and conviction.

Beginning with a mini-doc to help us celebrate who we are and what we do. This comes to us from Irene Clark who, having chaired a panel at last year’s AGSE conference in April of undergraduates reading from their literacy narratives, arranged for the students to get a stipend and be filmed through the Digital Humanities program. The students are fantastic and can be seen here https://vimeo.com/72868194.

In case you missed it, we got a raise! The California Faculty Association and the California State University has reached an agreement on reopener bargaining. Of the $38 Million set aside by the Chancellor for faculty and staff increases, all faculty members will share a total of $19,234,400. This one time money will be distributed as a flat dollar amount General Salary Increase (GSI) instead of a percentage. The goal was to get at least some money into every faculty member’s base salary. The estimate is roughly around $1,000 for full time faculty and a pro rata base for part time. Well, ok, don’t spend it all at one time. But really, it is a start.

As you are no doubt aware, this first week of classes has brought with it several crime alerts. Please take note of them and be careful out there!

There has been a change in the Department administrative structure, that includes the new position of Associate Chair, to be held by Anthony Dawahare. But wait, what happened to the prior position of Associate Chair, held by Kate Haake, (me)? In the interests of rotating more faculty through various administrative positions to create a deeper pool for the eventual election (many years from now) of a new Department Chair, the position of Associate Chair will now be shared between a “first year” Associate Chair and a “second year” Associate Chair. Well, officially, Kate Haake (I) am the “Senior Associate Chair” (because I am older than Anthony is younger?). Welcome to Anthony in his new position, and please send your students to both of us for major advising as we are always happy to meet with them.

Please invite your students to Freshman Convovation: Thursday 9/12 at 6 p.m. Onthe Oviatt Lawn to join our new students in celebrating not just the start of a new academic year but also the start of their academic careers. And it’s yet another chance, as well, to support the common reader this year by listening to keynote speaker, Edward Humes, author of Garbology. Faculty and staff are also invited, and if you need good reasons, please see http://www.csun.edu/afye/Ten-Reasons-to-Attend-Freshman-Convocation.html.

And — this just in — please come yourself to a Town Hall Meeting with Chancellor White, currently scheduled for September 9, from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. in the Plaza del Sol. An official campus wide message with full details will be sent soon and will also be posted on the President’s Office website at http://www.csun.edu/president. But for now, mark your calendars and plan to be there for this important event.

Annual Open Enrollment is September 16 through October 11, 2013. If you wish to make health benefit enrollment changes, contact your Benefits representative and submit the appropriate forms and documentation between September 16th and October 11th. Additional Open Enrollment information, including CSU rates, will be sent to you in the near future.

CSUN Fee Waiver Benefit Application Goes On-Line ! Eligible CSUN employees can now apply for the CSU tuition Fee Waiver Benefit through the myNorthridge portal. When you access “Apply for Fee Waiver Benefit” on the Human Resources / Employee pagelet, your name, CSUN ID, Bargaining Unit, and other identifying information will automatically populate. You will just need to answer who is using the waiver, the campus attending, academic status, and dependent information (if applicable). The deadline to submit a Fee Waiver application for the Spring 2014 semester is September 20, 2013. Additional information on the Fee Waiver can be obtained on the Fee Waiver website, or by contacting the Fee Waiver Coordinator at feewaiver@csun.edu.

For the second year in a row, the Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program has awarded it writing prize to a paper written in an English class, and this year, by an English major. Congratulations to Anna Iskikian, recipient of the 2-12-2013 Jewish Studies Essay Contest for her paper, “A Comparison of Fictitious Histories in Jewish American Literature.” This recognition comes with a $250 prize, which we hope Anna has enjoyed.

Dr. Adrian Perez-Boluda, associate professor of Spanish in the Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures Department at CSUN, and the current president of the Omega Chapter of the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars, wants us to know that one of the main purposes of Phi Beta Delta is to promote activities that support international scholarship. Phi Beta Delta is available to assist you with any project that involves an international aspect, and would be happy to help with rooms for presentations, advertising your events, and providing refreshments. Please contact her at adrian.perez-boluda@csun.edu, or Professor Marta Lopez at marta.lopez@csun.edu, for more information or to let them know if you would like help this term. They would like to hear from you before October 1st.

Sigma Tau Delta will be hosting two upcoming fundraising events. The first event is today, August 29th at the California Pizza Kitchen at 9301 Tampa Ave, Northridge. The event is all day and all that you have to do is show up with a copy of the Fundraiser Flyer (available from Sigma board members or on the 7th floor, just to the left as you exit the elevators) and 20% of your total total bill will go to our Sigma Tau Delta chapter. Be sure to produce the flyer at the time of purchase. And enjoy the food, along with the most excellent company you are sure to run in to there. The second event is the Second Annual Sigma Tau Delta Garage Sale, taking place this Saturday, August 31 from 7:00am-3:00pm at 14827 Bledsoe St., Sylmar, CA 91342. The Sigma board and members will be selling everything from electronics to clothing to help raise funds for our upcoming events.

Michael Schofield’s Jani Foundation, dedicated to providing educational and social support for children with severe mental illnesses, is having a Bowl-A-Thon Fundraiser to benefit Santa Clarita Valley K-6 SED Children’s Social and Educational Programs. The event will take place on Saturday, September 28, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Valencia Lanes (23700 Lyons Ave., Newhall), and and will feature a 50/50 raffle, a silent auction, and of course, plenty of bowling. Five  person teams, $25.00 per person. If you can help, please contact Michael Schofield  at mschofield@janifoundation.org for details. The deadline for sign- up is September 6.

