Category Archives: Faculty Profiles

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.

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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.

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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.”

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Faculty Spotlight: Professor Heather Lindenman

Our Faculty Spotlight for the month of October is shining on Professor Heather Lindenman. She is an Assistant Professor in the English department and teaches classes that span from ENG 110 to a Teaching and Learning Apprenticeship. If you haven’t seen her on campus for the last few months, it’s because she’s been on maternity leave spending time with her newborn baby boy! That being said, Professor Lindenman is keeping busy and has accomplished quite a lot in the past year, with three published articles and another one set to come out in November. I managed to catch up with her during a brief visit to campus and got the scoop on what she’s been up to lately.

Last spring you said you were doing research regarding the outcomes of your community-engaged writing classes and the consequences of a community writing partnership that links college and high school students. Are you still working on that or have you started something new?

I’m still working on them! Much of my research is based on different types of community-engaged classes and what students take away from them. I just wrapped up studies on a high school-college partnership where college students went to high schools and worked with students to use writing for social change. I’m also conducting research on Elon student’s non-academic writing including what students do outside of school and what they learn from that. A third project I’m working on concerns Elon alumni and explores what types of writing they do, which turns out to include a lot of emailing. I’ve also found a skill that they feel is really important is the ability to write things concisely and quickly. Overall, we’re hoping to learn how to better writing instruction here based on what alumni are actually doing in their careers.

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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Janet Warman

For our next faculty spotlight, we’re giving a shoutout to Dr. Janet Warman. You may know her from her super popular Mental Illness in Literature course, one of her personal favorites. She has been a teacher since 1977 (awesome), and has been here at Elon for 28 years.

In her time working with the Elon community, Dr. Warman has grown to love the increasing diversity on our campus, and the interactions between departments is energizing for her. In addition to Mental Illness in Literature, she enjoys teaching Poetry as a genre the most. Her love for poetry is the subject of her current research- Dr. Warman is currently on sabbatical to research Alzheimer’s for a new collection.

When she is not on campus, Dr. Warman works with the Modern Language Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and the North Carolina Poetry Society. Additionally- even though we aren’t sure where she finds the time- Dr. Warman is a member of a book club that is made up of current and retired Elon faculty.

Dr. Warman leaves us for sabbatical with the following advice “Never stop believing in the power of words in your personal and professional life”. Thanks Dr. Warman, we believe in you too!

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Scott Proudfit Releases Third Book on Collective Creation in Theatre


Scott Proudfit, Assistant Professor of English at Elon University, released a new book in October, 2016. Women, Collective Creation, and Devised Performance was co-edited by Proudfit and Kathryn Madeiros Syssoyeva of Dixie State University. In addition to editing this book, Proudfit also authored the introduction and the chapter “From Neva Boyd to Viola Spolin: How Social Group Work in 1920s’ Settlement Houses Defined Collective Creation in 1960s’ Theatres.”

Collective creation – a central focus of the book – is the creation of theatre through the collaboration between members of the group. Devised theatre occurs when theatre makers originate a performance without a script. “Women, Collective Creation, and Devised Performance” argues that collective creation is crucial to the development of the modern theatre. This book highlights the importance of women in theatre and asserts that they must be fully credited with developing the practices of collective creation since the early 20th century.


Proudfit’s book consists of twenty-essays written by a group of international scholars. This particular volume continues the work of Proudfit’s other books, also published by Plagrave Macmillan. Proudfit’s previous books, A History of Collective Creation and Collective Creation in Contemporary Performance and A History of Collective Creation, also discuss the importance of collective creation in theatre. Many believed that collective creation was a movement that occurred exclusively during the 1960s. However, according to Proudfit and Syssoyeva, collective creation is an ongoing movement that emerged from Europe and North America around 1900 and continues to present day.


Mary Sheehan, 17', is a Creative Writing and Literature major at Elon University.

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Professor Patch: Outstanding Asset to Elon University’s Department of English

By Mary Sheehan

Professor Paula Patch was recently awarded the Excellence in Service award by the College of Arts and Sciences for her overall service to Elon University’s English department and Core Curriculum. Her dominant service role is is serving as the College Writing Coordinator, therefore overseeing more than 70 sections of English 110: Writing, Argument, and Inquiry, and up to four sections of English 100 Supplementary Writing Workshops. According to Professor Patch, this oversight includes “developing, assessing, and refining the course goals; helping hire and orient faculty to teach ENG 110; offering a variety of workshops and other opportunities for the 25 English faculty who teach ENG 110 to learn and talk about teaching writing; and making the classes run in general.” Professor Patch is also heavily involved with the Leadership Advisory Board as well as the Class of 2018 Leadership Fellows.

Secondly, Professor Patch has also been recognized for her service outside of Elon University. In July of 2016, Professor Patch was appointed to the Executive Board of the Council of Writing Program Administrators. As a member of the Executive Board, Patch assists in making decisions about all aspects of the organization. Professor Patch was appointed to the Council’s Diversity committee shortly thereafter due to her status as a non-tenure track faculty member, as this is typically a marginalized group in academia. Professor Patch is also the co-chair of the Tenure-Free Caucus of the Council of Writing Program Administrators. This group organizes panels, conferences, social activities, and outreach specifically for untenured faculty members.


Mary Sheehan, 17', is a Creative Writing and Literature major at Elon University.

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A Face in the Water’s Reflection: On Dr. Janet Warman and “Lake Diving”

By Tim Meltondbadef112a80437063707b96de617762

At The Scroll, we love talking about our students and their various achievements; however, it is also important for us to acknowledge our faculty for their hard work! Today, we’d like to recognize Professor of English and Education Dr. Janet Warman, whose poetry chapbook entitled “Lake Diving” was published by Finishing Line Press earlier this fall.

Although the title of the collection might imply poetry centered on nature, Dr. Warman’s writing actually focuses heavily on people, and the circumstances that shape their interactions with others and their own sense of identity. With titles like “Our Father’s War,” “Grandfather’s Death,” “Her Grief,” and “Distance,” it is clear that Dr. Warman examines in her collection a number of strong and complicated emotions, yet her simplicity of style and precision of language makes her work easy to read and enjoy.

“The poems in this collection were inspired by two different things: relationships with family and others that I was trying to figure out on a deeper level and experiences of being a woman in our culture,” writes Dr. Warman. “Readers have told me that my poems have caused them to think about their own experiences in a new way, and I find that sort of comment validating for what I am trying to do with my writing.”

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