Tag Archive | "Mary-Alice Trent"

Writing club changes name

The Indiana Wesleyan University English and Writing Club recently made a decision to change its name to Literati. This change was implemented in hopes of appealing to a more diverse range of students.

“We just wanted to make it more inclusive,” said Brittany Spurlin (sr), co-president of the club. “The English and Writing Club makes it sound endemic to only English and writing majors, which we do not want it to be.”

Noah Welsh (sr), also a co-president, added: “Because we are a division of the modern literature department, we wanted everyone in our department to have the opportunity to attend our meetings. In our previous constitution it said that only English and writing majors could attend. We are changing that so now our whole division can come to the meetings and we can involve everyone.”

Welsh explained that Dr. Mary Alice Trent, chair of the Modern Language and Literature Division, had previously approached him on several occasions, suggesting the club have a name change. After Trent had suggested this “a few hundred times,” according to Welsh, he decided maybe the club should consider the name change.

“We had people submit name ideas, and then we chose the top five that we thought would be a good name change,” Spurlin said. “During the first meeting of the year we all voted.”

The vote was done “‘Survivor’-style,” according to Welsh. “I’m a huge ‘Survivor’ fan. So we had all of the [top] votes in a bag and I pulled them out one by one and read them aloud. It was a nail biter. It came down to the last vote and that was the deciding vote. It was pretty intense and I loved it.”

Needless to say, Literati won the name change.

Paul Allison, professor of English, said the club’s constitution is being revisited to officially implement the changes the new name signifies, of allowing more than just English and writing majors to be in the club.

But the club couldn’t simply expect new members to just come. Leaders added new concepts to the club in order to appeal to those different majors.

This is also the first year Spanish has been included in the club. This addition led to the creation of Spanish Night, to further reach out to that part of the division. The leaders of Literati expressed that this is something that should have been done a long time ago.

The group explained the primary reason only Spanish was added primarily because it is the only foreign language that offers a major. “That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t be willing to add other languages,” Welsh said. “We will take any other languages and any suggestions.”

Spurlin added that the club could also add a French night. “The French students are really involved,” she said.

Another aspect new to Literati this year is an emphasis on reaching out into the community of Marion. “One of the things we want to do this year is read Christmas stories to the elderly,” said Welsh. “It is something that we have never done before, so it is very brand new and a little scary. We also have a newsletter that Brittany is going to start publishing.”

As an additional amendment to the club’s constitution, besides the name change and inclusion of members outside English and writing majors, Welsh said, “We are changing the roles that some of our officers play.”

Upon further exploration of the club and member requirements, Allison stated there is a GPA requirement of 2.0 for members and 2.5 for officers, and you must be an official member of the club to vote, but membership does not bar you from attending meetings.

Some of the club’s activities are Scattegories and Catch Phrase. Also, typically once a semester, the club has guest readers. A few years ago, Dr. John McCracken, associate professor of education, spoke and was a very exciting reader, according to Welsh. “He brought the literature to life. He knows how to read with a voice that is different for each genre,” Welsh added.

Allison has been the adviser of the club since its beginning in 2004, when Bethany Bregan, a sophomore at the time, started it. “She wanted to do something outside of class,” Allison said. “I think she saw the need for it and also kind of a personal need. Even though students got to know each other through class over the semesters, there was really no social outlet for people interested in writing and reading. So that’s how she started it; It was purely student motivated.”

Regarding the future of the club, Welsh said: “I want to see it reaching out into the campus. … I really want to see us growing so much that Literati makes a name for itself on this campus, [as well as in the community as a whole].”

“I would like to see it flourishing,” Spurlin added.

Allison said he would like something to spring from Literati, even if it’s online or blogging, something that everyone can start contributing to.

Spurlin concluded that she hopes the traditions the club has started this year are still around in the future.

“[Literati] is not just for [specific] majors necessarily,” Allison said, “but for anyone who loves literature and loves to write.”

The group’s biggest outreach activity is “I Speak,” Literati’s second-annual spoken-word poetry night. It will be in the Globe Theatre on Nov. 17.

