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Department of English

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New Faculty Members Join Department (posted 10-31-11)

by Kelsea Nore

placeholder Kathy Radosta

The University of Nebraska at Omaha's English department welcomes two new full-time faculty members—Kathy Radosta and Travis Heermann. Both are familiar with the Arts and Science Building and the English Department. They are both former Graduate Teaching Assistants in the First Year Writing Program.

Kathy Radosta will be teaching English as a Second Language and English Composition II in the fall of 2010. Radosta received her MA in May of this year from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in English with a focus on Language Studies. She is currently working her Bachelor of Science in Education. Previously, Radosta was awarded an M.A. from the University of Minnesota in Russian Studies and a B.A. from the same university in Russian and Spanish language and literature. In the summer of 1988, she attended an intensive language program at the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys through Bryn Mawr College.

Her interest in language began in high school, "We had a foreign exchange student from Spain, and something just clicked with Spanish." While studying the Spanish language, Radosta took a Russian language class and at the goading of a good friend, continued her study of both languages. She later spent a summer in Moscow, immersed in the language and broadening her career plans. Despite her study with the Russian language, "I fully expected to be teaching high school Spanish," said Radosta.

Instead, Radosta is currently teaching Comp II and English as a Second Language I. Regarding the importance of being bi or trilingual, she says "It is critical that we speak more than English. The world is getting smaller and smaller all the time."
Travis Heermann, who is teaching English Composition I and Introduction to Literature this fall, shares this point of view, "Learning to speak another language can enrich your life, and gives you certain advantages." Heermann, who is fluent in Japanese, spent three years as an English instructor in Fukuoka, Japan. In the years previous to his overseas experience Heermann, who graduated from UNL in 1992, worked as an electrical designer in the Engineering field. "I liked the imagination-to-creation aspect of the work," Heermann said, "but the corporate side wasn't for me."

placeholder Travis Heerman

Heermann competed his MA at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 2009 with an emphasis on Creative Nonfiction and ESL along with graduate certifications in Advanced Writing and TESOL. He has always had a love for reading and took the passion one step further. In 2009, Heermann published a historical fantasy novel, Heart of the Ronin (Five Star Publishing) and is currently at work on a screenplay. He has been published in several magazines.

Both Radosta and Heermann have worked closely with UNO's Writing Center. "Students are already paying for it with their fees and dues, so why not take advantage of it?" said Radosta, who is a Graduate Consultant in the Writing Center. Heermann will be credited in an upcoming custom text book and added, "The Writing Center is probably one of the most important things that UNO offers, besides a degree."

 

New Faculty Member Joins Department (posted 10-12-09)

by David Raabe

placeholder Tammie Kennedy

The newest member of the English Department's graduate, tenure-track faculty is Tammie Kennedy, rhetoric specialist who began this September.  Tammie took her Ph.D. in May of  '09 from the Univ. of Arizona and holds masters and bachelors degrees from Illinois State.

Besides the courses in first-year writing and theories of composition and rhetoric that are standard classroom fare for our Rhet/Comp people, Tammie has a number of related areas of scholarship. One of these is a pervading interest in memory. Although memory is one of the five canons of rhetoric, its signficance has been diminshed throughout the ages with the prominence of  written texts and database storage systems.Tammie’s work focuses on reclaiming memory for rhetoric and composition studies. Instead of thinking of memory as a static, fixed object that can be translated into writing, Tammie articulates the rhetorical and political dimensions of memory. Memory is not just what is remembered, but by whom, with what purpose, and with what effect. She argues that memory provides a generative, critical, and revisionary tool of discourse.

She is interested in the cross-cultural politics of memory and how representations of difference (race, class, gender) might be critiqued and revised by understanding rhetorical memory. In her class on Rhetoric, Memory, and Film, Tammie teaches that film provides a collective memory, creating a public pedagogy that shapes the way we understand ourselves and the world. By investigating how this collective memory intersects with personal memory. Tammie hopes that films might be used to better facilitate ethical social actions by viewers.

