e-Portal Newsletter - May 2013


Message from Interim Dean John Ferré

Shortly after the UofL men’s basketball team won the 2013 national championship and the women’s team finished second, The Courier-Journal published an article under the banner headline “Flutie Factor.”  The article predicted a bump in applications and donations.  The article also contrasted the university’s top-tier standing in athletics with its U.S. News & World Report ranking of 160, tied with Florida Institute of Technology, Maryville University of St. Louis, Mississippi State, and University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

Rankings, of course, aren’t everything.  After all, the women’s basketball team began the tournament seeded fifth, but it didn’t lose a tournament game until the  championship match against No. 1 seed Connecticut.  Their fifth seed was a mismeasure.

But rankings do matter.  U.S. News College Rankings provide one-stop shopping for college comparison.  They also give highly rated universities cause to celebrate and lower rated universities cause to complain.

Truth be told, the ratings sting a bit.  Our student selectivity is rising, as is our undergraduate academic reputation – bolstered most recently by the announcement that an A&S student, political science major Evan Shepherd, was named a Truman Scholar.  But faculty resources and financial resources show the scars of repeated budget cuts, and we need to improve our 52% six-year graduation rate.

The College will continue to search for resources to build the faculty, to expand academic advising, and to renovate classrooms and laboratories.  Securing resources for these priorities will improve our U.S. News & World Report standing.  More importantly, it will improve the education of the next generation of students in Arts and Sciences at UofL.


Forewords & Acknowledgements: Creative Writing Program is turning pages, turning heads

Feature Story by Kevin Hyde

Relaxed in t-shirt and shorts, novelist Brian Leung sits in the sun at an open-front restaurant in the Crescent Hill neighborhood of Louisville. It’s Derby Week. The early evening is clear and warm, and the place is bustling. Between bites from a bowl of thick, Texas-style chili and sips on an icy beverage, Leung is deliberate and contemplative as he answers questions about the Creative Writing Program at the University of Louisville, a program he has directed for the past two years.

“I guess the most important thing I want people to know about us is that the courses—all of the programming, really—are designed first and foremost to be in service of students. In everything we do, we’re consciously asking ourselves, ‘What will be useful to students?’ ”

What Leung and his fellow faculty of fiction writers and poets have developed is a unique, vibrant array of opportunities for their students. Not only can they take engaging, challenging undergraduate and graduate courses in poetry, fiction, drama and creative nonfiction, but they get the chance to interact with important writers from throughout the country, to compete for lucrative scholarships and interesting awards, to benefit from the Louisville’s vigorous literary scene, and, hopefully, to find their own voice in the conversation of ideas.

Focus on Students

For undergraduates, UofL’s Creative Writing Program offers introductory to advanced courses, with several covering special, constantly changing topics. At the graduate level, the program culminates with an English master’s degree—thesis or culminating project—with a focus in creative writing. The work includes a range of courses, including graduate level creative writing workshops.

“Our department faculty made the decision to focus on undergraduate and master’s students,” Leung says, “and explicitly decided not to go the MFA [master’s in fine art] route.”

All students in the Creative Writing Program—undergrad or graduate—get the chance to interact with some of the most important contemporary writers, poets and playwrights in the country, even participating in master classes with them through the Anne & William Axton reading series. Established in 1999 with a gift from the late William Axton (a former UofL English professor) and his wife, the late Anne, the series brings in renowned writers from across the country to campus for two-day visits to read from their work, and then share their knowledge and expertise.

“A visit usually includes a public reading by the writer followed by a Q&A on the first day,” Leung says. “The next morning, they conduct a master class where some selected student work is read and critiqued. It’s an invaluable opportunity for our students.”

It is also a wonderful resource for the local community. Both events are free, and the public is encouraged to attend. The reading series is just one of many ways the Creative Writing Program collaborates with the local literary community, tying several of its events with those of outside non-profit organizations like the Louisville Literary Arts (LLA).

