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The English Department is one of the largest departments on campus, with about 40 current faculty/staff and many active retired faculty/emeriti. The depth of faculty expertise, passion, and engagement sets English apart from other areas of campus. With prolific writers, researchers, and scholars in everything from creative writing to rhetoric to English education to linguistics to critical studies in literatures, cultures, and film (and many time periods and geographical areas of coverage), students who major or minor in any emphasis of English will find incredible instruction and academic support at every possible turn. When you add the bonus of some of the most musically gifted faculty on campus, outside of the Music and Theatre Arts Department, it’s an irresistible lot.
2015 senior surveyThe department's strength is definitely within its faculty. All of my professors have been super insightful on issues both within English studies directly and beyond: critical race theory; issues of feminism, sexual orientation, and gender; the human psyche. All of these issues were discussed thoroughly throughout my time here at Eau Claire. And I feel I have made lasting relationships with several faculty members; they're not just there to instruct, but to help you grow as well.
To expose her students to more diverse perspectives in the field, English education professor Christina Berchini organized a panel of six area teachers to come in and speak with the class.Getting the real 411
As an internationally celebrated playwright and dramatist with a vision for social justice and equality for all, Dr. Tess Onwueme uses her powerful works to give a voice to those who are voiceless.Powerful playwright
Joel Pace, profesor of English, combines his literary and musical talents to transform F. Scott Fitzgerald’s actual work into an album, a creation he describes as “lit hop” — or literary hip hop.Fitzgerald inspirations
I am a Professor of English and Honors Education at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire. I also serve as the Director of Graduate Studies for the English Department at UWEC. In the past, I have had leadership roles for the UWEC Honors Program, the Liberal Studies Program, and several diversity initiatives. It is a lifelong goal to help improve how public institutions serve our whole communities equitably.
As a professor, my primary field is African American literature. My faculty peers in English would probably describe my approach to teaching as "New Historicism" or "Cultural Studies." For me, historical and cultural contexts are just as important as literary expression, and in a typical class of mine, nonfiction readings supplement works of poetry, fiction, and drama. Some of the courses I teach have conventional titles such as "Making Sense of the Movies," "Survey of American Literature," etc., but you can get a stronger sense of my teaching interests from more specialized courses I have taught:
Whenever I get the chance to write for publication, I greatly enjoy the opportunity. My publications tend to examine U.S. cultural history in relation to social movements, group identities, and popular trends in literature, film, and public politics. Recently, I've published a book chapter on the film 12 Years a Slave (published in 2014 in the collection, Movies in the Age of Obama) and a book chapter in 2016 on strategies for improving diversity and equity in Honors programs. Going further back, there are two book projects that I am proud to have completed: a book on the Black Arts Movement (A New Breed of Black Consciousness) and a collection of essays that I co-edited with Dr. JoAnne Juett (Coming Out to the Mainstream: New Queer Cinema in the 21st Century).
I am also a professional musician (a vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter) who performs under the names Davey J & Friends and Davey J and the Jones Tones. Music is definitely a passion, as I have published five original music CDs with my own independent label, B Major Productions (the most recent CD is called Chippewa Love). In music industry language, our style would probably be "Americana" or "Roots," but there are elements of rock, blues, reggae, indie, folk, and even jazz in my music. You can hear some of my music and see my live show calendar at www.chippewalove.com.
In my past creative work, I also produced and hosted two radio programs on popular music and Wisconsin culture for Wisconsin Public Radio: Jazz, Blues, and Beyond and Wisconsin Wealth. I really enjoy maintaining a flexible and relevant range of academic interests, and I'm so thankful that innovation is welcome in our English Department!
Kaia Simon’s current research on Literacy, Hmong women, and migrant families informs all of her work in the English Department at UWEC. She currently teaches courses in the Blugold Seminar and serves as the Director of the Writing Program. Before pursuing her graduate work at the University of Illinois, Dr. Simon was a secondary English teacher for the Eau Claire Area School District, teaching both middle and high school students for eight years. She is grateful to have been in school for most of her life.
Prompted mainly by the remainders of late 20th-century disruptions, like financialization, transnationalism, and diaspora, I engage questions related to emergence, liminality, and immanence, highlighting the ways literature and politics become entangled around lyric concepts of American personhood. Moreover, because I see research as the driving energy in constructing meaning during this era of cultural simplicity and socialized phobia, my projects usually bridge creative and critical form. My creative projects, at the limits of lyric and historical urgency, include gist : rift : drift : bloom (2015), a study of ecology, law, and a history of the Midwest between the sentimental borders of the Mississippi and the East Coast, and precis (2015), a book on memory, migration, and the politicization of violence and natality at the US/Mexico border.
During the summer, Dr. Applegate directs the UW-Eau Claire Summer Writing Camp for 6th-10th grade students. The rest of her free time is spent catching up on her reading and writing projects, relaxing in her hammock, playing team trivia, and listening to live music in and around Eau Claire.
She began her teaching career in the Mississippi Delta as part of the Mississippi Teacher Corps and has taught in both rural and urban high schools in Central Illinois.
