Despite the fact that Rowan University’s tuition increases over the past five years have been held below the national rate of inflation, the cost of higher education still is one of the biggest ticket items facing young adults today. The Writing Arts Department, however, has two updates that will help ease this burden:
- First, the family of the late Myra Schiffman Mederios has announced the scholarship named for the 2014 graduate of Rowan’s Master of Arts in Writing program has been fully endowed and will be presented annually in perpetuity. The Myra Schiffman-Bunya Sandler Memorial Fund offers a cash award to a Writing Arts graduate student each year to help her or him attend conferences and seek other professional development opportunities. Myra, a very popular creative writing student who died of cancer at age 61, was presented with her diploma in her hospital bed just three days before she died of cancer in March 2014. The award is co-named for Myra’s great aunt who died in the Holocaust.
- Next, Dean Sandy Tweedie is thrilled to report a successful kickoff to his College of Communication and Creative Arts Flying First Fund scholarship program. Enough money was pledged to the fund at this year’s “Rowan Gives Day” event in March to allow the program to start awarding scholarships to first-generation CCCA students this coming academic year. Dean Tweedie has pledged to contribute to the fund and match the donations of others until the scholarship is fully endowed.
Nearly a score of colleagues from the Writing Arts Department’s First-Year Writing Program (FYWP) were on hand to receive one of just seven university Employee Recognition Awards presented for the 2017-2018 academic year. FYWP Coordinator Amy Woodworth accepted a plaque for the “Teamwork – Team Honor” award from President Ali Houshmand as part of Rowan’s annual Celebrating Excellence Awards ceremony and banquet at the Chamberlain Student Center. The award narrative says First-Year Writing teaches about 5,500 students each year who are “embarking on their academic writing careers.” While also mentioning Dr. Woodworth’s predecessor as coordinator, Erin Herberg, the program says “faculty in the First-Year Writing Program are on the front lines, so to speak, when it comes to supporting students. They are often among the first to notice under-performing students, those struggling to adjust to college-level work, or students in need of tutoring or academic services.” . . . Among other award winners at the event was Professor Gregory Biren from the School of Health Professions who took home the prestigious Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award. In his acceptance speech, Prof. Biren thanked his faculty colleagues for their support by saying the friendship permeating his department “creates a culture of learning and a culture of family.” (At the top, President Houshmand presents the Teamwork award to Dr. Woodworth and, below that, smiles abound after the banquet as Writing Arts colleagues gather for a team photo.)
- Department Chair Jennifer Courtney will be enshrined as a member of the university’s Wall of Fame at a Chamberlain Student Center luncheon this Thursday, April 26. All members of last spring’s graduating class were asked to nominate and provide letters of support for professors and advisers who have had a “significant impact on the learning and overall development of students at Rowan.” Wall of Fame awards have been presented since 1997 and this year’s class contains 34 professors and advisers. The Wall of Fame website calls the award “a tremendous honor,” and those of us who work every day with Dr. Courtney know it’s an honor well-deserved.
- Writing Center Director Celeste DelRusso has been elected Vice President of the Mid-Atlantic Writing Center Association (MAWCA), which means -- upon the completion of her term as VP – she will ascend to the organization’s top job as president. This announcement is one more accolade in what has been an eventful semester for Dr. DelRusso; she was part of a Rowan Writing Arts team that presented in March at 4Cs in Kansas City, and then – with the help of her stellar Rowan Writing Center staff – she served as chair of the highly successful 2018 MAWCA Conference that was held here on campus in March.
- The student-run Rowan University Writing Arts Club (RUWAC) recently received word it has been granted an official student organization charter by the university’s Student Government Association (SGA). The Club was created in 2012 but started to work toward a charter just three years ago. This acknowledgment gives the RUWAC access to matching funds from the SGA, but also requires the Club to promote the values of volunteerism, dedication, community collaboration, leadership, and unity through its actions, events, and publications.
- The Club also has announced the members of its fall 2018-spring 2019 executive board. They are: English major Adam Schmidt as President and SGA Senator; Writing Arts major Justina Addice as Vice President and SUP representative; Communications Studies major Remy Desai-Patel as Secretary; Writing Arts/International Studies dual major Elizabeth Mosolovich as Treasurer; and Master of Arts in Writing student Sarah Knapp as Graduate Mentor.
- The annual Master of Arts in Writing Symposium will be held on the nights of Tuesday, May 1, Wednesday, May 2, and Thursday, May 3 as this year’s 15 MAWR graduates present and defend their Master’s theses. Here’s the lineup for those three nights: Tuesday: Emily Severance, Tara O'Day, Emily Strauser, Elizabeth DiPietro, and Myriah Stubee; Wednesday: Rachel Carly, Alfred Dansbury, Jaymilynn Rogers, Mikaela Langdon, and Elyssa Finkelstein; Thursday: Tyler Riggs, Joe Magaletta, Karen Teller, Rachel Saltzman, and Kimberly Erskine.
- The format for Graduation Week has changed this year with the addition of a university-wide main event and keynote address on Sunday, May 6. Glassboro native and member of the Super Bowl-champion Philadelphia Eagles – Corey Clement – will speak at the Richard Wacker Stadium event scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. This year’s CCCA-specific ceremony, at which students have their names called and walk across the stage as family and faculty celebrate, will be 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 9 on the University Green.
- Final grades are due on Banner by the end of the day on Monday, May 14.
Stephen A. Royek, M.A.
Instructor, Writing Arts
2015 Rowan Medallion Award winner
Victoria Hall, Room 521