Thursday, April 24, 2014

Francesca Tuoni presents at Medieval Academy at UCLA

Francesca Tuoni, PhD student in Medieval Literature, received a travel bursary award from the
prestigious Medieval Academy of America for the paper "Arabisms and Hospitallers: A Plausible Pathway into Middle English" that she presented at the Annual Meeting of the Medieval Academy at UCLA, April 10-12, 2014.

Michelle Kells & La Voz Newspaper "Civil Rights Turns 50"

Michelle Kells forwarded this article from the Denver newspaper "La Voz" today "Civil Rights Act Turns 50." This is an important historic moment in U.S Civil rights history. The reporter has an insightful recognition of the role/significance of this legislation for women and Latinos (and especially women of color). From the article:

“We could not have endured much longer had the ’64 signing not occurred,” says University of New Mexico historical writer and English professor Dr. Michelle Hall-Kells. The massive and growing resistance to the status quo, including Freedom Summer, was not going away. “It pressed LBJ into doing the right thing.”

Hall-Kells says too many of the epic gains that resulted from the Civil Rights Act are today taken for granted. “I can’t imagine a 2104 without a 1964 moment,” says the UNM professor.” Without those formative policy changes our civic imagination would be so limited.”

Perhaps the biggest gain, Hall-Kells says, have been in gender equality. Women a half century ago were simply not part of the discussion in terms of career opportunities. Today, while still not exactly equal partners in many fields, woman have climbed to the top in finance, politics, science and technology and so many other disciplines once the sole purview of men. But much work remains. “The groups that are still struggling and have not benefited are women of color. There is a lot of unfinished work.”

La Voz  Bilingue (Denver, CO) 

A thank you to Christine Sierra for connecting La Voz reporter Ernest Gurule with me last week for an interview on Good Friday and including Latinos and women under the rhetorical umbrella of 1964 Civil Rights Act stakeholders.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Matt Hofer named Honors College Visiting Distinguished Professor

For Fall 2014, Matthew Hofer has been named one of two Honors College Visiting Distinguished professors, a fellowship program established by the newly organized UNM Honors College with the support of the Office of the Provost. The program is designed to bring select senior faculty to teach and mentor undergraduates in the Honors College, engage with Honors College faculty and undergraduates in a number of informal and formal settings, and present one or more public lectures. Many congratulations to Dr. Hofer, on this accomplishment!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Evee Ung begins her bright future at Georgetown University in Fall

Evee Ung has received an impressive offer from Georgetown University's Center for New Designs in Teaching and Scholarship that includes full tuition remission and a stipend.

Monica Kowal travels to Engagement Academy for University Leaders

Monica Kowal and Dean Kate Krause have been accepted to the Engagement Academy for University Leaders, an executive development program for university leaders who will be building institutional capacity for community engagement and community engaged scholarship. They will be traveling to Virginia Tech in June to represent the University of New Mexico and develop institutional plans to effectively link community engagement to the teaching, research, and service missions of our University.

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.

2014 Bilinski Fellows:

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.