Brett Beach holds an MFA in Fiction from Ohio State University, where he won The Helen Earnhart Harley Creative Writing Fellowship Award in 2013. His stories have appeared in numerous journals, including Prairie Schooner and The Chicago Tribune's Printers Row Journal;he frequently review for The Master's Review, and has served as Associate Reviews Editor for The Pleiades Book Review. A 2015 Bread Loaf Scholar and a 2016 Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers' Conference, he is at work on a novel and a collection of short stories.
The longer Jack Bushnell teaches, the stronger his commitment to liberal education and particularly to collaboration across disciplinary boundaries. In his classroom and in his creative and scholarly work, he has made a career of exploring the ties between the arts, humanities, and sciences.
Jack worked for nearly a dozen years in advertising and marketing at two New York City advertising agencies (he eventually became a Vice President) and at the corporate headquarters of Nabisco. His advertising clients included a manufacturer of agricultural products, the New York Zoological Society, and the Northrop Corporation, makers of the B-2 stealth bomber. Largely because of this eclectic background, he was hired by UW-Eau Claire in 1995 to teach courses in writing and in the rhetorics of science and technology.
Jack's creative and scholarly interests are a wide-ranging reflection of and an inspiration to his varied teaching interests. His academic articles have tended to focus on science or literature, and have appeared in such refereed journals as Technical Communication Quarterly, a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, Studies in Romanticism, The Wordsworth Circle, Popular Culture Review, and Studies in the Novel. His creative work crosses most of the major genres, from plays to fiction to creative nonfiction, including memoir and personal essays on nature and on baseball. His nonfiction has been published in a number of national literary magazines, notably The Gettysburg Review, Tampa Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Elysian Fields Quarterly, as well as in such regional magazines as Wisconsin People & Ideas and Wisconsin Natural Resources. He has four books for children, two from Morrow/HarperCollins, one from the Chippewa Valley Museum Press (in Wisconsin), and the most recent from Tanglewood Books. Circus of the Wolves (1994) won awards from the International Reading Association, Friends of American Writers, and Council for Wisconsin Writers. Sky Dancer (1996) was named a Best Book of the Year by the Children's Book Committee of Bank Street College. And Farm Crossing: The Amazing Adventures of Addie and Zachary (2004) won the Young Adult Children's Book Award runner-up from the Council for Wisconsin Writers. His fourth book, Night of the White Deer, was published in 2012.
Jack has been writing plays for the past several years. His first, The Infinity Monologues, was performed as a staged reading by the BareBones Ensemble Theatre in May 2014. It was subsequently named a finalist in the annual one-act play competition sponsored by the Arts Club of Washington (D.C.), going up against submissions from nearly every state in the U.S. and from Europe, including Greece, Ireland, and Great Britain. He is now in the revision process on two new, full-length plays: Seal Skin and Sailing to Antarctica.
MicKenzie Fasteland received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan after completing her dissertation "Empire and Adolescence: Whiteness and Gendered Citizenship in American Young Adult Literature, 1904-1951." She is excited to teach writing courses here as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Writing.
Sean Ford joined the department as a lecturer in 2007 after previous teaching appointments in South Carolina, Florida, and Alabama. He is currently studying and writing about Herman Melville's poetry.
Theresa D. Kemp joined UWEC's English department in 1999 after having taught at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. After serving for several years as UWEC's Director of Undergraduate Studies, she served as Director for Women's Studies (2010-2013).
Since 1993, Dr. Kemp has been a member of the Editorial Collective for Feminist Teacher (University of Illinois Press), and helped co-edit The Feminist Teacher Anthology: Pedagogies and Classroom Strategies (Teachers College Press, 1998).
She has been the recipient of several university as well as state and national awards, including a Newberry Library fellowship, a Wisconsin Humanities Council grant, and a NEH faculty grant to the Folger Shakespeare Library. In 2008, she was the UWEC nominee for UW-System Regents Teaching Excellence Award.
Her own work has been published in numerous magazines including Glimmer Train, The Madison Review, The Black Warrior Review, and Harper's. She's been granted awards for her work from organizations such as The Wisconsin Arts Board, The Virginia Council Colony for the Arts and the Hambridge Center. In the past she served as a fellow with the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Tess Onwueme, originally from Ogwashu-Uku, Delta State, Nigeria, is currently one of Africa's leading writers, and has received international recognition for many of her plays. Her website, www.writertess.com, offers additional information on her speaking, academic, and creative career.
Before joining the faculty at UW-Eau Claire in 1994 as the institution's first Distinguished Professor of Cultural Diversity, she was a professor of Multicultural Studies at Montclair State University in New Jersey, and a professor of African Studies at Vassar College.
Among the prestigious awards she has received for her writing are: the Association of Nigerian Authors Literary Prize for Drama (in 1985 for The Desert Enroaches, 1995 for Tell it to Women, 2001 for Shakara: Dance-Hall Queen, and 2003 for Then She Said It), the (African) Distinguished Author Award (1988), and the Martin Luther King/Caesar Chavez/Rosa Parks Distinguished Writer/Scholar Award (1989/90). For two consecutive years (2000 and 2001), Tess has received substantial awards from the Ford Foundation for her research project, "Who Can Silence the Drums: Delta Women Speak" resulting in the writing and production of her play, THEN SHE SAID IT!.
