Texas Tech University

Department Spotlight

Literature, Social Justice, and Environment Program Hosts "Walled Up" Round Table

A flyer for fall roundtable, "Walled Up: Human and Environmental Impacts of a Border Wall"On October 18th, the Literature, Social Justice, and Environment (LSJE) initiative will host a round table, "Walled Up: Human and Environmental Impacts of a Border Wall." This community event will begin at 7 PM, in the English building's basement auditorium. The roundtable will feature Kevin Bixby (Southwest Environmental Center), Dr. Miguel Levario (Department of History), and Dr. Samantha Kahl (Department of Natural Resources Management). Each speaker will address the topic from their respective fields, before opening the floor to audience questions and comments.

Dr. Sara Spurgeon, one of the organizers for the round table, explains why these events are community-oriented. She writes, "The Literature, Social Justice and Environment initiative is an inherently outward-facing concentration, and the LSJE Roundtables seeks to convene the brightest minds to focus on the challenges shaping our world today, not just within TTU, but in the community of which we are part. This is why the Roundtables are organized as discussions, driven by audience Q and A, rather than a simple lecture series. The voices and concerns of community members is vital in helping LSJE make Texas Tech the hub for innovative, world-changing scholarship. We want LSJE students and faculty to become connectors, not just scholars. This is how we help to turn TTU and Lubbock into a world-leading center for world-changing ideas."

In addition to these community round tables, the LSJE program hosts monthly lunchtime speaker series, in which faculty and graduate students share research. And like the round table, these lunchtime events are free and open to the public. For more information on the lunchtime series, see the department calendar for times and location.

Posted September 19, 2017

Joya Mannan Wins Paul Whitfield Horn Fellowship

Joya MannanA hearty congratulations to PhD candidate Joya Mannan for winning the 2017-2018 Paul Whitfield Horn Fellowship. The fellowship is awarded each year to a deserving woman scholar working towards a graduate degree at Texas Tech University.

Mary Elkins, the fellowship committee chair, says, "We had the distinct privilege of awarding the fellowship to Joya this year due to her outstanding academic ability and professional achievements. We very much enjoyed learning of her academic endeavors and appreciate her involvement in university activities in addition to her devotion to completing her degree in a timely manner. We are delighted to offer her our support."

Applicants for the Paul Whitfield Horn Fellowship are required to complete an application, submit their transcript and resume/CV, a letter stating personal and professional goals, and two letters of support from professors in their major field of study. They should also demonstrate an awareness of Texas Tech University's core values in teaching, research, and service.

Dr. Curtis Bauer, one of the professors who recommended Joya for this fellowship, offers the following on what qualifies her for this award: "Joya impresses me with her deep and broad knowledge of technology in its many incarnations, and she continuously demonstrates her conviction that diversity in an educational setting is just as important to nurture as an awareness of different cultural backgrounds."

And Dr. Kanika Batra, Joya's dissertation chair, shares, "Among those I have taught over my decade long career at Tech, Joya stands out for being one of the most diligent, conscientious, and hardworking students."

Congratulations, Joya!

Posted September 18, 2017

Open Mic for 50th International Literacy Day

Open Mic for 50th International Literacy Day

To celebrate the 50th International Literacy Day, the English Department hosted an open mic in the 2nd floor atrium on Friday, September 8 from 1:00-3:00pm. Students were invited to share a favorite poem or prose piece, and the event was an opportunity to celebrate literacy efforts all over the world—including right here at Texas Tech University.

Dr. Brian Still, chair for the Department of English, was especially moved by the variety of students and works present at the event. "I saw a student stand up, in the middle of the event, ask if it was okay to read any poem, and then read a poem that clearly meant a lot to her, something she decided pretty spontaneously to read," Dr. Still recalls. "Because we had the event, and because we had the atrium to welcome students to hang out, she felt like it was a safe, inspirational place to participate."

Throughout the open mic event, students signed a banner with their names and the poetry and prose they chose to share. According to Dr. Julie Nelson Couch, "The crowd included several non-English majors who were already studying in the atrium or who had heard of the event through TechAnnounce."

