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News and Announcements

English Department Scholarships

The Department of English awards nearly $10,000 in scholarships each year. To apply: address your letter of application to the English Department Scholarship Committee, complete the 2015-2016 English Department Scholarship application, and return them to the English Department no later than 4pm on March 6, 2015.  Click here for more information.

30 Internship Opportunities

Thirty companies are looking for interns.  Please click on this link:

Sassi presented at the NCTE Annual Conference

Kelly Sassi presented with Anne Gere (University of Michigan) and Leila Christenbury (Virginia Commonwealth University) on a panel titled, “Creating Stories on Demand: Time and the Common Core Assessments” at the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. November 21, 2014.

Sassi presented at the NWP Annual Meeting

Kelly Sassi presented with Alana Benoit of the Alliance for Young Writers and Artists and Samuel Reed of the Philadelphia Writing Project on the following presentation at the National Writing Project Annual Meeting on November 20, 2014 in Washington, DC: “Writing Project Site Partnership Opportunities with the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.”

English Department Hosts Second "Career Talk"

The English department is hosting its second Career Talk of the semester at noon this Friday, Nov. 14, in the Arikara Room of the Memorial Union. Bring your lunch and listen to two English majors, Zach Packineau (NDSU 2006) and Jessica Grosz (St. Olaf 2005) talk about their career paths post graduation. All are welcome!

What are you reading?

Find out what the English Department faculty is reading!

Dr. Verena Theile spent her summer reading The Book of Life, the final installment of The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. The book was released in July of 2014 and it is a fantasy series that crosses over into historical fiction. Read more about The Book of Life and Dr. Theile's thoughts on the book at

If you would like to share what you have been reading, contact Megan Babel

Mara published a chapter in "Steampunk" book

Andrew Mara, associate professor of English, had a chapter entitled, “Steampunk’s Identity Horizon and Contested Memory” published in University Press of Mississippi’s recent book, Clockwork Rhetoric: The Language and Style of Steampunk.

Brooks, Birmingham collaborated on McLuhan article

Kevin Brooks and Betsy Birmingham, professors of English, have a collaborative article in press. “Marshall McLuhan in an Age of Labels: The Descriptive Value of Antimodernism” in Finding McLuhan: The Mind, The Man, The Message will be out in early spring 2015.

Birmingham contributed an article to an NEA project

Betsy Birmingham, professor of English, contributed an article and expertise to an NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) funded project titled Making a Place for Women. This digital archive chronicles the contributions of women to architectural practice, and includes film, historical photographs, sound files, and links to archival resources in addition to biographical material on hundreds of women architects. The project will go live in early 2015.

Maylath, Mara, Verzella and Warner formed a panel at the CPTSC

Four members of the English Department—Bruce Maylath, professor; Andrew Mara, associate professor; and Ph.D. students Massimo Verzella and Matthew Warner—formed a panel to deliver papers on the topic “Creating Programmatic Structures to Stabilize Cross-Cultural Translation Teams” at the 2014 meeting of the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication (CPTSC). The conference was hosted by the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, September 25-27. 

Bergeson Published in Albino Buffalo's Art Sticker Vending Machine

Brady Bergeson, lecturer in English, had a short story, "The Boy, the Girl, the Goat, and Heidegger," published in five parts on individual stickers as part of Albino Buffalo's art sticker vending machine. Albino Buffalo is a collective of artists who create art stickers and sell them in a refurbished vending machine. This is the second series of stickers produced and will feature five visual artists and one writer. The vending machine was launched at the Artstravaganza event in Moorhead on Sept. 25 and then located at Unglued in downtown Fargo.

RRVWP Receives Grant

Congratulations to the Red River Valley Writing Project, a site of the National Writing Project, who received a grant of $2,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation!

The goal of this grant is to reach 1,000 new teachers with Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) work nationwide with each participating site reaching a minimum of 50 teachers. The period of performance for this funding is October 1, 2014 through December 31, 2015.

Attention English Majors

What are you qualified to do with a degree in English?

