Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Diamonds in the Rough?

We all fight the good fight against plagiarism. But I would ALMOST relish getting that fraudulent paper if it was anything like the bogus Magna Carta essay submitted by "Henchminion" to a website for would-be plagiarists.

I think my favorite part might be the reference to Bollock and Maidenhead's Interminable History of the English Law. A classic, that.


Image from "All thine castles are within ovr possession," by Undertoad.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Congratulations to Brian Ballentine

The Tenants are very pleased and not at all surprised to learn that Brian Ballentine has just been named Outstanding Teacher in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. As one student evaluation put it, "Knows his stuff. Dresses very well." While the comment does not cover all of the many reasons why Dr. Ballentine received this award, the Tenants can attest that both of these things are absolutely true.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Graduate Assistant Position for Spring in the Office of Graduate Education

The Office of Graduate Education & Life
Graduate Assistantship Position Announcement

Mission Statement: The Office of Graduate Education & Life actively supports the holistic development of WVU’s graduate and professional students to advance their scholarship, professionalization, and personal growth. Working collaboratively with academic programs, we are committed to providing a rich learning environment that attracts and retains students who work closely with faculty to effectively meet the evolving needs of the
State of West Virginia, the nation, and the global community through advanced graduate training.

Overview: This graduate assistant will collaborate with the staff of the Office of Graduate Education & Life to assist with day-to-day office operation, data entry and analysis, event planning, and professional development and recruitment efforts as needed.

Start date: early January (TBD). Completion date: June 30, with possibility of renewal for the following academic year.

Qualifications and Required Skills:
• Strong writing skills
• Excellent communication skills
• Highly developed interpersonal skills
• Ability to work well with a diverse group of people
• Strong organizational skills
• Ability to adapt quickly to changing priorities and demands
• Strong computer skills
• Knowledge of social media outlets
• Strong attention to detail
• Ability to work independently
• Ability to maintain confidentiality

Preferred Skills:
• Experience with assessment, qualitative research, and/or SPSS or SAS

• Full tuition waiver
• $1,500 per month stipend
• Graduate student insurance coverage

Application Process:

DEADLINE January 3, 2012
By January 3, 2012, please submit a cover letter, resume/CV, and a 500 word-writing sample to:
Tammy Smith

*For more information about this position, please contact

16th-Century Poem Discovered in Wise Library, Media Frenzy Ensues

The story of a previously unknown Early Modern love poem that was recently discovered in the Rare Book Room at WVU's Wise library by guest lecturer Elaine Treharne started out as a university press release, which has been making the rounds on Facebook and was then picked up by LiveScience. It finally made its way to, one of this particular Tenant's favorite websites, which puts its own typically amusing spin on the story, as their title, "Mysterious 16th-Century Sext Discovered in Copy of Chaucer," suggests.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Teresa Pershing, ABD

The Tenants are pleased to announce that Teresa Pershing has officially passed her Qualifying Exam for Doctoral Candidacy. The committee (Donald Hall, Marilyn Francus, Adam Komisaruk, Anne Mellor, and Dennis Allen) was impressed by Teresa's erudite written exams and by her highly articulate and poised performance during the oral and is now looking forward to what promises to be a very interesting dissertation on error, sexuality, and early 19th-century England (perhaps necessarily in that order).

Mary Ann Samyn Wins Caperton Award

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has studied with her (or even heard her talk about her classes and her students' work) that Mary Ann Samyn has just won the Caperton Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing for this year. In official parlance, the award is intended to "recognize tenured faculty members who exhibit dedication and proficiency in the teaching of writing." Less officially, the Tenants are working on a sonnet in honor of Mary Ann's richly deserved award, which should be finished sometime around the end of finals if they can get the final couplet right.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Caption Contest

OK, so here ya go: something to lift your spirits during these final, exhausting days of the semester: a caption contest!

Post your suggestions in the comments section.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What a great reading!

Today's ENGL 418 Creative Writing Capstone reading was the best yet. Really terrific work. Thanks to all our readers—Kim Nold, Chase Fraicola, Maggie Matsko, Hannah McPherson, Josh Cooper, Chris Milam, Brittney Polen, Abby Hohn, Kayla Shane, and Caitlin Walker—and to their MFA mentors—Justin Anderson, Ben Bishop, Micah Holmes, Jeremiah Shelor, Connie Pan, Kelly Sundberg, Rebecca Childers, Lisa Beans, Shane Stricker, and Melissa Atkinson.

Here's a photo of some of these writers (back: Josh, Chris, Chase, Caitlin, instructor Mary Ann Samyn; front: Hannah, Kayla, Brittney; not pictured: Kim, famous for her cart-wheels, Maggie, who had to dash off to another capstone, and Abby, who just dashed off). Congratulations to them all!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Leave it to Pat Conner

... to have not one but two retirement parties. This past Saturday we gathered at Ethel Morgan Smith's house where we ate the most darling petit fours (really!) and admired her Christmas tree and toasted Pat once again. Not that he's not deserving, of course. Pat is, as you no doubt know, a pretty big deal—as our former chair and colleague, as a teacher and mentor, and as a scholar. He's definitely earned a fete or two... though when he started speculating about next year's celebration, we began to wonder. But we'll worry about that later. For now, just lots of congratulations to Pat. And we hope you will be King Lear very soon, Pat, and break a leg and don't forget about us when you become a famous actor.