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t h e o p e n r d _ s p 2 0 0 7 - C l a s s i c : t h e o p e n r d _ f a l 2 0 0 2

Along the Road: The Educators

By Ted Stoller and Carole Smith

The past couple of years have been busy ones for the faculty of the English depart- ment at OCU. Positions have changed, new courses have been added, and the professors have been recognized with awards and hon- ors. Following is a brief update:

Dr. Regina Bennett is still active in the Environmental, Animal and Human Rights Welfare League on campus, work- ing to raise the awareness of environmen- tal issues and achieve a “green” campus. She has been appointed Director of the Master of Liberal Arts degree program and is serving as Interim Associate Director of the Honors Program.

Dr. Brooke Hessler's service-learning classes are working all over town this spring: Honors Composition II students are developing video podcasts at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and editing the summer issue of the Ronald McDonald House newsletter; Visual Rhetoric and Information Design students are working with the Gold Dome Multicultural Center, helping to manage the art gallery and developing an audio podcast tour and other


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promotional materials for the dome. The research underlying these projects involves material rhetoric, oral history, and public mem- ory. Dr. Hessler will present papers on these topics at the spring Conference on College Composition and Communication in New York City (where she's also co-facilitating a service-learning workshop for writing teachers) and at the summer China-U.S. Conference on Literacy in Beijing.

Language Use in the Context of American Society.

Dr. Terry PhelpsreceivedaPriddyFellowshipthis year as part of the “Arts Across the Curriculum” initiative facilitated by the new Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and Fine Arts Institute. He continues to direct the Learning Enhancement Center and has just completed his 18th year sponsoring Sigma Tau Delta.

Dr. Abigail Keegan created the Office of Distinguished Scholarship in 2004. She received a Merit Award for her chapbook, Depending on The Weather, from Byline Poetry Magazine's 25th anniversary contest. She was named in Who's Who Among American Teachers, 2004-2005. Keegan is now the campus coordinator of the Oklahoma Scholarship-Leadership Enrichment Program.

Dr. Elaine Smokewood, who chaired the English department for seven years (1996- 2003), has been appointed OCU Faculty Fellow for the 2007-2008 academic year. She will serve in the Provost's office, assisting with a variety of academic initiatives. Recently Dr. Smokewood has served on or chaired several OCU committees, and she continues to con- duct writing workshops at Epworth Villa, a local retirement community.

How can you read literature if you can’t write, and how can you write if you haven’t read great literature?

  • --

    Dr. Abigail Keegan

Dr. Mitzi McGuire is chapter advisor for Phi Eta Sigma, the Freshman Honor Society, and co-chair of the OCU Reads Committee. She has achieved her goal of exposing students to as many forms of reading and writing as possible by creating a course for international students called

Dr. Harbour Winn is the Director of the Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film and Literature, Director of the OCU Film Institute, and faculty advisor of the Filmmaker's Guild. He is also the director of “Let's Talk About It, Oklahoma” and co-chairs “OCU Reads.”

Dyan Shaw-Lambeth Essential to English Department By Carole Smith

dministrative Assistant to the Department of Humanities may be the least important A p o s i t i o n f o r D y a n S h a w - L a m b e t h . S h e i s a m u l t i - t a s k e r w h o i s a l s o a n u n o f f i c i a l g u i d ance counselor, surrogate mother, and best friend to many students who pass through OCU. Shaw-Lambeth came to OCU in 1998. She handles administrative work for English, Philosophy, Modern Languages, Debate, Arts and Human Values, and the Master of Liberal Arts program. “In some ways you could say I am the general education queen,” she jokes. Lest one think her job mundane, she cites some of the more unusual things she has done: dancing in medieval costume with Dr. Khoddam and setting up an early warn- ing system that barks like a dog to alert Professor Keller when visitors approach her office. Shaw-Lambeth handles the paperwork for various meetings, plans, and departmental pro- posals that keep the department running smoothly. She counts the professors as her friends: “It is very satisfying to be around them, to see their passion and witness their cre- ativity.” The friendship is reciprocated as she is praised often by the members of the facul- ty who credit the department's success in no small part to this very capable assistant. However, Shaw-Lambeth says that the students are her real passion. “English majors are high-quality people who go on to do great things.” Some students have become close friends, and many others return to visit and thank Shaw-Lambeth for her part in the for- mation of their successful lives. -


From the Desk of the Chair:

