Greetings from the new Cooper Director, Dr. Kris McAbee! I am honored to have this opportunity to direct the honors program, to facilitate events, and to help create community in UALR’s English department. I am grateful to the outgoing Director, Dr. Paul Yoder, who has been an outstanding mentor to students and faculty alike, and who continues to provide guidance on all things Cooper as the Interim Chair of the English Department. Many thanks, also, to the members of the Cooper Committee, Dr. Laura Barrio-Vilar and Dr. Jeremy Ecke.


Congratulations to this year’s stipend recipients!

Returning  recipients are Savannah Adams, Geoffrey Bara, Lizzie Ferguson, Keely Phillips, Kelly Singer, and Alexis Williams.

First year stipend recipients are Olivia Dunlap, Lindsey Fisher, Blaise Hale, Juli Lewis, Allison Ousnamer, and Meghan Reed.

Cooper Honors stipends are $1300 per semester for up to 4 semesters.  The stipends are awarded on a competitive basis.  You can apply for a stipend twice during either semester of the regular school year; application deadlines are Consultation Day of the semester.  Information on how to apply is available online here, and click on “Student Application.”  For more information about the program, contact Dr. McAbee at


Jeffrey-Condran-150x150The English department is delighted to welcome Jeffrey Condran to the faculty as an Assistant Professor. Professor Condran holds an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh and is our newest hire in creative writing. He teaches courses in creative writing (fiction), Contemporary Literature, and Editing & Independent Press Administration. He is the author of two works of fiction: a short story collection, A Fingerprint Repeated (Press 53), and a novel, Prague Summer (Counterpoint). He is the faculty co-advisor of UALR’s literary magazine, Equinox, and co-founder/publisher of the independent literary press, Braddock Avenue Books.

Get to know more about Professor Condran at the upcoming New English Faculty event, when he and the department’s other most recent Assistant Professor, Dr. Paul Crutcher, will introduce themselves to the UALR community: Tuesday, October 27th, 6pm. (Details below under Events.)


Heather K. Hummel also joins us as a Visiting Assistant Professor, focusing on poetry. Professor Hummel holds an MA in English Literature from Eastern Washington University and an MFA from the University of Southern Maine Stonecoast. She co-founded the online literary journal, Blood Orange Review, and now serves as Advisory Editor for the journal. She has published two poetry chapbooks, Boytreebird (2013), and Handmade Boats (2010). Recently, her work has appeared in Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment, and The Southern Poetry Anthology Volume VI: Tennessee (Texas Review Press, 2013). Learn more about Professor Hummel at her website:


31B2E322-C341-44BB-A969-F3AFB8F89EA3Img400For Fall 2015, Dr. Brad Minnick is teaching a Cooper seminar on Great Books.The course uses novella length works from both the old school canon of great novels and the emerging Young Adult canon. Dr. Minnick says, “The evolving literary canon creates some surprising and wonderful juxtapositions and unlikely textual pairings. In the tradition of ‘Great Books Seminars,’ this course will explore relationships among books by Steinbeck and Faulkner positioned beside books by Sandra Cisneros and S.E. Hinton.”  The reading list is likely to include Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck; The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros; As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner; The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton; Fences, August Wilson; Bronx Masquerade, Nikki Grimes; The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane; The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien; Hiroshima, John Hersey; Night, Elie Wiesel.

downloadIn Spring 2016, Dr. Laura Barrio-Vilar will offer a Cooper seminar on Literature and Social Justice. The class will focus on 20th-century writers committed to various social justice movements. Some of the required readings include Richard Wright’s Native Son, Edwidge Danticat’s The Farming of Bones, Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues,and Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness, among others. Students will have several options for service-learning through which they will experience first-hand what it is like to engage in social justice work.


