The English department faculty, staff, and students are always busy. While current news is featured on the department home page, past events, articles, and announcements can be found here. Be sure to check back frequently to keep up with English department events!
Recent News and Events
Jessica Zinz-Cheresnick was recently interviewed about her new role as the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and the new Word+Image Minor for students. Read the interview below!
Tell us about the program!
The creative writing program at BGSU is one of the oldest established programs in the country. While "old" often takes on a negative connotation, we resist that. In this case, old means classic and prominent and so much better than brand new and untested. We're like a wine or cheese - the aged cheddar or the classic car. We emphasize the studio fine arts and offer courses for beginning creative writers but hope to show our students the community and value of workshop-style classes in our advanced creative writing courses. We have both a BFA and MFA program. As I am now Director of Undergraduate Studies, I will emphasize our new undergraduate minor - Word+Image. Please see the link here for more information, but I would love for you to join our Word+Images classes, especially our ENG 3150 Graphic Novel Workshop course. I am also very excited about our Capstone ENG 4960 Word and Image Studio for those finishing up the minor.
What is your vision for this role?
In this role as Director of Undergraduate Studies in Creative Writing, I hope to grow our program, support our undergraduate students, mentor all of our creative writing students, and foster excitement about the creative writing field. I want to connect with our undergraduate students in order to support their art, support their career goals, and offer all I know in the field. I hope to encourage more students to see creative writing as a valuable art, outlet, and writing genre. We can say so much more with words than their dictionary definitions suggest. As one of my favorite poets, Adrienne Rich, once said, "...where poetry is liberative language, connecting the fragments within us, connecting us to others like and unlike ourselves, replenishing our desire. . . . In poetry words can say more than they mean and mean more than they say."
I also hope to remind students of all the ways creative writing branches into other fields of education, career choices, and life. I want to connect with the students and grow our program in ways that benefits them and our faculty.
What do you want students to know?
As Director of Undergraduate Studies in Creative Writing, I want students to know that creative writing is an art. It is the art of writing, communication, connection, and expression. There are far more benefits to a creative writing degree, including how students get to share their ideas. I want students to know that their ideas matter. They are important parts of our society and the knowledge we gain. Creative Writing degrees are a way to gain confidence, explore techniques of writing, and keep our brains active. For me, creative writing, specifically writing poetry and making comics, is necessary. It is my sanity, my expression, my exhale and release. It helps me pay attention, especially to things I think need attention brought to them. I want our creative writing students to work to bring attention to things they think need that spot-light. Make us notice!
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I hope that, in this position, I can motivate and support our creative writing students. I want them to feel supported in our circle of writers. I hope our faculty and students can feel motivated and inspired. I remember my creative writing cohort in both my undergraduate and graduate degree. To this day, they are some of the most important people in my life. I hope to encourage that among our creative writing students. We are a community of artists, writers, and thinkers. We need to bring light to the ways in which creative writing and the arts can convey ideas, messages, and information that is otherwise maybe too difficult to share. Creative writing genres have an ability to share those difficult subjects. As writers, we have the tools to share it. I hope to give more of those tools to students who seek to be the sharers in an attempt to understand one another.
Jessica Zinz-Cheresnick grew up in Meadville, PA. She holds a B.A. from Allegheny College and an M.F.A from Bowling Green State University. She teaches Creative Writing and WRIT courses at BGSU. She has published art, poetry, and hybrid poetry, most recently in RHINO Magazine, Harpy Hybrid Review, and The Art Students League of New York. With a background in mixed media arts and creative writing, she practices and is interested in hybrid creative writing forms and visual poetry. Word and image collage, found poetry and arts, and comic-style hybrid work have been more recent focuses of her work. As an Associate Teaching Professor at BGSU, Jessica is an affiliate faculty member of the Creative Writing Program and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Creative Writing.
To view some of her word+image work, follow on Instagram @jessicadawnzinzart
Check out BGSU’s new undergraduate program in Rhetoric and Writing Studies and hear from Director Kimberly Spallinger
-written by Annie Cigic
Kimberly met virtually with Rhetoric and Writing Studies PhD student Annie Cigic to talk about Kimberly’s new role as the Undergraduate Director for the Rhetoric and Writing Studies Program. Keep reading to learn more about the new program and Kimberly’s vision and ideas!
