Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nicholas Schwartz receives Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship

Five talented doctoral students in the humanities at UNM will receive 2014 Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowships thanks to a generous gift from the Bilinski Educational Foundation, including Nicholas Schwarz (English), for his work on history in the 11th-century writings of the Archbishop Wulfstan of York.

Alternate Stephanie Spong (English) is also to be commended for her outstanding dissertation project.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Rivera Lands Tenure-Track Job

ALS PhD candidate in English, Díana Noreen Rivera, has accepted a tenure track job as an assistant professor of English at the University of Texas, Brownsville, for an advertised position in American literature to begin Fall 2014. The inaugural CRS Torres Fellow and a current Mellon Fellow, Noreen is also a native of the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas—she received her BA and MA from UT-Pan American, so her return to UT-Brownsville is the perfect position for her to take after she defends her dissertation in July. Congratulations!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Erin Penner Gallegos Extending Peace Corps Service

Erin Penner Gallegos defended her MA R&W Portfolio in May 2011 and took an appointment with the Peace Corps. She is now back in the US before going back overseas and taking her next promotion appointment in Thailand.

Erin will be here for the Writing the World Symposium on Friday. Another Professional Writing MA success story for our placement records. Erin launched the first WAC Earth Day Symposium which evolved into the Wriitng the World Symposium.  She didn't just theorize about "writing the world"--she's living it.

They will extend Peace Corps service by one year (to start in May, after coming home for a month-long visit). Then back to Thailand, but a new city, and working with the College of Local Administration (COLA) at Khon Kaen University, in Khon Kaen City. Most of the time will be working with the "Youth Anti-Corruption Network" which is a project started at Khon Kaen University through COLA about two years ago with funds from the UN Development Programme. The students who go to COLA will for the most part become government administrators at the local (town / county) level.

Greg Evans Haley the new Strategic Communications Director for ACT Foundation

Greg Evans Haley has landed his dream job in Austin TX as the Strategic Communications Director for the ACT Foundation (a Bill and Melinda Gates Foudation). This is a brilliant placement and exciting news for our Professional Writing Program.

Greg's search committee was very impressed with Greg's work in rhetoric (hermeneutics of John Dewey especially) and Greg's grassroots experience working with Writing Across Communities here at UNM. In Greg's words,

I have accepted a position as Director, Strategic Communications for the ACT Foundation. The foundation was established as a public trust non-profit organization in October, 2013 with the mandate to establish a national learning economy to benefit working learners. The goal is to develop a nationally recognized certification program that allows working learners to gain mobility across industries and across companies based on their skills and training learned on the job. The foundation is working to build a network of industry associations, education, and worker training programs to collaborate in this effort. This economic plan is currently in design and development phase with organizations from all across the country, and across the political spectrum, joining in the effort. The ACT Foundation's role is to develop the strategy, provide funding for innovative solutions, and provide leadership for this nationwide effort. 

As Director, Strategic Communications, Greg's role is to develop the national communications strategy, introduction, and ongoing development of the national learning economy. This involves working with key stakeholders from government, industry, and educational organizations to develop the key messaging, communications strategy, and overall outreach effort to help make this new economy a reality. This is a senior management position at the foundation that is also responsible for managing stakeholder relations, developing the overall framing and direction of the learning economy, and providing internal leadership for the foundation's employees.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Writer's Almanac Chooses UNM MFA Alumni Richard Vargas' Poem to Share

Richard Vargas is one of our MFA alumni, and we are very proud of his work.

As of right now, Writer's Almanac is kicking off National Poetry Month with a poem from my new book, Guernica, revisited. Scheduled for Tues., April 1.

In Albuquerque, the show airs on KANW, 89.1, usually around 8:15 am. This will be the third time Garrison Keillor has read my work on the air, an honor. Hope you give it a listen, and enjoy.

Richard Vargas

why i feed the birds

i saw my grandmother hold out
her hand cupping a small offering
of seed to one of the wild sparrows
that frequented the bird bath she
filled with fresh water every day

she stood still
maybe stopped breathing
while the sparrow looked
at her, then the seed
then back as if he was
judging her character

he jumped into her hand
began to eat
she smiled

a woman holding
a small god

"why i feed the birds" by Richard Vargas from Guernica, revisited. © Press 53, 2014. Reprinted with permission. (buy now

The book launch for Richard's new book will be April 26 at the Peace and Justice Center.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Karra Shimabukuro Publishes Advice on How to Thrive in Graduate School

PhD student Karra Shimabukuro has written a guest post for Grad Hacker, a resource for grad students. Karra’s post deals with how to “thrive” and not just survive in graduate school. It can be found here:

Cris Elder Selected as UNM Teaching Fellow

Dr. Cristyn L. Elder has been selected by UNM's Center for Teaching Excellence as one of eight faculty from across the disciplines to be a UNM Teaching Fellow during the 2014-15 Academic Year. Fellows will investigate carefully-defined teaching challenges by examining the latest research on teaching and learning in one's discipline, design a teaching innovation, and collect and evaluate evidence of student learning. Dr. Elder aims to work with faculty outside the English Department in an effort to increase undergraduate student success in designated "killer courses" (i.e., those with high fail rates). Specifically, Dr. Elder will be working with faculty in designing and implementing scaffolded class activities and writing assignments that align with disciplinary course content in an effort to help students successfully address course goals and learning outcomes while developing their writing skills. Dr. Elder's overall research question is the following: Does an increased focus on writing as it relates to course content improve students’ success rate in the course?