English Matters

English Matters Newsletter Fall 2015

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ENGLISH MATTERS QU EEN S COLLEGE • DE PARTMENT OF ENGLI SH • FALL 2015 In the early 1990s, the English Department moved into a newly renovated Klapper Hall from its "tempo- rary" home in Temp 2, where we had been housed for over 20 years. Temp 2 had its charms: shared offices for all; the bull pen, a large, open-plan area, with cubicles in which part-time faculty met students; walls that didn't reach the ceiling, so that what happened in one space could be heard pretty much everywhere. Klapper had the allure of more privacy. The recent reno- vation meant that things were new and clean. Even if, from the beginning, the ventilation system didn't really work, and some of us were less than thrilled with the sculptures chosen for the building's exterior, we were all excited to have a permanent instead of a temporary place in which to work. (Temp 2, by the way, wasn't demolished after our departure; instead, it was renovated and is now called Continuing Ed 2.) I find myself thinking back on those early years in Klapper because I've recently moved into the Chair's office, Klapper 602, to serve as the department's acting-Chair while Glenn Burger enjoys a well-deserved sabbatical. I occupied the Chair's office once before, between 1996 and 1998; before that, I was the first occupant of the adjacent office, Klapper 601, which now belongs to Siân Silyn Roberts, our director of Undergradu- ate Studies. Only a handful of our current faculty remember the Temp 2 years. For those of us who do–or at least for me–there's something melancholy in that fact. I remem- ber fondly sitting on the front step of Temp 2 with Amy Tucker, considering who to vote for in the election for department Chair. And I very vividly recall conversations in those run-down offices with Barbara Bowen, now the president of our faculty union, and with many colleagues who are no longer with us. But thinking of Temp 2 and our move to Klapper also serves to remind me of how vital a place the English Department at Queens has always been, from my arrival in Flushing in the fall of 1988 to this new academic year. We now have an especially strong cohort of Graduate Teaching Assis- tants in the Department, doctoral candidates at the CUNY Graduate Center who teach for us for three or more years. We have been able, especially during the past decade, to hire excellent full-time faculty. And our newer faculty are especially active in helping to run the department, along with Professor Silyn Roberts. Karen Weingarten is our As- sociate Chair. Annmarie Drury, Gloria Fisk, and Amy Wan jointly direct our First Year Writing Program. Caroline Hong is in charge of our MA degree, with assistance from Bill Orchard, and Kimiko Hahn and Roger Sedarat are directing the MFA program for the year, while Nicole Cooley is on leave. Ryan Black is in charge of our undergraduate creative writing program, and Jeff Cassvan directs undergraduate internships. All of us benefit from the excellent administrative work of Kim Smith and Tiffany Thomas, and their team of college assistants, John Rice and Tiffany Smith. One of the things I remember most from the Temp 2 years is the constant buzz of voic- es in the building. That could be distracting when you were trying to read a Middle En- glish poem in preparation for class, but it also was often energizing. Although we can now shut our office doors and enjoy relative quiet, the halls of Klapper strike me as still energet- ic, filled with dedicated faculty excited if a bit nervous about their next class and students nervous but also excited about the various subjects they're studying. It's a pleasure for me to be involved in our common education- al experience. I hope that alumni of the English Department feel welcome to come back to Queens College to visit. This year, I'll be in Klapper 602. From the Desk of the Acting Chair Steven Kruger

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