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The English Department at NDSU

The mission of the English Department at North Dakota State University is to cultivate understanding, knowledge, and appreciation of the English language, its speakers and writers, and its literatures and cultures, such that students and department members use the language creatively, critically, and effectively to participate ethically in civic and professional life.

Professor Mara Publishes Chapter on Posthumanism

Professor Andrew Mara published the chapter "Utopian Laptop Initiatives: From Technological Deism to Object-Oriented Rhetoric," with Professor Byron Hawk (University of South Carolina) and NDSU MA graduate, Chris Lindgren (PhD candidate, University of Minnesota). This chapter appears in Professor Sid Dobrin's (University of Florida) collection, Writing Posthumanism, Posthuman Writing (Parlor Press).

English Department Welcomes New Faculty Member

New faculty member in English, Lisa Arnold, moved from Beirut, Lebanon, to Fargo this Fall to begin a new position as an Assistant Professor of English and Director of NDSU’s First-Year Writing Program. She held a similar position at the American University of Beirut from 2011-2015. Her PhD is in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Louisville, and before that she attended George Mason University (MFA – Creative Writing) and Saint Louis University (BA – English). At NDSU, she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in writing pedagogy, composition history, and rhetoric. Lisa's research interests include histories of writing instruction worldwide; writing pedagogy and program administration; and multilingual and transnational literacy practices.

Professor Birmingham Consulting for SDSU

Rick Axelson, former director of the Center for Social Research, and Betsy Birmingham, professor of English, are consultants contracted to undertake external evaluation of a South Dakota State University system NSF ADVANCE PLAN proposal. The proposal, “South Dakota Working in STEM for Equity (SD-WISE): A System, Institutional, and Individual Level Approach to Policy Change” was fully funded at $750,000; $60,000 will come to the Center and the evaluators, for evaluation activities.


Nichols's Poetry Appears in The Kenyon Review

Two poems by English Senior Lecturer Cindy Nichols, “Owl” and “Garden Story,” recently appear The Kenyon Review’s “Weekend Reads,” which guest-features poems from previous issues. This past July, Nichols was in Rhode Island to participate in Brown University’s Summer Program in Contemplative Pedagogy, an intensive week of study, events, and presentations in contemplative strategies for higher education. She was one of twelve applicants selected from a national pool. Brown’s Contemplative Studies program is a cross-disciplinary concentration, one of the first of its kind, featuring faculty from psychology to religious studies and from neurobiology to English.

RRVWP Receives $10,000 Grant to Fund Summer Program for Regional Teachers

Red River Valley Writing Project: NDSU's Red River Valley Writing Project received a $10,000 Teacher Leadership Development grant from the National Writing Project, which funded the 2015 Summer Invitational Institute from July 7-24 at NDSU. Eleven teachers in the region completed the 2015 Summer Institute: Jaclyn Brown and Aryelle Jones (Fargo Public School District), Adam Ching (Wahpeton), Shweta Sharma (NDSU lecturer) and Deona McEnery (senior lecturer, English), Beth Sutton (NDSU preservice teacher), Ben Scallon (Lakota), Isaac Lundberg (Moorhead), Misty Olds (Valley City), Kelli Clark (West Fargo), and Hannah Frink (Perham). The teachers will be back on campus on September 26th for a reunion to share the impact of the Summer Institute on their teaching and to participate in a reading of their own writing. The mission of the Red River Valley Writing Project is focused on improving writing instruction for all students, from K-college.


Professor Rupiper Taggart Senior Personnel on Multi-million Dollar Grant

Professor Amy Rupiper Taggart is senior personnel on the recently awarded 2.6 million dollar, five year, NSF-IUSE grant for a project titled Gateways-ND. The project seeks to develop and implement an innovative and comprehensive model for the professional development of STEM faculty and instructional staff at the college level. The grant team includes Office of Teaching and Learning director Paul Kelter; STEM educators Lisa Montplaisir, James Nyachwaya, and Mila Kryjevskaia; Office of Institutional Research and Analysis staff Mark Hanson and Emily Berg; and faculty member Jared Ladbury. Watch for a campus-wide invitation to participate in the first grant-supported cohort. NSF’s STEM categories are broad; if you are unsure whether you qualify, please apply.

Second Annual Writing Crawl Held in Downtown Fargo

Forty-two campus and community members participated in the 2nd annual writing crawl on August 11th from 5:30-9:30pm. The event started at Zandbrosz Variety on Broadway where participants were given a free T-shirt and journal with writing prompts. Writers checked in with a teacher from the Red River Valley Writing Project at each stop and wrote to one of the prompts. The event ended at Red Raven Espresso with an Open Mic reading. Participants included NDSU undergraduate students Shiyel Rittenbach, Callie Bowen, Celena Todora, Becca Opp, and David Nelson; NDSU graduate students Erika Dyk and Katelyn Ostby; NDSU alumni Kelsey Johnson and Nick Strom; and NDSU professor Kelly Sassi.