Professor Marsha Keller, Chair, Department of English

W i t h t w o y e a r s ' w o r t h o f c e n - t e n n i a l c e l e b r a t i o n s f i r s Oklahoma City University and now the State of Oklahoma – people around here have seemed to focus on the past more than usual. As I consider the English department at OCU, all that we are now and all that we hope to be, I think also of its past and the people who prepared the paths that have led us to where we are today. If you were a student at OCU in the 1960s or after and have wondered whatever happened to your former English professors, wonder no more. We have been able to prepare a brief update on some of them. t Professor Marsha Keller prepares for class California this year, Dr. Eaton continues to write screenplays with his brother and teach at APU. To learn more about his projects, check his web- site: http://www.markeaton.com/main.html. Several of the people who shared their lives with us at OCU have gone on into that good night: Ann Carlton and Jean Boyle in 1990, Nellie Melton in 1999, and Val Thiessen this past year. As for those still amongst the living, I can give you the following report. After retiring from OCU, Gail Garloch has been able to pursue whatever interests her – painting, traveling, volunteering at a food pantry, swimming, working at the polls during elections. She continues to work, now as a librarian. Stop in sometime to see the beautiful new Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library and say hello to Dr. Garloch. If you have research questions, she's the one to ask. After teaching American Literature, chair- ing the English department, and serving as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at OCU, John White was president of Nebraska Wesleyan University for twenty years, retiring in 1997. To honor his service to NWU, an anonymous donor presented $1 million for a new campus residence hall named after President White and his wife Marty. The most recent professor to retire is Perry Dillon. In May 2005, he was honored for the 35 years of service he gave to the university. Now his retirement allows him to spend more time with his dogs and enjoy late nights read- ing whatever he wants to. Tony Franzese taught at Casady here in Oklahoma City until a couple of years ago, when he moved to a position at Oklahoma State University. I hear from fairly reliable sources that he has left teaching, perhaps only briefl , to live on his wife's family homestead in northeastern Oklahoma and take care of the land. I hope this update and the other pieces in the newsletter about former students and faculty have reminded you of some of the people who were part of your life at OCU. Perhaps you have other memories of OCU past – offices, classrooms, and the library in Gold Star before the law school moved in; the charming faculty shack with its creaky floors and pine walls; the old business/law building that became home to the English department until Walker Center was built. Perhaps you remember classmates, too. This edition of Open Road profiles some of our more recent graduates, but if you would like to know about other English alumni, let us know. We will try to find out where they are and what they are doing. And please let us know about yourself. We always want to know what our alumni are up to and welcome all the emails and letters you are willing to send. After training and working several years as a financial planner, Brenda Pfaff missed teaching far too much and is now back in the classroom- this time teaching 9th and 12th grade English at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California. She was voted "Most Supportive Teacher" her first year there. You may recall that Brenda was diagnosed with cancer in 1994 (and continued to teach despite her many rounds of chemotherapy). She has had no recurrence and is doing very well. Mark Eaton has been teaching film and litera- ture at Azusa Pacific University since he left OCU but traded Los Angeles for Oxford last spring, where he was a research fellow at the Rothermore American Institute. Back in Before I close this note, let me say a few things about the OCU English department-present


and future. Things are hopping around here. In addition to devel- oping a first-rate creative writing fes- tival, English faculty offer courses in the new Moving Image Arts Program, the Honors Program, and the women's studies minor while co- administering a rhetoric minor with the philosophy department. We work closely with the Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film and Literature, OCU Reads, and the PLUS Program, both on campus and in Singapore. In addition, the English faculty continue to be committed to service learning, mentoring students as they are involved in a variety of commu- nity projects – working at the Oklahoma City National Museum, developing materials for the Gold Dome, and writing with residents of Epworth Villa.

The selection of English faculty for Priddy fel- lowships this past year attests to our professors' involvement in the university and their commit- ment to the improvement of teaching and learn- ing, as well as to their creativity. Out of sixteen fel- lowships, four were awarded to English facult , a far stronger representation for this honor than any other faculty unit on campus

All of these developments and initiatives are exciting, but they also remind us of things we wish we had, primarily additional faculty. At this point, the English department has only one endowed chair, the Eleanor Lou Carrithers Endowed Chair, currently held by Brooke Hessler. We need more. If you know of some- one with an interest in sustaining and growing programs that provide support for activities that enrich not only our students but also the Oklahoma City area, tell them about us and invite them to learn about our work. We would welcome the opportunity to share our plans with them.

As we plan for the future, we hope to hear from you. Your reflections on your experience as an English major and graduate help us to know the program's areas of strength and weakness, and those are important, especially this semester as we work to complete a strategic plan for the depart- ment. Soon you will be able to communicate directly with the English department through our website. Because of the work of our graduate assis- tant Jignesh Sheth, it should be up and running soon. Link to it through the Petree College of Arts and Sciences to read more about our activi- ties and to contact us. Website or not, you can always communicate with us through mail, email, and telephone.

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