In addition to being a liberating experience for those who shared poetry or prose, the open mic encouraged students and faculty alike to appreciate what can come from exchanging ideas in a receptive environment.

"We need poets, creators, writers, thinkers. It's okay to be an English 'person,'" Dr. Still shares upon reflecting on the event. "I want to build on what was done today to continue to encourage students to feel like it's okay to be like us, to add to the world through talents that our discipline cultivates."

Posted September 14, 2017

National Book Award Longlist in Poetry

Chen Chen
Photo credit: Jess Chen

We are so proud to announce that one of our family members in the TTU Department of English has been longlisted for the National Book Award in Poetry.

Please join us in congratulating Chen Chen, whose book When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017), winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, is one of ten books selected for this prestigious award.

"Gratitude and love to my press, BOA Editions, and to Jericho Brown, who selected my book for publication," Chen says. "I'm so honored to find myself in the company of such brilliant poets."

Congratulations, Chen!

Posted September 13, 2017

Meet Dr. Kendall Gerdes - the Media Lab's New Director!

Headshot for Dr. Kendall GerdesStarting this fall semester, Dr. Kendall Gerdes will be the new director for the department's Media Lab. Dr. Gerdes, a faculty member specializing in Technical Communication and Rhetoric, earned her Ph.D. in Rhetoric from UT-Austin. Her research interests include using and making video games, and using simpler tools like Twine. She co-authored "Crossing 'Battle Lines,'" a webtext in Kairos about teaching digital literacy with alternate reality games.

Dr. Gerdes hopes that the Media Lab will inspire students and faculty alike. In addition to providing access to A/V equipment and software and helping print flyers and posters, she writes, "We can support instructors who want to incorporate creative media technology into their classrooms, even if you're not quite sure how. A big part of our mission is supporting the development of digital and new media literacies." For undergraduate students, Dr. Gerdes will continue the 2311 Instructional Design Contest, and would like to create a new award for graduate instructors.

To learn more about the Media Lab, its office hours, and upcoming events, be sure to visit the lab's site, its YouTube channel, or Twitter account (@TTUEngMediaLab).

Posted August 22, 2017

Kate Simonian Wins Algren Literary Award

Headshot for Kate SimonianKate Simonian, a second year doctoral student in Creative Writing, recently won the Chicago Tribune's Nelson Algren Literary Award. Kate's short story, "Le Problem Being," was selected out of 3,900 entries. The story was first workshopped in Dr. Dennis Covington's graduate fiction class.

"Le Problem Being," which follows 33-year-old Tracey Davis as she travels through France with her parents and struggles with her called-off engagement and recent HIV diagnosis, was published on The Chicago Tribune's website and printed newspaper. In addition to publication, Kate will receive a $3,500 prize.

In addition to publishing her story, the Tribune also published an article about Kate's work. You may read that article here. Kate's work has also been praised by Texas Tech's Office for Research, who also published an article.

Posted July 3, 2017

Spotlight Archive

Great News About Grant-Making Work from TCR

Chase Mitchell, TCR doctoral student, has some great news about his grant-making work at the William King Museum of Art in Abingdon, Virginia, where he is Director of Advancement. Through this work, he has secured $817,429 since January 2016.

Of that total, $595,380 is "new" money, grants that he generated for new projects. Five hundred thousand ($500,000) will be used for William King Museum of Art's proposed Center for Studio Art & Education (CSAE). The CSAE will be a 10,000+ square foot facility, adjacent to William King Museum of Art, that will house resident studio artists (blacksmith, glassblower, painter, woodworker, sculptor, etc.), a multimedia production lab, film screening room and lecture hall, classrooms for our educational programming, and much-needed storage space. WKMA is one of ten Virginia organizations to be recommended for such funding.

Chase reports that about $500,000 more in possible grant money is pending.

Congratulations, Chase, for this outstanding work and contribution to your community! You make us proud!

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Posted July 3, 2017

Two Dissertation Awards for TCR Alums

Two 2016 Technical Communication and Rhetoric alumni were recently awarded Texas Tech Graduate School's Dissertation Awards in the category of Humanities and Fine Arts.

