English Matters. College of Arts and Sciences. Washington State University.


Message from the Chair

Dear Alumni and Friends,

I hope you are enjoying the fall season. We are well into the academic semester and looking forward to another term as remarkable as last spring and summer. Here are just a few highlights of our faculty and student activities:

In February, seven of our faculty members advanced in their career:

  • Gibran Escalera, promotion to career-track associate professor
  • Tomie Gowdy-Burke, promotion to career-track associate professor
  • Jon Hegglund, promotion to tenure-track professor
  • Laura Kuhlman, promotion to career-track associate professor
  • Melissa Nicolas, promotion to tenure-track professor
  • Liz Siler, promotion to career-track associate professor
  • Kate Watts, promotion to career-track professor

In March, our interns and faculty advisors for our undergraduate journal, LandEscapes, and our online journal, Blood Orange Review, were able to attend the conference of the Associated Writing Programs in Seattle, where they staffed a table to introduce participants to WSU’s publications and encourage submissions. We look forward sending them to the conference in Kansas City next February.

In April, the English Club sponsored a visit from Nina LaCour, author of several critically acclaimed young adult novels, including We Are Okay, Watch Over Me, and Yerba Buena.

Later that month, the College of Arts and Sciences (our WSU academic home) honored two of our faculty members: Donna Campbell received the Distinguished Faculty Award, and Lauren Westerfield received an Early Career Award. At the end of the month, we had a release party for LandEscapes, which honored faculty advisor Peter Chilson for his decades of service, and welcomed Grant Maierhofer, who agreed to step into the role.

In May, we revived our chapter of the English honor society Sigma Tau Delta and provided honorary memberships to the first eight students who signed up. We planned events for the 2023-24 academic year. We had a brunch for our graduating seniors and graduate students, which also provided an opportunity to recognize our new Sigma Tau Delta members.

Later that month, students joined us on our second faculty-led Ireland Study Abroad trip in conjunction with the WSU Honors College, which featured readings and meetings with poets, as well as tours of many beautiful places, including Galway, Dublin, the Giant’s Causeway, and the Cliffs of Moher.

In July, I traveled with faculty members and graduate students to the biennial conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment in Portland, Oregon, where we presented our papers.

Bell, Westerfield, and Maierhofer stand at the Blood Orange Review table.
Melanie Bell, Lauren Westerfield, and Grant Maierhofer at the Conference of the Associated Writing Programs in Seattle.
Two people stand at a small podium and present to a small seated crowd. To the left and right of the presenters are multiple easels with work on display.
Landscapes release party
Sigma Tau Delta logo. Sincerity. Truth. Design. International English Society.

Throughout the year, alumni gifts helped to enrich our students’ educational experiences, enhanced their career opportunities, and make WSU more visible. Contributions to the department’s excellence fund, however large or small, are deeply appreciated and help advance our mission.

Please stay in touch. I’m proud to serve as chair of a department with such dedicated students, faculty, and alumni, so I’m always grateful to receive updates from you.

All my best,

Donna L. Potts
Professor and Chair