The list of Axton Reading Series writers, who are chosen through a process Leung calls “kind vetting,” is impressive. Previous seasons have included Tobias Wolff, Terrance Hayes, Junot Diaz, Brian Teare, Robert Pinsky, Charles Wright, Nathaniel Mackey, Susan Minot, Mary Karr, Stephen Dobyns, Colson Whitehead, Robin Lippincott, Robert Hass, Silas House, Beverly Lowry, George Saunders, Louise Glück and more.

“The poet Richard Blanco was here about five years ago,” Leung says. “That was long before his recent fame as Obama’s inaugural poet.”

He adds: “What we try to do is bring in a class of writers who are in conversation with the world of ideas, and who we know will serve our students best.”

This past semester, the series included three excellent writers: Hannah Tinti, whose short story collection, Animal Crackers, has sold in 16 countries and was runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway award; Claire Vaye Watkins, whose stories and essays have appeared in Granta, One Story, The Paris Review and more; and Lynnell Major Edwards, author of three collections of poetry, most recently Covet (October, 2011), and also The Farmer’s Daughter (2003) and The Highwayman’s Wife (2007).

Among the writers on tap for this coming fall semester’s series is the poet Tony Hoagland, whose collection What Does Narcissism Mean to Me was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and noted southern novelist Tim Gautreaux, author of the novel, The Missing in addition to many other books of fiction. Gautreaux’s reading and Q&A on Oct. 10 at the downtown Cressman Center for Visual Arts will also be part of LLA’s annual Writer’s Block Festival in Louisville’s NULU neighborhood.

World-Class Faculty

“Every year since I’ve been here, at least one of us has published a book,” Leung says. “Not to mention the numerous individual poems and prose pieces.”

But students in the Creative Writing Program don’t have to rely on visitors to campus. They have as their mentors a remarkable group of active, committed faculty who are working, producing writers and poets at or near the top of their game.

“Every year since I’ve been here, at least one of us has published a book,” Leung says. “Not to mention the numerous individual poems and prose pieces.”

Leung is the author of the short story collection, World Famous Love Acts (Sarabande), winner of the Mary McCarthy Award for short fiction and The Asian American Literary Award for Fiction. His novels are Lost Men (Random House) and Take Me Home (Harper/Collins), which won the 2011 Willa Award for Historical Fiction. His fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction appear in numerous magazines and journals. In 2012 he won a Lambda Literary Foundation Award for a Mid-career Novelist.

The professional bios of Leung’s colleagues are equally impressive and too long to include here in their entirety. Full bios: http://louisville.edu/english/creative-writing/faculty-biographies.html

Paul Griner, a former Fulbright Scholar, is the author of the short story collection Follow Me and the novels Collectors and The German Woman. He is the recipient of UofL’s Outstanding Teaching Awards at both the college and university levels as well as well as the Graduate School’s Outstanding Mentor Award.

Kiki Petrosino’s publications include a collection of poems, Fort Red Border and a chapbook, The Dark is Here. Her poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in The New York Times, Tin House, Jubilat, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review and elsewhere. Along with a colleague, she co-edits Transom, an electronic poetry journal (http://www.transomjournal.com). Her latest collection of poems will be released from Sarabande in 2013.

Jeffrey Skinner’s collection of poetry Glaciology will be published in 2013. His prose book, The 6.5 Practices of Moderately Successful Poets: A Self-help Memoir, was published in 2012 by Sarabande Books. He has published five previous collections of poetry: Late Stars, A Guide to Forgetting (a winner in the 1987 National Poetry series), The Company of Heaven, Gender Studies and Salt Water Amnesia. He has written an informal text on creative writing for high school students, Real Toads in Imaginary Gardens , and, with the poet Sarah Gorham, edited an anthology, Last Call: Poems on Alcoholism, Addiction, & Deliverance.

