Welcome to the blog for the Villanova English department! Visit often for updates on department events, guest speakers, faculty and student accomplishments, and reviews and musings from professors and undergraduates alike.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Camille De Ramos: Articles for “The Notebook”

Senior English major and Writing and Rhetoric concentrator Camille De Ramos has written a series of articles for "The Notebook," a website showcasing activities in the Philadelphia schools.  Her article on "Get HYPE Philly!" follows.

"Get HYPE Philly! wins national award for helping families lead healthier lives"

Schools and neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia work to make lasting changes that will lead students and families toward living healthier lives. Get HYPE Philly!, a collective of 10 nonprofits that educates middle and high school students about nutrition, has helped with that effort. Now the two-year-old initiative is being recognized for its work, receiving a Healthy10 Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

“We are so honored to be recognized for this important collective work to improve health outcomes for young people in Philadelphia,” said Yael Lehmann, executive director of the Food Trust, a member of the collective behind the initiative.

“This award really goes to the thousands of young people who are making lasting changes in their schools and neighborhoods that will help them, their friends, and their families live healthier lives,” Lehmann said.

Get HYPE Philly! was among 10 nationwide partnerships that received an award, taking home honors in the “Healthy Education and Workforce” category last month at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The Healthy10 Awards acknowledged collaborations between local businesses and nontraditional partners working toward community wellness and health-focused initiatives.

Get HYPE Philly!, which was originally based on the Food Trust’s HYPE Program, is now led by the Food Trust and funded by an IMPACT grant from the pharmaceutical company GSK. The initiative has trained about 1,500 youth leaders and worked with 140 community partnerships. Get HYPE (Healthy You, Positive Energy) has deployed its members to various elementary and high schools such as Taggert and Comly Elementary Schools and Central and Masterman High Schools to teach students about better nutrition choices, physical fitness, urban agriculture, civic involvement, work readiness, and positive lifestyles.

Aunnalea Grove, program manager for Get HYPE Philly!, said that she can’t wait to share the award with the students who have taken this learning experience into their homes and local communities.  

“It’s really the young people who make it work. With students, you never know what’ll happen!” Grove said. “When you let young people really take charge of their health and communities, they can really do amazing things.”

Image by Camille De Ramos
Other articles by Camille:
Partnership between Philly Orchestra and KIPP provides instruments to students
Award-winning author visits Olney to discuss memoir
Screening of film 'Hidden Figures' ignites interest in STEM among students

Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Message from the English Department re Charles Murray's Upcoming Visit

Dear English Majors,

In response to next week’s visit by controversial social scientist Charles Murray, the English Department invites you to attend a series of literary events that are designed to encourage robust reflection on racial and gender injustice and their human costs.

The first event is a series of free screenings of the 2016 Hollywood film Fences, starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis as Troy and Rose Maxson, a working-class couple living in Pittsburgh in the 1950s. The film is an adaptation of a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by August Wilson, a brilliant playwright whose work illuminates the unique political, social, and economic challenges faced by African American men and women in the twentieth century. The screenings will take place at 3:30 p.m. Monday, March 27th, and at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28th, and Wednesday, March 29th, in the Connelly Cinema.

The second event, which is part of our annual Literary Festival, is a reading by Reginald Dwayne Betts, whose award-winning memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison (2009), chronicles his years in prison, reflects back on his crime, and looks ahead to how the books he discovered while incarcerated would come to define him. Betts is also a poet, and his latest book,  Bastards of the Reagan Era (2015), was described in Publisher’s Weekly as “a devastatingly beautiful collection that calls out to young black men lost to the pitfalls of urban America.”  This event will take place on the evening of Thursday, March 30th, at 7:00 p.m. in the Speaker’s Corner of Falvey Library.

Because we believe in the transformative power of literature, we see these two events as an ideal opportunity for everyone in our community to stand together in support of diversity and inclusion. Writers such as Wilson and Betts challenge preconceptions, inspire compassion and understanding, and demand that we reckon directly with injustice and oppression.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Job Opportunity at Dun & Bradstreet

Life here at Dun & Bradstreet is changing – for the better. With almost two centuries of experience and a new modern vibe, work at D&B has never been more exhilarating. Our purpose is to grow the most valuable relationships in business by uncovering truth and meaning in data. We’re wildly passionate about our purpose, and it has us evolving everything we do – from how we engage with our customers to how we energize one another. So if you thrive in a fluid, agile culture but want the solidity of a storied and commanding brand, come join us!

Position Description:
As a Communications Analyst, you will support the internal communication and engagement initiatives for the Project Management Office at Dun & Bradstreet. You will work closely with your leader and fellow team members to develop, implement and maintain a comprehensive employee communication strategy and support programs and platforms that engage, align and inspire employees. You will generate employee awareness and engagement, help establish feedback mechanisms, and heighten employee level of business understanding and engagement.