Busy Summer for Members of the Trans-Atlantic & Pacific Project

TAPP: Trans-Atlantic & Pacific Project This past summer was a busy one internationally for members of the English Department and the Trans-Atlantic & Pacific Project, for which NDSU serves as the hub. In May, Bruce Maylath, professor, joined colleagues from Belgium, Denmark, France, Portugal in presenting a panel titled “Negotiating Meaning at a Distance: Peer Feedback in Electronic Learning Translation Environments” at the 6th International Maastricht-Łódź Duo Colloquium on Translation and Meaning, held in Maastricht, the Netherlands.

In June, Maylath and PhD student Massimo Verzella joined Elisabet Arnó-Macià, from Spain’s Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, in presenting “Engineers Taking a Stance on Technical Communication: Peer Review of Oral Presentations via the Trans-Atlantic & Pacific Project” at the 14th AELFE Conference (Asociación Europea de Lenguas para Fines Específicos), held in Bucharest, Romania..

In July, Maylath and Arnó-Macià joined colleagues from Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, and Portugal for the 20th European Symposium on Language for Specific Purposes, in Vienna, Austria, where they presented “Learning LSP by Collaborating: How to Link Student Writers and Journalists, Usability Testers, and Translators Internationally, Interlingually, and Interculturally through Learning-by-Doing Projects.”

The following week, Maylath was joined in Limerick, Ireland, by Andrew Mara, professor, Ph.D. student Matthew Warner, and colleagues from Denmark, Finland, France, and Portugal to present “Instituting Learning-by-Doing Practices in Training Programs for Technical Writers, Usability Testers, and Translators” at the IEEE International Professional Communication Conference.

The Drs. Mara Present and Publish on User Experience

Miriam Mara and Andrew Mara presented their paper “Capturing the Social Value in UX Projects” at the 33rd Annual International Conference on the Design of Communication in Limerick, Ireland. Their paper was published in the peer-reviewed proceedings, and can be found at

Red River Valley Writing Project is Hiring


Deadline for applications is October 2nd. 

Job Description

Assistant to the Director of the Red River Valley Writing Project

Duties Include:

·Manage and track the RRVWP budget (including federal, state, and local funds)

·Co-plan the budget with the RRVWP director

·Participate in the planning and delivery of RRVWP events like the annual Reunion, etc. including organizing meeting space, catering, and technology for events

·Liaise among department staff, Grants & Contracts, Accounting Office, Registrar’s Office, Graduate School, and RRVWP payees/payers to ensure that reimbursements, payments, purchases, etc., are made. Ensure that all RRVWP participants understand the rules associated with payments and financial matters

·File annual reports with NWP on RRVWP activities with the RRVWP director, including both qualitative and quantitative reports and input attendance data on the NWP site reporting page

·Stay abreast of changes in financial policies (university, NWP, state, other)

·Publicize RRVWP events via print ads, mailings, electronic ads, flyers, and other available means

·Maintain a social media presence via the RRVWP blog/website, Twitter, Facebook, and other appropriate venues

·Maintain and update the RRVWP website/blog, listserv, and Shutterfly photo archive

·Manage general inventory (professional library, office supplies), order merchandise, and file paperwork as needed

·Make travel and lodging arrangements for visiting authors, other visitors, and RRVWP personnel

·Attend and record monthly leadership meetings

·Prepare folders, binders, and other materials for the SI, leadership meetings, etc.

·Perform other duties as required


Bachelor’s degree in English, education, or related field

Competency in Microsoft Office, including excel

Preferred qualifications:

Has completed or is willing to complete the RRVWP Summer Institute

Familiarity with administration of grants

Experience with university grants and contracts policies and procedures

Brimingham Appointed to North Dakota Humanities Council


Professor Betsy Birmingham was appointed by Governor Dalrymple to a three-year term on the North Dakota Humanities Council.

Sassi to Co-facilitate Retreat and National Writing Project Annual Meeting

Associate professor Kelly Sassi has been invited to co-facilitate the New Directors Retreat at the National Writing Project annual meeting in Minneapolis in November.

NDSU Represented at North Dakota Council for Teachers of English Conference

NDSU was well represented at the North Dakota Council for Teachers of English Conference July 21-23, 2015 in Mandan, North Dakota with over 17 current and former students attending.

