2012 Poetry Contest Winners

We had quite a few submissions to the Sigma Tau Delta Poetry Contest.

First place, with a $50 check to come, was awarded to “The Modern Condition” by Kaleigh Wyrick.
Second place, with a $30 check to come, was awarded to “Remembering Ohio” by Erik Ringle.
Third place, with a $20 check to come, was awarded to “Doing Good on a Saturday” by Rebecca Voran.

Congratulations to our winners!

Note: Several other poems were also nominated for awards. These were the poems most consistently nominated. While the winners are Sigma Tau Delta members, that had no impact on the judging (since the judges did not have a list of members).

Fall 2012 Induction

Sigma Tau Delta: Tau Epsilon has four new members this fall! We have never had a fall induction before, but having a fall induction allows folks graduating in December to still become part of Sigma Tau Delta. Two of our new members are graduating in December.

These are pictures from the induction:

Ashley Alexander, 2012-13 Vice President, and Elisa Wyrick, one of our newest members. This photograph was taken in the rotunda during refreshments after the induction.


A photograph of Ashley Dillin, new member, being introduced to the society and given her journals and brass bookmark. Ashley will be graduating in December.


Natalie Navejas accompanied her grandmother and the speaker for the induction, Dr. Nancy Shankle.

Thank you, Dr. Shankle, for your pertinent and intriguing speech for the induction ceremony.


Sigma Tau Delta’s 2012-13 president, Chris Fields, introduced Elisa Wyrick during the induction ceremony. This is in the rotunda while everyone was enjoying cupcakes and punch.


Elisa Wyrick, Dr. Joe Stephenson, and Dr. Nancy Shankle, in the rotunda after the induction ceremony.

Dr. Stephenson came to the induction solely to support our amazing majors like Elisa Wyrick. Thank you, Dr. Stephenson.

Ashley Dillin and Philip Miranda in the rotunda for refreshments, chatting with Chris Fields (not in photograph).

Induction Experience

At the induction, Dr. Suanna H. Davis, one of the co-sponsors for Sigma Tau Delta, introduced the society and the day’s proceedings.

Dr. Nancy Shankle then presented an excellent talk on the importance of education in the world, particularly noting the importance of English degrees and Christians serving through our majors and careers.

Following that, the president and vice president of Sigma Tau Delta read the biographies of the new members who attended the induction and welcomed them to the society. Each new member received a copy of Sigma Tau Delta’s Critical Writing journal, Sigma Tau Delta’s Creative Writing journal, and a brass bookmark.

When the official induction was completed, we adjourned to the rotunda and had miniature cupcakes and punch.

Induction Spring 2014

Thirteen members of Sigma Tau Delta, along with their families and friends, were in attendance at this year’s induction on March 29th in Chapel on the Hill.

Sigma Tau Delta-0075Erica Stallings, from the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, spoke on English after college and the importance of reading, writing, and grammar in the everyday work world. She encouraged the members of Sigma Tau Delta in their plans to enter education, publishing, and marketing, but said that the ability to read and write well is an essential component of many jobs. “Your writing is being judged all the time,” she told the group.

Two senior members, Ashley Alexander and Javan Furlow, officers for 2012-2013, received their certificates and cords at the induction.
Sigma Tau Delta-0089

After being corded, they assisted Dr. Suanna Davis, sponsor of Sigma Tau Delta, in the induction ceremony for the new members. (This year’s officers were out of town presenting at the Alpha Chi Conference.)
Sigma Tau Delta-0091

Eleven of the twenty new members of Sigma Tau Delta were inducted into the Honor Society and received a journal and a memorial bookmark, handed to them by either Javan or Ashley.

Sigma Tau Delta-0094

Sigma Tau Delta-0159

Sigma Tau Delta-0102

Sigma Tau Delta-0134

Sigma Tau Delta-0156

Sigma Tau Delta-0150

Sigma Tau Delta-0140

Sigma Tau Delta-0121

Sigma Tau Delta-0118

Sigma Tau Delta-0109

Sigma Tau Delta-0100

More than fifty people participated in the ceremony and enjoyed the refreshments afterwards.