Maintain internal communications tools that will foster effective communications including but not limited to publishing information on internal Intranet site, Salesforce Chatter, etc. Develop, write, edit and keep current content for a variety of internal communications vehicles (email templates, user guides, tutorials, etc.) Assist with the preparation and generation of specific/customized reports and/or presentations. Draft and develop mass communication emails for team and team members Train multiple areas in a variety of PMO-generated tools and processes.

Click here for more information about applying for this position.



Monday, March 20, 2017

Christie Leonard at the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies National Conference

Senior English major Christie Leonard presented her paper "Thresholds and Borderlands: Gendered Spaces in Mary E. Wilkins Freeman’s 'A New England Nun' and 'Old Woman Magoun’" at the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies National Conference on Sunday, March 19th.  The conference theme was “Odd Bodies.”

Christie Leonard (left) at the conference.

Literary Experience in London 2017: Rowan Yeni on St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral and an iconic London landmark dating back to 604 AD. St Paul’s was founded by Saint Mellitus, a monk who arrived in Britain with Saint Augustine, in 604 AD on a mission from the pope. The present Cathedral is considered the treasure of one of Britain's most famous architects, Sir Christopher Wren, and is thought to be at least the fourth building to have stood on the site. It was constructed from 1675 to 1710 after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London, and the first services were held in 1697. This was the first Cathedral to be built after the English Reformation in the sixteenth century and is today the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London.

St. Paul's (image by Rowan Yeni)
On our visit to the cathedral, we were first struck by the sheer size of the building. The structure is massive taking up a whole city block and a massive dome rising u and dominating the skyline on London. Upon entering the inside was just as impressive as the exterior. Sky high, magnificently painted ceilings, ornately carved archways, and a stunning golden alter all add to the grandeur of the brilliant cathedral floor. After a brief moment of admiration, we quickly made our way to the stairs to get an up close view of the iconic dome.

St. Paul's dome (image by Rowan Yeni)
We made our way up a spiral staircase until we reached the whispering gallery, the first level of the dome. From this platform, we were able to see the beautiful paintings covering the enormous dome. As we walked around the balcony we were able to experience the whispering the gallery is named after as other visitors whispered into the walls and we heard them from the opposite side. One student likened this to the whispers heard by Hogwarts students in the Chamber of Secrets, an apt reference for the eerie whispers of disembodied voices. From here we walked up another staircase to the first outdoor platform of the dome, the Stone Gallery. From the outside of the dome, we had an amazing view of London and enjoyed bing able to spot places we recognized and watch the city bustle beneath us. After taking in the sights we made our way back inside to climb up a final, seemingly endless, spiral staircase to the final level of the dome, the Golden Gallery. This platform was much smaller and considerably more crowded but had a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of the city.

City view (image by Marisa Sully)

While we thoroughly enjoyed our visit we were confused as to why St. Paul’s charges for admission. As one Villanova student remarked, “I feel like a church should be free, it doesn’t seem right for a church to take our money just for a visit.” As a group we largely agreed and after our visit decided to look into it as we’ve encountered this in many churches around Europe during our travels. After returning home Lisa found an interesting article about a man who objected to paying a fee to see St. Paul’s. This man’s experience echoed our concerns and gave some interesting insight into the consequences of churches requiring entrance fees for people wishing to tour religious spaces. 

Visit the Literary Experience in London 2017 blog here.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Message from the Chair: New Fall Courses

Hi, Everyone!

I’m very excited about the courses we’re offering for Fall 2017. As always, we are covering a wide range of periods, genres, media, and critical approaches. There are wonderful courses ranging from the classics of ancient Greece to novels published last year. We are also offering many great creative and expository writing courses.

A few special notes: I wanted to introduce you to our newest faculty member, Dr. Yumi Lee, whose expertise is in contemporary Asian-American and multi-ethnic literature. She received her B.A. from Harvard and her Ph.D. from Penn, and the first course she is teaching, English 4646, will introduce you to fascinating contemporary fiction by American writers from a wide array of races and ethnicities.

We are also offering several new courses, including “Sex and Celebrity on the 18-Century Stage,” “American Immigrant Narratives,” “Racial Pathology” (on race and racism in American literary history), “Gender, Authorship, and Anonymity” (on 19th-century British and Irish women writers), and a new senior seminar on African-American migration narratives.

I also wanted to draw special attention to a new, one-credit course, English 2991, “English Majors in the Workplace.” When you enter the work force, we want all of you to feel confident about the valuable skills you have cultivated in the English major. This course is designed to help you showcase them.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions about courses you would like to see offered in the future! I can be reached at heather.hicks@villanova.edu.

Best, Dr. Hicks

The English department's newest faculty member, Dr. Yumi Lee