Travels with Charlie — The other day a professor asked me about the advantages and disadvantages of moving into university administration. I opined that a major advantage to having an administrative position is that one gets to know colleagues outside of one’s home department. Over the course of my administrative career, I have come to know many colleagues outside of the English Department, and in some cases these colleagues have become good friends. Charlie Brody is a prime example.
I got to know Charlie in 2002 when I was the Associate Dean for General Education and Charlie was the Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. My charge at the time was to launch the then new General Education Program. I worked with all of the department chairs, but none was more helpful than Charlie. Some years later, I worked alongside Charlie when I served as the Interim Associate Dean for Student Services and he served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. In more recent years, I have worked with Charlie in my role as Chair of the English Department. In all of my interactions with Charlie, I have found him to be one of the most professional and helpful administrators on our campus. He has a remarkable ability to solve problems, defuse potentially explosive situations, and bring people from a wide variety of backgrounds together. He has been a tremendous supporter of the English Department, and he has helped us deal with some very complicated assessment issues.
As many of you know, Charlie has now left UNC Charlotte. As of July 1, he will become the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Misericordia University in Pennsylvania. I know I speak for all of us who have worked with Charlie during his fourteen years at UNC Charlotte when I say that he will be missed. I have enjoyed my administrative travels with Charlie, and I hope our paths will cross again in the not too distant future. As Roy Rogers would have said, happy trails to you, Charlie.
News from Our Foreign Bureau — Last week I started featuring news about members of our department who have been globe trotting this summer. This week I am featuring Andrew Hartley and Tiffany Morin.
Andrew recently returned from a trip to the epicenter of the current European financial fiasco. I asked him about his adventure, and here is what he had to say. “I just returned from Greece where I spent almost 3 weeks between Athens, Crete and Delphi. The official purpose of the trip was to teach for the British Council/Kingston a week’s course on writing suspense fiction. I had a dozen mainly Greek students who worked with me each evening, which meant that I had the daylight hours to wander Athens by myself. Though I’ve visited the city a few times before I’d never had the chance to really get to know it, and there were archaeological sites like the temple of Haphaestus which I’d never actually seen. The class was, as such things tend to be, both challenging and rewarding, the former being inevitable when you are working with students who are writing in a second language. It struck me as weirdly ironic–even presumptuous–to be teaching three act structure in a classroom only a couple of miles from the theatre of Dionysius where the plays of Sophocles and Euripides got their first public airing two and half thousand years ago! The second leg of the trip–to Crete, partly to revisit the Minoan ruins of Knossos–was more obviously holiday, though I came away with the idea for a new novel, so that’s good.”
Tiffany just came back from a trip to the past. I asked her about her adventure, and here is what she had to say. “I just returned from a ten-day trip to Israel. I was there primarily to participate in UNC Charlotte’s Mount Zion Dig with the Religious Studies Department in Jerusalem. It was exciting to dig into the earth and uncover items that had not been touched in over a thousand years. Even just walking around the Old City, where I stayed, felt like an adventure as I observed the stunning architecture and many cultures around me. I was also fortunate to visit Masada and Qumran, where Professor James Tabor guided us on a tour. On that same day, I swam in the Dead Sea, which was far more beautiful than I expected. I think my favorite part of the trip though was meeting so many new people from so many different places. It was an amazing experience, and I hope to incorporate it somehow into my work.”
Kudos— As you know, I like to use my Monday Missives to share news about recent accomplishments by members of our department. Today’s Kudos section is being brought to you by the letter M.
Kirk Melnikoff delivered the paper “From the Talbot to Duck Lane: The Early Publication History Robert Wilson’s The Three Ladies of London” at The Ladies of London in Context Conference at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
Juan Meneses presented a paper titled “Reading Images, Seeing Words” at the ASLE (Association for the Study of Literature and Environment) conference at the University of Idaho.
Julia Morris, a graduate student in our children’s literature concentration, received an offer from the Old Dominion University Darden College of Education for a admission to their PhD Program in Education, concentrating in curriculum/instruction with an emphasis in Literacy Leadership for children’s/young adult literature. She received an assistantship as the research coordinator for a three-year NSF grant that deals with first-year writing and peer review in literature classes.
Upcoming Events and Deadlines— Here are some dates to keep in mind:
June 29 — Classes for the second summer session begin on June 29.
June 30 — Last day to add or drop a class with no grade.
Quirky Quiz Question — I am not the only person to write about travels with Charlie. John Steinbeck used this phrase as the title of one of his nonfiction books. What role did Charlie play in Steinbeck’s life?
Last week’s answer- The Raven