Sigma Tau Delta-0132

Sigma Tau Delta-0152

Sigma Tau Delta-0128

Sigma Tau Delta-0117

Sigma Tau Delta-0113

Sigma Tau Delta-0111

Sigma Tau Delta-0099

Sigma Tau Delta-0086

Sigma Tau Delta-0090

Sigma Tau Delta-0166

Sigma Tau Delta-0158

Sigma Tau Delta-0155

Sigma Tau Delta-0163

Sigma Tau Delta-0137

Sigma Tau Delta-0127

Sigma Tau Delta-0122

Sigma Tau Delta-0105

Sigma Tau Delta-0104

Sigma Tau Delta-0097

Sigma Tau Delta-0086

New Sigma Tau Delta members at the induction:
Ben Clardy V
Nicholas Fields
Angela Fogle
Abilgail Fransen
Chandler Gum
Emily Moses
Lauren Noack
Kalyn Prince
Amanda Rigby
Tyler Sirman
Alikay Wood

New Sigma Tau Delta members who were unable to attend the induction:
Julia Curtis
Regan Dismukes
Rory Harris
Maggie Marshall
Whitney Pittard
Brandy Rains
Lauren Shrader
Victoria Stowe
Kelsey Weems

2014 Poetry Winners

Based on the judgements of five judges, all published poets from the community who are unrelated to ACU, this year’s Sigma Tau Delta’s Poetry Contest Winners are:

Trophy Clipart1st Place:
Adrian Patenaude, “I Wonder”

2nd Place:
Brett Butler, “Paths”

3rd Place:
Nicole Nelson, “Regrets”

4th Place:

Ariene Peveto, “Graphic”

Although originally Sigma Tau Delta intended to have only three winners, the judges were overwhelmingly impressed by the work submitted and asked to be able to nominate additional works.

Even when the “top 3” was expanded to “top 5,” they added other works as Honorable Mentions.

Due to the financial exigencies of the contest, Sigma Tau Delta could not award cash prizes for all the students whose poems were nominated, though a fourth prize was added.

The following are students whose poems were identified by the judges as excellent:
Nathan Ashlock
Sarah Banowsky
Elizabeth Bernhardt
Ammie Brooks
Zach Carstens
Emily Eastman
Rebecca Fowler
Greg Jeffers
Andrew Koenig
Jacqueline Peveto
Stephanie Whitlow

Fall 2014 Short Fiction Contest Winners

Sigma Tau Delta, Tau Epsilon’s Fall 2014 Short Fiction Contest winners were chosen by four long-time members of the Abilene Writer’s Guild. Thank you to these wonderful folks for reading all the submissions, ranking them, and providing critiques of the works.

Flash Fiction
1st place: Lindsay Snyder for “239 Beech Street”
2nd place: Alikay Wood for “So It Was in the Beginning”
3rd place: Daniel Merritt for “The Return”

Short Story
1st place: Ariane Peveto for “Apostrophe”
2nd place: Alikay Wood for “Academy”
3rd place: Stephanie Whitlow for “Waiting for Nothing”

Winners received:
1st place: $100
2nd place: $50
3rd place: $25

2015 Poetry Contest Winners

Trophy ClipartFor the Fall 2015 poetry contest, we have the following winners:

1st Jake Buller for “A cool, still night”
2nd Haley Remenar “Life (fabric)” and Stephanie Martin “Nomad”
3rd Adam Nettina “John Bannister Tabb”

Honorary Mention
Rochelle Dunbar for “For Papa, and My Indulgent Mangoes”
Joshua Alexander for “Letters”

2017 Poetry Awards

The Sigma Tau Delta Poetry Awards were held in the Brown Library Atrium on October 12 at 7:30 pm.

