Missouri State University
Department of English Blog

Fiction Writer Michael Nye Will Visit Campus 10/17

michael nye
Michael Nye, Managing Editor of The Missouri Review and author of “Strategies Against Extinction”.

Ever heard of a little literary journal called The Missouri Review?

Chances are, if you are the kind of person interested in things like literary journals (i.e. English majors), then you know that The Missouri Review, published by our state’s very own MU, is highly regarded as one of the best journals around. They routinely present the best and the brightest in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. And their managing editor – the guy who is in charge of what gets into the journal and what does not – is coming to campus this month.

Michael Nye will be giving a reading at the MSU campus on October 17th. He will read from his collection of short fiction Strategies Against Extinction (Harper’s Ferry Press, 2012). Nye also has been at work on a new novel.

Nye’s short fiction and nonfiction essays have been published in acclaimed journals such as Cincinnati Review and Kenyon Review. He has given interviews on the art and process of writing for publications like Every Writer’s Review and  Fiction Writers Review. Nye’s essay “Why I Write”, published on Stymie, is available here.  You can also check out his interview with Braddock Avenue Books.

Interested in seeing what his fiction is all about? You can read his short stories “A Fully Imagined World” (Boulevard Magazine), “The Utility Room” (Atticus Review), and “The Ecstatic” (Hobart).

Nye’s reading will at be 7:00 PM in the Plaster Student Union Theater.

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Ozarks Writing Project to host teaching seminar

The Ozarks Writing Project will host its semiannual Writing and Thinking Seminar: Teachers Teaching Teachers in Cross-Curricular Writing on Thursday, Oct. 2, in Plaster Student Union room 314. Meeting from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the seminar provides an opportunity for educators from a variety of content areas to gain professional development and earn college credit.

What can be expected

Attendees will learn easy-to-implement ideas and writing and thinking strategies that will improve student learning in any content classroom. The registration fee of $50 per participant (or $150 for a team of four) will cover the cost of three sessions, lunch and parking.

Additional information

Although registration has closed for the October seminar, interested parties can sign up for the next one scheduled for Feb. 27. For those individuals attending both the October 2 and the February 27 conference, one hour of graduate credit is available at a reduced rate of $150. If interested, please view the syllabus and fill out the enrollment form, which can be turned in to the registration table on the day of the conference.

What is OWP

Housed in the English department within the College of Arts and Letters, the OWP is a collaborative program between Missouri State University and the National Writing Project (NWP). The NWP recently helped the University program acquire a $179,000 federal grant as part of its i3 College-Ready Writers efforts, offering professional development for rural teachers across the nation.

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Award-winning poet to read from recently published book

Moon City Press author, Debra Kang Dean, will be at the Plaster Student Union Sept. 27 to read from her recently published book, Fugitive Blues.
Moon City Press author, Debra Kang Dean, will be at the Plaster Student Union Sept. 27 to read from her recently published book, Fugitive Blues.

The English department will host a reading by Debra Kang Dean from her recent book Fugitive Blues on Friday, Sept. 26 at 7:00 p.m., and she will be available afterward for book signing. The event, located at the Robert W. Theater in Plaster Student Union, is free and open to the public.

About the book

Fugitive Blues, a Moon City Press publication, is a collection of poetry described by fellow author Sarah Freligh as “at once small and large, honoring the ordinary even as they consider the ontological.”

About the author

Dean has published three collections of poetry: Back to Back, which won the Harperprints Poetry Chapbook Competition, judged by Ruth Stone; News of Home, which was co-winner of the New England Poetry Club’s Sheila Margaret Motton Award, and Precipitates.

Her work has also appeared in many journals and a number of anthologies, including The Best American Poetry 1999, The New American Poets: A Bread Loaf Anthology, Urban Nature: Poems about Wildlife in the City, and Yobo: Korean American Writing in Hawai‘i.

She is on the faculty of the Spalding University brief-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program, teaches online through the UCLA Extension School’s Writers’ Program, and is a contributing editor for Tar River Poetry.

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Dr. James Baumlin named Distinguished Professor

The department of English is very pleased to announce that Dr. James Baumlin has been promoted to the rank of Distinguished Professor.

