Will Fenton on "Teaching the Global 1%"

English PhD student Will Fenton shared his unusual summer teaching experience in a recent article in Inside Higher Education titled "Teaching the Global 1%." At an Institute located in a "four-star resort in a one-street Alpine village" in Switzerland, Fenton brought not just skills, but new ideas and experiences, to his students...and learned a few things himself.

My lessons often failed. Once, I asked students to describe their home bedrooms. Each one took a turn speaking while the others drew illustrations based upon this description. This exercise, which I intended to hone locational vocabulary, failed because students didn’t know how to describe or depict “bedrooms” that occupied multiple rooms and, sometimes, entire floors. On another occasion, I asked students to create a brochure for a dream school. I intended for my students to apply educational vocabulary. Instead, they submitted descriptions of shopping malls, glutted with Gucci, Prada and Boss boutiques.

Click here to read the complete article. Congratulations to Will on the publication of this illuminating and engaging essay. 

CURA's Museum In Media Res

On Saturday night, the 12th floor of Lowenstein was the site of Museum In Media Res—a pop-up, experimental museum.

CURA: A Literary Magazine of Art & Action hosted Museum In Media Res, a laboratory experience designed to showcase and celebrate artistic process and collaboration.

“We’re interested in art as a vital, unfolding conversation and in-the-moment epiphany.  While we publish and love painstakingly crafted literature and art, Museum In Media Res will assemble some of the finest literary and artistic minds to improvise and play,” said Sarah Gambito, Editor in Chief.

The Museum artists were given three creative proposals to speak to CURA’s theme of “Borderlands” (which evokes The Doe Fund’s transformative mission). The artists were given a half hour to respond to each proposal in any way they wished. While the artists were welcome to collaborate on any of the prompts, the final prompt required the three artists to collaborate together.

CURA’s editorial staff documented the living museum and conduct short, recorded interviews with the artists. Theses artifacts and documentation of Museum In Media Res will be showcased in CURA’s next issue.

Artists R. Luke DuBois, Kimiko Hahn, and Phillip Lopate joined CURA for Museum In Media Res.

From left to right: R. Luke DuDois, Phillip Lopate, Kimiko Hahn, and CURA Associate Editor Amy Benson.

From left to right: R. Luke DuDois, Phillip Lopate, Kimiko Hahn, and CURA Associate Editor Amy Benson.

R. Luke DuBois is a composer, artist, and performer who explores the temporal, verbal, and visual structures of cultural and personal ephemera. He holds a doctorate in music composition from Columbia University, and has lectured and taught worldwide on interactive sound and video performance. His work has been exhibited in countries ranging from Spain, South Korea, Australia, and has been featured (among other things) in the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, the 2008 Democratic National Convention, The New York Times, National Geographic, and Esquire Magazine.

Kimiko Hahn, the author of nine collections of poetry, finds her material from varied sources. Both Brain Fever (W.W. Norton, 2014) and Toxic Flora (2010) were triggered by varied fields of science; The Narrow Road to the Interior (2006) is a collection of Japanese forms.  She also investigates the Asian American female body, black lung disease, premature burial. Her honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The New York Foundation for the Arts, Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award; also, the Shelley Memorial Prize, The PEN/Voelcker Award, Asian American Writers Workshop Literary Award.

Phillip Lopate has written three personal essay collections, two novels, a pair of novellas, and three poetry collections. He has been awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Public Library Center for Scholars and Writers Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts grants, and two New York Foundation for the Arts grants. He is the director of the nonfiction graduate program at Columbia University, where he also teaches writing.

Since the artists were not given any details regarding what prompts they might be facing, they were unsure what to expect.

“How did I get myself into this?” Lopate joked on the opening panel. “This is a departure for me, writing in public.”

The artists cited widely varying spheres of influence in their art: DuBois cited his training as a musician experience playing in a punk band; Hahn remarked on the weight of French feminists’ writings and Emily Dickinson on her work; and Lopate cited the influence of honesty and friendship, as well as writers long-since passed. “I still connect with old writers, writers that have passed on,” Lopate said. “I learned to write through reading.”

Each of the artists said they were eager to have the opportunity to collaborate with one another.

“I was trained as a musician,” DuBois said. “Music isn’t very interesting if you aren’t collaborating.”

DuBois also commented that even the resistance between collaborators is exciting.

“Half the work was figuring out how to work,” DuBois said.

During the Museum, each artists was given a simple “studio” in a large, shared room. As the artists opened the envelope containing their first prompt, the room fell silent. The only sounds in the room quickly became the muted horns of distant traffic, the air conditioner ruffling a tablecloth, and the sporadic clicking of DuBois’ keyboard.