Her play, The Missing Face, was performed Off-Broadway in New York from April 27 until May 28, 2001. Tess Onwueme's other creative writings include: What Mama Said, No Vacancy, Why the Elephant Has No Butt, Shakara: Dance Hall Queen, Tell it to Women, Riot in Heaven, Three Plays, Parables for a Season, Legacies, The Reign of Wazobia, Mirror for Campus, Ban Empty Barn, The Scent of Onions, The Desert Enroaches, The Broken Calabash, A Hen Too Soon, The Artist's Homecoming, and Some Day Soon.
Joel Pace hails from the city of Providence, Rhode Island. In 1999, he began his assistant professorship at UWEC, and in 2000 was a fellow of Brown University's John Nicholas Brown Center for the Study of American Civilization.
Pace's editorial experience includes work with journals and books. He has served on the editorial board of Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary Relations since 2003, as Book Review Editor and (presently) as an associate editor. In addition to guest-editing an issue of The Allen Review (an Oxford theology journal) on religion and literature, he also introduced and co-edited an issue of Romanticism on the Net as well as an issue of Romantic Circles: Praxis Series. He has co-edited two books: Wordsworth in American Literary Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) and Transatlantic Romanticism: An Anthology of British, American, and Canadian Literature, 1767-1867 (Longman/Pearson, 2006).
His essays and articles have appeared in many books and journals, including The Cambridge Companion to Wordsworth, The Wordsworth Circle, Symbiosis, Romantic Circles Praxis Series, and Romanticism on the Net, etc. His poems have appeared in eye dialect, In Our Words (vols. III & IV, 2001 & 2002), and as part of art exhibits (most recently with "Epidemic Peace Imagery-An Expanding Exhibition of Peace Works by Writers and Visual Artists.")
He has delivered invited presentations at Brown, Harvard, Oxford, and Providence College as well as presented papers and/or chaired panels at the following conferences: American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), The Coleridge Conference, International Conference of Romanticism (ICR), Modern Language Association (MLA), The North American Association for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR), The Transatlantic Studies Conference, The Symbiosis Conference, and the Wordsworth Summer Conference.
He has taught the following classes: American Literature Origins-1865, The "Black Atlantic," British Literature II, British Women Romantic Writers, Capstone, Introduction to College Writing, Introduction to Literature, Poetry, Romanticism, Theory, Transatlantic Romanticism, and Transcendentalism.
Pace resides in the Twin Cities, where he fills his spare time with writing poems and performing with a reggae band.
Originally from the Twin Cities, Jonathan completed his graduate work in southern Ohio. While there, he developed a passion for one-to-one mentoring as a pedagogical approach-one he feels is well-suited to engaging issues of difference students bear, yet often struggle to explore, in college. He now feels fortunate to engage this work in the upper Midwest-a pivotal region in his own understandings of issues facing marginalized identities, particularly LGBTQ lives and otherwise queer communities. As a teacher, then, rhetorics of identity and social change energize the way he listens to students and encourages self-expression. When not in the classroom or writing center, Jonathan enjoys excursions throughout the area, especially fall trips to Lake Superior and the North Shore.
Stacy Thompson joined the English Department in 2002. He earned his B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1988 and then worked for a corporate publishing house in Boston and in New York City from 1988-1991. In 1991, he left publishing and worked in a small bookstore in Michigan from 1992-1993. He started graduate school in 1993 and earned an M.A. from Northeastern University in 1995 and a Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2000. He has taught in universities since 1993.
Katie Vagnino is a poet, educator, and writer originally from St. Louis. Katie has taught creative writing, composition, research writing, and rhetoric at various secondary and higher education institutions including Emerson College, Roosevelt University, and St. Paul's School. She has also led poetry workshops at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and the Newberry Library. As a freelance writer, Katie has contributed articles, reviews, and essays to Time Out New York/Boston/Chicago, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Role Reboot, and Smithsonian's The Torch. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in journals including Measure, Unsplendid, The Raintown Review, and Poetry Quarterly.
Katie specializes in formal and contemporary poetry. She also loves choral music, and is a member of the Master Singers in Eau Claire.
Blake R. Westerlund is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. A proud alum of UWEC, he earned his B.A. in literature and quickly fell in love with the works of the Bronte sisters, R. L. Stevenson, D. H. Lawrence, Walt Whitman, Willa Cather, Flannery O'Connor, Mary Oliver, and Thomas Pynchon;after his undergraduate career, he then completed his M.A. and Ph.D. in modern letters from the University of Tulsa. His scholarly publications and interests focus mainly on authors of the American West and their treatment of land and animals.
When not reading or writing, he very much enjoys spending time with his family. Long walks in the woods, longer drives in the car listening to copious amounts of music, taming wild terriers, bird watching (the man is a daredevil), park crashing, and swimming in cold pools are a few activities he is particularly fond of.
Alea, Mary Ellen
Duyfhuizen, Bernard "Duffy"
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