The Scroll

Introducing Sammani Perera, Our New Adjunct Instructor of English 

Professor Sammani Perera, a Sri Lankan, first discovered her interest in teaching when she got her master’s degree in Creative Writing – Fiction at Miami University, Ohio. “During my MA career, while working as a teaching assistant, I realized my passion for teaching,” she said. “After graduation, I continued to teach at Miami. It is this same passion that brought me to Elon.”

When Dr. Perera joined the Elon community, she first taught ENG 110. Now, she is teaching a section of ENG 255 titled “Postcolonial Identities in Literature” along with yet another ENG 110 section. Her ENG 255 course, which focuses on literature from Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, explores the identity of postcolonial nations and how colonialism leaves lasting impacts. 

And when asked how her time at Elon has been thus far, she responded first with one word: “Impressive.” This is due to how her students committed themselves to staying safe in the pandemic and maintained a similar responsibility with their coursework.

Her favorite aspect of teaching at Elon is small group Zoom meetings because “It gives me and my students an opportunity to get to know each other better while actually seeing each other without masks.” These meetings are also the most optimal for Dr. Perera to give students personalized feedback.
(more…)

Posted in Faculty Profiles | Comments Off on Introducing Sammani Perera, Our New Adjunct Instructor of English 

Introducing Dr. Dinidu Karunanayake, Assistant Professor of English

Dr. Dinidu Karunanayake brings something entirely new to the Elon English Department, and for that, we are grateful. Professor Karunanayake is of Sri Lanken descent and attended Miami University in Ohio for his graduate study where he got his Ph.D. in English Literature.

Karunanayake is a postcolonialist and Asian Americanist and uses this interest to drive his research. “I study and teach Anglophone postcolonial, global, and ethnic American literature and culture with a specific emphasis on memory and human rights,” he said. His research interests also include a geographic focus on South Asia and Sri Lanka.

The lens of popular culture is what filters Dr. Karunanayake’s research. According to him, because of popular culture’s pedagogical and discursive nature, it both influences and is influenced by socio-political events of that time. 

“Therefore, popular culture offers us critical windows to history as well as contemporary times,” Karunanayake said. “They archive history. But at the same time, as I investigate with my students, such archives are flawed and incomplete. As informed readers, we must approach the past with a critical perspective. Literature and cinema offer us that perspective.”

Teaching was an immediate interest of Dr. Karunanayake’s following graduate school as a way to further his research interests. “Teaching is a learning process and I learn with the students,” Karunanayake said. He spent a year teaching as an assistant professor of English at Centre College in Kentucky before joining the Elon English Community. What drew Dr. Karunanayake to Elon was “its investments in interdisciplinary and global education and my passion for teaching.”
(more…)

Posted in Faculty Profiles | Comments Off on Introducing Dr. Dinidu Karunanayake, Assistant Professor of English

Welcoming Dr. Travis Maynard, Our New PWR Professor

PWR Faculty Profile: Dr. Travis Maynard

New to campus this year, Dr. Travis Maynard is a PWR professor bringing much to our English Department. Dr. Maynard hails from a small town in Kentucky but spent the past eight years at Florida State University getting his Masters and Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition. Being at Florida State was more than just getting his degrees, however, as Dr. Maynard also received hands-on experience with students. “While getting my degrees, I gained eight years of teaching experience in both First-Year classes and the Editing, Writing, and Media major program,” he said.

Now, Dr. Maynard is getting the opportunity to apply all that he has learned and observed in his eight years of study at FSU to our PWR program in the English department, with an emphasis on alumni studies. During his time at FSU, Dr. Maynard focused on Editing, Writing, and Media major alumni and examined “their professional trajectories following graduation, their current writing practices and processes, and their perceptions of how the major prepared them for their lives after graduation.” Dr. Maynard’s study found that 94% of their alumni found employment following graduation and 70% of those alumni write for a minimum of 10 hours per week at their jobs; this demonstrates the usefulness of their education in securing employment.
(more…)

Posted in Faculty Profiles | Comments Off on Welcoming Dr. Travis Maynard, Our New PWR Professor

Exciting English Students at Elon

This week, I spoke with Elon Senior Olivia Jacquier, who is the current President of Sigma Tau Delta. Sigma Tau Delta (STD) is the English Honor Society for students at four year colleges and universities who are within the top 30% of their class and have a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Olivia is an English major with a concentration in Teaching Licensure from Connecticut, who was looking to get more involved on campus and make new friends.

