WSU English Department Newsletter



Dear Friends,

I’m writing this year with hopes that you can share with us, and that we can share with you, something good about these times. Unfortunately, I need to say that in my 32 years in the department, I’ve never seen anything like the anxiety that has beset the college and the University as we face the realities of ever-shrinking state support.

When I wrote last fall and then again in the spring, I suggested that the days of across-the-board cuts were over, and, by extension, primarily vertical cuts would take over. Now, with additional budget cuts mandated by the State, the possibility of horizontal cuts has returned. Given how debilitating that kind of cutting can be, we’ll more than likely see a combination of the two approaches. So, it will again be up to us to make our best effort to portect our B.A. degrees in English and digital technology and culture and our M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in literature and rhetoric and composition.

In the past, the large service obligations the University has placed on us to teach English 101, Introductory Writing, and English 402, Technical and Professional Writing, have made it more possible to keep full-time faculty teaching within the major and graduate programs. But, with what will be inevitable cuts and reductions in temporary instructional faculty to follow, we will see many of our tenure-track faculty teaching lower-division courses, at 100—and 200—levels, and a necessary trimming of our major and graduate offerings. I suggest keeping eyes and ears open for another kind of reality, and this brings me to what I think you’ll agree is nothing but good.

This good comes from two sources: my first-time stint as coordinator of our team-taught English 302—Introduction to English Studies, and my ongoing role as chair and “welcomer” to new graduate students. From the first source, as I sit in class listening to our faculty lecturers talk about the ideas of English studies that most turn them on, I can’t help but share the thrill our incipient English majors feel as they begin to explore their own ideas and find their own ways in studying literature, rhetoric, writing, and linguistics. These ideas may be inchoate, naïve, even wrong-headed, but they are all full of energy and enthusiasm, as these students look to become better. 

The same goes for our new graduate students, who, in the welcoming chats I have had with them, are so unrestrainedly excited about the ideas that are opening up to them.  Absolutely, without a doubt, our new graduate students are thrilled to be here, embarking on this new journey. This youthful enthusiasm, energy, and excitement simply wrap me up and make me even more determined to face the wolf at our door.

In doing that, I must turn to you for continued support. As I sincerely thank you for your past support, I also ask for your present and future support. With your help, we can meet the wolf at our door and continue to keep the humanities and liberal arts at the heart of universities like ours.

We look forward to hearing from you and wish you the best for strong, productive times to come.

George E. Kennedy
Professor and Chair


From the Editor

Dear Readers,

It is with great pleasure that we release our fifth edition of Impact! While Impact covers newsworthy items of interest to the WSU English Department students, alumni, and faculty, it is meant to be more than that. We hope to develop partnerships with people around the country and around the world who, like us, are striving to positively impact their environments and communities.

For helping me put this issue together, a special thanks to: Erin Jepsen, Kristin Arola, Rose Gubele, Michael Hanly, Patty Ericsson, Ashina Sipiora, Simmone Quesnell, Kelly Nemmers, Sam Jones, Phyllis Shier, Donna Evans, Todd Butler, Peter Chilson and Chris Arigo.

Send corrections and contributions for the next issue of Impact to:

Debbie Lee
Research and Development


Washington State University
English Department Newsletter
Volume 3, Number 1,
Fall 2010