The Rhetoric and Writing Studies Undergraduate Program is a new 18 credit hour minor for undergraduates. Kimberly further described the minor and how it highlights multimodal work and writing for different audiences. Kimberly talked about how the program also provides a framework for students to discover how their work applies to future careers, connects with different disciplines, and how it is beneficial for personal growth and professional identity.
The program has three core courses, which are ENG 2070: Intermediate Writing, ENG 3030: Writing in Context, and an internship course. Students will also choose three elective courses to take out of seven choices. Some examples include technical editing, literary editing and publishing, and children’s literature. The minor has numerous options for students to explore different types of writing and it offers space for students to share their experiences and participate in diverse writing experiences.
During the first year of this program, Kimberly hopes to learn from colleagues and graduate students and work with people across different majors and minors. Kimberly wants to promote the minor on the website and social media and make various efforts to advertise the program. Along with promotional efforts, Kimberly wants to highlight the work that students are doing. In her new role, Kimberly is asking, “How do we make the work our students do more visual?” when considering the ways that we can highlight student work in the program. She is passionate about helping students and taking a student-centered approach.
Kimberly wants students to know how this minor can be excellent for different disciplines. Kimberly notes that when students enter the writing classroom, they often believe they are not a writer and the writing classroom isn’t relevant to their career paths, but the minor builds off the work students do in their UWP classes and extends UWP’s message that you are a writer. She emphasizes that the minor will help students write effectively and confidently and provide a robust experience to develop meaningful writing that is applicable to numerous disciplines and paths. She is focused on highlighting students’ work and how to best meet the need for students, but she also shared how she wants to support instructors in the minor.
Kimberly recognizes that teaching is hard, so having a safe space for teachers to discuss teaching and their ideas is something she envisions. Kimberly loves learning from teachers and is so excited about the role. She loves that doctoral students are teaching in this minor and wants to work closely with graduate students and colleagues. She notes that everyone is always doing cool and new things in the classroom and it is important to share those ideas. She hopes to collaborate with Dr. Sue Carter Wood and develop coffee hours and a monthly meeting for instructors from the program to see how and what everyone is doing. She hopes to create a peer review system for the instructors and build a community for sharing ideas. Kimberly notes it is a new minor which means there will be new learning experiences and she is excited to be in her new role and collaborate with others. She is so excited about the program and hopes to see growth in the minor.
We welcome Kimberly to her new role and know that she will do amazing!
Congratulations to undergraduate students Lexi A. Schmiesing, Ian Adkins, and Joseph Black for publication of their articles in WRIT: Journal of First-Year Writing!
"2020-2021 were insurmountably challenging, and this issue features two pieces on mental and physical health and one piece on the exploitation of Black athletes. These topics mirror larger issues that affected-- and continue to affect-- all students."
Read the articles on the Journal's website!
"Can Organization and Word Choice Affect You?"
Lexi A. Schmiesing
"Mental Health and the Impact of Friendship"
"Stopping the Exploitation of NCAA Athletes"
2020 News and Events
Amanda McGuire Rzicznek and Elizabeth Loo Zemanski have received the 2020 College of Arts and Sciences Diversity Award. The award was first given in 2012. Learn more about the award.
Sharona Muir has recently published her novella "Animal Truth" in the online literary journal Eclectica. The novella can be read on the journal's website.
Please tell us a bit about yourself!
So, I’m Christine and I’m a graduate student in the English program with a specialization in English teaching. I currently live in Jinju, South Korea where I work as an EFL teacher at a government-run after school program. I’ve been living in Korea for 17 months now, but I am originally from the Lehigh Valley area in Pennsylvania.
When I’m not teaching or doing homework, I’m usually cooking, reading, or planning my next travel excursion. Along with traveling around Korea, I’ve been to 13 countries with two more trips coming up this year!