Promotion to the Distinguished Professor rank is the highest honor that the University bestows on a faculty member. It identifies a select group of faculty members who are leaders in their respective fields, as attested by national and/or international reputation, and who also have a sustained record of excellence in both teaching and service.

James has written and co-edited a dozen books and more than 100 articles, book chapters, notes, and reviews on subjects within seventeenth-century English literature, the history of rhetoric, critical theories, creative nonfiction, and composition pedagogy.

Congratulations to James for earning this well-deserved recognition.

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Dr. D. Leigh Henson Leads Issue of the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association

DLHenson5-14-350wThe lead article in the recently published issue of the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (JALA) is an 11,000-word composition by D. Leigh Henson, professor emeritus of English at Missouri State University. The title of the article is “Classical Rhetoric as a Lens for Reading the Key Speeches of Lincoln’s Political Rise, 1852–1856.” JALA “is the only journal devoted exclusively to Lincoln scholarship.” JALA, published twice a year by the University of Illinois Press, selects only a few article submissions, and articles published have been revised by their authors according to critiques provided by several anonymous scholars. Henson, a native of Lincoln, Illinois, attended Lincoln College and earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in English at Illinois State University.

Henson’s article discusses communicative elements in several of Lincoln’s speeches just before, during, and after he began his celebrated, second political career in 1854. Lincoln returned to politics after his undistinguished one term in Congress ended in 1849, so that he could oppose efforts to expand slavery into new territories and the free states. Lincoln’s return to politics involved him in helping to establish the Illinois Republican Party in 1856. His party leadership in turn led to the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates, then to his 1860 presidential election. 

The communicative elements Henson discusses in Lincoln’s speeches derive from classical rhetoric—the work of Greek and Roman writers who established the field of study dealing with the theory, practice, and instruction of discourse. Henson explains that familiarity with classical rhetoric enables readers to gain a better understanding of how Lincoln adapted the content, organization, and style of his speeches to suit his political purposes and audiences. Some of Lincoln’s key speeches of this period refute Senator Stephen A. Douglas’s position that local governments in new territories should decide whether to allow slavery. Lincoln argued that slavery is a national, not a local, problem. Lincoln found the solution to slavery grounded in the principle of the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal.” Lincoln insisted that slavery should be confined to Southern states, where the Constitution allowed it and where it would eventually die out. Lincoln’s political rhetoric benefited from his lawyerly ability to expose contradictions and fallacies in his adversaries’ positions.

This article pays special attention to Lincoln’s strategies of organizing his arguments. Henson explains that Lincoln’s two-hour, 1854 Peoria address is a textbook example of how to organize a political speech according to classical rhetoric. Lincoln’s subsequent speeches of this period demonstrate flexible use of classical organization to suit his message and audience. These speeches were the first indication of Lincoln’s growing communicative power that enabled him to advance to the White House. His presidential writing eventually distinguished him as a statesman and world-renowned man of letters. 

This article also explores sources of classical rhetoric that may have influenced Lincoln’s communicative knowledge and skill during his life-long efforts of self-education. Those sources include textbooks and anthologies he read in his youth and the speeches he later studied of Senator Daniel Webster, whose formal education included the study of classical rhetoric. Henson also notes that today’s students continue to study rhetoric as an academic field to help them analyze, evaluate, and create written and spoken discourse, including communication on the job. He maintains that this study benefits from the use of writing models with traits derived from classical rhetoric. 

Henson is a fourth-generation link in a chain of historians and Lincoln buffs from Logan County, Illinois, who passed their interest in Abraham Lincoln to the next generation. As a student at Jefferson School in the early 1950s, Henson heard stories of the Lincoln legend told by E.H. Lukenbill, county superintendent of public instruction. Henson’s interest in Abraham Lincoln further stems from a course he took as a freshman at Lincoln College in 1960–61. That course on Lincoln’s life and times was taught by the renowned historian James T. Hickey. For many years Hickey was the curator of the Lincoln Collection at the Illinois State Historical Library, now the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Hickey was a protégé of Judge Lawrence B. Stringer, author of the encyclopedic History of Logan County, Illinois, 1911. It features a chapter on Abraham Lincoln’s legal and political activity in central Illinois that has been cited by major Lincoln biographers. Stringer drew upon the friendship and reminiscence of Robert B. Latham, one of the three founding fathers of Lincoln, Illinois (1853)—the first namesake town. Abraham Lincoln was the attorney for the town’s founders, and the town was founded before he became famous. Latham was also a founder of Lincoln University, now Lincoln College. Latham was a personal and political friend of Abraham Lincoln and a Union colonel in the Civil War. Stringer was the first major benefactor of the newly relocated and enhanced Lincoln Heritage Museum of Lincoln College. 

