March 3, 2021

Honoring a Master

Privately funded faculty award for English professors recognizes the value of extraordinary teaching.

Donald E. Glover as pictured in the 1971 edition of The Battlefield.

Donald E. Glover as pictured in the 1971 edition of The Battlefield.

In 1971, the average cost of a postage stamp was 8 cents; Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Florida; and Intel released its first microprocessor. In Fredericksburg, Virginia, a Mary Washington English professor made an indelible impression on a member of the Class of 1971.

Fifty years later, that alumna has fully funded a new faculty award to honor the memory of Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English Donald E. Glover. During his tenure, Dr. Glover was a widely respected and beloved member of the faculty. He began teaching at Mary Washington in 1961 and served as department chair from 1970-73. Glover retired in 1998 after 37 years of service; he passed away in August of 2020.

While the donor still wishes to remain anonymous, she first alerted the University in 2018 of her intentions as defined in her estate plans. She then requested that Glover be informed so he would know how important his teaching had been to her during those formative years at Mary Washington.

Dr. Gary Richards, professor and chair of the Department of English and Linguistics, met with Glover in 2018 to share news of this faculty award, as well as the future creation of a named endowed scholarship.

In 2018, Dr. Gary Richards (left) met Dr. Donald E. Glover (right) and shared news of two special gifts from a former English student.

In 2018, Dr. Gary Richards (left) met Dr. Donald E. Glover (right) and shared news of two special gifts from a former English student.

“Don was long retired when I became Chair,” says Richards, “but this award brought me in contact with him and his lovely wife, Alice. Even though he was already struggling with his health then, I got a glimpse of the professor who made such an impact on our donor. I am delighted that Don Glover is being honored in this way.”

The donor recalls that Glover was light on lectures, yet strategically led his students to understand and appreciate works of literature by asking questions to stimulate critical thinking and discussion. She says students learned for themselves as they came to realize the full meaning and importance of what they had read. She decided to go ahead and fund this award now in the hope that English faculty can follow in Glover’s footsteps, while having a positive and lasting impact on students’ lives.

Richards says the award’s focus on teaching acknowledges Glover’s long and distinguished career at Mary Washington. “This award documents the life-impacting teaching that professors in our department have been doing for decades,” says Richards. “It also documents the generosity of this alumna, who so carefully looked backwards to her experiences at UMW and forward to other students’ experiences.”

While the department is fine-tuning details for the application and evaluation process, Richards stresses the value of this new faculty award for an outstanding professor of English. “This is in perfect keeping with UMW’s focus on undergraduate teaching and stands to buoy faculty who are exerting such winning energies in this arena,” he says. “And, as I hope we all know, affirmed and energized professors carry that excitement into the classroom, which in turn energizes students.”

Details for applying for the new Donald E. Glover Faculty Award will be available soon.

For information about establishing estate gifts or funding endowed awards and scholarships, contact the Office of Advancement at advance@umw.edu or 540-846-0470. UMW honors requests for anonymity.

Rafferty To Give Virtual Reading to Michigan Writers’ Series

Associate Professor of English Colin Rafferty

Associate Professor of English Colin Rafferty

Assistant Professor of English Colin Rafferty will give a virtual nonfiction reading tonight at 7:30 p.m. on Zoom to the Grand Valley State University’s Writers Series in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Those who wish to attend can contact the GVSU Department of Writing for the Zoom link. Read more.

 

Rafferty Publishes Two Essays from Forthcoming Book in The Rumpus

Associate Professor of English Colin Rafferty

Associate Professor of English Colin Rafferty recently had two excerpts from his forthcoming book “Execute the Office: Essays with Presidents” appeared on The Rumpus. The first, “Preamble,” is the first essay of the book, while the second, “Dissolve To,” considers the Reagan presidency through the lenses of film scripts and John Wayne movies.

Lee Leads a Teach-In at Linguistics Conference

Associate Professor of Linguistics Janie Lee

Associate Professor of Linguistics Janie Lee

Associate Professor of Linguistics Janie Lee led a teach-in in the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. The teach-in was part of the workshop “Room at the Table: Locating Asian Identity in Linguistics and the LSA.” In it, Lee gave a short presentation on teaching Asian American linguistics and facilitated an informal discussion. The conference was held virtually from January 7 through January 10, 2021.