Women's History Month Essay Contest
Second in the Spring Semester Inclusion Essay Contests
PROMPT: The fight for voting rights: past, present, and future
Write an essay or compose a multi-modal piece (video, podcast, poetry, collage—the sky's the limit) that addresses the theme: The fight for voting rights: past, present, and future
Your work should be up to 1,000 words long. Feel free to work with a partner or group! Learn more about the contest.
Chloe English, a Criminal Justice major, is the winner of the first Spring Semester Inclusion Essay Contests for her essay on Black History Month. Chloe responded to the prompt "Black History is American History." Please join the Department of English in congratulating Chloe! Read Chloe's essay here.
Dr. Jackson Bliss, assistant professor in the Department of English, recently signed a book contract for a new novel publication with 7.13 Books, an indie publisher based out of Brooklyn, NY. The Amnesia of June Bugs is slated to be published in early 2022. Learn more about the book.
Dr. Jolie Sheffer, associate professor of English and American culture studies and director of the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society, has a new book out. Understanding Karen Tei Yamashita, published by The University of South Carolina Press, explores “one of the most significant, ambitious, and widely taught Asian American writers today.” Learn more about the book.
On Tuesday, December 3, 2019, students in Dr. Khani Begum’s POPC/ENG 6800 course hosted Imagining Palestine, a free community-based learning event at the Wood County Public Library. The students in the course engaged the audience with various panels and displays of Palestinian popular culture, including an academic session, a food session, a presentation of street art, and a poetry reading. Learn more about the event.
Boricua en la Luna, released in December of 2019, was collected, edited, and published by members of the English Department to raise funds for hurricane and earthquake relief in Puerto Rico. Alumni and adjunct faculty member Elena Aponte edited the collection, and faculty member Abigail Cloud edited and set the text. Danielle Jacoby and Elise Triplett, students in the department, assisted with copyediting.
The book features poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and art contributed by Puerto Rican creators. Themes include history, family, and the effects of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico. Proceeds from sales of the book, which is available for purchase, go towards hurricane and earthquake relief efforts. Learn more about the book.
Several alumni of the MFA program have received Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Awards. The awards recognize artists within specific fields, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, criticism, choreography, playwriting, and the composition of music. Awards recognize creators’ work in Ohio and beyond, and support the ongoing growth and work of individual creators. Each award includes $5,000. Learn more about the Ohio Arts Council awards.
MFA graduate Dr. Eric Schlich is a recipient of the Great Lakes College Association Fiction Prize for his book Quantum Convention. Eric generously agreed to an interview about the book and what he is working on now. Eric graduated in 2012 and earned a PhD in fiction from Florida State in 2018. He is now an assistant professor at the University of Memphis. Read the full interview with Eric.
Liz Breazeale, a 2015 graduate of the Creative Writing MFA program specializing in fiction, recently won a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship. The $25,000 grants are offered on a two-year cycle, and are intended to support prose and poetry writers in their writing—including for research, travel, and other opportunities.
Liz generously agreed to a short interview about the fellowship and her current projects. Read the full interview with Liz.
Last fall first-year MFA fiction writer Nick Gardner released his first full-length collection of poetry, So Marvelously Far (Main Street Books, 2019). Nick graciously agreed to an interview about his book, sharing his ideas and insights about his writing process, addiction recovery, and his future creative goals.
Hope Teggart, a 2019 graduate of the Department of English, recently had an article published in the International ResearchScape Journal. Teggart's article, "Frankenstein in Baghdad: A Novel Way of Understanding the Iraq War and Its Aftermath" can be read on the journal's website.
Please join us in congratulating hope!
Further, the journal's call for proposals is now open. See the full CFP.
Dr. Rachel Rickard Rebellino, Elizabeth Loo Zemanski, and Amanda McGuire
Rzicznek were featured on WBGUTV's show The Journal, along three
students who have created children's books as part of a class. The
faculty members and students, along with author/illustrator Lindsay
Moore and staff from both the Jerome Library and the Wood County
District Public Library, discussed Children's Book Week. Learn more and watch the video.
