Sustaining a Sense of Community — This past weekend, my wife (Nancy) participated in her 40th class reunion at Davidson College. The class of 1977 holds a special place in the history of Davidson College, for it was the first class to include a cohort of women students. As a member of this class, Nancy has long felt a deep-seated bond with the other members of the class of ’77 and especially with the other women who transformed Davidson College into a coeducational institution.
The reunion lasted for three days and concluded with a dinner on Saturday. I joined Nancy for the dinner, and I watched with a tinge of envy the interactions of this group of former classmates. They clearly cared for each other. They asked with sincere interest about what everyone had been up to since they last saw each other. They celebrated as a group the various accomplishments of the members of their class. As an outsider looking in, I could tell that these people shared a genuine sense of community.
Like Nancy, I graduated from a small college in the mid-1970s. My alma mater, Franconia College, was one of a handful of experimental colleges from the 1960s and ’70s, but it closed a few years after I graduated. As a result, there are no regularly scheduled reunions or institutional structures to help former students stay in touch with one another. As a graduate of Franconia College, I have no sense of belonging to a larger extended community of former classmates. I thought about such matters during the dinner on Saturday.
However, before I started feeling too sorry for myself, I realized that I, too, belong to an extended community of colleagues who care for each other, who take a sincere interest in the lives of one another, and who celebrate the successes of everyone in the community. This community is called the English Department. Like the members of the Davidson class of 1977, the members of the English Department value and make an effort to sustain the sense of community that binds us together.
Kudos — As you know, I like to use my Monday Missives to share news about recent accomplishments by members of our department. Here is the latest news:
Bryn Chancellor’s new novel, Sycamore, was selected for O: The Oprah Magazine’s “20 Books of Summer” at #7; it also was chosen for the June Indie Next List and featured in reading recommendation lists in Glamour, Bustle, and the New York Post. She also published an essay, “How to Write Suspense,” in Publisher’s Weekly.
Boyd Davis recently published a chapter titled “Other Interviewing Techniques in Sociolinguistics” in Mallinson, Childs, van Herk, eds., Data Collection in Sociolinguistics, 2nd edn. NY: Routledge, 114-117. https://sociolinguisticdatacollection.com/2017/03/03/welcome/
She also delivered a presentation titled “Combining Corpora and Collaboration at Two Ends of the Spectrum: Enhancing Language and Social Interaction for Nonverbal Youth with Special Needs and for Cognitively Impaired Older Persons” as the Faculty Colloquium, Speech Pathology/Special Education, National Kaohsiung Normal University, May 2017.
Paula Eckard recently learned that her latest book, Thomas Wolfe and Lost Children in Southern Literature, as been nominated for the 2017 Ragan Old North Award presented by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.
Allison Hutchcraft has been awarded a residency from the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, where she will be a resident for the Spring 2018 semester. The Sitka Center, located on the Oregon coast, was founded in 1970 and hosts writers, artists, musicians, and scientists whose work often engages with nature and the environment.
Jen Munroe participated in the Integrated Network for Social Sustainability (INSS) Conference at UNCC (June 5-7); at the conference, Jen lead the graduate student symposium, an all-day event on June 5.
Quirky Quiz Question — From its founding in 1837 until the 1970s, Davidson College admitted only male students (with a few unusual exceptions), but the times have changed. Now Davidson College has its first female president. Does anybody know that name of the woman who currently serves as the president of Davidson College?
Last week’s answer: Tom Reynolds
The Charlotte Research Scholars Program is sponsored by the UNC Charlotte’s Graduate School. Does anybody know the name of the current Dean of the Graduate School?