Print outs were made of the poems submitted to the contest between September 11 and October 2. These were laid out on three large tables so that everyone could read them. In addition, pens and post-it notes were on the tables so that people could write comments about the different poems. Many poems received comments.

Refreshments were provided and included cheese, hummus, salsa, chips, and cupcakes. Drinks were limeade, lemonade, watermelon juice, and water.

Multiple people read their poems, both submitted and unsubmitted, to the assembly.

President Steven Yang and Secretary Tori Ford presented the awards.

The third place winner was David Elliott.

The second place winner was Samantha Colmenero.

First place winner was Brady Manning. Brady was not in attendance.

Audience pictures:

Too Nice

For a class I am teaching for the first time this semester, I think I have tried to be too nice. The students are pushing and pushing and I finally had to step back and say, “No. You can’t do that.”

I assigned two books. The total cost for those books is $14 plus tax. This is not an onerous sum, but I offered students the option to come read one book (fairly short and an easy read) in my office during office hours.

This is the week the other book is due. Several people asked for other books to read instead of those on the syllabus.

“I have this one I need to read.”
“I own one I haven’t had time to read.”
“I can’t afford to buy this book.”

During class, I said, “Okay, you can read that book you have.” I also said, “Go to this source for free books.”

However, after class I realized that one person already cheated on last week’s homework, which was to watch a movie they’d never seen. Instead he watched his favorite movie. (He’s the second quote up there.)

I also remembered, as I was getting frustrated about that, that the point of this class was to look at overt presentations of a topic in the texts. I have no idea whether their books are overt, but I know not all the free books are.

So I just sent a note saying, you can read the books on the list or you can read this free book. If you want to read anything else at all, you must send an email about it–even though I may have given approval during class.

Hopefully people will just go with the books I’ve approved.

Dr. Willerton Retires

Dr. Chris Willerton, professor of English, is retiring this year after more than 40 years at ACU. Willerton taught creative writing, British literature, and freshman composition. He helped create the Honors College and was its first dean.
Willerton Retirement-4120

Family, friends, former students, and colleagues attended the retirement celebration on April 25.

Willerton Retirement-4003

Willerton’s contributions to ACU, particularly to the Honors College and the English department, were detailed by Dr. Dave Merrell, Dr. Bill Walton, and Dr. Nancy Jordan. Meagan May, a former student both in English and the Honors College, talked about Dr. Willerton as a professor.
Willerton Retirement-4083

The Department of Language and Literature presented Dr. Willerton with a pristine first edition of his favorite book by Dorothy L. Sayer, The Poetry of Search and the Poetry of Statement.
Willerton Retirement-4105

Spring Classes

Despite the fact that we are working a year in advance, we still don’t know till fairly late in the day what classes make.

Right now (and this is still subject to change), I have the
Old English readings course
one business and professional writing course
a second-semester first-year writing course.

We are assuming (at this point) that I will receive the CAS course reduction award. If I do, then those three courses will be my only classes. If I do not, then I will probably teach two freshman classes.

I am hoping to get the CAS course reduction award.

I need to work on the OE readings course and finish up what readings should go in the book. Really, really need to do that.

The course only has 5 people in it, but it is a required for graduation course, so they should offer it. My fingers are crossed that they will. I have been looking forward to it so much.

If the worst happens and I don’t get the CAS reduction and the OE course is disallowed, I will probably end up with 3 freshman courses and a B&P. That would be okay in one way, but in another way it would really give me a heavy load –as compared to the incredibly light load I am looking at right now.

Of course, before yesterday, my schedule was:
1 OE readings course
2 B&P classes.

So every day is a new beginning…

Grading Papers

I can honestly say that I don’t love grading papers, but I don’t think most people do. However, when I was reviewing the papers to see what students might think of their improvement over the class period, I don’t think they will see it. Many people did the best on the first essay (which I let them write over) and did not do as well on the in-class essay (which I would expect). But then they didn’t do as well over the next major paper either, because I did not allow rewrites.

That means that, if they are simply examining the trend, students are going to see:
highest grade, lower grade, even lower grade. I don’t think they are going to think that they learned much from that.

