June 26, 2019

Blevins Publishes Article on Augmented Reality

Brenta Blevins, Assistant Professor of English, has had her article “Teaching Digital Literacy Composing Concepts: Focusing on the Layers of Augmented Reality in an Era of Changing Technology” published in the December 2018 Computers and Composition journal. In an issue focusing on wearable technologies, ubiquitous computing, and immersive experiences, Blevins’s article addresses the challenges that instructors face in teaching composing using current digital tools, while also supporting students’ future digital literacy acquisition in technologies that do not yet exist.

To address these pedagogical concerns, Blevins’s article explores educational composing in Augmented Reality (AR), a medium in which a digital “layer” is combined with the user’s surroundings. She elaborates the benefits and challenges of a scaffolded, analysis-oriented pedagogy focused on the layer for preparing students to compose in AR for classwork and other purposes. Blevins contends that the concept of the layer extends beyond the visual layers of AR to a composing strategy applicable across media. This approach thus supports composers developing critical media awareness and adaptability for multiple media in current and future contexts. Given our rapidly changing software and hardware technologies, teaching theoretical composing concepts, such as the “layer,” prepares students to become communicators capable of composing in multiple media, those present and those yet to emerge.

Barrenechea Presents at Literature/Film Association Conference

Antonio Barrenechea, Associate Professor of English, recently presented “A Brazilian Cinema of Cruelty: The ‘Coffin Joe’ Trilogy (1964-2008)” at the annual conference of the Literature/Film Association in New Orleans.

Rao Receives National Communication Service Award

Anand Rao, professor of communication, was awarded the 2018 Hobgood Service Award at the annual conference of the National Communication Association in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was recognized for “dedication to excellence, commitment to the profession, concern for others, appreciation of diversity, and vision of what could be.”  As past chair of the Communication Centers Division for NCA, he helped run the annual business meeting. In addition, he also served on a discussion panel titled “Communication at Play: Creating Strategic Partnerships between the Basic Course and First Year Experiences.” There he talked about UMW’s QEP/FSEM, how it serves as a basic communication course for new students, and how the Speaking Center helps to support the FSEM.

McAllister Gives Talk on Speaking Intensive Pedagogy

Marie E. McAllister, professor of English and 2016-18 Waple Professor, presented a paper titled “Performance and Improvisation: Speaking Assignments in the 18th-Century Classroom” at the annual conference of the East-Central American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Dan Dervin Featured in Free Lance-Star

Dan Dervin, professor emeritus of English, was featured in an author’s spotlight in The Free Lance-Star.


Dan Dervin Publishes ‘Digital Child’

Daniel Dervin, professor emeritus of English, recently published his latest book, “The Digital Child,” an examination of childhood development in an advancing technological era.

Dervin’s book illustrates his concern of how contemporary childhood has moved away from the focus of inwardness, a psychological concept for the awareness of one’s self as resulting from the world, and how those reflections are internalized. Dervin believes inwardness permits the processing of an individuals’ thoughts, experiences and emotions.

In his text, Dervin traces the evolution of how childhood is perceived in the West and how inwardness has been defined throughout history. Six transformational stages of childhood are identified in his study: tribal, pedagogical, religious, humanist, rational, citizen and the newest stage, the digital child. By the referencing of myths, literary texts, cultural histories, media reports, the visual arts as well as traditions of parenting, pediatrics and pedagogy, Dervin examines each stage preceding the digital child stage.

With biological, cultural and psychological approaches to his investigation, Dervin studies the past stages of humanity in order to unveil the past—and future—of humanity.

Fallon Presents Research on Cushitic in the Netherlands

Associate Professor of Linguistics Paul D. Fallon

Associate Professor of Linguistics Paul D. Fallon

Paul D. Fallon, Associate Professor of Linguistics, presented the paper, “A ‘Vector Analysis’ of Bender’s Proto-Cushitic” at the 45th annual meeting of the North American Conference on Afroasiatic Linguistics (NACAL), held at the University of Leiden, in the Netherlands, on June 11, 2017. He gave an assessment of ten of the late M. Lionel Bender’s reconstructed roots of Proto-Cushitic, an ancient, reconstructed language of the Horn of Africa.

Fallon Presents at Linguistics Conference

Associate Professor of Linguistics Paul D. Fallon

Associate Professor of Linguistics Paul D. Fallon

Associate Professor of Linguistics Paul D. Fallon presented the paper “Lexical Innovation in Cushitic: Fictitious Family or Fragile Unity?” at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), Austin, TX, on Jan. 6, 2017. Using the strict criteria of Orel & Stolbova applied to Christopher Ehret’s reconstruction of Proto-Cushitic, he found that shared lexical innovation alone cannot be used as a diagnostic of Cushitic languages.

Elizabeth Johnson-Young Wins National Communication Association Award

Elizabeth Johnson-Young, assistant professor of communication, was recently awarded the prize for the Top Student Paper in the Health Communication Division of the National Communication Association. The paper, “Predicting Intentions to Breastfeed for Three Months, Six Months, and One Year Using the Theory of Planned Behavior and Body Satisfaction,” was written and submitted while completing her doctoral studies in the spring of 2015 and was presented at the organization’s national conference in Las Vegas in November.


Johnson-Young’s research surveyed pregnant women regarding their intentions to breastfeed their babies for three recommended periods of time. Findings demonstrated the strength of the theory of planned behavior constructs in predicting these intentions, as well as a possible boomerang effect of perceived subjective norms, which might also be conceptualized as perceived social pressure. Including body satisfaction prior to and during pregnancy also appeared to be a significant moderator of these intentions, providing a new way to understand both theoretical influences and practical considerations for this specific population in making health decisions.

Scanlon Presents on Women Modernist Poets

Mara Scanlon, professor of English, presented a paper entitled “Charlotte Mew, H.D., and the Magdalen: ‘what she did everyone knows'” at the H.D. and Feminist Poetics Conference in Bethlehem, PA, H.D.’s birthplace.

The paper examined the Magdalen figures in two poems, not only analyzing the representations of their sexual bodies and the visions they enable for male prophets, but also situating the publications in their wartime contexts, in which the crucified Christ becomes a figure for wounded or sacrificial soldiers.

Accompanying Dr. Scanlon to the conference to further their own research on poet Hilda Doolittle, known as H.D., were three senior English majors: Bailey Meeks, Shannon Birch, and Christina Cox.