Advising for Spring 2016 has begun!  Cooper Honors students should be advised by Dr. McAbee, unless you are advised by your project director.  If you are advised by your project director, please let Dr. McAbee know.  Linguistics minors should be advised by Dr. Ecke.  Secondary Ed minors should be advised by either Prof. Crutcher or Prof. Thurmond, and those in the Blocks should be advised by Dr. Minnick.  Creative Writing students should be advised by Prof. Hummel or Prof. Condran.  Students graduating in May 2016 should be advised by Dr. Yoder to make sure that all last minute details are in order.  All other students should stop by the English Department or call 569-3161 to make an appointment. For more information about advising, and to schedule appointments, see:


All Cooper Lectures are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Dates TBA: Fall 2015 Cooper Speaker, Dr. Anthony Petrosky
Associate Dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education, Anthony Petrosky, will be our featured Cooper Speaker and Pedagogy Lecture Series speaker. Petrosky is best known for his work developing the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards for English teachers and participating states across the country, for designing the Common Core PARCC English/Language Arts Assessments used in the US, and for his bestselling books Ways of Reading, and Facts, Artifacts and Counterfacts (both written with David Bartholomae), and his edited collection Content Matters (with P. McConachie). His poetry collection Jurgis Petraskas also won the Walt Whitman Award.

Petrosky, a proponent of a hybrid Great Books method, will lecture on his and David Bartholomae’s conceptions of Ways of Reading: High School Books and talk with teachers at Forest Hills Middle School and students and teachers at Central High School about his work. He will also provide a master class for Minnick’s Great Books Seminar and a colloquium talk

(title forthcoming).

Tuesday, Oct. 27: Meet the New English Faculty

In recent years, the department has been able to bring in new tenure-track faculty to build on our strengths in secondary education and creative writing. Dr. Paul Crutcher joined the English department in Fall 2013 and brings with him expertise in empathy in culture, especially in K-12 and higher education, language and literacy (including TESOL), pop culture (e.g., TV, games, movies, comics), children’s and YA literature, religious/secular ethics, and critical theory (particularly gender, sexuality, and LBGTQ issues). Jeffrey Condran comes to UALR this semester to teach creative writing, especially fiction, along with contemporary literature and editing and independent press administration.The Cooper Program will host an opportunity to meet these new professors and hear about their work on Tuesday, October 27, at 6:00pm in Ottenheimer Library 535.  Join us for a light reception and to learn about the work and interests of Professors Crutcher and Condran.

Thursday, Nov. 5Information Session on Graduate Studies in Literature

On Thursday, November 5, at 1:30 pm in Stabler Hall 401 Dr. Jeremy Ecke and Dr. Kris McAbee will host an information session on graduate studies in literature. If you’ve considered pursuing an advanced degree after you graduate from UALR, you’ll want to attend this event, which will largely be dedicated to answering your questions about degree types and the application process.

Friday, Nov. 6: Information Session on Graduate Studies in Creative Writing

Please join Professors Condran and Hummel on Friday, November 6, at 2:00 pm in Stabler Hall 401 for an information session on pursuing graduate degrees in creative writing. If you have thought that an advanced degree in creative writing is something you might want to pursue down the line, you will not want to miss this session which will cover the basics of applying to graduate school for creative writing. Most of the session will be dedicated to Q&A so bring your questions for Professors Condran and Hummel!


Date TBA: “Creative Horizons” Undergraduate Conference

The English Department is hosting the Second Annual UALR Undergraduate Conference at the Arkansas Studies Institute, on a date to be announced.images

This year’s conference is titled “Creative Horizons: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Student Research.” The organizing committee invites essays, poster-board presentations, and visual arts projects exploring interdisciplinary thinking in the humanities and social sciences. Creative works of short fiction, poetry, and visual art are encouraged.
An abstract of no more than 100 words or a brief author’s/artist’s statement for creative works should be sent to  All submissions should include your full name, department, and preferred email. Please also indicate whether you will need technology and if you are interested in moderating a session. Papers and creative readings should be about 5 pages in length, as presentations will be given 8 to 12 minutes.
Friday, Dec. 11: Cooper Winter Colloquium

All are invited to the Winter Colloquium on Friday, December 11, 11:30-1:30pm in Ottenheimer Library 535. The Cooper Honors students who have completed projects in Fall 2015 will present their work. Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about the exiting and sophisticated scholarship and creative work accomplished by students in UALR’s English department. A list of presenters will and further details will be available later in the semester.

Please send any corrections, updates, or announcements for the next broadsheet to Dr. McAbee at



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