Ellen Gil-Gomez’s Retirement
Ellen Gil-Gomez, shown with her husband Kelly Alls, will be among the faculty honored at the President’s Annual Retirement Luncheon on June 7, as she joins the ranks of our emeriti faculty. She came to the English Department in 2001, after earning her PhD at Washington State University. A specialist in Chicano/Latino and Women of Color Studies and the author of Performing La Mestiza: Textual Representations of Lesbians of Color and the Negotiation of Identities (Garland 2001), she has published numerous articles and chapters; her most recent publications center on comics, disability studies, and online pedagogy.
Her expertise in Distributed Learning led her to develop many popular online courses for the English Department on topics such as Graphic Novels, Queer Theory, and the Chicano Renaissance, and to act as a mentor to other faculty teaching online. She was celebrated as an “Outstanding Originator in Distributed Learning” by CSUSB in both 2007 and 2013. She served as the first Distributed Learning in Literature Coordinator for the English Department, a post she helped to created, and she also aided in shaping our departmental distributed learning policy. She shared her talents through service in many other ways over the years: as a Faculty Senator, as a member of the Educational Policy and Resources Committee, as co-chair of the Diversity Committee, as Interim Coordinator of the Women Studies Program, as a faculty adviser for English majors, and as CAL Elections Officer, among other posts.
After coping with debilitating chronic illness with grace and courage for the last decade while continuing to teach full time online, she opted to take a disability retirement in October 2017. We know our readers will join us in thanking her for her service to our students, our department, and our campus, and in wishing her and her family the best in this new chapter of her life.
MA Open House: On May 30, the Graduate Committee hosted an Open House for the MA in English Composition program. Prospective students began the day with a research panel with presentations by faculty members in our three concentrations–Yumi Pak (in literature), Karen Rowan (in composition), and Caroline Vickers (in linguistics). Afterward, they had a chance to visit a graduate seminar, and attended a Q&A session about the program both in person and via Zoom.
What can you do with an English major? On April 26, the English Department hosted a “SEE” (Strategic Employability in English) panel to help students find out some interesting answers to that question. Organized by Associate Chair Sunny Hyon, the panel featured the following alumni, sharing advice about their career paths (Dan Reade and Andrea Nikki Harlin are pictured):
- Jessica Lee, Technical writer and cyber threat intelligence analyst, Chevron and Principal Financial Group
- Andrea Nikki Harlin, Field Representative, Congressman Pete Aguilar District Office;
- Mischa Tacchia, English teacher and grant writer, Indian Springs High School (and winner of the prestigious Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching from the San Bernardino Unified School District);
- John Neiuber, CEO of the nonprofit Trinity Youth Services, Claremont, California;
- Dan Reade, Tenure-track Assistant Professor of English, Norco Community College; also former middle school teacher in Japan and staffer for U.S. Senator;
- Sarah Sikora, Current senior English major at CSUSB, who completed a summer internship in writing for cosmetics/fashion in New York City and was recently offered a job as an editor for a cosmetics company in San Francisco.
Faculty and Alumni News
James Brown recently submitted his new book, tentatively entitled Clearing the Attic, to his representative at The Ryan-Harbage Literary Agency in New York. The film option for Brown’s The Los Angeles Diaries was renewed this year by producer and director Jude Prest of Lifelike Productions; the film option from a selection from Brown’s second memoir, This River, has also been renewed by Australian director Aaron Wilson, whose film Canopy received the Grand Prize at Internationales Du Cinema Des Antipodes St Tropez. Australian actor Nick Barkla and Australian director and producer Ian White have optioned another selection from Brown’s This River in April 2018. White directed Before the Fall, 2015, about the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam war, and the documentary Bactor: A Refugee Journey, 2017, about gang members being returned to their native Cambodia after release from American prisons.
Department Chair Dave Carlson presented two conference papers, “George Morrison’s Abstract Indigenism,” Native American and Indigenous Studies Association Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, CA, May 2018; and “Lewis DeSoto’s Empire: Indigenous Photography in Southern California,” Native American Literature Symposium Annual Meeting. Minneapolis, MN, March 2018.
Congratulations to Nikia Chaney (BA ’06, MFA ‘12) on the publication of us mouth (University of Hell Press, 2018), her first full-length volume of poetry. A CSUSB alumna and lecturer, she is the current Inlandia Literary Laureate (2016-2018), and has previously published two chapbooks, Sis Fuss (Orange Monkey Publishing 2013) and Ladies, Please (Dancing Girl Press, 2013).
