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News: March 2014

Weinstein Presents Collaborative Writing Method at 2014 Conference on College Composition and Communication

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At the March 2014 Conference on College Composition and Communication held in Indianapolis, Ind., Daniel Weinstein, Department of English, gave a presentation titled “Getting It Together: L'Atelier d'ecriture as Fountainhead of Academic Prose.”

According to Weinstein’s abstract for the presentation:

Rooted in the poetic philosophy of littérature potentielle, l'atelier d'ecriture is a special kind of writing workshop in which a group of writers, in a climate of trustful and playful improvisation, employs formal constraints to produce collaborative texts.

The regimented routines of latelier d'ecriture, designed to inspire creative writing, lend themselves to conceptual writing as well. Indeed, the activities of the workshop, with their focus on words as nodes in networks of associated meanings, and their careful attention to written forms, are ideal for use by first-year writing classes, to disrupt and reconstruct conceptual prose in ways that lead students not just to new ways of writing, but, in addition, to new ways of thinking about the subjects they write about.

Constraints can be used to influence the structure of paragraphs; still others can shape the structures of whole essays. In short, the constraints of l'atelier may be employed to guide students toward composition strategies they might never attempt and ideas about topics they might never entertain were it not "all part of the game."

Department of English

Film Studies Informational Gala

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Reena Dube, Thomas Slater, and Judith Villa will host an English Film Studies track informational gala at the HUB Allegheny Room this Sunday, April 6, from 2:00–5:00 p.m. Current students will discuss the program, and there will also be food, drink, DVD give-aways, and attendance vouchers available.

We will also watch Scotland, PA, a comic adaptation of Macbeth set at a rural Pennsylvania hamburger joint starring Moira Tierney and Christopher Walken. Come and get a taste for what we do.

Department of English

Savova Presents on Collaborative Online Activities

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A presentation by Lilia Savova, Department of English, at an international TESOL convention focused on collaboration through interactivity, connectivity, and project sharing using online environments such as Moodle, Blackboard Collaborate videoconferencing, wikis, discussion boards, Google Docs, and multimodal joint projects.

In her presentation, she emphasized the importance of collaboration as a significant learning factor largely associated with F2F classrooms. She then shared the results of her research on student perceptions of online learning which suggest strongly missed opportunities for student-student and student-teacher collaboration. Following that, she offered examples of collaborative activities from her graduate and undergraduate online classes (e.g., Cross-Cultural Communication, Second Language Teaching, and Composition II). She explained how such multilinked multimodal projects are typical for online environments, thus offering unique learning opportunities, unlike F2F learning, yet valuable on their own right, and, to a certain extent, even more so. Finally, she presented the unanimously positive results of a Google Docs survey about her student responses to their brand new online learning experiences as a learning community.

Department of English

First Annual IUP EGO Spring Poetry Event

(Events, English Graduate Organization) Permanent link

Join the English Graduate Organization (EGO) on April 2 at the Artists Hand Gallery for an afternoon of art, espresso, and poetry!

Come listen to talented poets from IUP read their work.

The event will begin at 4:00 p.m. and is free to attend. The last half hour will be open mic.


The Artists Hand Gallery
732 Philadelphia St.
Indiana, PA 15701
(724) 463-8710

Department of English

Hibsman Discusses Educational Benefits of Minecraft at CUE Conference

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Tim Hibsman (English) presented his paper “Minecraft Madness: Educational Benefits?” at the 2014 CUE conference in California.


Minecraft has the possibility of huge educational benefits for children; it can help teach numerous subjects both with and without adult involvement. Learning in Minecraft could be faster than traditional methods of education, as children are often far more motivated, get more practice, and feel that what they are learning is useful. Also various negative aspects, such as overuse, will be presented.

Furthermore, there will be a demonstration of the product showing how the various skills are used in the game. This session will provide an overview of the multiple skills that can be enhanced by playing Minecraft.

Reading skills are enhanced by reading wiki and online guides, as well as understanding item descriptions and inventory lists. Writing skills are enhanced by using the Book and Quill option within the game to keep a log. Players can also write informational texts in a collaborative, multimedia environment. Math skills are enhanced by using the “crafting system” that teaches basic math and transitions into multiplication. The Minecraft world is made up of cubes thus providing a basic understanding of volume and area, which ties into geometry. The player can utilize LANs (Local Area Network) and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) to play with others in the same room, building upon social and team-building skills. In addition to these skills, there are many other skills (problem solving, music, basic computer, etc.) that are utilized throughout the game.