The Lincolnian seed that Lukenbill and Hickey planted in Henson’s education lay dormant for forty years. It did not germinate until after he had completed his formal education at Illinois State University, had taught high school English for thirty years in Pekin, Illinois, and was well into his fourteen-year career of teaching technical communication at Missouri State University. In 2004 the Illinois State Historical Society gave a Superior Achievement Award to Henson’s community history website of Lincoln, Illinois. In 2008–09 he was a member of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of that town. He researched and wrote the play script for the 2008 re-enactment of the 1858 Republican rally in Lincoln the day after the last Lincoln-Douglas debate. Lincoln delivered a stump speech at the rally, but no copy of it has been found. Henson’s play script features a “reasonable facsimile” of that speech and rally, including give-and-take with the audience. The re-enactment was accomplished through collaboration with Paul Beaver, professor emeritus of history at Lincoln College; Ron Keller, director of the Lincoln Heritage Museum; and Wanda Lee Rohlfs, civic leader.

In 2008 Henson proposed erecting a statue of Abraham Lincoln the 1858 Senate candidate and a corresponding historical marker, both to be installed on the lawn of the Logan County Courthouse, where the 1858 rally took place. Presently a local committee is raising funds for those purposes. In 2012 Henson’s book titled The Town Lincoln Warned: The Living Namesake History of Lincoln, Illinois, received a Superior Achievement Award from the Illinois State Historical Society. In 2013 he proposed several additional statues of Lincoln in Lincoln to expand its namesake heritage, strengthen civic pride, and increase heritage tourism. Also in 2013 the Lincoln Elementary School District #27 honored Henson as one of four distinguished alumni. Henson continues to research Lincoln’s political rhetoric. 

Henson is an elected member of the Society of Midland Authors. He is also a member of the Illinois Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Library of Congress. He shares information about his Abraham Lincoln research, Illinois history, historic preservation, and heritage tourism on social media at Facebook and LinkedIn. His LinkedIn site has links to his various online publications: http://la.linkedin.com/pub/d-leigh-henson/16/1a5/923. Access the JALA website athttp://www.abrahamlincolnassociation.org/Journal.aspx. JALA publishes its articles online six months after they appear in print. Access an overview and pictorial supplement to Henson’s article about Lincoln’s rhetoric athttp://findinglincolnillinois.com/dlhjalaarticle.html.

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English professor becomes beta tester for Google Glass

No cyborgs in Siceluff Hall, it’s just Lanette Cadle, associate professor of English, with her new Google Glass. Cadle jumped at the opportunity to become a beta tester for Glass and used her social media savvy skills to do just that.Lanette Cadle

Becoming a beta tester

Cadle saw a great potential for Glass, especially since she publishes about social media; particularly the rhetoric of identity. However, Cadle couldn’t apply to be in the first group of beta testers. “I had to wait until Glass was offered integrated with traditional eyeglass frames. That happened on January 28,” said Cadle.
She immediately went to the Explorer site and applied. “I wanted a chance to make my case and also have fun checking to see if Google was as social media aware as they appear to be. I wrote a blog entry at lanettecadle.com and titled it Pick Me! I wanted no ambiguity. To make sure, I posted the link on Facebook, tweeted the link and posted the link on Google+. The next morning I had an acceptance email from Google welcoming me to the Explorer program,” said Cadle.

Implementing Glass in daily life

 Cadle is using Glass for her daily emails, appointments, phone calls and texts, and to create media for her classroom. “One way to look at how Glass functions is to think of it as a cross between a really good butler and an iPad,” said Cadle. She even has the option to speak aloud her emails and texts through the voice recognition Glass comes equipped with.
Cadle blogs daily about her experiences with Glass via her googleglass tag stream.

