I represented the department at last year’s Academic Showcase, so I was eager this year to make it a success rather than just a learning experience. This was achieved within the first thirty minutes of setting up the English table. In that short amount of time, I encountered more interested students than during last year’s event. Many prospectives were impressed and even surprised by the amount of student-produced work on the table.
A few observant students recognized Tom Foster’s How to Read Literature like a Professor. A couple others took note of Alicia Kent’s African, Native, and Jewish American Literature and the Reshaping of Modernism. The majority, though, took to the writing samples from classes taught by Mary Jo Kietzman and Jan Worth-Nelson. These prospective students, while curious about faculty publications, were more interested in what they would be doing in English courses at UM-Flint. Vickie Larsen helped address some of their curiosity with more official department materials, including a course catalog and specific information about available majors and minors in the program. Overall, I was thankful for the opportunity to enlighten in this way.
With materials from the New Bohemian Society, Sigma Tau Delta, Qua and other English student organizations on campus, I was also able to show students a range of intellectual opportunities beyond coursework. I’m confident that many came away from the English table at Academic Showcase with a better idea of what’s possible not only within English courses but beyond them.
I’m compelled to mention that twice I was mistaken for a student. “That’s very interesting,” said one parent after I provided information about the range of courses taught within the department. “And what’s your major?” I attribute this question not to my age (I’m 31) but to the youthful enthusiasm I expressed when talking about English. I often referenced at least one of the following:
Thanks to Mary Jo Kietzman for student work, Maureen Thum for candy, Alicia Kent for publications, Vickie Larsen for department materials, Annemarie Toebosch for Sigma Tau Delta promotional materials, and to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for coordinating and executing Academic Showcase 2010.