Welcome to the 2021 resurrection of Thursday’s Notes. The semester has now officially begun, and once more unto the breach, everyone. I have great hope that the hard-earned familiarity of our online teaching experience, the resolution of the political situation, and the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines will make Spring 21 at least a little bit easier than Fall 20. I certainly hope to get TN into your inboxes more regularly!

We welcome the new CSUN president, Erika Beck, to the physical and virtual campus. Let me know what you want her to know about us, about the department and our students.

Please take a moment to review the “Beginning of Semester Notes” that Wendy Ventura sent out this week, and send her the following info at your earliest convenience: your office hours, syllabi, and personal/emergency contact information. She needs to update all of these each semester.

You may have seen that the CSU is returning to “normal operations” this fall. What that likely means for CSUN is 30% face-to-face course time. I’ll talk more about what that will look like in the English department at our first department meeting on February 12. (Zoom info to come.)

I would also like to acknowledge once again some retirements that occurred in the midst of recent chaos: Cheryl Spector; Jack Solomon; Cheryl Slobod; and Wendy Say. They leave some big holes in the department. We wish them all the best! 


The Critical Insights series is seeking submissions for a volume on Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. The new deadline is February 1. For more information, contact Dr. Laura Nicosia ( or

CSUN Act Now (CAN) is a series of events throughout the year to engage the CSUN community in the 2020 election and beyond. People often want to be more civically engaged, but aren’t sure where to start, and while voting in the election is very important, it is just one way to be engaged in 2020. CSUN Act Now is a collaboration of students, faculty, and staff working to craft interactive activities, performances, lectures, seminars, and exhibits to help Matadors make informed decisions and participate meaningfully in their communities. These events will help Matadors establish and maintain communities of support on issues important to them, provide information and direction on getting involved in contemporary issues, and help create connections between civic engagement, classroom learning, and everyday practice. Visit the CSUN Act Now Events page for more detailed information and get involved!


Kelly Kurtzhals Geiger, Lenny Cohen, Aiko Shimizu, Maya Griffin & Mike Washington, five CSUN alumni, recently accepted a publication offer by Dark Owl Publishing for The Portal: This Set of Journeys Is for You, their first collaborative coming-of-age novel. Written under their collective pseudonym, K. Lamm, The Portal hybridizes adventure & fantasy and targets a middle-grade readership. The novel centers on Jackson Loving, an eleven-year old working-class boy from a broken family in the Midwest, in Detroit, Michigan. All five alumni completed their Master of Arts or Bachelor of Arts degree recently, each as an English major with a Creative Writing emphasis. They met in English 490: Senior Seminar in Narrative Writing, where they wrote their first collaborative fiction as an experiment. K. Lamm’s The Portal will be fully illustrated and was slated for release on December 21, 2020.

Irene Clark has been nominated as a CSUN Champion for Student Success. Administered by the Matadors Rising student success campaign, Champions are individual faculty and staff who have supported CSUN students’ education journeys.

Steven Wexler‘s short story, “The Genius,” was recently published in The Satirist.

John Gides’ book, Successful Rhetoric for Professional Writing, has been published by Kendall-Hunt Publishing Company and both the digital and hard-copy versions are being marketed internationally.  A second edition is already in progress for spring 2021.