Cadle is also using her Glass for photos and short videos for a digital poetry project she will be working on at The Digital Media and Composition Institute (DMAC) at Ohio State University in May.


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COAL faculty honored during recognition reception

The Dean of the College of Arts and Letters (COAL) is proud to list the following faculty honored at Missouri State’s All-Faculty Recognition Reception held April 21, 2014:

Faculty Recognition Awards

Stephanie Norander, CommunicationProvost Fellow for Faculty Development — Writing

Stephanie Norander, Communication


Steve Willis, Art and Design

Provost Fellow for Diversity

Steve Willis, Art and Design


Provost Fellows is a program designed to recognize outstanding faculty who have a special area of interest that is related to the mission, priorities and goals of the Office of the Provost. The position provides faculty with the opportunity and support to become engaged in an administrative, research or outreach activity. The term of the appointment varies with the type of assignment.


Excellence in Study Away Programming

Gwen Walstrand, Art and DesignGwen Walstrand, Art and Design

In 2014 the Study Away Advisory Committee created the Excellence in Study Away Programming award to recognize Missouri State faculty members who demonstrate excellence in developing and leading short-term study away programs. The recipient will receive $1,500 in professional development funds and an award.



Honors College Awards for Teaching, Research and Service

Larry George, Modern and Classical LanguagesMarcia Morriset Award for Outstanding Service to Honors Education

Larry George, Modern and Classical Languages

The Marcia Morriset Award for Outstanding Service to Honors Education recognizes the exceptional service, mentoring and advising accomplishments of MSU’s Honors College faculty and affiliated staff. The award was created in recognition of Marcia Morriset’s many years of service to the Honors College. The award is presented to a faculty or staff member who had contributed broadly to the advancement of Honors education at Missouri State University and has excelled at undergraduate mentorship and advising of Honors College students.



Citizenship and Service-Learning (CASL) Faculty Awards

Emanuelle Wessels, Media, Journalism and Film2013-2014 Research Stipend Award

Emanuelle Wessels, Media, Journalism and Film

The Research Stipend Awards recognizes faculty who have been awarded CASL Research Stipend Funds for direct service to the community, including community-based research involving students. Faculty selected for the CASL Research Stipend Award will present their findings at the FCTL Showcase in August.



Additional Recognitions

Margaret Weaver, EnglishA 2014 Mentoring, Support and Partnerships Program Mentor

Margaret Weaver, English

The University-based Mentoring, Support and Partnerships Program was created to increase the recruitment and retention rates of junior faculty/staff. Overall objectives of the program are for exceptional mentors to provide on-going support for outstanding faculty/staff from historically underrepresented groups to advance their success in the trilogy of scholarship, heighten their professional development and help them establish a sound identity and amiable sense of well-being at Missouri State University and in the Springfield community. Dr. Sabrina Brinson is the program coordinator and Dr. Julie Masterson is the program administrator.


Faculty Service Awards

10 Years of Service

Andrew Cline, Media, Journalism and Film
Marcus Howell, Art and Design
Timothy White, Media, Journalism and Film

15 Years of Service

Tracy Dalton, English
David Hays, Music
Michael Stowe, English
Steve Willis, Art and Design

20 Years of Service

Randy Dillon, Communication
Mary Harges, Modern and Classical Languages
Sarah Perkins, Art and Design
Margaret Weaver, English

25 Years of Service

James Baumlin, English
Mary Baumlin, English
Joel Chaston, English
Randy Hamm, Music
Jane Hoogestraat, English
Vonda Yarberry, Art and Design

35 Years of Service

Kristene Sutliff, English

40 Years of Service

Jerry Hatch, Art and Design

Service Awards honor faculty members who have reached a five-year longevity milestone in their years of service to Missouri State University. To qualify for a service award, employees must have worked full-time at Missouri State and reached a five-year milestone (10, 15, 20, etc.) within the 2013-2014 academic year to be honored at the April 2014 reception.


- Information courtesy Missouri State University’s 2014 All-Faculty Recognition Reception program

Additional faculty/staff/student accomplishments are featured throughout the year in COAL and departmental blogs.

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