Please join us in the Lark Room, Memorial Union on Wednesday Oct. 15 from 12-1 pm to answer this question and much more!

Kendra O’Brien and Josh Hernandez both work at FBS, a Fargo company that provides MLS software across the country. They are part of the Customer Projects and Relations (CPR) team.

 Kendra and Josh will be on hand to talk about:

       ·  Being an English major at NDSU

       ·  Skills needed for today’s workplace

       ·  Job opportunities with their company and other industries.  

They will happily answer any of your questions about school and careers.  

These events are being organized by the English department's Undergraduate and English Education Committees. 

NDSU EXPLORE Registration Ends October 3


This fall, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Creative Activity is sponsoring NDSU EXPLORE, a one-day event to recognize and celebrate the scholarly accomplishments of NDSU undergraduate students. Students from all disciplines are encouraged to participate by presenting current or recently completed research, creative, and other scholarly projects in oral presentations, poster sessions, or other presentation formats. Detailed information, including guidelines, eligibility, and online registration can be found at

Benefits of NDSU EXPLORE

  • Share your research or creative work with the wider NDSU community
  • Meet others involved in your field
  • Get experience presenting your research or creative work
  • Meet students from other fields
  • Learn skills that could help you jump start your future career

Registration is open until 5:00pm on Friday, October 3, 2014.

English Department seeks Writing Program Administrator

The English department at North Dakota State University seeks a full-time, tenure-track Assistant or Associate Professor in Writing Studies or related field to serve in the role of First-Year Writing Director, effective August 1, 2015. Writing program roles in the department are rotating, 3-year, renewable terms; this candidate will join a vibrant writing program team.

For a more detailed job description and qualifications visit NDSU English Employment Opportunities.

English Department Recieves 2014 Advance FORWARD Department Award

The NDSU Department of English received the 2014 Advance FORWARD Department Award at the annual FORWARD kick-off event held at the President’s House Sept. 2. The Commission on the Status of Women Faculty presents the award annually to recognize and reward significant department efforts to improve campus climate and gender equity within the faculty ranks.

A review panel evaluated the award nominations and applications, guided by a weighted rubric reflecting each of FORWARD’s five target areas: climate, recruitment, retention, promotion and leadership.

The Department of English provided evidence of systematic efforts to improve the climate for persons within the department. Modified duties and other work/life accommodations are extended to graduate students as well as faculty to improve climate and productivity. Promotion and tenure guidelines have been made more transparent, recognizing a range of good work, including historically gendered research. Outcomes include a clearer path for advancement of lecturers to senior lecturers, and promotion of women to associate and full professor ranks.

Proactive recruiting has transformed the department from 10 male and three female faculty in 1997, to eight female and seven male faculty members today. The department encourages and supports faculty members, including women, to take on leadership roles. Presently, department women faculty members have leadership roles at the university, college and department levels.

The award review panel was especially impressed with spousal/partner accommodation guidelines the department has formally put in place in its bylaws, as well as department collaboration with other departments on campus to support dual career hiring. Embedding initiatives in policy is recognized as one way to facilitate climate change and enhance the sustainability of changes made.

Gary Totten, department chair, accepted the award on behalf of the department. He credited previous department chairs and faculty for longstanding efforts toward gender equity and climate improvements, noting the broad participation of department faculty involved in diversity initiatives throughout the university as well as in the department.

Another $5,000 Advance FORWARD Department Award will be given in 2015. In preparation for next year’s award, departments are encouraged to think about strategies, policies and practice, and outcomes that show conscientious and systematic progress toward the five core FORWARD goals:

  • Improve climate: provide strategies to improve department climate and narrow the gap between men’s and women’s perceptions of campus climate.
  • Enhance recruitment: employing recruiting strategies to recruit women, women of color, and women with disabilities. Increase retention: strategies to retain women in the department through the probationary period and the promotion/tenure process.
  • Promote and advance women: strategies to support women associate professors as they move to full professor, and hire advanced women.
  • Open leadership opportunities: strategies to promote women faculty in academic leadership positions.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

For more NDSU News click here.