2. Reminders

Even though the first week of classes is almost over (hold on to your hat), it’s worth reminding ourselves again that the new SOLAR wait list is in effect through the first week of classes. If you give our permission numbers and students use them, you could end up with an over-enrolled class. Starting in week two, permission numbers will be needed to enroll and you can safely add students at the time off whatever personal waiting list system you may have devised.

Frank De La Santo has recently circulated his ever-helpful Beginning of Semester Notices. Here you will find vital information about such critical issues as office hours, attendance policy, faculty absences, keys, fire alarms, wait lists, copying, etc. Even though some of us have been so reminded what feels like countless times already, just as we advise our students to review all the words in our syllabi, it useful to review these for ourselves. (I did, and I’m glad I did.) Frank’s Notice is chock full of information we won’t need to bother asking anyone about. Finally, if and when we do need to ask for help, please let’s all remember how very hard our staff does work for us and for our students and how cheerful and accommodating they are about it. Or, as my mother taught me, always say please and thank you, and always with a smile.

3. Opportunities

It’s time to think of the famous writers and scholars you’d love to bring to campus this year to wow your students and enrich the experience of us all as the Office of Graduate Studies, Research and International Programs (GRIP) has it Distinguished Visiting Speakers Program. Applications may be submitted in one of two categories: Category I applications (up to $700) request support for classroom visits or department seminars by a guest lecturer, and Category II applications (up to $1,800) request funds for individuals or small groups of scholars with broad appeal to the university community to participate in artistic performances, public lectures, or topical conferences. (Please note that International speakers may have up to 30% of honorarium withheld for taxes.) Applications are available from GRIP and the deadline is September 16.

The deadline for the Fall 2013 Faculty Development Competition for Attending Teaching Conferences is September 11, 2013.  Funds have been set aside to support faculty to attend teaching conferences in their field.  Applicants need not be presenting to apply for funds.  Please see the Faculty Development website for more details.
The photo of pile of booksProbationary Faculty Support Program provides 3 units of reassigned time to support probationary, tenure-track faculty in their first through fifth years in meeting the qualifications for RTP.  The deadline for the Spring 2014 competition is October 1, 2013.  Please see our website for more details. And good luck to all probationary faculty!

4. Achievements

As our faithful readers know, one of the most awaited features of TN is this space saved for student and faculty achievements. Since it was a mystery to me for many years as to how to get my own work noticed in this venue, I’ve decided to start this year with an open invitation: whenever you or your students or anyone connected with CSUN English achieves or publishes something to be noted here, just send me (Kate Haake) an email to let me know. This is a good way to share your good work, and we are always happy to celebrate it with you.

To wit, Irene Clark has learned that her article,  “Addressing Genre in the Writing Center,” published in 1999 in _The Writing Center Journal_, is being translated into German for a an edited book comprised o fundamental texts about writing theory, writing instruction, and peer tutoring. The German title of the article will be “Genre im Schreibencentrum” and will be published by  UTB Barbara Budrich Publishers. On June 26th, she presented a paper titled “Writing and Learning in General Education” at a conference titled “Critical Transitions: Writing and the Question of Transfer” held at Elon University. On August 6th, she gave a full day workshop at Santa Monica College titled “Helping Students Write Effectively: Conceptual Understanding, Practical Suggestions.”

And here is some most extraordinary news:  Mona Houghton‘s book of two novellas, Frottage & Even As We Speak, has been selected as a Foreword Review 2012 Gold Award recipient in the category of literary fiction. Congratulations, Mona!

Scott Kleinman has a busy summer putting your tax dollars to work. June and July were spent putting the finishing touches on Lexos, a text analysis tool produced by the NEH-funded Lexomics Project. Try it in your research and with your students. Lexos is particularly good at helping students engage closely with the content of the texts they are studying. After a quick trip to Digital Humanities 2013 in Nebraska, where Lexos was demonstrated, Scott traveled to Fairfax, VA to work as a developer for One Week | One Tool. This NEH-funded project brought together twelve digital humanists to create a useful tool over the course of a week; the result was Serendip-o-matic, a search engine that re-creates the experience of serendipitous discovery of archival research. In between Nebraska and Fairfax, Scott learned that he had been awarded a $200,000 Scholarly Editions and Translations grant from the NEH to produce an online Archive of Early Middle English. That project gets up and running in October.

English students Au Jung Chang, Lorie Hamalian, Yollotl Lopez, and Rolando Rubalcava have been awarded California Pre-Doctoral Fellowships. They were among seventeen students selected from 221 applications, so the competition was very keen. Congratulations and good luck to them all!

5. Go Anywhere/Go English

And in the ongoing interests of our recruitment efforts, here’s introducing a new TN feature — this week titled Go Anywhere/Go English. In the weeks ahead, we will be trying out more titles until we settle on our final tagline, but the point is to feature more reasons to advocate what we do. Each issue, I hope to post one or more links to articles, research, or musings on the benefits of being an English major. As you come across them in your own reading, please let me know so I can include them here. And maybe, as the year goes on, we can include some perspectives from our own students. For now, in addition to the article we looked at for the faculty retreat (Why English majors are the hot new hires. http://goo.gl/4T82mp) here are a few more to get us started:

Why major in the humanities? Not just for a good job — for a good life. http://goo.gl/Jm7X1l

Why I hire English majors. http://goo.gl/IL16Gd

And from a forum of blog posts by English majors themselves (http://goo.gl/lDWV9V): Careers for English majors.http://goo.gl/MrOODw

Finally, for a few laughs (although, reader discretion is advised, these may not be for the faint of heart or highly sensitive), 31 awesome perks of being and English major, at http://goo.gl/AO9vwX