1. Announcements

Welcome to Pandemic Instruction 2.0, aka Fall 2020. Among other changes this year,  I will be compiling and editing Thursday’s Notes (TN). Please send any announcements, opportunities, and achievements you would like me to post by Tuesday of each week at beth.wightman@csun.edu.

Please join me in welcoming our new faculty members, Brandy Underwood and Rubén Mendoza! Since they have arrived in the midst of our (somewhat controlled) COVID-19 chaos, let’s make sure they feel warmly welcomed, even from a distance.

Sadly, this past spring and summer we lost two beloved lecturers, Kitty Nard and Nancy Taylor to unexpected and brief illnesses. A memorial for Nancy was held this summer, and when I have information about Kitty’s memorial, I will pass it along. Kitty’s daughters have set up a scholarship in her name. For more information, please contact Suren Seropian in the Dean’s Office (suren.seropian@csun.edu).

Other changes to note include Sandra Stanley taking over as Interim Associate Chair this fall, while Anthony Dawahare is on leave; and Danielle Spratt returning to the FYI/JYI advising role.

Our first Department Meeting will be held on Friday, September 11, from 3:00-5:00 pm, and I will send out the Zoom link that week, along with all the usual materials (agenda, etc.). The remaining meetings will be held on the following dates:  October 9, November 13, February 12, March 12, April 9, and May 14.

2. Opportunities

Anyone teaching 113, 114, or 115 this semester has access to a fantastic Canvas Resource full of information and tips for teaching writing successfully online created by our own Amanda Harrison and JC Lee. Please sign up for that Canvas page is you are teaching a first-year writing course this semester.

The Tseng College also has set up a website on virtual/digital teaching: tsengcollege.csun.edu/resources.

While the Oviatt Library building remains closed due to the pandemic, staff have begun offering the mailing of print books, physical media, and other regular circulating materials from our collections via the Request feature in OneSearch, which comes up after you sign in with your CSUN credentials. Interlibrary Loan is also available.

Prof. Yarma Velazquez in Chicano Studies is offering a free workshop to 15 CSUN students. The workshop is for student activists that will introduce participants to some of the tools used in the Theatre of the Oppressed. This 5-week workshop will provide a space to learn and discuss current issues and explore embodied learning experiences that engage the senses, emotions, and imagination. For more information, contact Yarma, yarma.velazquez@csun.edu.

The Dean’s Office is hosting an open college meeting with Allan Chen and his team from IT on Thursday, September 10 at 10 am.  They will be discussing resources (lots of them new and exciting!) available to faculty this year. Please contact the Dean’s Office if you would like the Zoom link.

3. Achievements

On August 31, 2020, Irene Clark made an instructional video for the AP Language Virtual Instruction Initiative. The video, titled, “Exigence and Genre,” will be used for preparing high school teachers who teach in the Advanced Placement Language Program.

Moncho Alvarado (CSUN: BA in Creative Writing 2016, Sarah Lawrence College: MFA in Creative Writing 2018) won the 2020 Saturnalia Poetry Prize this summer and will have their first collection, Greyhound Americans, published by Saturnalia Books in 2022. The judge for this year’s prize was Pulitzer Prize-nominee Diane Seuss. Previous Saturnalia Prize winners have gone on to win other major awards after the publication of their books, including the Whiting Award and the Lambda Literary Award. While at CSUN, Moncho won the Academy of American Poets Prize and served as Poetry Co-Editor for the Northridge Review. They’ve recently had poems published in Emerge: 2018 Lambda Fellows AnthologyMeridian, Foglifter, Lunch Ticket, and elsewhere. They’ve also won the Thomas Lux Scholarship for community service, as well as fellowships and residencies from The Helen Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, Lambda Literary, Poets House, Troika House, and other places. They’ve worked with youths in Sunnyside Community Services in Queens, NY. Moncho currently lives in Brooklyn, NY and works as a poet, as a bilingual Spanish/English translator, and as a Xicanx Latinx queer LGBTQ activist and educator. For more, here’s their website: https://www.monchoalvarado.com/