CUE (Computer Using Educators)


CUE provides leadership and support to advance student achievement in the educational technology community.

CUE is a nonprofit, educational corporation founded in 1978. CUE’s goal is to advance student achievement through technology in all disciplines from preschool through college. With an active current membership of thousands of educational professionals, CUE supports many regional affiliates and special interest groups. CUE conferences are California’s premier educational technology events. CUE is the largest organization of its type in the west and one of the largest in the United States.

Department of English

Siegel Finer Points Out Need for Transparency in Writing Program Administration

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Bryna Siegel Finer of the Department of English presented her paper, “Opening our File Drawers,” in Indianapolis at the 2014 Conference on College Composition and Communication, the largest conference in the field of Writing Studies.

In this presentation, Siegel Finer pointed to the need for more Writing Program administration transparency: open access to Writing Program administrators’ documents, including budgets, program proposals, curriculum initiatives, assessment protocols, hiring rationales, job descriptions, and other materials that allow WPAs to create and sustain writing programs. Searchable access to this information would open up multiple possibilities and opportunities, including conversations among disciplines in the university and conversations across universities, more investment in writing programs among university stakeholders (including students), and enhanced teaching assistant training.

Live Twitter feed of the panel can be found by searching hashtags #4C14 and #N18.

Department of English

English Association of Pennsylvania State Universities 2014 Conference at IUP

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On Thursday, March 13, the IUP English Department hosted the statewide 2014 English Association of Pennsylvania State Universities (EAPSU) Undergraduate English Studies Conference at the Kovalchick Complex, Indiana, Pa. Despite a formidable freeze and strong winds, many guests and participants from all over the state attended the conference. For many of the undergrads, it was their very first conference, an experience laced with (some) nervousness and (much) excitement.

The conference's overarching theme, “Popular Culture,” inspired many panels. These included “Engaging with Science Fiction and the Fantastic,” “Creative Writing Readings,” “Female Identity and Creative Writing,” “Writing the Family,” “Sociology and Popular Culture,” “Popular Television and the Teaching of Writing,” “Feminism in Popular Culture,” as well as “Popular Culture and the Construction of Reality,” among others.

Dr. John Branscum, 2014 EAPSU Lead Organizer
John Branscum of IUP's English Department served as EAPSU 2014's lead organizer.

The event started at 8:00 a.m. and continued throughout the day and into the night. From 12:30 to 12:45, chair of conference John Branscum of IUP gave the welcoming remarks, and Carolyn Camp announced the EAPSU Poetry Contest winners. She also sincerely thanked IUP for the hosting of the conference.

After that, from 12:45 to 1:20, Alex Romagnoli and Gian Pagnucci, both from IUP, gave the keynote lecture of the conference, entitled “Enter the Superheroes.” The academic duo talked about superhero comic books and the important roles they have played in the lives of millions. They also called to attention the fact that despite their popularity, comic books are a rather neglected subject in serious academic circles. In order to fill that gap, the two have swooped in and co-authored a book called Enter the Superheroes: American Values, Culture, and the Canon of Superhero Literature (2013), on which they drew extensively for their lecture.

After the keynote lecture, the conference continued in different rooms, where different panels presented on different subjects. The lectures went on till 4:00 p.m., when dinner was announced. The event continued in the evening, from 5:30 to 7:30, when a reading contest was held at Indiana Theater where the participants performed their poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, comedy skit, dramatic monologue, and other forms of writing. In the same place, from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m., a dance and cosplay contest was held in which two bands (William Forrest and Ümläüt) and a DJ (Jarrell Scott Verbecken) also performed.

2014 EAPSU Panel
At the 2014 EAPSU conference, panels like this one on Multimodal Pedgagoy engaged large and varied audiences throughout the day. 

Department of English

Casting Your Voice with Audacity: DHC Open Source Toolkit Workshop

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The Center for Digital Humanities and Culture is pleased to announce the fourth of its ongoing workshops for the Open Source Toolkit. This week, the topic is creating audio podcasts with Audacity. The workshop takes place on Monday, March 24, from 12:15–1:15 p.m. in Stabley Library, room 201.

Audacity is a feature-rich, open source audio editing program. It is commonly used in the podcasting community as an alternative to paid software like GarageBand and Adobe Audition. Audacity includes the necessary recording and post-processing tools one needs to produce professional quality audio. Examples of such features include adding audio effects, recording multiple tracks from a number of inputs, normalizing levels, converting audio formats, and a multitude of other functions that enhance audio production. Even though Audacity is capable of professional quality audio, novice users will find it user-friendly.

