For those of you who don’t know, the English department has had an interim department head, Dr. Andrew McMichael, since the summer of 2012. The search for a new department head began last week with Dr. Gary Totten.
Gary Totten, the first department head candidate to visit WKU this semester.
Totten is the head of the English department at North Dakota State University. You can read more about his professional background here. Tomitha Blair, an office associate in our department, met with Totten and found him to be very pleasant. “He was comfortable to be around, easy to talk to, and engaged in the conversation,” Blair said. Totten met with students last Friday at 10:30 AM to answer questions and learn more about the department. “He was very interested in getting to know the students,” said Meg McDonald, a junior at WKU. “He spoke about his open door policy, and wanting to further open the lines of communication within the department.”
The next candidate, Ted Pelton, was also well-received. Pelton is professor at Medaille College in New York. He’s also a publisher of experimental fiction. Nikolas Endres, an associate English professor, said Pelton was, “a nice guy with a good sense of humor. Very creative.” I was lucky enough to attend Pelton’s student event yesterday, and was pleasantly surprised to see a good amount of participation. Anthony Gross, an English major, said, “He had an innovative personality. It seems like he would bring a lot of energy to the department.”
Students meeting with Ted Pelton, a department head candidate, to discuss his ideas.
To make matters even more complicated, two more candidates will be arriving later this month. The next student-candidate meeting will be next Tuesday, February 19, at 9:15 AM in Cherry 105. The candidate is Robert Hale, an associate professor at Monmouth College.
It’s extremely important to meet with these candidates. The new department head will have the capabilities to change things in Cherry Hall. As English students, we should be interested in the search and avidly voicing our opinions.
Be sure to mark next Tuesday on your calendar!