How can I talk to them about the fact that:
1. first paper was re-written for an average of the two grades, so is not indicative of first attempt?
2. second paper was in-class? This is a forced writing assignment with a single chance.
3. third paper was not re-written?
and make them see what they can/have learned from those situations?

I am not sure.

And I’m depressed about both that I don’t know and that the students will not see that their work may have improved over time. The assignments have gotten harder each time, as well. The essay I just handed back or am still grading (depending on which class you were in) is the hardest one we will do all semester. So I expect the papers they are working on now will have much higher grades. However, they won’t get these back until the final, which means they will not be able to use them in their discussion.

I guess the other option is to have them able to re-write the last paper and to choose to write the final over the revisions and what they learned from those.

That might work. But I haven’t finished grading them and they would barely have time to revise.

The final option (it’s a pun, I guess) is to have them read a big pack of paper and make guesses on possible topics from the packet and then answer the question from that for the final. I don’t really have time for that because of the schedule I have assigned. I didn’t know that most folks spend the last two weeks doing the readings and discussing possible final exam questions.

Could I tweak the final exam question? Could I give them a reading or a lecture or something on best ways to study (from StudyHacks or research) and have them apply what they have learned across their classes to the final?

How would I write that?

Reiterative practice (with or without feedback) is the most successful study tool in a student’s repertoire to help a student learn and master material, according to research. How have the classes you took this semester encouraged or discouraged the use of reiterative practice and in what ways might you, as the final arbiter of how you study, realistically improve your study habits?

This would give them multiple paragraphs. Simple version:
1. intro- reiterative practice definition and thesis
2. discouraged classes
3. encouraged classes
4. realistically improve next semester
5. conclusion

More elaborate version:
1. intro
2. class 1 – encouraged
3. class 2 – encouraged
4. class 3 – discouraged
5. class 4 – discouraged
6. class 5 – discouraged
6. realistic implementation 1
7. realistic implementation 2
8. realistic implementation 3
7. conclusion

Variation of more elaborate version:
1. intro
2. class 1 – encouraged
3. class 1 – discouraged
4. class 2 – encouraged
5. class 2 – discouraged
6. class 3 – encouraged
7. class 3 – discouraged
8. realistic implementation 1
9. realistic implementation 2
10. conclusion

Students could bring in a print out of their grades for different classes, assuming they are all on Blackboard.
They could write on those print outs notes about the assignments.
Simply having the grades would let them see which courses gave the most feedback. (And there mine would probably surpass them all.)

What would I gain from this revision?
1. The students would see where they might have learned more in my class than they thought.
2. The students would be critically analyzing both their classes and their study habits for those. (Maybe. But otherwise it would be teacher evaluation. Need to work on that.)
3. Students could have a take-away of a means of improving their grades in other classes.

What would I lose from this revision?
1. I would not be following the final everyone else gave. Thus, I am out of line and fit is jeopardized.
2. I might be seen as encouraging criticism of their other teachers. See fit again.

Okay, so how could I revise this and still have my students look at this class positively?

Revised topic: Reiterative practice (with or without feedback) is the most successful study tool in a student’s repertoire to help a student learn and master material, according to research. How has this class encouraged or discouraged reiterative practice and in what ways might you, as the final arbiter of how you study, realistically improve your study habits for English 112 next semester and/or all of your classes?

Simple version:
1. intro – reiterative, thesis
2. this class encouraged
3. this class discouraged
4. do X next semester
5. conclusion

More elaborate:
1. intro
2. this class encouraged: daily work
3. this class discouraged: daily work
4. this class encouraged: essay assignments
5. this class discouraged: essay assignments
6. do X next semester
7. Not do Y next semester
8. conclusion

1. intro
2. daily work- encouraged
3. daily work- discouraged
4. discussion grades- encouraged
5. discussion grades- discouraged
6. essay assignments- encouraged
7. essay assignments- discouraged
8. do X in English
9. do X in other
10. not do Y in English
11. not do Y in other
12. conclusion

That still might lead them to teacher evaluation, but less than the other, I think.