Staffers from CURA—about 12 students—watched the artists at worked and documented the experience. Staffers were able to see the creative process from start-to-finish, a process that will be documented in Issue 15 of CURA.

Feb 25: Claim of Thrones Writing Workshop

This Rose Hill Writing Workshop will focus on crafting claims and working with sources. It will help you negotiate with authentic and relevant evidence in order to compose an effective claim that is well-supported.  

Please join us on Wednesday, February 25 at 2:30 in Dealy 202-203. There will be Pizza.


Visit the Writing Center website for writing resources, upcoming events, and to schedule an appointment to work with a tutor in our new location in Walsh Library.

John Bugg Wins Graduate Teaching Award

At last Friday's Arts and Sciences Faculty Day, John Bugg received the annual Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching. All of us in attendance were pleased, but no English faculty member or graduate student could have been surprised, because we all know of Professor Bugg's extraordinary dedication to teaching and mentorship. However, the recipient himself was certainly surprised! Not just because we'd kept the award secret, but also because all the English faculty members at the event had conspired to put on red clown noses when he was walking up to the podium to shake the presenter's hand. When he turned around...there we all were!

Acting GSAS Dean Eva Badowska read the citation at the event, and she kindly agreed to allow her remarks to be reprinted below...and to don the proper prop to honor Professor John Bugg!

Fordham's English department faculty at our most dignified. (photo credit: Dana Maxson).

Fordham's English department faculty at our most dignified. (photo credit: Dana Maxson).

Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching

GSAS 2015

The recipient of this year’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching has been at Fordham as a faculty member for less than a decade, but his Fordham roots reach deeper: he received his Master’s degree from GSAS at the turn of the millennium, and some of his colleagues remember him as a graduate student. After that, he may have strayed to a certain university in Princeton, New Jersey for his PhD.

Born in Ontario, Canada, this year’s awardee grew up in Sydney, Nova Scotia, in a gorgeous maritime province of Cape Breton. One of his teachers in an elementary school there noticed that his young student had “a great military mind.” This quality has been evident in his work with graduate students, as he asks them to approach the dissertation and the job market as a complex set of tactical maneuvers.

His extraordinary commitment to graduate education is reflected in his teaching and mentoring, as well as his transformative contributions to the graduate program. But much of his teaching happens outside of the classroom. For example, he has spent countless hours mentoring undergraduate majors applying to graduate school and master’s students applying to PhD programs; he has led regular “works-in-progress” seminars that allow students to share drafts of conference papers, dissertation chapters, and journal article submissions. Indeed, he has become an essential resource in the department for students learning to make their ideas legible and persuasive to a scholarly audience and the public at large.

His work as Director of Placement and Professional Development has not only helped them to develop their research and teaching profiles and to navigate the conventions and rituals of academic life, but it has produced a placement record that is the envy of other departments around the country. Graduate student advising is, of course, like the military, a team effort, but the placements speak for themselves. Today’s awardee’s maritime influence now stretches from at least New Haven south to Miami. 

In his so-called spare time, he has also been involved in nearly every aspect of the graduate program, including recruitment, admissions, fellowships, colloquia, and assessment. As one colleague put it, the awardee has a “preternatural devotion to helping graduate students succeed.” His approach to professional development is as academic as it is holistic: he is known to conduct last-minute mock interviews in convention hotel lobbies and to lend his blazers to his students. He has a granola bar or two always on hand, in case the future professoriate suffers from a sugar crash. 

He encourages graduate students to aim as high as possible. He coaches them to send their work to the best journals, as he believes they can place it there, and they often do. He puts faith in the students he advises, and they succeed because that confidence translates into matchless professional and practical support. He himself is a highly published and productive scholar, whose work graces the lists of the best presses and the pages of the most prestigious journals in his field, so he certainly mentors by example, too.

Bugg (right) with winners of undergraduate teaching awards. 

Bugg (right) with winners of undergraduate teaching awards. 

Despite the leadership qualities that emerge from his “great military mind,” he is, in fact, a man of peace, and he most enjoys teaching Jane Austen. Whereas his first book, published by Stanford University Press, was devoted to Five Long Winters: The Trials of British Romanticism, his new book clearly demonstrates his dedication to Peace in the Romantic Period, an era that saw the greatest number of peace treaties and that was characterized by strivings to create the conditions for lasting peace.  

More clowning around

More clowning around

As one of his students said, “Trust Bugg.” Ladies and Gentlemen, the recipient of tonight’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching is John Bugg, Associate Professor in the Department of English.

