News and Events

English Faculty Accomplishments

The following list presents selected accomplishments of the English Department faculty at Washburn University. For additional information, please consult the individual faculty profiles on the department website.

Tom Averill’s novel, rode, was chosen as WU’s iread book for AY 2013-14. Tom continues to conduct many readings, workshops, and presentations around the community, state and nation, and of course he continues his popular series of commentaries as William Jennings Bryan Oleander on KPR. He just recently published another novel, A Carol Dickens Christmas.

Karen Baron published a non-fiction piece, "Natural Strangers," in Echoes of the Prairie and a poem, "From Earth," in the North Dakota Quarterly William Stafford Issue. Professor Baron also gave several readings and presentations.

Dr.  Ben Beier is a Center for Thomas More Studies Graduate Research Fellow. He also gave two invited talks. One, "Othello and the English Major," was held at Kansas State University, and the other, "Profit' and Pleasure' in Liberal Education? The Scandal of Literature and Ben Jonson's 'To Penshurst,'" was held at Saint Ambrose Academy, Madison, WI.

Dr. Melanie Burdick's research, scholarship, and professional/creative involvement is exemplary and exceeds expectations. Her co-authored, invited book chapter,  "Re-Constructing ‘At Risk’ Youth Through Acts of Service Learning" is forthcoming in Service-Learning in Literacy Education: Possibilities for Teacher Educators edited by  V. Kinloch & P. Smagorinsky. Peter Smagorinsky is one of the leading scholars in the area of English Education. To be invited by him to contribute a book chapter is quite an honor and is indicative  that Dr. Burdick and her co-author's research into service learning is highly respected in the field. Most impressive, Dr. Burdick and Heidi Hallman’s book proposal about their service learning research in their own classrooms has been accepted and will be published by Routledge. An associate editor of Routledge commented, “I think your new book will make a terrific addition to our Education list. Dr. Burdick successfully completed Third-Year Review.

Dr. Erin Chamberlain's manuscript, "Servants' Bright Reflections: Advertising the Body in Victorian Literature and Culture," is forthcoming in the Dickens Studies Annual. She also had a conference paper accepted and will present it at the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers in Cantebury, UK. Presenting in the UK is impressive. Dr. Chamberlain's work is respected internationally. Dr. Chamberlain was also inducted into Phi Kappa Phi.

Dennis Etzel’s The Sum of Two Mothers was published by ELJ Publications. His second chapbook My Graphic Novel was accepted by Kattywompus Press. He had numerous poems published or accepted by prestigious literary magazines like Tarpaulin Sky, The Laurel Review, and Horse Less Review. He continues to serve as Managing Editor for Woodley Press. Dennis presented at the 2013 Michael Tilford Conference on Diversity and Multiculturalism: “’Bazinga!’:  Raising Diversity Awareness with Students through Popular Culture.” He also mentored two students for their WTE at the 2013 AWP Writers Conference, Boston, MA.

Dr. Kara Kendall-Morwick has a forthcoming peer-reviewed journal article, “Mongrel Fiction: Canine Bildung and the Feminist Critique of Anthropocentrism in Virgina Woolf's Flush," to be published in Modern Fiction Studies. She also published a book review and has presented at several conferences.

Eric McHenry continues to publish poems in top venues and has been commissioned to  write poems, reviews, and essays. His poem, "How to Steal the Laptop of Your Childhood Nemesis," was published in Slate. Slate's poetry editor is the former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinksy. He also published his poem, "The Pass Through," in a venue that only accepts 1.3% of poetry submissions. This is quite the testament that we have a well-respected and talented poet on our faculty. Professor McHenry was also commissioned to write the "Poetry Chronicle, a review of four new books of poetry, by the New York Times Book Review. Finally, he completed a book length manuscript of poems, "Odd Evening," that has been accepted by Waywiser Press.

Dr. Mary Sheldon presented “From Lover to Son: Complex Issues Stemming from Reincarnation in Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore” at Asian Studies Development Program (ASDP) in Phoenix, AZ. She also presented an original concept and led discussion on "Elements of No Drama in Masaaki Tachihara's 'Cliff's Edge'" at the Japanese Studies Association (JSA) in Wichita, KS. Both of her presentations were well-received.

Dr. Roy Sheldon presented a paper, "Women, Identity, and Power in the Films The Hunger Games and Brave and the Story "Edra's Arrow," at the 43rd Annual Popular Culture Association-American Culture Association National Conference in Washington D.C. He also presented a paper at the 2014 PCA-ACA National Conference held in Chicago in April 2014.

Dr.  Bradley Siebert's article, "Rhetorical Ethics Stemming from Kaufman's One-World Christian Theology," was published in the The International Journal on Religion and Spirituality in Society. Dr. Siebert's  young adult novel, Never Alone, is currently in review with Woodley Press. Dr. Siebert published a book commentary, "Going to an Extreme: Westboro Baptist Church's Way of Thinking Might Be Too Close For Comfort," in the Mennonite World Review.

Dr.Vanessa Steinroetter published "Soldiers, Readers, and the Reception of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables in Civil War America," in Reception: Texts, Readers, Audiences, History, "'Reading the List:' Casualty Lists and Civil War Poetry," in ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance, and the “‘Barbaric Yawp’ in German” in a special English-language issue of the Polish scholarly journal Rocznik Komparatystyczny/Comparative Yearbook titled “Civilized/Barbaric? Intercultural Dialogue in Poetry.” Dr. Steinroetter successfully completed Third-Year Review.

Dr. Danny Wade made two presentations at the National Council of Teachers of English Conference in Boston, MA. 

Israel Wasserstein had an excellent year. His book, The Ecstasy They Call Damnation, was given the 2013 Kansas Notable Book Award. Professor Wasserstein had several poems published and gave several readings. He also guest edited North Dakota Quarterly's William Stafford Tribute Issue.

Dr. David Weed co-authored a book chapter, “Negotiating Curricular Standardization: Composition Instructors Respond," that is forthcoming in Reclaiming Accountability: Using the Work of Re/Accreditation to Improve Writing Programs to be published by Utah State University Press.

Dr. Corey Zwikstra received tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor. He also published several scholarly book reviews, presented a paper at the International Medieval Conference in St. Louis, moderated a conference session at the Mid-America Medieval Association, served as a sole reader of a book proposal for Broadview Press, and continued to work on an article, creative writing, and began long-term book projects on Old English Poetry and poet Leonard Cohen. Dr. Zwikstra was also inducted into Phi Kappa Phi.