WKU Department of English Hosts 3rd Annual Convocation
- Author: Dillon Miller
- Author: Friday, September 13th, 2019
On Friday, September 6, the WKU Department of English held its 3rd Annual English Majors Convocation. The event was a spirited welcome to new students and returning students alike. Department Head Dr. Rob Hale held the convocation at the Faculty House where Potter College Dean Larry Snyder, Provost Cheryl Stevens, 105 students, and 38 faculty were in attendance. Dr. Hale introduced himself and invited other guest speakers to talk about their experiences in the English Department. Dr. Hale commented:
“This is a great opportunity to kick off the new year and to have current students share involvement opportunities for students, new and old.”
Throughout the convocation, current students presented short speeches about various opportunities throughout the department.
There are several clubs students can join in the department including English Club, Film Club, Professional Writing Club, Korean Pop Culture Club, and Sigma Tau Delta (International English Honors Society).
“The English Department offers a variety of great clubs for students of all majors to join. These clubs create friendships and connections through their meetings and events. For me personally, I transferred from another university to Western and felt very isolated,” said Madison Rippy, senior and president of the English Club. “Once I joined a club, I felt a sense of belonging to those departments. I believe clubs will help students get to know not only their fellow students but their departments as well.”
In addition to the variety of clubs that students can join, there are also many opportunities for publication: The Ashen Egg, Zephyrus, the Mary Ellen & Jim Wayne Miller Celebration of Writing, the Talisman, and the Undergraduate Research Conference.
“Last year, my linguistics essay, 'Language Use in Children's Animated Films and Aladdin', was published in The Ashen Egg. I recommend that everyone submit to The Ashen Egg or another publication in the English Department because of the invaluable experience it provides,” said senior Adrianna Waters. “Additionally, submitting to publications will give you the chance to work one-on-one with a professor, and fostering this relationship can bring more opportunities.”
Another prospect available to students is the chance to study abroad. Travelling to another country to study allows students to get out of their comfort zones and to develop valuable qualities such as independence, open-mindedness, and cultural appreciation.
“I studied away with Dr. Hall and Dr. Hovet at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah (and got English credit for it, which was great),” said junior Cameron Fontes. “Our class got to meet great, interesting people from all over the world and we also got to know each other better. There are a lot of places in which you can expand your English education, but I’m glad I started in Park City.”
To prepare students for the professional world, the department also hosts a thriving internship program. Several students obtain internships both in and outside of the university each semester, and these experiences provide a valuable foundation for work experience and life beyond graduation.
“Participation in the English Department’s internship program gave me the opportunity to strengthen my writing skills across multiple genres,” said senior Melissa Rush. “Ultimately, these connections have led to employment on campus as a professional writer with the Office of Sustainability after my graduation in December.”
Throughout the convocation, amidst the many different stories shared, every member of the department encouraged students to ask questions, to attend clubs, and to seize opportunities.
“The English Department has always been a welcoming environment for me, but after going to this year’s English Department Convocation, I feel even more welcomed and embraced by the department,” said senior Carder Venable. “At the convocation, each and every professor introduced him or herself, which really provided a personal connection with the faculty. I would highly encourage any English major—and especially students thinking about becoming one—to go to next year's convocation!”
Dr. Hale concluded the convocation by having groups of students meet up with a faculty member to talk about and ask questions about anything the department has to offer. The day reached a sweet conclusion with free gourmet popsicles from PopWorks.