Workshop leader and doctoral student Adam Colton will provide a live demonstration of some of the most commonly used features of Audacity for editing podcasts. This interactive workshop will provide an opportunity for hands-on experimentation and provide participants with the Open Source Toolkit, which includes Audacity, to produce their own podcasts.

Department of English

Carpenter to Present on “Critical Language Awareness Approaches”

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Brian Carpenter, assistant professor in the English Department, will be part of a colloquium entitled “Critical Language Awareness Approaches in the Americas: Theoretical Principles, Pedagogical Practices, and Distribution of Intellectual Labor” at the March 2014 American Association of Applied Linguistics Conference in Portland, Oregon.

The paper, coauthored with Mariana Achugar and Daniel Walter of Carnegie Mellon University, and presentation focus on how CLA is not only an important aspect of student development, but also an effective tool in teacher development. This paper explores the role of CLA in teacher development through a high school history teacher’s understanding of disciplinary literacy (DL), and his classroom’s discourse practices in DL lessons.

The colloquium’s papers will be published in a special issue of Linguistics and Education on Critical Language Awareness.

Department of English

EGO Conference Addresses Interdisciplinary Approaches to Inequality

(Events, English Graduate Organization) Permanent link

On Friday and Saturday, March 7 and 8, 2014, at the HUB complex on campus, IUP’s English Graduate Organization (EGO) hosted its 12th annual interdisciplinary conference, entitled “Enacting Change in a Polarized World: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Inequality.”

During the opening luncheon at noon on Friday, Tanya Heflin, the faculty adviser to EGO, and Rachael Warmington, the conference chair, gave welcoming speeches, outlining the conference and relating the history and the aims of EGO.

After the luncheon, the first panel, chaired by Jaron Fox, concentrated on the topic of “Creative Approaches to Inequality” in a number of literary genres such as fiction, poetry, and other kinds of creative writing.

The attendees and the guests included a specializing host of IUP professors and students as well as interested scholars from the neighboring states, the American South, and the UK, and for the rest of the conference, numerous panels (14 in all) presented in 75-minute time slots in different halls in the HUB.

The conference consisted of 14 panels in all, and these, in the words of Heflin, “represent the many interests of the department: undergraduate panels, graduate panels, creative writing panels, and research panels with far-reaching topics in literature, criticism, composition, and international study.” 

The topics discussed in the conference, among other things, included “Women in Rap Media,” “Disrupting Socialized Class Structure and Gender Roles,” “Equality in Islam: The Position of Women in Islam,” “Women's Writing: Addressing Women and Work,” “Queer Ecological Negotiations,” “‘Othered’ Bodies Explored through Diverse Narratives,” and “Popular Narratives in a Post-9/11 World.”

EGO was honored to have George Yancy, professor of Philosophy at Duquesne University and author of Black Bodies, White Gazes: The Continuing Significance of Race, as keynote speaker during Saturday’s luncheon.

The 2014 EGO officers who worked hard to realize this event are IUP graduate students Sheila Gross (president), Rachael Warmington (vice president), Jaron Fox (secretary), Matthew Robert Loudon (treasurer), Lauren Shoemaker (historian), Asmaa Alshehri (public relations officer), Matthew Stumpf (webmaster/media coordinator), Jennifer Matos Ayala (social event coordinator and fundraising chair), and Samantha Audette (workshop coordinator).

Special thanks went out to EGO’s faculty adviser Heflin, who, since her move to IUP last year, has worked passionately and tirelessly to promote such high-quality activities in IUP’s English Department.

Thank you all for the splendid event, and please make it happen again!

English Department Announces Annual Undergraduate Writing Contest

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Any undergraduate English major or minor can submit their work to be recognized at the English Department’s Spring Honors Ceremony.

Prizes will be Awarded in the Following Categories:

  • Creative Non-Fiction
  • Critical Essay
  • Linda Haldeman Short Fiction Award
  • Pedagogical Writing
  • Play and Screenwriting
  • Richard Hazley Poetry Award
  • Rosaly Roffman Innovation Award
    (multi-genre, multimedia, and work that doesn’t fit the categories above)

Prizes in Each Category will be as Follows:

  • $50 for first place
  • $25 for second place
  • $10 for third place


Writers may submit only one work per category, though a work can be composed of several pieces (i.e., several thematically related poems). Writers may submit work to more than one category.