Sharona Muir, a professor in the Creative Writing program, recently had a short story published in About Place Journal. Learn more about the story here.
Cindy Malone, an MA student with a specialization in teaching, recently agreed to a short interview, in which she reflects on her love of teaching, her goals after the MA program, and the importance of self-care and her family to her success. Read the full interview with Cindy!
Students in the ENG 3420 course have an opportunity to spend a semester engaged in experiential learning related to literature for young children. Watch the video, created by Allie Godfrey!
The Department of English 2019 food drive was a success, with a significant amount of canned and boxed goods raised by students and faculty. The food drive was held in support of the Grab-N-Go program, which supports students who are struggling with food insecurity. Learn more about the food drive.
Recent graduate from the MA in Literary and Textual Analysis program Blue Profitt participated in the 3-Minute Thesis Competition. Watch the video of Blue's entry.
Sean Heron, a student in the online MA program with a specialization in English teaching, started a writing center at the high school in West Virginia where he is a teacher. Sean generously agreed to an interview about the writing center. Read the full interview with Sean.
Dr. Rachel Rickard Rebellino is joining the Department of English in Fall 2019 as an Assistant Teaching Professor. She was kind enough to answer a few questions to introduce herself to the department. Please join us in welcoming Rachel to BGSU! Read the full interview with Rachel.
The English Department Community Writing Hub is partnering with the Wood County District Public Library and Grounds for Thought to promote a community writing initiative. Between September 2 and October 12, stop by either location and look for the 6-word memoir containers! Learn more about the project.
For many graduate students, summer is the time to take a break from coursework and catch up on some much needed relaxation. But for Annie Cigic, a spring graduate of the BGSU MFA program in poetry and soon-to-be first-year doctoral student in the Rhetoric and Writing program, summer between two graduate programs meant an opportunity to pursue a whole new kind of education - a writer’s residency. Learn more about Annie's residency.
Earlier this summer we featured the exciting news that our very own MFA students, Julie Webb (poetry) and Neeru Nagarajan (fiction), have been leading free creative writing workshops for community members each Monday evening at Wood County Library in downtown Bowling Green. As the summer workshop series is coming to a close, with the final fiction workshop set for Monday July 8th, we wanted to share thoughts and reflections on the workshop experience from one of the attendees!
Emma Bohney, daughter of third-year doctoral student in Rhetoric and Writing, Brandie Bohney, attended a June workshop with Neeru to further explore her interest in writing fiction. Learn more about her experiences.
In May the MA in Literary and Textual Studies program celebrated the graduation of seven remarkable students. Now members of a successful, wide-ranging alumni family, each one is embarking on the next stage of their careers, and we couldn’t be more proud. In our effort to continue celebrating this achievement, we checked in with some of the recent graduates about what’s next, now that school is out.
Department of English Instructor Anastasiia Kryzhanivska recently presented at the English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) Conference in Hong Kong, which was hosted by The Chinese University of Hong Kong, May 27-28, 2019. The conference attracted approximately 130 professionals in the Language Teaching field from more than 16 countries. The conference theme was “Alternative Approaches to English Language Learning and Teaching (ELLT).” Learn more about the event and Anastasiia's experiences in Hong Kong.
BGSU may be on summer break, but for graduate students Neeru Nagarajan (MFA ‘20, fiction) and Julie Webb (MFA ‘20, poetry) time out of the classroom leaves further time to engage with the Bowling Green community. Through a collaboration with the Wood County Library, Neeru and Julie will be offering creative writing workshops each Monday from June 6 - July 8 rotating between fiction and poetry, and inviting writers of all ages and experience levels to explore their own literary craft. Learn more about the workshops and student hosts.
The Department of English is thrilled to congratulate Senior Secretary Kelly Jennings for receiving the 2019 Classified Staff Outstanding Service Award. Learn more about Kelly's award.
It is with great sadness that the Creative Writing Program and the Department of English announce the passing of Wendell Mayo. Beloved by students and colleagues alike, Wendell taught at BGSU from 1996 until his retirement last year, and his contributions to the Creative Writing program were incalculable. Learn more about Wendell's legacy.