Barrenchea Presents on Novelist Leslie Marmon Silko at MLA

Professor of English Antonio Barrenechea

Professor of English Antonio Barrenechea

Professor of English Antonio Barrenechea recently contributed to “Poetics of Persistence in Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead: Perspectives on the Thirtieth Anniversary,” a special session of the virtual Modern Language Association conference in January 2021. The MLA is the flagship organization for literary studies in the United States.

Rafferty Publishes Essay Collection on the Presidents

Execute the Office: Essays with Presidents book coverAssociate Professor of English Colin Rafferty’s forthcoming essay collection, Execute the Office: Essays with Presidents, will be released by Baobab Press in Reno, Nevada.

Execute the Office uses lyric prose and formal invention to explore the humanity, or lack thereof, in each of the forty-five American presidents. Whether these powerful individuals have been remembered for infamous deeds or heroism, or they have been forgotten as placeholders in the annals of America, too often presidents are commemorated by the sterility of simple fact. Execute the Office builds upon factual accuracy with essays that are equally invested in lyrical writing and experimental forms. To balance these factions, Execute the Office uses constraint, metaphor, allusion, and epiphany to explore not just the facts and artifacts of history, but describe the connections between those facts and human nature in thought-provoking and inventive ways. These essays discuss the modes in which we remember. Through screenplays, death songs, footnotes, infinite rooms, evacuation routes, and nomenclatures, to name a few examples, these diverse essays engage with history from fresh perspectives. Execute the Office contains histories in and of unusual objects. While unfamiliar at first, they soon become distinct, unforgettable, profound, human.

National Day on Write and Why I Write

October 20th is National Day On Writing. Around UMW and all over the globe people will share their love for writing through the #WhyIWrite campaign sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English. Join others on Simpson’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and tell us why you write. You can also go to add your thoughts and comments to Simpson’s Call to Contribute page and document your experiences during COVID-19. https://libraries.umw.edu/call-to-contribute-submission-form/
#WhyIWrite #NDoW109

Sponsored by UMW Libraries, UMW English and Linguistics, UMW Honors Council and the UMW Creative Writing Club.

Foss Publishes Book Chapter in Routledge Companion to Literature and Disability

Cover of The Routledge Companion to Literature and Disability

Cover of The Routledge Companion to Literature and Disability

Professor of English Chris Foss has published a book chapter entitled “‘Here There Be Monsters’: Mapping Novel Representations of the Relationship between Disability and Monstrosity in Recent Graphic Narratives and Comic Books” in The Routledge Companion to Literature and Disability, a significant new collection of essays edited by Alice Hall that according to the press “brings together some of the most influential and important contemporary perspectives in this growing field” of disability studies. Notable names among the contributors include Elizabeth Donaldson, Chris Gabbard, Leon Hilton, Petra Kuppers, David Mitchell, Michael Northen, Sami Schalk, and Jess Waggoner.

Foss’s chapter argues that three recent comics texts each present an instructive range of ambiguous, disabling, but above all enabling possibilities where the nexus of disability and monstrosity is concerned: the highly praised comics collections Monstress [Volumes 1 and 2] by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (2016-17), the much ballyhooed debut graphic novel My Favorite Thing is Monsters [Book One] by Emil Ferris (2017), and the unheralded four-page Monster Girl comic by Helene Fischer (2017). These texts offer an illuminating starting point for the further exploration of the metaphorical assumptions about disability and monstrosity with which they engage, all the while reaffirming the crucial role of the genre’s own hybridity in foregrounding such considerations. That is, the location of the monstrous body in this particular textual format offers a range of diverse possibilities for both reinforcing and exploding the normative borders that have been constructed to define what is monstrous as dangerous/deformed/diseased. What is more, these texts encourage an intersectional approach to how multiple other facets of the monstrous (such as class-based/socioeconomic, ethnic/racial, and gendered/sexual aspects) overlap with disabled monstrosity and together blur, cross, deconstruct, and/or erase numerous lines along their various borders around the human.

Barrenechea Publishes Essay on Cinematic Dracula

Professor of English Antonio Barrenechea

Professor of English Antonio Barrenechea

Antonio Barrenechea, Professor of English, recently published “Dracula as Inter-American Film Icon: Universal Pictures and Cinematográfica ABSA” in Review of International American Studies, the flagship journal of the International American Studies Association: https://www.journals.us.edu.pl/index.php/RIAS/article/view/8908/7558