To Enter:

E-mail all entries to Wesley Scott McMasters at In your e-mail, please indicate your name, e-mail and phone number, title and brief description of the work, and the category in which you would like it to be considered. The entry itself should not have your name or any other identifying marks on it. If you are submitting to more than one category, make a separate submission for each. If your entry cannot be submitted by e-mail, you should still submit an e-mail with the above information, and we’ll make arrangements to acquire your entry.


Submissions must be made by Wednesday, March 26.

Questions? Contact Dr. Reena Dube at

Popular Culture English Studies (EAPSU) Conference Thursday, March 13

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The English Department and the English Association of Pennsylvania State Universities invite IUP students and faculty to attend the “Popular Culture” English Studies conference at the Kovalchick Complex this Thursday, March 13.

In addition to a slate of exciting conference panels (running from 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.), there are a number of special events:

Keynote speaker Gian Pagnucci as SupermanKeynote Lecture

12:45 p.m., by comics scholars Gian Pagnucci (right) and Alex Romagnoli on their 2013 book Enter the Superheroes: American Values, Culture, and the Canon of Superhero Literature, which explores the cultural significance of superhero stories.

Cosplay Dance

8:00 p.m. at 637 Philadelphia Street, featuring the bands William Forrest and Ümläüt and DJ Jarrell Scott Verbecken

We hope to see your there!

Department of English

Film Event: “No Country for Old Men”

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The English Department undergraduate Film Studies program will host a showing of the Coen Brothers movie No Country for Old Men on Thursday, March 13, in Stabley Library, room 210. Extra credit vouchers and food and drink will be available. The event is free.

We will have a brief introduction to the film and open informal discussion afterwards.

Department of English

An Evening with EAPSU: Performance Contest and Costume Dance

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A performance contest and a costume dance will fuel the fun on the night of the EAPSU Conference, Thursday, March 13.

Performance Contest

Thursday, March 13
5:30 –7:30 p.m.
Indiana Theater, 637 Philadelphia St.

There’s cash up for grabs!

Students registered to present at the English Association of Pennsylvania State Universities (EAPSU) conference may perform spoken word, slam poetry, music, or another brief performance piece in this contest. Cash prizes of $100, $50, and $20 will be awarded by a panel of faculty and students to the top three performers.

To register for the contest, e-mail John Branscum at Performers may also register the night of the event, but spaces are limited and it will be first-come, first-served.

Attendance is free for the performance contest.

Dress Up and Dance

Thursday, March 13
8:00–11:00 p.m.
Indiana Theater, 637 Philadelphia St.

Come one, come all characters to this costume dance!

Dance the night away as your favorite literary, film, TV, game, or otherwise fictional character. Festivities will include a DJ, live performances from local bands William Forrest and Ümläüt, and a people’s choice award for the best costume.

Tickets are $3 at the door for those who did not register online prior to the conference. Popcorn and refreshments will be available for purchase from Sigma Tau Delta.

Department of English

Amicucci Publishes on Students’ Perspectives on Digital Literacies

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Ann Amicucci, temporary faculty member in the English Department, published the article “‘How They Really Talk’: Two Students’ Perspectives on Digital Literacies in the Writing Classroom” in the March 2014 issue of Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy.

In this article, Amicucci responds to the need for more student voices in digital literacies research by discussing the results of interviews with two college students concerning the roles that their non-academic digital literacy practices can play in first-year college writing courses. She discusses students’ ideas for utilizing non-academic digital literacies to provide a social context for situated writing practice and to give students the opportunity to exercise and critically recognize their abilities to code switch for different communicative purposes. Amicucci argues that we need to acquire knowledge about students’ individual positions as users of technology and facilitate students’ critical engagement with the digital technologies they use.

A podcast interview with Amicucci about the article is available online.

Department of English

Retirement Party for English Faculty Members Alvine and Chow

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Lynne Alvine and Sung Gay Chow will be honored at a reception in Breezedale on Tuesday, March 11, from 2:30–4:30, with remarks at 3:00 p.m.

Light refreshments will be available. 

Download a flyer for this event.

