Thursday’s Notes – Volume 53, no. 1

Welcome and welcome back to the fall semester! We hope that the new term is treating you as gently as possible, and that you had as restful a summer as possible after the deep challenges of the last several semesters.

Please send any and all announcements you wish to have distributed through Thursday’s Notes to Danielle Spratt at with the subject line “Thursday’s Notes.”

1. Department Logistics

Department meetings will take place on the following dates this fall: October 8, November 12, and December 10 (Holiday Party/Awards Ceremony).

The 2021-22 advising team:
Beth Wightman, Chair
Danielle Spratt, Associate Chair
Lauren Byler, Director of Graduate Studies
Dorothy Clark, English Subject Matter (ESM) Adviser
Irene Clark, Director of the Composition Program
Leilani Hall, Creative Writing Adviser
JC Lee, Stretch Composition Coordinator
Colleen Tripp, Integrated Teaching Programs (FYI/JYI)

We have recently created a Canvas page specifically for English Majors and Minors, so please direct your students to join if they are interested–and feel free to join as a teacher as well!

Some brief reminders:

If you haven’t already, please send Wendy Ventura copies of your syllabi and your office hours, and do note that in addition to providing office hour information on Canvas, you can make use of the CSUN faculty application to broadcast your office hours. If you are making your Zoom information public, it is highly recommended that you require authenticated users only. (for a refresher, click here)

Please also consider including information on basic needs and other matters on your syllabi and on Canvas as appropriate. Click here for more information on basic needs syllabus language.

2. Opportunities

A. Funding Opportunities

The second annual Diversity and Equity Innovation Grant RFP is out, with proposals due September 22. Please find more information here.

College of Humanities is offering various grants and funding opportunities this fall. These include:

Academic Programming Fund – for full-time tenure and tenure track faculty and lecturers – up to $500 for supplemental funding for course-related costs – Due September 22

Faculty Fellowship and Grant Program – 3 units of course release for full-time tenure and tenure-track faculty – Due Oct 6

Special Projects – to support for academically related projects and events – up to $5000 – open to all faculty (lecturers and tenure track/tenured) – Due  October 20

COH Research Fellow and Probationary Fund Program remain suspended.
For more information, click here

Tenured and tenure-track travel grants are now available for up to $900; please contact Celina Batenhorst at for more information.

B. Professional Development Opportunities

Faculty Development is also hosting a number of workshops and other supportive activities, including a Faculty Writing Community, refreshers on online teaching, transparent assignment design (pay is $200 for completing the program), and other professional development workshops.

Accessibility Workshops: learn how to create course materials that are accessible with a series of workshops. Check out this link  for more information.

3. Achievements

Our colleagues have been busy in the past few months!

The department is thrilled to recognize our recently tenured and promoted faculty members: Mauro Carassai and Colleen Tripp were tenured and promoted to associate professors, Chris Higgs was tenured after receiving early promotion to associate professor last year, and Danielle Spratt received early promotion to full professor.

Ranita Chatterjee has become the first chair of the newly established Department of Liberal Studies, which she assumes after serving as program director for the last eight years. Ranita is happy to announce that after five years of hard work, she and her liberal studies colleagues, including our own Krystal Howard and Mauro Carassai, have created a brand-new BA in Interdisciplinary Studies housed their department. Krystal Howard is now the DLS associate chair. Congratulations!

Irene Clark‘s article, “Critical Thinking, identity, and Performance: Insights from Neuropsychological Research” has been published in Pedagogy, Volume 21, Issue 2.

Anthony Dawahare recently published the essay “1930s Proletarian Fiction” in Richard Wright in Context (ed. by Michael Nowlin, Cambridge UP, 2021).

Noreen Lace’s non-fiction piece, “The Breeder’s Lonely Hearts Club” was published in Jelly Bucket (Issue # 11, August 2021), and her short non-fiction piece, “The Ghost in Her Room,” was published with Dreamer’s Writing in August 2021. 

Trista Payte recently became the Writing Center Director at Mount San Antonio College. Trista served as the Writing Programs Coordinator at CSUN’s LRC director from 2017 until spring 2021. We are happy to report that Trista remains a faculty member in our department and is in her final year of the Ed.D. program as well. She is a 2014 graduate of our MA program in the Creative Writing option.

Sean Pessin has apparently not slept in the past year, and his long and well-deserved list of accomplishments reflects his indefatigable and brilliant work, which I will allow him to narrate for fear of mistaking the wide-ranging and far-flung work he’s performed:

  • I completed all the requirements for the TESL certificate at CSUN in May at CSUN.
  • Also in May I earned the ACUE certificate in Effective Online Teaching Practices.
  • I participated in a roundtable “Comics@CSUN: A Faculty Community Reflects on Comics Pedagogy in the Long Crisis of 2020-2021,” with Charles Hatfield, Dylan Altman, Tina Bertacchi-Love, Kimberly Teaman Carroll, Nicole Eschen Solis, Tomo Hattori, and Rebecca Spitler-Lawson as part of a series of Comics Studies Society Pop-ups, where I discussed some collaborations I undertook on account of COVID-19 with a course of future librarians in UCLAs MLIS program to develop useful materials for the classroom, and also discussed some pitfalls of the process.
  • A book chapter proposal of mine was accepted for the anthology Integrating Pop Culture into the Academic Library, to be published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2022.
  • I am co-editing an anthology to be published by Litwin Books, Crop and Bleed: An Information Studies Reader on New Boundaries in Critical Print and Visual Culture. It has an open call for submissions, linked here for those folks interested!
  • I participated in two workshops as part of CSU Summer Arts: one was “The Flash Form: Cross Genre Writing and Publishing,” coordinated by Venita Blackburn, and the other was “Storytelling with Virtual Reality,” coordinated by Sarah Krainin. Across the two workshops, I contributed to two zines (Me, Myself, an I, and Telephone Poles) and a VR film (Hey Lucy, Hang Up the Phone). 
  • I taught a course on “Critical Approaches, Zines, and Makerspaces” for UCLA’s California Rare Book School.
  • I led a zine-workshop for the emerging LGBTQIA youth group QueerLand. 
  • I am helping to develop an international book studies program through California Rare Book School as core faculty. In preparation for next summer’s inaugural trip, I traveled to Italy to meet with public and private libraries, archives, museums, collectors and conservators in Florence, Modena, Bologna, Reggio Emilia, Cavriago, Treviso, Milan, and Venice.
  • I am preparing pedagogical training materials for a program that helps librarians in Kosovo to better serve their communities, scheduled to take place in Pristina in November with Dr. Robert D. Montoya and Dr. Gregory Leazer.
  • My chapbook, Three Stories, has been published by Magra Books. 
  • I have been accepted into the Information Studies Ph.D. program at UCLA, where I have proposed examining book distributors and the effect they have on the way that public aesthetics are created, maintained, and transformed.

We can’t wait to continue learning from Sean’s brilliant work!

Compiled by Danielle Spratt, 15 Sept. 2021.