Jason Magabo Perez continues to tour his debut book, This is for the mostless (WordTech Editions, 2017), which Hyphen Magazine has celebrated as “a textual and literary embrace.” He has recently been invited to share his work and lead creative writing workshops at the following campuses/venues: Riverside City College (March 21); San Bernardino Arts Fest (March 24); San Francisco State University (March 28); Philippine Consulate General of San Francisco (March 28); Cal State Fullerton (April 12); Philippine Expressions Book Shop (April 14); San Diego Mesa College (April 17); UC Davis (April 26-27); UC Riverside (May 1); College of San Mateo (May 5); and Oregon State University (May 10-11). Most notably, Perez was invited to deliver the keynote address for Humanities and Social Sciences Week at Cal State Fullerton; and his film, Leonora, archive of, was screened as a part of the Asian Pacific American Film Festival at College of San Mateo. Perez has a few more upcoming local readings and performances scheduled for this academic year: Poetic Research Bureau LA (May 27); UCSD (June 1); Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions/LACE (June 9); Other Books/Otros Libros (June 10).
Paula Priamos’ thriller Inside V is a 2017 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award finalist in Thriller & Suspense (Adult Fiction). Thousands of entries were reviewed by a panel of 120 librarians and booksellers, and winners will be announced on June 15.
Congratulations and best wishes to Suzanne and Jonny Roszak on the birth of their son, Sander Axel Roszak, born on March 11 (7 lbs, 8 oz, 19 inches, even though he was four weeks early!). And she is keeping very busy: Roszak presented “Making Discussion Forums Matter: One Approach to Empowered Student-Student Interaction Online” at Digital Learning in the Humanities and Beyond, A UC Irvine-Tel Aviv University Symposium, May 3-4 2018, a paper which shares an approach that she uses in online Humanities and English courses at CSUSB, and she has a book chapter forthcoming, “Where Spirituality Ebbs and Flows: Religion and Diasporic Alienation in John Fante’s Ask the Dust” which will appear in an edited collection on John Fante from Fordham University Press.
Wendy Smith will once again be in the Republic of Georgia until mid-September, teaching a short course on research design at Ilia State University. She is continuing her research project studying the construction of Deaf identities and community at an NGO, the Union of the Deaf, her study of the construction of Deaf identities and community at an NGO, the Union of the Deaf, and will be extending the data in order to look at gender and power. She will be presenting a paper on the research in Budapest in September.
Congratulations to Jaclyn Vasquez (BA ’07, MA ’14), who has left her post as an English Department Lecturer for a full-time lectureship in UCR’s Writing Program. She completed a dual concentration in English Composition and Applied Linguistics/TESL in the MA program and won an Honorable Mention Rayburn Award in 2014 for her thesis “To Peer or Not to Peer? Locally Co-Constructing Expertise, Noviceness, and Peerness in Writing Center Conferences,” directed by Caroline Vickers and Karen Rowan–and in another notable department award, she took first prize last October in our inaugural Halloween Costume Contest for her “Tea-Rex” costume. We wish her the best in her new post!
Congratulations to Caroline Vickers on her appointment as faculty director of the Office of Graduate Studies. She will oversee the day-to-day activities of the office staff and will work closely with graduate student program coordinators, advisors and faculty to improve the graduate student experience at CSUSB.
The M.A. Program and Q2S: Conversion to Semesters
Associate Graduate Coordinator Jessica Luck shared the following news about how our Master’s program will change as we shift to a semester schedule in Fall 2020:
For the campus conversion to semesters, we tried to build on the strengths of our current MA program and make some exciting changes that we think will benefit students and help us better meet our goals and serve our community. First, the name will change from the MA in English Composition to the MA in English and Writing Studies. We feel this name better reflects the breadth and interdisciplinarity of our new program.
A common core of classes from each sub-discipline still grounds the degree, emphasizing the development of a scholarly identity and acting as a foundation for students’ chosen concentration(s). We will continue to have concentrations in Applied Linguistics and TESL, Composition and Rhetoric, and Literature. In addition, we have created two interdisciplinary “professional concentrations” for students interested in developing expertise in Pedagogy or Public and Professional Writing.
We have also revised the curriculum to include improved internship support, replacing the current Blackboard-based online component with an internship course that meets in person, including students doing pedagogical or workplace internships. We also created a semester long course for both the thesis and the comprehensive exam that will allow students to complete the culminating experience in the last semester of coursework. Our hope is that a culminating course that creates structure will help students complete the culminating experience more expeditiously.
Finally, we are planning to offer grad classes in 2.5 hour blocks meeting once a week rather than twice a week as we do now. We will build in a grad program hour before classes meet that will be open for various grad program related events, speakers, advising, and grad student socializing.