Another of Tammie's interests is Mary Magdalene, biblical figure of considerable recent research.  Traditionally seen as a prostitute, following The Da Vinci Code, her image has metamorphosed into that of wife and mother. Examining both traditional and gnostic sources by various scholars,  Tammie exposes how both perspectives minimize Magdalene’s contributions to early Christianity. Tammie hopes that this scholarship will reach a wider audience who might appreciate learning more about Magdalene’s significant role as the “apostle of the apostles.”
Tammie says she likes living in Nebraksa and has started to think of Omaha as one of the best kept secrets in the Midwest. She also appreciates how Nebraska is more like her native Illinois. Prior to her years in Tucson, Tammie taught for five years at an Illinois community college as well as worked as a marketing manager in the publishing industry.

 

Teaching Excellence Awards go to three English Teachers (posted 8-25-09)

by David Raabe

Three out of the six awards for outstanding teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences for 2008-09 have gone to members of the English faculty. Assoc. professors Nora Bacon and Frank Bramlett received their awards at the Honors Convocation Breakfast in March, and Adjunct Instructor Isabel Barros was one of three part-time faculty members recognized at a college reception in April.

 

placeholder Nora Bacon is the Writing Program Administrator. Among a number of her interests has been community outreach, specifically with the UNO Service Learning Academy. Her involvement is the extension of the teaching philosophy she gave in accepting the Outstanding Teaching nomination. She aims to make students “think for themselves, to be both skillful and bold enough to champion their convictions while remaining receptive to new ideas, and to recognize their common purpose with others in the community... all to serve the cause of human freedom.”
placeholder Besides teaching linguistics, Frank Bramlett is associate Director of Women’s Studies and chair of UNO Safe Space and Ally Training. He joined the English faculty in 1999. Chair Sue Maher, after observing Frank in action in the classroom, praised his “active intellectual exchange with students and classroom methodology that encourages and demands high participation.”
placeholder Isabel Barros brings strong training in linguistics and rhetoric to her comp courses for international students. A native of Brazil, she got her M.A. and TESOL Certificate at UNO in 2003. Says Sue Maher, “Whenever I see Ms. Barros in the hallway... invariably she has students in tow. That is one of the clear signs of her teaching effectiveness.”

 

English Department Faculty Member Presents at UNMC and ICAF

 

placeholder Frank Bramlett

On Friday 11 November, 2011, Dr. Frank Bramlett gave a talk to more than 100 graduate students at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The event was a screening of the movie Piled Higher and Deeper, a film based on the comic strip PhD Comics. Bramlett's talk, entitled "Nerd Ascendancy: The Place of Brains in Comics," explored a very brief history of the comic strip form in the United States and how many web comics promote the celebration of nerd culture, especially physical sciences, mathematics, and linguistics as well as science fiction, fantasy, and gaming cultures.

In September, Dr. Bramlett attended the International Comic Arts Forum (ICAF) and served as a panelist on its pedagogy roundtable, (more coverage and photos from the event can be found on the Shulz Blog). He spoke about his “Language and Comics” class, his approach to teaching linguistics and comics theory, and the kinds of assignments his students engage in. Other panelists included two academic professors as well as three faculty members from the Center for Cartoon Studies, where this year's conference was held.

ICAF meets annually at different locales around the country. In previous years, Dr. Bramlett presented research on The Rawhide Kid and later published an article from that talk in the on-line journal ImageText. He also presented on Afro Samurai, which will be a chapter in his forthcoming edited collection Linguistics and the Study of Comics (Palgrave 2012). Dr. Bramlett will be offering the special topics course “Language and Comics” in the spring semester (ENGL-2000-001).

More information about the academic study of comics and graphic novels can be found at the ICAF website. More information about cartooning can be found at the Center for Cartoon Studies.

 

UNO, Millard Students Help the Karen Refugee Community

placeholder Kristin Girten

On Wednesday, May 2 students from Kristin Girten's Gender and Cultural Studies course and Millard North Middle School gathered at the City Sprouts Community Garden to celebrate the end of a semester-long service learning project aimed at helping Omaha's Karen refugee community... See the UNO YouTube for more, and more on what's going on at UNO!.