Bronwyn T. Williams writes and teaches creative nonfiction as well as courses in rhetoric and composition (and is no relation to the romance novelist who uses his name as a pseudonym). All of his writing, including his research, involves elements of creative nonfiction. He has published essays on creative nonfiction in several journals and anthologies, including the forthcoming Blackwell Companion to Creative Writing. He is also on the editorial board of New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing.

Creative Writing Program Writer in Residence, Sena Jeter Naslund, is the best-selling author of Ahab’s Wife, or the Star Gazer. The Birmingham, Ala., native received her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her recent works include Abundance, A Novel of Marie Antoinette (2006) and Adam & Eve (2010). She is the author of the novels Four Spirits, Ice Skating at the North Pole, The Animal Way to Love, Sherlock in Love and the short-story collection The Disobedience of Water. She has a novel due to be published in fall, 2013.

In 1980 she was appointed UofL’s first Distinguished Teaching Professor, and in 2000 she received the President's Award for Distinguished Creative Activity. She is editor of the literary magazine The Louisville Review, which she founded in 1976. She is a recipient of the Harper Lee Award and the former poet laureate of Kentucky


The Creative Writing Program also promotes popular writing contests that draw submissions internationally and from throughout the region, including the Calvino Prize and the Kentuckiana Metroversity Writing Competition.

 The Calvino Prize is an annual fiction competition that awards outstanding pieces in the fabulist, experimental style of Italo Calvino (1923-1985). The prizes are meant to encourage experimental writing “in the mode of Calvino,” Leung emphasizes.

“They’re not meant to encourage merely imitative work,” he says. “Every year we submissions from countries across the globe.”

First place is $1,500 and publication in the Salt Hill Journal of Syracuse University. Second place is $300. The winner is also invited to read the winning entry at the Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900, which is held at UofL every February. Like the Axton Reading series, this writing contest is supported by a generous and committed donor.

“This kind of generous spirit is so important to a thriving creative writing program,” Leung says.

Another writing competition promoted by the program—Kentuckiana Metroversity—is open to any student registered during the academic year in one or more classes at a Metroversity institution. The categories are poetry, short fiction and academic writing along with themed categories for creative non-fiction and an international category. Prizes are typically $200 for first place; $100 for second place in the various categories.

Sense of Place

Leung, a California native who grew up in San Diego County, says the Creative Writing Program’s success can be credited to many factors: devoted faculty, passionate students and just enough community support from this weird city to keep things … interesting. Leung sometimes heads out to the Churchill Downs, and when he’s there he likes to write, treatingthe 30-minute break between races like intensely concentrated writing sessions.

Sitting in the sun at the restaurant last week, with those special Derby vibrations creeping in, he conceded: “This is one of the best places to live the writer’s life.”

He didn’t raise his drink … but he should have.

Global Education: Study Abroad Photos Show Breadth of Opportunities in A&S

Panama, Morocco, Nepal, France, The Philippines. These are just a few of the destinations represented in the sixth annual Study Abroad Photo contest sponsored by A&S Advising. To highlight the many international programs available to students, Advising staff invited all students who studied abroad in 2012 to submit photographs of their travels. With voting open to A&S students and faculty for two weeks this spring, the top three winning photos are as follows:

"The study abroad photo contest has really grown over the past few years," said A&S Academic Counselor Danielle Dolan, coordinator of the contest. "It is really inspiring that so many students are participating in study abroad programs all over the world. Ideally, when other students see these photos, they will be inspired to start looking into all the wonderful opportunities to travel abroad available through the International Center, The Office for Civic Engagement, Leadership & Service, and various academic departments on campus. I can't tell you how many students benefit from these experiences not only academically, but personally as well!"

See all 47 student photos on the A&S Flickr Photo Gallery: Study Abroad Photo Contest

Research Office provides resources for A&S faculty

The College of Arts and Sciences asks faculty: "Do You Need Money for Research?" The A&S Research Office can help!