Dr. Neil Baird, Associate Professor in the Department of English, will
assume the role of Director of the University Writing Program beginning
on June 3. Learn more about Dr. Baird.
Amanda McGuire Rzicznek and Elizabeth Zemanski have been named co-recipients of the 2019 College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Instructor/Lecturer Award in recognition of their innovative collaboration, their multiple pedagogical approaches, the community engagement portion of their course ENG 3420: Literature for Young Children. Learn more about the award.
Beginning in fall 2018, a partnership between the Creative Writing program and the Toledo School for the Arts (TSA) has developed. TSA is a public charter school that opened in 1999, and is sponsored by BGSU. Program Director Frank Daniel Rzicznek and several MFA students have visited middle and high school classes at TSA, working with younger students on reading and writing poetry. The goal is to expand the lessons to include fiction as well, and to introduce the Writing in the Schools program to additional schools.
Literacy in the Park will be held at the Perry Field House on Saturday, May 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and this year features children’s book author and illustrator Lindsay Ward. This event is being hosted by Elizabeth Zemanski and Amanda Rziczneck's ENG 3420 classes, The Center for Community and Civic Engagement, Literacy in the Park, the Department of English, and the Arts Village. In addition to the events with Lindsay Ward, the ENG 3420 students will host a showcase of their own children’s book creations.
Students from past semesters of 3420 shared some of their experiences with the Department of English. Learn more about the event and see student work.
Dr. Khani Begum, associate professor in the Department of English, received a Faculty Senate Distinguished Service Award on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. The award is given to a faculty member each year to recognize outstanding service and to highlight the importance of dedicated faculty to the well-being of the University. Read more about Dr. Begum's award and work.
Jackson Bliss will be joining the English Department in Fall 2019 as a member of the Creative Writing faculty. He was kind enough to answer some questions to introduce himself to the department. Learn more about Jackson.
The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program is partnering with the Learning Commons in Jerome Library to provide a Presentation and Pronunciation Lab for international students. Founder of the Presentation and Pronunciation Lab and Instructor in the Department of English, Anastasiia Kryzhanivska, shared some information about the lab and her goals for its ongoing development. Learn more about the lab.
The Department of English is thrilled to announce that Dr. Jolie Sheffer, Associate Professor, English and American Culture Studies and
Director, Institute for the Study of Culture and Society (ICS), is a 2019 recipient of the David Hoch Memorial Award for Service in Excellence. Learn more about Dr. Sheffer's work.
Dr. Nickoson, Dr. Julia M. Matuga (Vice Provost, Institutional Effectiveness), and Dr. Jessica M. Turos (Associate Director, Academic Assessment) presented their work at the Reinvention Collaborative conference. Their poster and paper, "Integrated and Intentional Institutional Infrastructures to Support the Assessment of Undergraduate Writing: How Data Fuel This Process" can be viewed on the RC20/20 website. Learn more about Dr. Nickoson's collaborative work.
ESOL faculty from the Department of English presented at TESOL 2019 International Convention and English Language Expo in Atlanta, Georgia. Learn more about the event and our faculty members' presentations.
Amanda Rzicznek and Elizabeth Zemanski have been working with staff at the Jerome Library and with children's illustrator Lindsay Ward. They, along with Lindsay Ward and two students were featured on WBGU TV. Watch the full interview here.
On Friday, March 29, 2019 at 10:30 a.m., a group of faculty and students will present in the "Threshold Concepts and College Writing Instruction" Faculty Spotlight event. Please join us in East Hall 206. Learn more about the presentations.
Each year, MFA students specializing in poetry and fiction submit their work for consideration under the Devine Fellowship. Learn more about the award and this year's winners.
Dr. Stephannie Gearhart was named the 2018-19 Distinguished Faculty for the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Gearhart is an Associate Professor in the Department of English, and the Director of the Literature Program.
On Wednesday, March 13 at 4 p.m. in 206 Bowen-Thompson Student Union, Dr. Gearhart will deliver the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Faculty Lecture. Learn more about the lecture.
