The Talent Development (TD) program at URI marked its 50th anniversary this academic year. Founded as a response to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, the program serves Rhode Island high school graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds. The roots of the TD program are in the Civil Rights movement and King’s fight to overturn systemic racism and provide opportunity for all. As we go into the Spring semester and consider the legacy of Dr. King this week, it is worthwhile to learn more about this program at URI that may not directly affect graduate students, but that continues to shape the university culture.
Charles Kell is a PhD candidate at The University of Rhode Island and associate editor of The Ocean State Review. His poetry and fiction have appeared in The New Orleans Review, The Saint Ann’s Review, Kestrel, Columbia Journal, The Pinch, and elsewhere. Cage of Lit Glass, chosen by Kimiko Hahn for the 2018 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize, is forthcoming toward the end of 2019. He teaches in Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Heather J. Macpherson: First of all, congratulations on your manuscript, Cage of Lit Glass winning the 2018 Autumn House Poetry Prize judged by Kimiko Hahn! And thank you for participating in an interview for the URI Graduate Blog.
Dr. Christine Mok is the newest faculty member in the English department. After three semesters teaching at the University of Rhode Island, she is able to honestly say that it was the easiest transition that anyone could imagine and that it is wonderful being in our department. Before she joined us, she was a faculty member at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio for four and a half years. One of the things that made her transition seamless was moving from one state institution to another. However, Mok is quick to point out that our department is extremely collegial and that class sizes tend to be much smaller than other state institutions. One of the few things that was difficult in the transition was this issue of scale. Rather than teaching to a large lecture hall with 150 students and 6 graduate teaching assistants, classes are smaller and offer the chance for meaningful interaction between instructors and students. Though this required Mok to adjust her projection and classroom presence, it was far outweighed by her excitement to return to Rhode Island. Another reason this transition was simple was that Mok completed her PhD at Brown in Theatre and Performance Studies.
If you had asked Christine Mok if she planned to be an academic up until partway through her MFA, her answer would have been no. Continue reading “Faculty Profile: Dr. Christine Mok”
This October 25, 26, and 27 marked the 12th annual Ocean State Writing Conference at URI. This event is the work of many hands, including graduate student students. The new cohort features several creative writers and below are some reflections on the conference. Continue reading “Reflections on the 2018 Ocean State Writing Conference”
The latest issue of The Ocean State Review, URI’s journal of art and literature, has arrived! Volume eight, number one features poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as visual art. The issue was beautifully crafted under the helm of senior editor Elizabeth Foulke alongside contributing editors Pamela Buck and Laura Marie Marciano, and associate editors Charles Kell (first place winner of the 2018 Autumn House Poetry Prize) and Tina Egnoski; finally, I should mention the issue was produced with great care by Michelle Caraccia and Catherine Winters.
Recently, URI hosted two impressive yet different scholars: Lisa Gitelman, professor of English and Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU, and Claudia Rankine, writer and professor of poetry at Yale. Each spoke to their area of interest; Gitelman discussed how shoes are a metaphor for the industrial revolution and Rankine talked about flipping the script on our expectations of representation based on race, gender, and intersectional identity. Moving between these two talks, from the material product to the representational identity, was a juxtaposition that made both of the talks even more enlightening for me.
In the Spring of 2017, the URI English Department hosted a group of professionals from various cultural institutions in the greater Rhode Island area. People affiliated with the Providence Public Library, the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, Mystic Seaport, and the New Bedford Whaling Museum formed a panel to discuss the ways in which students in the English Department can partner with these institutions in a collaboration aimed to bring the work we do as scholars to the public. This panel wasn’t simply an event about the hypothetical, but the introduction to a cultural institutions partnership in which teaching assistants could elect to spend one semester working with one of these groups in place of teaching a course, allowing us to explore ways in which the work we do as scholars may be translated to the public; how might we make it both palpable and meaningful? This program gives us opportunities to do work outside of academe so that we may be exposed to the various career paths a PhD student in the humanities might pursue as alternatives to that of tenure-track professor.