NDSU Associate Professor, Kelly Sassi, who serves as Director of the Red River Valley Writing Project, led the roundtable session in collaboration with Northern Plains Writing Project Director Ron Fisher, of Minot State University. Dr. Sassi was elected as the college representative of NDCTE board.

The English education students’ travel was funded by NDSU’s School of Education. NDSU students made a positive impression on conference participants through their active engagement. The keynote speaker, Penny Kittle, author of Write Beside Them, was so impressed with their enthusiasm that she tweeted about them and invited them to an early morning writing session with her. The attached photo shows a group picture with NDSU-affiliated attendees and Penny Kittle. The theme of the conference was Book Love.

Sullivan and Schell Participate in Conference in Germany

July 28 through July 31, Dale Sullivan, professor of English, and Tatjana Schell, Ph.D. Candidate at the English Department, attended the International Society for the History of Rhetoric conference at the University of Tübingen in Germany. Dr. Sullivan and his co-presenter David Timmerman of Monmouth College, Monmouth, IL, presented their research on "Justin Martyr's Accommodating Rhetoric.

Copeland Published in Hybrid Pedagogy

PhD student and faculty member at Luther Seminary, Adam Copeland, recently had a revised version of his Composition Theory midterm exam published in Hybrid Pedagogy.…/teaching-digital-wisdom/

Verzella and Mara Publish Article

PhD student Massimo Verzella and Professor Andrew Mara have published an article titled “Translocal Pragmatics: Operationalizing Postnational Heuristics to Locate Salient Cultural Overlap” in the journal Rhetoric, Professional Communication, and Globalization.

Sandland's English 326 Students' Project Nearing Completion

Senior Lecturer Julie Sandland's English 326 students Ellie Nyquist and Matt Ellingson will see their project for the class and the Red River Zoo completed this fall.…/banner_stories/outdoorlearningspace

Maras Present at Conference in Ireland

Professors Miriam Mara and Andrew Mara presented their panel "Measuring Social Value in UX Projects" and participated in "Writing the Future of Experience Architecture: A Roundtable Discussion" at the SIGDOC 2015 conference hosted by the University of Limerick in Limerick Island on July 17, 2015.

NDSU Team Presents at ProComm 2015 in Ireland

Professors Bruce Maylath and Andrew Mara, and PhD student Matt Warner facilitated a workshop--Instituting Learning-by-Doing best Practices in Training Programs for Technical Writers, Usability Testers, and Translators--with faculty from other universities at the ProComm 2015 Conference, hosted by the University of Limerick. (July 11)

Verzella's Groundbreaking Work

Congratulations to PhD student Massimo Verzella and his Trans-Atlantic & Pacific Project (TAPP) partner Laura Tommaso, from the University of Chieta-Pescara, for their groundbreaking work in extending TAPP to ENGL-120.

In another groundbreaking effort this spring, Massimo linked his ENGL-321 Writing in the Technical Professions section with a technical writing in English class at Barcelona Tech, taught by Elisabet Arno-Macia. For the first time, engineering students at NDSU teamed up with engineering students at Barcelona Tech to review and critique the oral presentations of students in Spain for their understandability in English. Last week, with Massimo’s contributions, Elisabet presented the results of this
experiment at the 14th International Conference of the European Association of Languages for Specific Purposes, held in Bucharest, Romania.

Trans-Atlantic & Pacific Project: Summer Update 2015


This summer has been rich with opportunities for the Trans-Atlantic and Pacific Project partners to present their work at international conferences, specifically four of them. As instructors around the world hear about what they’re doing, more want to join the TAPP networks.

1st-ever TAPP Conference, 2016 July 18-20

Much planning has taken place this summer so that instructors throughout the TAPP network can gather for the first time in person in one place to discuss what they’ve learned from TAPP collaborations and how they might improve them. North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota, USA, will host the first gathering.

Publications: Already this year, three new publications have appeared, describing various aspects of TAPP collaborations. Congratulations and thanks go to their authors:

  • Verzella, Massimo, and Andrew Mara. "Translocal Pragmatics: Operationalizing Postnational Heuristics to Locate Salient Cultural Overlap.” Rhetoric, Professional Communication and Globalization 7.1 (2015): 12-28.
  • Sorensen, Karen, Steven Hammer, and Bruce Maylath. "Synchronous and Asynchronous Online International Collaboration: The Trans-Atlantic & Pacific Project." Connexions: International Professional Communication Journal 3.1 (2015): 153-177.
  • Vandepitte, Sonia, Birthe Mousten, Bruce Maylath, Suvi Isohella, Maria Teresa Musacchio, and Giuseppe Palumbo. "Translation Competence Research Data in Multilateral International and Interprofessional Collaborative Learning." Teaching Language Translation and Interpretation: Methods, Theories, and Trends. Ed. Ying Cui and Wei Zhao. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2015. 137-159