Courtney Ketchum (CSUN: BA in English Creative Writing Summa Cum Laude 2020) was just hired at California Lutheran University as Administrative Assistant in the Graduate School of Education, supporting the Director for the California Reading Literature Project. The program provides resources for reading and language instruction to California students and teachers. She grew up in the Greater Valley area and earned an Associate of Arts in English degree at Moorpark College, where she was awarded the Moorpark College Foundation Scholarship. Since earning her Bachelor of Arts in English degree at CSUN, Courtney had her first short story accepted for publication by Captured Journal. She currently lives in Simi Valley and is at work on more short stories for a collection-in-progress.

Khashayar Joshua “Khash” Khabushani (CSUN: BA in Philosophy Magna Cum Laude 2016, Columbia University: MFA in Creative Writing complete, ABD, 2020) completed his MFA studies in Creative Writing at Columbia University, and his first novel, Our New Name, was just sold to Penguin Books in a major deal after competitive bidding between several publishing houses. While at CSUN, Khash (then known as Joshua) studied Creative Writing in English 408: Advanced Narrative Writing, and he served in the English Department as a tutor and as Supplemental Instruction Leader. He also wrote regularly for The Daily Sundial, and he wrote openly about his intersectional background as the out bisexual son of Iranian exiled immigrants growing up in the Islamic faith and in a conservative enclave in the San Fernando Valley. In addition, he won the CSUN Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, the Philosophy Department’s Outstanding Achievement Award, and the One Amazing Community Service Award. After earning his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Khash taught history in high-impact middle schools for iLead Pacoima, and he added conversant Spanish to his fluent Farsi and English. As a first-generation Muslim Iranian American, he has advocated for immigrant rights, in addition to advocating for LGBTQ rights and for bisexual visibility. While at Columbia, he studied with The New Yorker writer Hilton Als, and he taught creative writing for high schools in The Bronx alongside Leslie Jamison in the CA/T Program (Columbia Artist/Teachers). Khash currently lives in New York City and is writing while in retreat in Providence, Rhode Island. For more, here’s his website: https://www.khashayarjkhabushani.com/.

August “Auggie” Sami (CSUN: BA in Creative Writing Summa Cum Laude 2011, University of Chicago: MA in Middle Eastern Studies Magna Cum Laude 2013 & PhD in Middle Eastern Studies Magna Cum Laude 2020) successfully defended his doctoral dissertation, The Shibanid Question: Reassessing 16th Century Eurasian History in Post-Soviet Uzbekistan in June 2020. Now he is a graduate with distinction from the University of Chicago’s top-ranked doctoral program in Middle Eastern Studies. While at CSUN, Auggie earned both the Dean’s Scholar Award and the Wolfson Scholar Award, and he served as the first out gay President & the first Persian president of Sigma Tau Delta, working to build alliances with LGBTQ advocacy groups in the drive to create the Pride Center. As a first-generation Islamic Persian American, he’s also served as an advocate for immigrant rights, including DREAMers. A polyglot, he’s fluent in Farsi, Uzbek, Uyghur, Russian, and English, and he’s proficient in Turkish, Kazakh, and French. While at the University of Chicago, he founded Lights: The MESSA Quarterly, and he taught the Persian language and various history courses. In addition, he taught Islamic History at Loyola University Chicago. In Fall 2020, he’ll seek a tenure-track position in Middle Eastern Studies & History in Southern California universities. In the meantime, Auggie lives in the East Bay in Northern California, with his happily-married spouse, Dr. Lester Hu, an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He just launched a new website designed to guide applicants for graduate programs. CSUN’s star alumnus “Dr. Auggie” is now available to mentor CSUN students and students from universities across the country as they prepare admission applications. For more, here’s his website: https://gradappguru.org/.