Engagement — I associate the word engagement with an image of engaged gears spinning around like clockwork. This image seems appropriate to me within the context of the engagement activities associated with our faculty and students. As I see it, the teaching/learning that takes place in the classroom is like the main driver gear (sometimes called the primary gear). However, when this gear meshes with other gears, the motion or energy that starts with the driver gear can power a much larger and more complex operation. Something similar happens when classroom activities are connected to the world outside the classroom–the gears engage and a complex operation is set in motion. Within the past two weeks, members of the English Department have engineered numerous examples of this type of engagement. Here are four examples.
Through the Chancellor’s Diversity Fund grant, students in ENGL 4254/5254, English methods, worked with the Poetry Project, The UNC Charlotte Writing Project, and Discovery Place, Inc., to host a family literacy night for the Renaissance West and Little Rock Charlotte communities. Over a hundred people attended this event. UNC Charlotte students are working with the Poetry Project on ways of teaching performance poetry to urban youth, and this event gave English students the opportunity to put into practice the power of poetry and the spoken word. UNC Charlotte Writing Project teachers were also involved and they connected this out-of-school work with families to ways performance poetry happens in the classroom to increase student engagement and deepen their knowledge. Discovery Place, Inc., worked with our students and the families on the science of sound through informal science learning which integrated literacy and science through hands-on science activities.
The English Department co-hosted a meeting of the Charlotte Regional Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) last Wednesday night. The topic was the job search and the role of LinkedIn. Roger Gilmartin and Sonia McCallum, two officers from the local chapter, made presentations and led a discussion that focused on how LinkedIn differs from other forms of social media and can be used as an electronic portfolio tool. They led a discussion of effective rhetorical strategies for traditional resumes and interviews as well. The event was well attended. Another STC meeting on campus is planned for next April, to exhibit the work of students in our programs in Technical/Professional Writing and Language and Digital Technology.
Sarah Minslow’s War and Genocide in Children’s Literature course hosted an on-campus event called Pinwheels for Peace on Friday, October 23. The event was the result of a class project assignment to promote peace on campus or in the community in a way that ties in with the themes of the course. The members of the class collected 583 pinwheels. For every pinwheel, the Bezos Foundation donates $2 to CARE to provide education to Syrian children who have fled the ongoing civil conflict. The class raised more than $1,200.The English Learning Community hosted this year’s first Engagement Seminar with Henry Doss, our Executive in Residence, on Thursday, October 29. In this seminar, Henry talked to the students about purpose and failure and how both are vital for success. The students engaged in a thoughtful discussion about school, the liberal arts, and their contributions to the world on a local and global level. There are plans to host another Engagement Seminar in the spring semester.
As these examples illustrate, engagement activities mesh perfectly with the work of the the English Department.
Sonya Brockman recently presented a talk titled “On your feet: Jumping into Performance in the First Class” at the American Shakespeare Co’s Blackfriars Conference in Staunton, Virginia.
Newfoundland and Labrador English. The review appeared in World Englishes.
Quirky Quiz Question — Gears and clockwork figure prominently in a popular fantasy genre that is set in a world in which advanced electronics and digital technology never developed. What is the commonly used term for the fantasy genre?
Last week’s answer: Novello
EpicFest follows in the tradition of an earlier literary festival sponsored by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Does anybody remember the name of this earlier festival?