English Department Updates Spring 2014

Bruce Maylath, professor of English, spoke with Meredith Holt of the Forum about Upper Midwest dialect in anticipation of the new FX miniseries Fargo. For more information, click here

Dr. Andrew Mara co-created the 2014 Fargo-Moorhead Art Marathon. If you want to join in the fun, the marathon starts this Saturday. Download the free "Art Marathon" app from the iTunes or Android stores, get the course updates and details here, and complete 26 events. 

Steven Hammer, doctoral student in English, and Bruce Maylath have co-authored “Global Collaborations, Face-to-Face Conversation: Social Media in Trans-Atlantic Translation Projects” in the 2014 anthology Emerging Pedagogies in the Networked Knowledge Society: Practices Integrating Social Media and Globalization, published by IGI Global.  Maylath also led a team of the seven most recent past presidents of the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication in co-authoring “Tracing the Intellectual Trajectories of Professional/Technical/Scientific Communication: A Roundtable Perspective from Seven CPTSC Past Presidents,”  the lead chapter in the anthology Sharing Our Intellectual Traces: Narrative Reflections from Administrators of Professional, Technical, and Scientific Communication Programs, just published by Baywood.

Kelly Sassi presented at the conference, "Forward ACTion! Building the Education Pipeline" on April 16, 2014 in Mandan, North Dakota. The title of her presentation was "Writing on Demand for the New Common Core Assessments." Sassi is the new director of the Red River Valley Writing Project.

Gary Totten along with colleagues at Michigan State, Georgetown, and Appalachian State, has had an edited book accepted for publication with Routledge press.  The collection of essays, titled Politics, Identity, and Mobility in Travel Writing, examines the ways in which politics' material effects inform and intersect with personal experience in travel texts and engage with travel's dialectic of mobility and stasis.  The book will be published in the Routledge series, “Research in Travel Writing” and will appear in 2015.  Totten also was invited to speak as part of the University of North Dakota Arts and Sciences Interdisciplinary Speaker Series on April 22.  In his talk, titled "Bodies of Knowledge: Black Female Mobility and Authority in Zora Neale Hurston's Tell My Horse," Totten discussed how in her 1938 travel text, Tell My Horse, Zora Neale Hurston connects her status as a black female traveler to the transmission of stories, history, and cultural practices in Haiti and Jamaica.  The movement of her physical body functions as a trope for the ways in which bodies of cultural knowledge about voodoo, zombies, and other religious and folk traditions might be transmitted and preserved.  Hurston’s text challenges historical notions of black travel by re-imagining slavery's Middle Passages as routes that mobilize black female bodies to participate in cultural preservation. 

Matthew Salafia presented a paper titled "On Borderlands and Resistance" as part of a larger panel titled "Conceptualizing Black Life, Community, and Protest in the Borderland," at the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians on April 10th.  In the paper, I used Herman Melville's short story, "Bartleby, the Scrivener" to conceptualize African American resistance as a matter of not only action, but also a matter of preference.  The study is located along the Ohio River in antebellum America.  I suggest that, looking back, we as historians expect to see examples of African Americans escaping into free territory at every possible opportunity.  However, in their narratives formerly enslaved African Americans suggest that there were actions other than escape that they preferred to take.  They preferred to purchase their freedom, they preferred to protect family members, and they preferred to form communities that blurred the line between slavery and freedom. These, in turn were all forms of resistance.  Thus, the words "I prefer not to" were powerful words of resistance.  The conference chairperson, prominent African American scholar Henry Louis Taylor, Jr., is organizing a book project around the themes of the conference panel.

On Tuesday, April 22nd at 4:00 p.m, Gary Totten, professor of English, will give a talk titled "Bodies of Knowledge: Black Female Mobility and Authority in Zora Neale Hurston's Tell My Horse" at the UND Arts & Sciences Interdisciplinary Speaker Series in the UND Chester Fritz Library East Asia Room. All are welcome to attend. For more information, click here.

