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College of Arts and Sciences English

Dr. Universe: What’s the best story ever made?

Dr. Universe: a cat in a lab coatHumans have been telling stories for thousands of years. At first, they told these stories out loud, then they started to write.

There are more than a hundred million published books on our planet now and to find out which one is best, I visited my friend Matthew Jockers. He’s a professor at Washington State University who combines his love of stories with computer science to research what makes some books bestsellers. » More …

Fulbright summer award leads WSU sophomore to Wales

Ava Beck Linguistics major and Spokane native Ava Beck will study at Aberystwyth University in Wales for three weeks this summer, thanks to a Fulbright Summer Institute award.

Beck is one of approximately 60 U.S. students selected to undertake academic and cultural programs at any of nine hosting institutions throughout the United Kingdom. At Aberystwyth, Beck will join fellow Americans exploring contemporary issues in identity and nationhood “through the lens of Wales.” She will attend classes in the university’s Dept. of International Politics, explore the city, visit the National Library of Wales, and learn » More …

Book review: Baseball in a Grain of Sand

A baseball player holding a bat casts a shadow across the orange gravel of the playfield.Baseball, writes Bill Gruber (’79 PhD English), evokes a literary state of mind. Now an English professor at Emory University, he explains that the suspense, narrative, soaring victories, and crushing tragedies of stories also appear in baseball, perhaps more than any other sport.

In Baseball in a Grain of Sand, Gruber explores baseball history and drama through one summer season of an American Legion team in Moscow, Idaho, the Blue Devils. Along the way, he meets and introduces fascinating people, many of whom share Gruber’s unabashed sentimentality for the sport. » More …

Graduate students honored at Evening of Excellence

Steven Hobaica and Anne FullerTwelve College of Arts and Sciences graduate students in five different disciplines received scholarship awards at the WSU Graduate School at the fifth annual Evening of Excellence.

“I am grateful for the support that the award and the Graduate School have provided for graduate students to continue to serve their communities through research, scholarship, and public engagement,” said Tabitha Velasco, doctoral student in » More …

Annual awards honor faculty, staff, student achievement

group photo on the stageSixteen faculty, six staff, and six graduate students were honored for outstanding achievement at the 2019 College of Arts and Sciences Appreciation and Recognition Social earlier this month.

Professor Mechthild Tegedar, an international leader in plant biology, and Gary Collins, a pioneer in the study of material defects, received the top two faculty awards. Chuck Cody and Paul Wheeler, both in » More …

People of the Palouse: a passion for writing, teaching

Peter ChilsonIn the 21 years English professor and author Peter Chilson has been at WSU, he has published four books and numerous journal articles. He’s also helped build a creative writing program that now includes a campus literary arts journal called “LandEscapes.”

Back in 1998, Chilson noticed an opening at WSU for a creative writing instructor specializing in creative non-fiction and applied for the job.

“I also happen to love teaching, so it’s been a very, very good fit for me,” Chilson said. » More …

Virginia Woolf scholar receives Legacy of Excellence award

Portrait of Dianne Gillespie and Sketch of Virginia Woolf.As the recipient of the 2019 Emeritus Society Legacy of Excellence award, Virginia Woolf scholar and professor emerita Diane Gillespie was honored for her sustained contributions to academia, continued service to the university and community, and personal accomplishments in retirement.

Her Legacy of Excellence lecture, titled “What’s Left to Say about Virginia Woolf?,” was part of WSU Showcase, the annual celebration of faculty, staff and student excellence. » More …

Making the difference

“The fact that I’m a teacher now is just the greatest turn of events—my old high school teachers would be shocked,” says Kerry Clark (’11 Hum., ’14 MA English). He’s sharing his improbable story as we tour Saint George’s School, a private K–12 preparatory institute nestled in the woods along the Little Spokane River.

Clark teaches English and history classes for the International Baccalaureate Diploma program at Saint George’s and is also a college counselor. On top of that, he coaches soccer, basketball, and baseball. The notable achievement is made more impressive when you learn » More …

English professor chronicles Arctic residency adventure

the AntiguaSailing aboard the Antigua, a traditionally rigged tall ship specially outfitted for sailing in the high Arctic,   writer and Regents professor of English Debbie Lee chronicled her experience as a member of the Arctic Circle Artist Residency Program.

One of thirty artists from every part of the world sailing the west coast of Svalbard toward the North Pole while working on individual and collaborative projects, Lee teamed up with a glass sculptor, » More …

Six CAS faculty to be honored at Showcase celebration

The Office of the Provost has selected Maureen Schmitter‑Edgecombe, professor in the Department of Psychology, to deliver this year’s Distinguished Faculty Address. Five other College of Arts and Sciences faculty have also been selected to receive 2019 Showcase awards.

“Outstanding achievements of our faculty serve as an inspiration to our community,” said Provost Dan Bernardo said. “Showcase is an excellent opportunity to pay tribute to some of our colleagues who have made notable contributions to their fields and to the University community.“

Read more about our outstanding faculty: » More …