If you have a research idea, we can help you at any or all stages to develop the idea, find a potential sponsor, assist in writing the proposal, develop your budget, fill out the paperwork required by U of L and the sponsor, make sure everything is done properly, and get it in for institutional review by the U of L deadline. Our goal is your success.

 Dr. Robert Buchanan, Associate Dean of Research in Arts & Sciences, is a full professor in the chemistry department with many years of experience in securing funding for his research program as well as assisting others to obtain research funding. Diane Penrod, Research Manager, works with Dr. Buchanan processing PCFs and provides expertise on budgeting issues when needed, especially on indirect cost and faculty effort calculations. She also serves as the Unit Business Manager Senior for the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, and is the primary contact for A&S UBMs with grant-related questions. Teresa Wilkins and Susanna Cornett are Grant Manager Specialists; Teresa focuses on the natural sciences, and Susanna on the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Both can help with developing ideas, writing proposals, ensuring compliance with grant guidelines and university requirements, building budgets, and completing the paperwork for submissions. Both can also help you find possible funders! Holly Hogue, Administrative Specialist, works with Dr. Buchanan on PCFs, develops the website, and generally handles the administration of the Research Office.

You can find us in Gardiner Hall, Suite 320. You can email us at asresoff@louisville.edu.



Alumni spotlight: Soozie Eastman, Filmmaker and Liberal Studies Alumna

by Amber Yocum

 As a 2001 alumna of the University of Louisville’s Liberal Studies program, Soozie Eastman applies the same interdisciplinary approach of her undergraduate education to her budding film career.

Eastman, a Louisville native whose individualized undergraduate course of study focused on Communication, Sociology, Theatre and Spanish, combines her “love for educating and inspiring people through motion pictures” with an education that provided an understanding of human interaction, existing social, racial, and environmental issues, and a method to educate a wide audience on her observations.

After graduating from the University of Louisville, Eastman earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Producing Television and Film from Chapman University. Upon completion of her degree in 2005, she returned to her hometown to produce and direct By The Wayside, a feature-length documentary that illuminates the daily struggles of Kentucky’s homeless. In By The Wayside, Eastman focuses on the individual lives of those living on the streets or in abandoned buildings, war veterans, and countless others who are struggling and combatting drug and alcohol addictions.

Overload: America's Toxic Love Story

More recently, Eastman brings this interdisciplinary approach to Overload: America’s Toxic Love Story. This documentary, produced and directed by Eastman, explores America’s dependency upon a myriad of potentially harmful chemicals. Some of the synthetic chemicals, ranging from flame-retardants to plastics to pesticides and preservatives, have been proven to cause cancer, developmental disorders, and reproductive issues. By calling attention to this “toxic overload” in American culture, Eastman wants to provide “safe, easy and inexpensive” products that will allow families to consume and clean in safer, less toxic environments. In addition, Eastman hopes to expose how the government can assist in regulating the development of such lethal products.

About the Liberal Studies Program

The Liberal Studies B. A. is an interdisciplinary degree meant for those students who 1) prefer an individualized, interdisciplinary major as opposed to a traditional single-discipline major or 2) are preparing for a graduate/professional program which benefits from undergraduate study across disciplines.

Working with Program Director Dr. John Hale and Academic Counselor Maggie Noffke, students create individualized programs to meet their academic and career goals and ambitions. Liberal Studies majors have created hundreds of individualized programs, such as Environmental Studies and Activism and Multicultural Medicine.

More about Liberal Studies Program:

Chemistry Prof. Hammond named 2014 Fulbright Distinguished Chair

Chemistry professor G.B. Hammond has been named a 2014 Fulbright Distinguished Chair. The award is among the program’s most prestigious and is typically given to fewer than 50 educators each year.

 A professor and endowed chair, Hammond will use the award to travel to Sao Paulo University, Brazil, where he will conduct lectures and collaborate with colleagues.

“One of my objectives is to build bridges between Latin American and U.S. educators and researchers,” Hammond said. “Brazil is becoming a powerhouse both scientifically and economically, so it makes sense to collaborate.”