So, daily work encouraged: lots of it, related to writing
daily work discouraged: lots of it, hard to see relationship sometimes
discussion grades: encouraged, related to the conceptual elements throughout
discussion grades: discouraged, ?
essay assignments: encouraged, prewriting, rewriting, peer review
essay assignments: discouraged, in-class essay, rewriting not feasible for all assignments

Maybe I could revise it this way, which I think is closer to what the Director of Comp was thinking:
Reiterative practice (with or without feedback) is the most successful study tool in a student’s repertoire to help a student learn and master material, according to research. How has this class encouraged or discouraged reiterative practice related to the Conceptual Age elements? Where do you think you most appropriately used the Conceptual Age elements and where might you have added them in, with the benefit of hindsight?

For major papers: We used the Conceptual Age elements in the visual rhetoric paper (design, play, narrative), the def/illustration paper (narrative, empathy, symphony), the digital presentation (design, play, narrative, symphony, innovation), the evaluation paper (design, symphony, narrative, meaning), and the proposing a solution paper (design, play, innovation, meaning, symphony, empathy, narrative).

For discussion: Six-word autobiography posts required design, play, narrative, and meaning. Comments could have elicited empathy. Lecture attendance/notes/essay required analysis of conceptual elements.

Okay, I feel a little bit better.

But it does mean I want the students to revise the essay that I haven’t turned back yet. When can I assign that? Not Nov. 29, since they have the present essay. I guess Dec. 5 as a due date. Final essay due then AND the revision. Not good for my grading stack, but I could turn the revision back on Dec. 7 and they could use it for the final.

Then I have the problem of… I have too many As in my classes. 31 out of 47 students are making As. They have done TONS of work.

Maybe I should have them critique their final grade to date. If they have an A, how have they earned that? Or whatever grade? Attendance, homework, daily grades, major essays, revisions when offered… All of those are ways they could argue they did or did not earn the grade they have.

Got to think about that. But first I need to grade the next essay for those students who need them back… Well, I guess since they aren’t going to be due till Dec. 5 I don’t have to, but really I don’t need them hanging over my head. If I can finish one class today and one tomorrow, that would be good.

Relief… Satisfaction.

I had a chapter turned in this summer for a book which was turned down wholesale. I thought I had gotten it just right, but I missed the audience (1 of the 3), and so the time was potentially wasted. This caused me a bit of depression and frustration, since I did spend a lot of time on the work and it was very important to me.

So when I had another chapter due, I hemmed and hawed and didn’t get around to it. Then I realized it wasn’t due in two weeks, like I thought, but two days… So it ended up being late. However, they were very gracious about it being late and said I could take till when I thought it was due (the 15th) to finish.

I emailed it to the editors last night. I also sent a note saying, “Did I do this right? Was it supposed to be like this? Did you want something else? If this is not what you needed, let me know.”

Both the editors have already written back (less than 12 hours after I sent it) and said it is overall wonderful and that I did far more than they expected. Now, there still may be minor changes, and I hope that will be as painless as the answers to the questions indicated, but, WHOO HOO!

I am going to have a chapter in a major academic press.

Of course, it’s not in my field at all. It’s in my undergraduate major and my father’s hobby area (and part of one of mine- holiday history), but not in my field. I don’t care, though! I have a chapter in a major academic press. Or I will come Dec. 2012.

If you know the name of the book, it’s already out on Amazon in the UK.


It will also count towards tenure, which is very cool.

Thank you, God. Thank you, God. Thank you, God.

Obstetrics and Teaching

While the post is actually about teaching, the information about the Apgar Scale, its creator and the impetus for its creation, was fascinating.

As the student of a pre-Apgar professor whose child was left to die, while the parents were dazed at the doctor’s words and emotionally unable to attempt to intervene, a professor who spoke of that as a defining moment still twenty years later with a student he was not particularly close to… This touched a chord in my heart that is still twanging.