“I basically eat, sleep, and breathe English. Being the STD President, working at the writing center, and my major take up all of my time, but I love it,” Olivia laughs.

Olivia was elected as the President of Sigma Tau Delta by her STD peers. Through her position, she has been able to plan fun on-campus events, such as the Halloween Book & Costume Party, the STD induction dinner, and work alongside her friends and amazing advisor. Being the President of STD has also opened up many professional opportunities for Olivia. She plans to attend a conference with her fellow STD officers in Las Vegas this year.

“Being a part of STD does give you so many opportunities, both professional and personal, which is really nice. There are not that many opportunities where you get to go to a conference in Las Vegas for $100 to network,” says Olivia.

(more…)

Posted in Student Profiles, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Exciting English Students at Elon

Faculty Friday: Professor Scott Proudfit

This week I sat down with English and Drama Studies Professor Scott Proudfit (pictured left) who recently was recognized with the Elon College Excellence in Teaching award. We discussed his award, his nine years of experience teaching at Elon, and finally his goals for the future. Professor Proudfit’s students describe him as the “Best person on the planet,” and he says that he feels “flattered” to be recognized by both the University and his students.

Professor Proudfit is passionate about creating courses that reflect life experiences. He has designed and taught many classes at Elon like “The Graphic Novel” and “The AIDS play.”

“I am very privileged to be able to design classes and majors that I am truly passionate about because I know not everyone gets that opportunity.”

I asked him about his impression of Elon students over the years.

“Elon students are normally pretty stressed, but they are also looking for big answers to big questions about things like gender, sexuality, and race and my classes are the places for them to really discuss these difficult topics with other people.”

Professor Proudfit describes his biggest teaching challenge as making his students comfortable without the protection of electronics. In his classes, there are no phones and no computers; just a group of people discussing important topics and big ideas. An uncommon way of teaching, but it seems to be working for Professor Proudfit.
(more…)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Faculty Friday: Professor Scott Proudfit

Faculty Friday: Professor Paula Patch

Professor Paula Patch is the College Writing/English 110 program coordinator, a senior lecturer in the English major and ENG 110 program and the newly elected Vice President of the Council of Writing Program Administrators, a national organization composed of writing teachers and writing program administrators. Additionally, Professor Patch recently co-authored an article based on the takeaways from teaching high school students: “What College Faculty Can Learn From Teaching High School Students,” with Professor Greg Hlavaty.

 

Professor Patch and Professor Hlavaty have been teaching Alamance County high school juniors for eight consecutive years for the College Writing for High School Juniors program, which is co-administered by the Elon University English Department and Collegiate Start @ Elon in the Office of Education Outreach in the Elon University School of Education.“We find that we really love teaching the class because there is something about the energy that high school students bring to a classroom that college students either hide or put elsewhere,” Professor Patch said, “You’re just getting like the real, raw person in a high school class.”

 

The first part of the class focuses on college essays and other materials for college admissions and the second half on college writing preparation, such as rhetorical skills, process skills and argumentation skills. “We want to give them a preview and some preliminary work into developing those rhetorical skills, process skills and argumentation skills that we know everybody can use constant, repeated practice with,” said Professor Patch, “It’s been fun because we’re teaching similar things [as English 110], but with different purposes.”
(more…)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Faculty Friday: Professor Paula Patch

Faculty Friday: Dr. Paula Rosinski

In addition to being a professor in the English Department who teaches Professional Writing and Rhetoric classes, Dr. Paula Rosinski is the Director of Writing Across the University in the Center for Writing Excellence. Dr.  Rosinski explains that the Professional Writing and Rhetoric major is a “traditional rhetorical education, updated for the 21stcentury” and that the WAU program supports the teaching and learning of writing on Elon’s campus.

Dr. Rosinski specializes in multimedia rhetoric and writing technologies. She said that “in the writing technologies class I teach, we examine the biases, affordances, and limitations of different writing software and technologies that are common to professional writers, because they impact everything about the rhetorical situation: the audiences you can reach, the genres you can produce, and how texts are delivered and consumed.

This semester, she is teaching PWR 212, Multimedia/Visual Rhetoric I, in which students revise traditional rhetorical strategies and apply them to produce their own multimedia and visual texts. These two classes go hand-in-hand, because “To be able to produce emerging genres and multimedia and visual texts, you need to have an understanding of the software and hardware. Analyzing isn’t enough. Students should practice how to produce these kinds of texts, too.”