Dr. Joy McMurrin earned first place for her dissertation, "Negotiating the supermarket: A critical approach to nutrition literacy among low-income consumers." Dr. McMurrin will receive a $1500 award, and the graduate school will nominate her dissertation to the Council of Graduate Schools annual CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award competition. Congratulations to Dr. McMurrin and her committee: Drs. Sam Dragga (chair), Amy Koerber, and Kristen Moore. Upon graduation, Dr. McMurrin has worked as a tenure track position Assistant Professor at Dixie State University, in St. George, Utah.

Dr. Jeannie Bennett's earned second place for her dissertation, "An Unhealthy Drama: A Burkean Analysis of Mental Illness Rhetoric." She will receive a $750 award. Congratulations to Dr. Bennett and her committee: Drs. Amy Koerber (chair), Joyce Locke Carter, and Brian Still.

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Posted June 28, 2017

Good News from STC

Our Society for Technical Communication (STC) TTU Student Chapter was recognized with two awards at this year's 2017 STC Summit: the Pacesetter Award and the Bronze Community Award. The STC is "the world's largest and oldest professional association dedicated to the advancement of the field of technical communication."

The citations read as follows:

Pacesetter Award
For furthering Society and community goals by participating in your university's Diversity Week and promoting technical communication to a larger audience.

Bronze Community Award
For your dedicated work in promoting the technical communication profession by providing several educational and social opportunities each semester, and by hosting brown bag events that foster collaboration and networking opportunities among fellow technical communicators.

Congratulations to the STC TTU Student Chapter, its officers and members, and advisor Dr. Craig Baehr for their hard work and dedication to professional development. The awards will be on display in the 3rd floor TC POD.

You make us proud!!

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Posted May 13, 2017

Three Cheers for Sarah Viren!

Head shot for Sarah VirenCongratulations are in order for creative writing doctoral candidate, Sarah Viren. She recently defended her dissertation, Mine, a collection of essays that explore the idea of ownership and possession; these ideas also inform an autobiographical narrative that Sarah weaves throughout the collection.

Moreover, Mine received the River Teeth Book Prize. Upon hearing news of the prize, Sarah writes, "I screamed so loud my wife thought something had happened to me, or our baby (who was born a couple of months before I won the prize). In other words, I was pretty darn thrilled." Mine will be published by University of New Mexico Press in the Spring of 2018.

In addition to her creative work, Sarah recently published a translation of Argentine writer Federico Falco's Cordoba Skies. She began translating works from Spanish while on a Fulbright in Colombia. She studied translation at Iowa, and has continued her translation work during her time at Texas Tech.

Dr. Viren recently accepted a tenure-track position in Arizona State University's writing program. To read samples of her work, the Iowa Review published Sarah's essay, "Advise Me", in which she fluidly explores learning Spanish and falling in love. More links to essay are found on Sarah's website, sarahviren.wordpress.com.

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Posted April 27, 2017

Postcards for Elected Officials


As a continuation of the momentum achieved with the Women's March, graduate students Joya Mannan and Bailey Cundiff hosted a postcard-writing event on Tuesday, January 31, in an effort to initiate 10 collective actions in the next 100 days as a part of the Women's March campaign.

"We hope this event inspires students and faculty to write to their senators. Elected officials represent us, and it's important they know what is important to us," Mannan says. "Maintaining that dialogue is critical both before and after an election."

The Letterpress Studio kindly donated paper and ink to help create custom postcards for this event. Cundiff printed postcards that read WHY I MARCH and LISTEN, graduate student Scott Morris printed postcards that read THIS IS NOT NORMAL, and Mannan actually hand-carved a linoleum stamp in order to create postcards with messages written in Bengali. Those who attended the postcard-writing event also added their own embellishments to the postcards or took advantage of the opportunity to design and print their own postcards using the English Department's replica Civil War-era Campaign press.

The event and postcards were free, and Drs. Curtis Bauer and Kristen Moore donated funding for stamps as well. "We wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to participate and communicate to their senators why they march or otherwise stand in the face of injustice," Cundiff says.

In the end, the event resulted in hundreds of postcards mailed to senators.

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Posted January 31, 2017

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