On July 1, 2014, Gary Totten will become the Editor-in-Chief of the journal MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, published by Oxford University Press.  Published quarterly, MELUS is the premier journal in the field and plays a pivotal role in illuminating the national, international, and transnational contexts of US ethnic literature and culture.   Articles in MELUS also engage newly emerging art forms such as graphic narrative and internet blogs, as well as multi-ethnic film, history, and culture.  The journal includes interviews with well-established authors such as Maxine Hong Kingston and Richard Rodriguez, as well as more recent writers such as Cynthia Kadohata and Diana Abu-Jaber.  MELUS is available online through Project MUSE, which sees over 1,400 downloads of full-text articles from the journal per month.   The journal’s presence at NDSU will provide training for a new generation of scholars by engaging English graduate students in the editorial processes of peer review, copyediting, and proofing.  For more information about the journal and to view the current issue, visit the website: 

Kevin Brooks presented "A Kind of Homecoming, 2013" at The Annual Africa Conference in Austin, Texas, April 4-6. His presentation examined the role of language traps, sexual violence, career success, and attempted homecomings in three contemporary Afropolitan novels: We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Ghana Must Go! by Taiye Selasi.  

Bruce Maylath, professor of English, was elevated to the rank of Fellow by the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW) at an award ceremony held in conjunction with the association’s annual conference, March 19, 2014, in Indianapolis, Ind. For their “significant long-term contributions to technical communication,” ATTW each year elevates one or two members as Fellows “who have established national reputations based on their teaching, scholarship, or academic administration.”  In its nomination letter, the awards committee held up Maylath’s “innovative approach” in creating the Trans-Atlantic & Pacific Project, now in its 14th year, linking technical writing classes in the U.S. and Spain with usability testing classes in Finland and translation classes in Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Italy, Kenya, Portugal, and Russia. As one colleague from McGill University, in Montreal, noted, “While mainstream institutional globalization strategies at the time largely reproduced local four-walled classroom courses online for delivery in so-called global markets and poured millions of dollars into their marketing, Bruce was working quietly from the grassroots to build global networks connecting students and teachers from around the world, showing us that we all have a lot to learn from and with each other.” Also cited was Maylath’s success at expanding the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication internationally while he served as its president.

Alison Graham Bertolini was elected vice-president of the Carson McCullers Society at the biennial meeting of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature on March 27, 2014.  She will serve a two-year term. Her duties include assisting the president of the society and coordinating sessions for national conferences, including the annual conference of the American Literature Association. Miriam Mara published "Mundane Doubles: Anorexia in Stories by Anne Enright and Colum McCann" in New Hibernia Review iris éireannach nua, 18:1 (earrach / spring, 2014), 120–135.

Kelly Sassi, assistant professor of English and education at NDSU, and Anne Ruggles Gere recently co-wrote the book Writing on Demand for Common Core State Standards Assessments. The book was published by Heinemann on March 13, 2014. The book, geared for secondary teachers of all subject areas, provides principles of effective writing instruction and shows how to apply the principles in the Common Core State Standards assessments, which begin in the 2014-2015 school year.  Sassi also recently became director of the Red River Valley Writing Project (RRVWP), after leading a successful bid for NDSU to become the new site of the RRVWP. The National Writing Project, a professional development and support network for teachers, announced NDSU’s new site status on March 1, 2014. The National Writing Project focuses on improving the teaching and use of writing across all grade levels and subject areas.



Donating to the English Department

Thank you for your support of the NDSU English Department.  If you would like to contribute financially to the department, please do so through this link:  Please contact the department chair, Gary Totten, with any questions:; (701) 231-7158.  Mailing address: NDSU Dept. #2320, P.O. Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050.

Mailing Address

English Department
NDSU - Dept. 2320
P.O. Box 6050
Fargo, ND  58108-6050
Office Location:
Minard 318
Office Phone: 701-231-7143

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Published by the NDSU Dept. of English

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 03, 2015 8:43:54 AM