Fordham English Majors Present at Moravian College Conference

On December 6, 2014, six Fordham University undergraduates expertly presented their research papers at a national conference; for most of them, this was a new experience.  The Moravian College Ninth Undergraduate Conference in Medieval and Early Modern Studies, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, hosted the full-day meeting, accommodating nearly 100 student presenters.  Fordham English majors, including Alana Hughes (’15) and Tyler Stacey (’15), have presented at the event in the past, but this year’s showing included a record number of English majors.  Five of the six Fordham students presented work they had developed during the fall semester in Dr. Suzanne Yeager’s undergraduate Chaucer course.  Please join us in congratulating Abigail Kayser, a double major in French Language and Literature and Medieval Studies, for her paper “Conquest, Subjugation, and Resistant Women: Hippolyta and Emily in the Teseida and The Knight's Tale";  MaryGrace Menner, English major, for “Themes of Excess in Chaucer’s Knight's Tale"; Elena Meuse, English major, “‘Daddy Issues’: The Electra Complex and the Wife of Bath”; Nikolas Oktaba, Classics major, for “Seduction: Learned, Practiced, Effortless Intellect”; Katharine Sommers, English major, for “Chaucer’s Hippolyta: The Secret Queen”; and Henry Wykowski , an English major visiting Fordham from the University of Virginia, for his “Chaucer’s Knight's Tale: Chaos in Excess.”  Well done, students!

Spring 2015 Prose Reading: A Celebration of Fordham's Literary Magazines

On Wednesday, February 11th, students met in the 12th Floor Lounge at Lincoln Center to learn about Fordham's literary magazines. The event, hosted by the Creative Writing Program, showcased the vibrant literary community at Fordham.

Student editors from the Ampersand, Bricolage, The Comma, and CURA tabled with copies of their respective publications and spoke with students about how they could get involved.

Just because you missed the event doesn't mean you need to miss out on the opportunity to work with these amazing publications. Here's some information on how you can get involved.

1. the Ampersand

The Ampersand is Rose Hill's student-run literary magazine. Published twice annually (once in the fall, once in the spring), the magazine accepts poetry, prose, short stories, and photographs/artwork for publication from students at both the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses. See the Ampersand's submission guidelines here.

Join the Ampersand on Facebook and on Twitter at @fuampersand. The Ampersand can be reached at fordham.ampersand@gmail.com.

2. Bricolage

Bricolage is a student-run journal of Comparative Literature that publishes both critical and creative writing in multiple languages –– the only Fordham University journal to do so. It also publishes photography and art. Members of the editorial board have control over both the structure and the content of the journal. Bricolage is currently accepting submissions (students from Lincoln Center and Rose Hill are both welcome) to four prompts listed on their website.

You can reach Bricolage  at bricolagesubmission@gmail.com and join them on Twitter at @BricolageTweets.

3. The Comma

Based in Lincoln Center, The Comma meets Mondays at 5:30 p.m. in LL 924 (unless otherwise specified on social media). The Comma is student-run, and workshops every other Monday and does writing exercises on the days they do not workshop.  The Comma is published in The Observer twice a semester and they publish the Creative Writing Awards in the spring.  The Comma also has two readings per semester.  Prose, poetry, and visual art submissions are accepted from undergraduates from either campus. The Comma's next submission deadline is March 13th and their next reading is on March 31st at 7:30 p.m. in LL 924.

You can reach The Comma at observercomma@gmail.com and join them on Facebook and on Twitter at @ObserverComma.

4. CURA: A Literary Magazine of Art & Action

CURA is Fordham's preeminent professional literary magazine, focusing on the integration of the arts and social justice. Drawing submissions ranging from France to India, CURA offers students the outstanding opportunity to become involved in a professional publication. 

You can reach CURA at curamag@fordham.edu and join the magazine on Facebook and on Twitter at @CURAmag.

Eva Badowska on "#libedunbound, or 'Forbidding Mourning'"

Eva Badowska--former Chair of Fordham's English department, now interim dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences--recently attended the annual conference of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, held in Washington, D.C. In this article in Inside Higher Ed, she thinks about the future of liberal education and the value of Twitter backchannels. Along the way she quotes John Donne…as well as another former chair of our department, Nicola Pitchford.

“[W]hat the hundreds of tweets to #libedunbound also demonstrated,” she writes, “is that we may benefit from the exercise of thinking about the future of liberal education away from the historically accurate but no longer productive dichotomy that juxtaposes it with vocational training. In the knowledge economy, critical thinking and what we typically call skills are much more closely bound and more difficult to disentangle than they were at the inception of the liberal arts centuries ago or even in the relatively recent course of their 200-year history in U.S. higher education.” Read the whole article here.