Join us for a Faculty Spotlight presentation. Blind Rage, Blind Copies and Blind Dates: A Cross-Linguistic Analysis of Ableist Collocations will be held on March 8, 2019. Learn more about the March Faculty Spotlight event.
We invite you to join our ENG 3420 students in celebrating Children’s Literature and its role in cultivating and strengthening literacy, life-long love of learning and reading, and creativity in our communities. Learn more about the Monday, March 11 events.
Five members of the ESOL faculty will be speaking at the TESOL conference, which will be held from March 12-15 in Atlanta, GA. Learn more about the faculty members' presentations.
Students in Dr. Cynthia Mahaffey's 1120 sections have recently donated
150 pounds of food to the Brown Bag Food Project of Wood County. Learn more about Cynthia's class donations and projects.
Sarah Blake, an undergraduate student double majoring in English and forensic chemistry, studied in New Zealand during winter session.
Are you a graduate student working on a thesis or dissertation project? Consider entering the three-minute thesis competition! The competition challenges graduate students to explain their research to a non-expert audience in three minutes—and cash prizes are available. Learn more about the event and register for a chance to compete.
Kathryn Dobbs has received the 2018 Donna Nelson-Beene Award. She is pictured in the center; to her left is Dr. Donna Nelson-Beene and to her right is her instructor, Dr. Ethan Jordan. The Donna Nelson-Beene Excellence in Research Writing Award is presented in recognition of the best research essay written by a student who has taken GSW 1120: Academic Writing.
Congratulations to Kathryn for being this year's winner!
The English department welcomed author and illustrator Lindsay Ward to campus on Wednesday, October 10, 2018. Lindsay presented her work and her processes for writing and illustrating children's picture books. Students, faculty, staff, and community members had the opportunity to talk with Lindsay at the author meet and greet, and signed books were available for purchase. The event was hosted by Elizabeth Zemanski and Amanda Rzicznek's ENG 3240 classes, the English Department, University Libraries, and the Arts Village.
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove was the 2018 Edwin H. Simmons Creative Minds Series speaker. She presented a public talk on September 20, 2018, and had two Q&A students with English department students during the day. Rita Dove, recipient of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in poetry and former U.S. Poet Laureate, is the author of nine books of poetry, including the tour de force Sonata Mulattica, a poetic treatise on the life of 19th century violinist George Bridgetower, and most recently, Collected Poems 1974-2004 (2017 NAACP Image Award). Read more about Rita Dove's visit.
Amanda McGuire Rzicznek, Elizabeth Loo Zemanski, & their English 3420 class toured the Mazza Museum in Findlay, Ohio. Their tour inspired new ways of thinking about how to create their capstone project: to write & illustrate their own original picture books. Please join Amanda & Loo for their students’ Picture Book Showcase on Thursday, April 26 from 5:30-7:00pm in the Jerome Library’s CRC! Read more about their trip.
Dr. Lee Nickoson, Director of General Studies Writing and Rhetoric and Writing faculty member, received the Faculty Mentor Recognition Award. The award recognizes a faculty member for outstanding professional support of his/her colleagues and focuses upon the importance of faculty efforts toward the development of teaching, research, and service initiatives among colleagues. Congratulations Dr. Nickoson! Read more about Dr. Nickoson's work and the Faculty Mentor Recognition Award.
The English Department is pleased to share this year's scholarship winners. Congratulations to each of the recipients! See the list of winners.
According to the Wall Street Journal’s “Hunting for Soft Skills, Companies Scoop up English Majors,” English majors go on to success in many different fields including publishing, advertising, public relations, teaching, the public sector and marketing. A degree in English can also prepare you for graduate study in law, business, and other fields. Read More at the Wall Street Journal
Dr. Sue Carter Wood, Rhetoric/Writing faculty member and Director of the Rhetoric and Writing Doctoral program was honored as the recipient of the President’s Award for Collaborative Research and Creative Work. Read more about Dr. Carter Wood's award and work.
Nearly 180 works and papers of Wendell Mayo's have been catalogued in the Center for Archival Collections at the Jerome Library. Read more about the collection.