DHC Open Source Toolkit Workshop Series Continues with Workshop on Sigil, a Free Ebook Authoring Tool

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This coming Monday, March 10, from 12:15-1:15 p.m. in Stabley Library 201, the Center for Digital Humanities and Culture will present the third workshop in its Open Source Toolkit workshop series. This time the software is Sigil, a free and open tool for creating easily sharable ebooks. All interested members of the IUP community are invited to attend this free workshop to discover all that this remarkable open source ebook authoring tool can do.

Ebooks—portable, personalizable, hypertextual, capable of supporting multimedia and just plain fun to read—continue to grow in popularity. Ebooks even have been hailed as the “format of the academic future.” This workshop will show you how to add ebooks to your own media repertoire.

IUP EGO 2014 Annual Interdisciplinary Conference This Weekend (March 7 and 8)

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Sponsored by EGO (English Graduate Students), the English Department, the Graduate Program in Literature and Criticism, and the Graduate Program in Composition and TESOL.

Human interaction has been characterized by polarizing inequalities. Even so, courageous individuals continue to expose these inequalities and tip the balance of power. From Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus to sweatshop workers fighting for workplace equity, figures of resistance enact change in the face of extraordinary opposition and inspire revolution.

  • Friday, March 7, 12:00 - 5:00 p.m., IUP HUB
  • Saturday, March 8, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., IUP HUB
  • 12:00-1:45 p.m. Luncheon Keynote Speaker: Dr. George Yancy, Professor of Philosophy, Duquesne University. Author of Black Bodies, White Gazes: The Continuing Significance of Race.

Fourteen interdisciplinary panels include the following:

  • “Creative Approaches to Inequality”
  • “Women in Rap Media”
  • “Disrupting Socialized Class Structure and Gender Roles”
  • “Equality in Islam: The Position of Women in Islam”
  • “Women's Writing: Addressing Women and Work"
  • “Queer Ecological Negotiations”
  • “‘Othered’ Bodies Explored through Diverse Narratives”
  • “Popular Narratives in a Post-9/11 World”

Please join us for an exciting weekend of conversation. Attendance at panel discussions is free. Luncheons are $10 each. Full registration (attendance, two meals, goodie bag) is $25.

For more information, go online or e-mail Rachael Warmington at or Dr. Tanya Heflin at

English Department Publication Celebration Honors English Faculty Writers and Writing

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On January 30, 2014, English Department faculty and other members of the IUP community gathered in the Crimson Event Center to jubilantly celebrate the achievements of those English Department faculty members who published scholarly writing between August 2012 and November 2013.

The event, organized and emceed by Professor Patrick Bizzaro (himself among those faculty recognized at the event), stemmed from the desire to celebrate faculty publication for two reasons: (1) because the publication of a written work is a remarkable professional achievement always worth celebrating, and (2) because the writing that English (and other) faculty members do is the direct result of an extremely complex and exacting creative process that both reflects and enables some of the best aspects of academic life and bonds faculty members together as a community of writers.

Patrick Bizzaro Emcees 2014 English Faculty Publication Celebration 
Professor Patrick Bizzaro organized and emceed the English Department Publication Celebration.

At the event, a hefty display of faculty publications—a large collection of books, edited volumes, and essays on topics ranging from literary history to literacy pedagogy—covered the tops of long tables at the side of the large room in which a dozen speakers, including Provost Timothy Moerland and English Department Chair Gian Pagnucci, took to the podium to praise those who had published their work and share some reflections on the craft of writing itself.

English Faculty Browse Colleagues Books on Display at 2014 Publication Celebration 
Faculty browse published works on display at the English Department Publication Celebration.

As faculty speakers rose to the podium to speak during the two-hour ceremony, it became clear that, while pleased with their own accolades, they were equally delighted at the chance to share with their English Department colleagues—their fellow writers—lessons they had learned from their writing experiences.

Speakers’ remarks ranged from practical advice for getting down to the task of writing to philosophical musings on the value of writing as a way of being in the world, on the value of writing as an activity that sets one’s mind probing big questions and following one’s curiosity where it leads.

Those looking for tips to help them get down to the task of writing were not disappointed, as almost every speaker had more than a trick or two to share. These included keeping one’s writing file open on one’s computer as a constant reminder of writing to be done, to write early and often, and to gather and test ideas for writing projects by seeking feedback from one’s professional networks.

In all, the celebration underscored and showcased the vitality, creativity, and passion of faculty who write both to find their voices and make them heard.

For a partial bibliography of works published by English Department Faculty between August 2012 and November 2013 (the list includes one published work per author), please see the English Department Faculty Bibliography for 2014.

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