Hammond has earned accolades for his work involving fluorine, an element used in many industrial applications. In 2007-2009 he was appointed program chair for the National Science Foundation’s chemistry division. He also has authored nearly 140 publications, holds five patents and has been a visiting professor at some of the world’s most prominent universities.

A native of Peru, Hammond earned his doctoral degree from the University of Birmingham, England.

Fulbright awards are administered by the Institute of International Education’s Council for International Exchange of Scholars and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

This is Hammond’s second Fulbright award.

A&S in the Community: Downtown Civil Rights Markers, J. Blaine Hudson Saturday Academy

 Mayor Greg Fischer, Metro Councilman David Tandy, Provost Shirley Willinghanz, and NAACP President Raoul Cunningham joined other civic leaders for the public unveiling of the first of 12 markers planned to note downtown Louisville civil rights demonstrations 50 years ago.

The “Civil Rights Overview” marker at Fourth and Guthrie streets describes local demonstrations, when black students and adults marched and participated in sit-ins at downtown businesses that refused to serve African Americans. Activists organized a voter registration campaign that led to election of people responsive to their cause and, after more demonstrations, passage of the 1963 ordinance to end that practice.

“Access to public accommodations finally opened to everyone after years of pressure by the black community and other concerned citizens,” said John Ferré, interim dean of UofL’s College of Arts and Sciences. “The Public Accommodations Ordinance was a first for a Southern city, and Louisville received national recognition for peaceful desegregation at a time when violence had erupted throughout the South.”

The marker project began two years ago when then-dean Blaine Hudson convened a meeting of university and community leaders to consider ways to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the ordinance’s passage; Hudson, also a historian and civil rights activist, died earlier this year.

An advisory committee of scholars, historians and sit-in participants suggested the marker sites. Installation of the other markers is expected through 2013 and 2014, mostly along South Fourth Street and West Broadway locations.

Louisville artist Ed Hamilton designed the marker’s artwork and Eagle Sign made the aluminum marker, which is dedicated to Hudson’s memory.

History Professor and Department Chair Tracy K'Meyer wrote the text for the marker placed at 4th and Guthrie streets.

J. Blaine Hudson Saturday Academy Re-launched May 18

A longtime community enrichment program resumed the newly-renamed J. Blaine Hudson Saturday Academy with a special free, public program May 18 at the traditional academy location, DuValle Education Center, in western Louisville.

UofL and community representatives spoke and journalist-speaker Betty Baye moderated “Blaine Hudson: Back in the Day – 1969 May.” Physician Bob Martin, Dr. Hudson’s friend and fellow activist from their time together as UofL students, shared memories as well, and an open microphone allowed attendees to share their thoughts about the Saturday Academy and Hudson.

Hudson, who died Jan. 5 at age 63, was a longtime history and Pan-African studies faculty member and was dean of UofL’s College of Arts and Sciences from 2005 to 2012. He had been chair of the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission and was author of two books about the underground railroad and co-author of a recent photographic history of black Louisville. Hudson spent most Saturday mornings teaching black history at the Saturday Academy, which UofL operated in partnership with other community groups.

The J. Blaine Hudson Saturday Academy will resume its regular midday September-May operations this fall under the direction of UofL’s Pan-African studies department, according to Theresa Rajack-Talley, the department chair. Jefferson County Public Schools will continue as a community partner.

"No one knows exactly what was in Blaine’s mind but he knew that PAS was the most appropriate nest to situate the Academy," Rajack-Talley said. "Outreach has always been an integral part of this department as it keeps us grounded from whence we came and why we are here.  Over the years PAS have been a significant partner with the Saturday Academy and now we are privileged to be its custodian.  The department is committed to keep it safe, grow its programs, and maintain its focus and integrity. We will work with past partners knowing that Blaine will always direct it."