2015 Summer Conferences:
Members of the TAPP network have hardly been idle this summer, having managed to deliver papers and workshops at four international conferences within eight weeks’ time:

21-22 May, Maastricht Session of 6th International Maastricht-Łódź Duo Colloquium on Translation and Meaning, Maastricht, Netherlands:

Sonia Vandepitte and Donata  Lisaité, both of Gent Universiteit, led this presentation, titled “Negotiating Meaning at a Distance: Peer Feedback in Electronic Learning Translation  Environments.” Additional contributors, who could not come to Maastricht, included Patricia Minacori, Université Paris Diderot; Susana Valdez and Maria Castel-Branco, both of Universidade Nova de Lisboa; Bruce Maylath, North Dakota State University; and  Birthe Mousten, Aarhus Universitet.

25-27 June, 14th AELFE Conference (Asociación Europea de Lenguas para Fines Específicos), Bucharest, Romania:

Elisabet Arnó-Macià, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, presented “Engineers Taking a Stance on Technical Communication: Peer Review of Oral Presentations via the Trans-Atlantic & Pacific Project.” The paper described a first-time ever project that paired two technical writing classes made up entirely of engineers, such that the class at North Dakota State University critiqued the oral presentations, recorded in English, delivered by the class at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Additional contributors, who could not travel to Bucharest, included Massimo Verzella, instructor of the class at NDSU, and Bruce Maylath, also of NDSU.

8-10 July, 20th European Symposium on Language for Specific Purposes, Vienna, Austria:

At the 2013 LSP Symposium, a TAPP panel focused on managing the complexity of the TAPP’s multilateral projects. This time, the TAPP team ran a 3-hour workshop for teachers interested in learning how to conduct their own bilateral writing-translation and translation-reviewing/editing projects. Titled, "Learning LSP by Collaborating: How to Link Student Writers and Journalists, Usability Testers, and Translators Internationally, Interlingually, and Interculturally through Learning-by-Doing Projects,” the abstract is available at Onsite workshop leaders included Elisabet Arnó-Macià, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya; Bruce Maylath, North Dakota State University; Maria Teresa Musacchio, Università degli Studi di Padova; and Giuseppe Palumbo, Università degli Studi di Trieste. Additional contributors, who could not come to Vienna, included Patricia Minacori, Université Paris Diderot; Birthe Mousten, Aarhus Universitet; Marina Tzoannopoulou, Aristotle University; Susana Valdez, Universidade Nova de Lisboa; and Sonia Vandepitte, Gent Universiteit.

13-15 July, International Professional Communication Conference, Limerick, Ireland:

Another TAPP workshop was held the very next week in Ireland at the conference now frequently call ProComm. This is the conference where the TAPP debuted its work, 10 years earlier, also in Limerick. This time, the workshop focused on “Instituting Learning-by-Doing Practices in Training Programs for Technical Writers, Usability Testers, and Translators.” Workshop leaders included Suvi Isohella, Vaasan Yliopisto/Vasa Universitet; Patricia Minacori, Université Paris Diderot; Birthe Mousten, Aarhus Universitet; Susana Valdez, Universidade Nova de Lisboa; and Andrew Mara, Bruce Maylath, and Matthew Warner, all of North Dakota State University.  

Upcoming conference:
2017, June 28-30, 21st European Symposium on Language for Specific Purposes
Bergen, Norway:  

Rupiper Taggart Presents at the Writing Program Administrators' Conference

Amy Rupiper Taggart will present and run a workshop at the Writing Program Administrators’ conference, which runs from July 16-19 in Boise, Idaho. Her presentation is titled “‘GenAdmins' Transitioning from WPA to University Pedagogical Leadership" and is part of a panel on “WPAs in Transition: Sustainability and/of the Administrator.” She will also collaboratively facilitate a workshop on “Linking Pedagogical Theories to Outcomes and Assessment" with H. Brooke Hessler of Oklahoma City University. 

Faculty Attendance at the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference

Associate professor Kelly Sassi and senior lecturer Enrico Sassi attended the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference at Bemidji State University from June 20-26, 2015. They attended readings and craft talks by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Matt de la Peña, Joni Tevis, Mat Johnson, and David Gessner, as well as Distinguished Visiting Writer Mark Doty.

English Chair's Collaboratively Edited Book Published

Gary Totten, chair and professor of English, had a collaboratively edited book come out this month. Politics, Identity, and Mobility in Travel Writing is being published by Routledge.  

30 Internship Opportunities

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

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, September 29, 2015 1:07:15 PM