“It’s a chance for anyone on campus to sign up and come to read poetry,” Spurlin said. “If it’s original poetry that they wrote, it is an opportunity to share it that maybe they do not have in their division. Also, if it is a poem that they really love and would like to share with other students, they can.”

Literati meets 9:30-10:30 p.m. every Tuesday, except for the week of Friday Night Live, in Kem Hall Bistro.

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外語分支出來的 Foreign languages branch out

Indiana Wesleyan University’s foreign language department has undergone various changes since last year. Despite the departure of two faculty members, the department has made advancements that, according to Spanish professor Krista Bruenjes, will help it “branch out” and attract students in the IWU community.

Among the biggest advancements is the introduction of LANG-215-A, a beginning Mandarin Chinese class taught by Dr. Muchun Yin, TESOL assistant professor, and his wife, professor Yu-lien Lee.

The Mandarin class had been offered only once before, according to Yin. This was during the 2006-2007 school year when Chinese student Peng Zhang taught the class while simultaneously working on his Master of Business Administration degree at IWU.

The class was dormant for a few years until fall 2011, when Yin began informally teaching a group of 6-8 interested students for about an hour each week. This is the first year Yin is teaching the language as an actual college course, and has a total of 15 students enrolled.

“We’ve been feeling pretty good about [the course],” Yin said. “The students are really enthusiastic, and they’ve been adjusting well to having two teachers in the class.”

Dr. Mary-Alice Trent, chair of the Division of Modern Language and Literature, said she was excited to see the return of the Mandarin class after the school hired two professors, Yin and Lee, who were both qualified to teach the course.

“Mandarin is certainly a language that is becoming more widely used in the business world and on the mission field,” Trent said.

“Our hope is that we can really equip our students to serve Chinese-speaking people [and] serve God’s kingdom through Chinese-speaking communities,” Yin said.

One of Trent’s goals is to grow the Mandarin program by offering both beginning and intermediate classes next year.

Another project Trent and the foreign language department are working on this year is the proposal of a new World Language minor, which, if passed, would allow students to experiment with various languages in the department.

The purpose of this proposal is to help satisfy the “growing hunger for languages on the campus,” Trent said. This 24-credit hour minor proposal would allow students to either spend all credits in one emphasis language or divide the credits by taking 15 in one emphasis language and nine in other languages or intercultural courses.

As outlined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, the Five Cs of Foreign Language Education — communication, cultures, connections, comparisons and communities — is something Trent referenced as a foundation for the world language minor proposal. She said the goal is for the students to have an “immersion experience.”

“The key to an immersion experience is learning how to connect with other cultures and how to communicate with other cultures on their turf,” Trent said.

Bruenjes said in order to truly understand another culture, one must experience it. “With this world languages minor, we’re really hoping to expose students to as much [culture] as we can,” she said.

Since the world languages minor is only in the proposal stage, professors are currently unsure whether it will be passed. A definite way to have an “immersion experience,” however, is to get involved with the multiple study-abroad programs offered by the foreign language department, Trent said.

The department offers a wide variety of study-abroad programs during the school year, according to Trent. If a student does not have time to study abroad for a whole semester, he or she has the option to do a travel course during the summer.

“[Studying abroad] opens you to another culture,” Bruenjes said. “It puts you in their shoes. You get to know more about the world and how people work. … It opens opportunities for connections that you may not have otherwise.”

For those students who may not be able to afford or find the time to participate in a study-abroad program, other cultural options are available on the IWU campus. One goal of the foreign language department is “to serve the campus as a whole” and offer programs that appeal to all students, according to Bruenjes.

Bruenjes plans to accomplish this by organizing Spanish table nights at Baldwin at various points throughout the year. This experience would allow all interested students to get together for dinner and converse with one another solely in Spanish. French professor Tuesday Edwards will also be having French table nights throughout the school year as well as French film nights.

Trent hopes that through all the changes made in the foreign language department, students will see the many benefits of studying a language and culture different from their own.

Learning another’s language “provide[s] cultural experiences that connect you to those people in a special way,” Trent said. “We grow more by learning from each other. When you learn someone’s culture you can speak to them in their love language.”

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