I was insufficiently English-nerdy as a mother.

Poetry, the First Milk has a mother who quoted poetry to her children all their lives.

When at age 4 my daughter Anna became increasingly anxious at bedtime, I tried coaxing her to sleep with the most melodious poems I knew.

“Come live with me and be my love,” I began as I sat on her bed in a triangle of hallway light, rubbing her back. “And we will all the pleasures prove, / That valleys, groves, hills and fields, / Woods, or steepy mountain yields.” She breathed a little more slowly, as did I.

Go read it all. It is amazing.

Romans Making Pottery in Britain

I am teaching a humanities class this year and next and this story caught my attention.

How the Romans Made Pottery in Britain

“What we’ve learned from the suite of replication events on campus is that the firing technologies evolved to fit the materials,” Chatfield said.

The effort also helps trace the influence and intermingling of cultures, “such as European and indigenous encounters in Peru or the Romans entering Iron Age Britain,” she said.

While making the kiln was a lot more work and used a lot more fuel (wood, rather than the alpaca dung used in the Incan project), temperatures could be controlled more efficiently because the closed kiln was protected from the wind.

With this type of kiln, craft production could be organized more effectively and could also be supervised by one person – the fire won’t rage out of control, endangering the community, and people don’t have to rush in to revive a flagging fire that jeopardizes an even baking. The Romans were efficient, if not artistic.

May also be relevant for Dielli.

Work Direction

I have a full-time job this year. I love my school, my department, and my students. The work is not egregious. The administration is supportive. I am incredibly blessed in what I am doing.

However, as I prepared my request for classes for next semester, I realized that my teaching preferences will have to change. Most English folks are lit people and teaching two comps (or three) is a chore for them.

For me it is more the other way around. I am a comp person and teaching the lits is something so that I’m not teaching four or five of the same courses.

There are only five comp courses: two developmental, two freshman, and one technical writing. That’s it. I don’t really want to teach the lowest developmental. I could do the freshman but I don’t want to do all comps at the freshman level, at least not this next year.

So, instead of teaching two freshman, two sophomore, and two senior level writing classes, I will be teaching two developmental, a Brit lit, and a humanities class. Or perhaps two developmental, a fiction, and a humanities class.

I think the humanities class will be good for me. I think the fiction will be fun as well. And we know I like Brit lit….

So why is this schedule suddenly weighing so heavy on my heart? Because I realized that I won’t ever be teaching writing as my focus again. I will perhaps be able to teach online tech writing occasionally, but most of the time I will be teaching two writing and two lit courses. It’s not undoable, and in fact I am grateful for the opportunity to teach fewer classes in one place. It’s just that I will miss writing.

There’s a lecturer position open on the true other side of town (not the middle) that if it had been offered just a month earlier, I would have been thrilled to apply for. However, it didn’t open up until I withdrew from being an adjunct two weeks before school started because I had a full-time job and I didn’t think I could do that course as well. (I dropped that school two weeks before the fall semester started. I wouldn’t look at me for a full-time job under those circumstances.) The commute would be horrific, but the teaching would have been … in line with what I expected to be doing when I was working on my PhD.

My job is a wonderful one. Even if it isn’t what I was expecting to be doing, it is still a good experience. And I can learn and do new things. I’m glad for that. I can do that. So I am going to keep moving and looking for ways that my life can be a good one, while it is very different from what I expected.

It is possible that I will have an administrative position at my school next year. If I do, it will be a half-time job and I will be writing for it. So I guess it is possible that I am going to be teaching writing and doing work that involves writing instead of what I have listed. That might be interesting. It would be different for sure.

I like to learn and doing that work would help me to see a new aspect of the school.

God, please help me to be smart about what I do and how I do it. Help me to know what it is I should be doing and do it to the best of my ability. Please help me to get it together and get stuff done.

Also, please help me with the publication stuff. Help me get it done and make some progress there.