"In an era where perspectives on history are omitted, misrepresented or revised, the Saturday Academy serves as an enlightening alternative." - J. Blaine Hudson

The goal in Hudson's words: “to grow the Saturday Academy into a permanent community-based Institute. In an era where perspectives on history are omitted, misrepresented or revised, the Saturday Academy serves as an enlightening alternative.”  Join us as we launch the new “J. Blaine Hudson Saturday Academy” and celebrate the department’s 40th anniversary and commitment to community outreach.

The free, public sessions on black history, issues and culture are geared to high school students and adults. The 11 a.m.-2 p.m. sessions open with a history lesson and then shift to current topical issues with invited panelists from UofL and the community.

For more information, contact Rajack-Talley at 502-852-5985 or panafrican.studies@louisville.edu



Inclusion and Equity Intern Program Continues to Grow

  The A&S Inclusion and Equity Internship Program, established in Fall 2009, is designed to expose a team of students to the scholarship and best practices concerning inclusiveness and equity, with the purpose of cultivating social justice leadership skills among college students.  The goal of this program is to foster well-cultivated critical thinkers.

The Inclusion and Equity Internship Program began during the Fall 2009 semester with only four interns and has served approximately 22 participants since its inception.

Each year, a cohort of interns attends and participates in a series of workshops and guided trainings which provide a common foundation that enhances the student co-curricular programming experience.  Interns are required to participate in dialogues designed to share their experiences and provide opportunities for reflection.  Interns are responsible for conceiving, planning and executing programs which share what they have learned from this experience with the campus and greater Louisville community.

The Inclusion and Equity Interns are trained facilitators and are available to conduct various workshops, as well as facilitate difficult discussions and engaging activities concerning issues of social justice.

2012-13 Intern And Equity Internship Program Activities
10/12/12University of Louisville, Theater Arts Department
10/16/12University of Louisville, Soc 323 course (Dr. Andrea Koven
Legal Aid Society Professional Development session
12/13/12JCPS, Blue Lick Elementary (3 – 5 students)
1/10/13University of Louisville, Fundamentals of Diversity (Dr. David Owen)
University of Louisville, Cultural Diversity Course (Dr. Lundeana Thomas)
2/12, 3/12, 4/16/13JCPS, Blue Lick Elementary Professional Development session with faculty and staff
2/25 – 3/1/13Inclusion and Equity Week at UofL
3/4/13Elizabethtown Community and Technical College Professional Development session with faculty and staff
3/8/13Louisville Metro County Jail Tour and dialogue with inmates
3/21/13University of Louisville, School of Education – Friends and Confabulations Program
3/22/13Cardinal Leadership Certificate, Multicultural Competence
4/5 – 6/13

Speaking Truth To Intolerance Conference

Two of our interns, Melanie Burrier and Khotso Libe, presented:  “From Passion to Action” at this conference. More: Conference

From Passion to Action (Burrier and Libe report back from Speaking to Intolerance Conference)
Actors Theater of Louisville, Professional Development Session
Other Collaborative efforts:
Anne Braden film and dialogue at the Kentucky Center for African  American Heritage
9/25/12Take Back the Night
Pride Week
Peace and Justice Week
Anne Braden film and dialogue, UofL Floyd Theater
UofL Leadership Quest
2/6/13Let’s Talk Luncheon w/BFSA (Discussion on the Other Wes Moore)
A&S Diversity Council
Let’s Talk Luncheon w/BFSA (Discussion on Black Women:  Power, Image, Relationships, and Finance)
4/3/13Let’s Talk Luncheon w/BFSA (Discussion on the prison system)

To view evaluation reports from the programs listed above, please visit:  http://uofl.me/as-iei

If you are interested in having the interns conduct a session with your class, department, or organization, please contact Marian R. Vasser at 502-852-2252 or mrvass01@louisville.edu.  During our initial conversation, we will identify areas of focus, as well as discuss details of the proposed session and fees (if applicable).