Dr. Rosinski’s role as Director of Writing Across the University involves developing programming to enhance the teaching of writing on campus, for example by offering workshops herself or inviting faculty to present on their own areas of expertise. Dr. Rosinski also coordinates writing pedagogy grants and scholarship grants, meant to support faculty as they teach and study writing, and she also organizes writing groups and writing “boot camps” for faculty and staff, which give them time to focus on their own writing.  “What’s rewarding is that the work I do with faculty directly impacts students,” Dr. Rosinski said, “I hear back from faculty saying not only did they learn to teach writing more effectively, but that their students are learning content better too.”
(more…)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Faculty Friday: Dr. Paula Rosinski

Major Monday: Nicole Galante

Nicole Galante ’19 is an accomplished English major concentrating in literature and PWR and minoring in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Galante is a Provost Scholar and a Betty Gerow Scholarship Award recipient, among other titles.

GalanteSUREpresentation

Nicole Galante ’19 presents her research on young adult power in young adult literature at SURE day 2018.

An Elon College Fellow and Summer Undergraduate Research Experience participant, Galante is also the recipient of the Rawls Endowed Research Grant. She combines her expertise in literature, PWR and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies to conduct research and formulate theories about young adult power, or lack thereof, in the young adult genre. Throughout her two and a half year long research initiative, Galante has read and analyzed 20 contemporary young adult novels.

According to Galante, the inspiration for this research topic stemmed from her discussions with Dr. Cahill, Galante’s professor of Sex, Gender, and Power during the spring of Galante’s freshman year. Dr. Cahill introduced Galante to the idea researching the connection between childhood and oppression. “The idea blew my mind,” said Galante, “I’d always understood that children don’t have the same power as adults, but I’d never thought about it in the context of privilege and oppression.”
(more…)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Major Monday: Nicole Galante

An Interview with Mark Jay Brewin Jr. ’08

Mark Jay Brewin Jr.’s book, “Scrap Iron,” published in 2013, features poems about his childhood home in South Jersey, landscape, science and relationships.

Author and alum Mark Jay Brewin Jr. ’08 visited Elon on Tuesday, Feb. 24 to share his poems with students and faculty at the First Annual Alumni Poetry Reading in 2019. The event took place in Sankey Hall, where Brewin read a combination of original poems that he wrote during his time at Elon and poems from his award-winning book, “Scrap Iron.”

Brewin read a slew of poems pertaining to his childhood home in South Jersey, human relationships and scientific concepts. He says, “I come from a long line of talkers and storytellers, which is exciting because that’s sort of half the battle [of writing].”

At Elon, Brewin majored in both creative writing and photography. Brewin attributes his success as a poet and artist to the complimentary combination of these majors and the self-reflective nature of his education. “The art classes taught me how to write about my poetry and what it meant,” he says, “It all tied together.”

Brewin says, “the faculty were just tremendously giving of their time and really helpful in figuring out what was going to be the best for me.” In particular, Professor Drew Perry helped Brewin to jumpstart his career. Brewin says, “He basically just said to me that ‘no matter what you do, if poetry and writing is what you like, then you have to go to grad school and you have to learn that craft further.’”
(more…)

Posted in English Department Event | Comments Off on An Interview with Mark Jay Brewin Jr. ’08

Major Monday: Hayden McConnell

Hayden McConnell is a junior at Elon, as well as one of the first people to switch to the recently added PWR major. In addition to that, she minors in digital art and multimedia authoring, creates some pretty cool designs, like the new PWR sticker, and has her own stellar blog! This past summer, she stayed at Elon to manage the social media for the PWR Department, and has been taking major-related classes this semester, such as PWR 313 Feminism in Rhetoric and PWR 217 Writing Technologies. Taking time out of her busy week, we chatted about her experiences within the PWR Department over hot cider at Oak House.

 

  • Why did you choose to be an English/now PWR major?

I chose English because I’ve always enjoyed writing and it has never felt like a daunting task to me. I’ve always used it as a way to organize my thoughts and as an outlet for my ideas. When I found out about the PWR major, I thought it would be a perfect balance of both writing and communication to find a job I’d love.

  • Do you know what you would like to do after graduation with your degree in English? If so, please elaborate.
  • (more…)

Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Major Monday: Hayden McConnell