Department of English

  • Why I Give: Robert Collins, Ph.D.

    Many of our donors give to the College as a way of showing their appreciation for the people who inspired and guided them to academic and professional success. We asked a few of our supporters to share their stories of why they give and how investing in the College will ensure the success of our future students.

    Many of our donors give to the College as a way of showing their appreciation for the people who inspired and guided them to academic and professional success. We asked a few of our supporters—including Emeritus Associate Professor Robert Collins, Ph.D.—to share their stories of why they give and how investing in the College will ensure the success of our future students.

     

    Arts & Sciences magazine: What do you do for a living?

    Robert Collins: I have been retired from the Department of English for almost a decade. Before I retired, I taught American literature and writing, including creative writing, for thirty years in the English Department at UAB. While serving as an English professor, I co-founded Birmingham Poetry Review with Randy Blythe, Ph.D., and directed the creative writing program for almost ten years. Since retiring, I have published two volumes of poetry, Naming the Dead (FutureCycle Press, 2012) and Drinking with the Second Shift (Word Tech, 2017). I am currently working on another collection of poems.

    A&S: Did you benefit from scholarships when you were a student?

    RC: Yes, I did. I attended Xavier University in Cincinnati on a presidential scholarship.

    A&S: What made you decide to make a gift to the College of Arts and Sciences?

    RC: I had several reasons for making a gift (the Collins Family Scholarship in Creative Writing) to the College of Arts and Sciences at UAB. First, I wanted to honor a worthy student with the gift of time, so precious to any writer, and to raise the status of creative writing, which is as demanding a discipline as any other in the arts and sciences. Second, I wanted to express my gratitude for the position I held in the English Department at UAB, which gave me the opportunity “to pursue my talents in the direction of excellence” as John F. Kennedy, one of my heroes, observed when asked why he wanted to be president. Third, and most importantly, I wanted to honor and express my gratitude to my parents John and Veronica Collins for the way in which they stressed the importance of education, especially higher education, which they rightly believed to be the key to a better life.

    A&S: Where do you see the College of Arts and Sciences in the next ten years? Fifty years?

    RC: So many physical changes have taken place on campus in the ten years since I retired that I hesitate to say anything about what might happen in the next ten, let alone fifty. I can speak, however, to what I would like to see happen in the next decade. Primarily, I'd like to see UAB redirect its resources to assure that faculty are secure, prosperous, and not overworked. Since enrollment at UAB has increased so dramatically in the past decade, I’d like to see the university focus on hiring many more faculty members in tenure-track positions and compensating them commensurate with the heavy load they carry. The colleagues I worked with during my 30 years at UAB were the smartest and hardest working people I knew.


    Donor support is invaluable in ensuring that our students receive the quality education that, regardless of their course of study, will set them on the path to success. For additional information regarding gifts to the College of Arts and Sciences, please contact Camille Epps at camilleepps@uab.edu or call (205) 996-2154.

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  • Professional Writing alumni profile: Luke Richey

    Alumnus Luke Richey believes being open to new experiences and change will help you decide your path.

    Alumnus Luke Richey believes being open to new experiences and change will help you decide your path — it certainly served him well in deciding his. When Richey started at UAB, he was on track to major in Psychology, but eventually found that he was much more at home in the English Department, working toward a degree in Professional Writing. Richey found classes with Associate Professor Jeffrey Bacha to be particularly memorable.

    “Definitely listen to Dr. Bacha,” said Richey. “He is one of the best teachers! He teaches practical skills that really prepare you for both graduate school and a career.”

    Following UAB, Richey was accepted to graduate school at Auburn University, where he earned a Master’s of Technical and Professional Communication (MTPC) and served as a Communications and Marketing Assistant at the Harbert College of Business. Currently, Richey is a Copywriter and Content Strategist at McNutt & Partners, LLC, a local ad agency, where he drafts copy for multiple clients on a myriad of social media platforms. The job allows him to not only be creative but also critically analyze a variety of different topics for a wide audience.

    “Writing is like a puzzle,” said Richey. “I have to find the best words and phrases that are coherent and compelling to get people to take action. I would be bored to tears not getting the chance to be creative. I don’t know how others do it. I get to do what I love every day.”

    This creativity has led to big opportunities. Though his English degree provided a great foundation, Richey has learned a lot on the job, from HTML to JavaScript to using the best tags in social media writing to get optimal views. In just the past two months, the team that Richey is a part of was able to onboard 30 new clients. Looking ahead, Richey hopes to eventually springboard his current position into being a creative or content director, managing a team. He advises current UAB undergraduates and graduates to also keep an eye on their future.

    “When you graduate, you might not immediately get the job you want, but always look toward the future and your goals. Search for internships to diversify your skill set and make connections inside and outside of academia. Try to get as much as experience as possible, and be open to taking chances.”

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  • Try this new online toolkit to guide your student’s research

    The seven-module CAS Research Sources and Skills Toolkit focuses on efficient research strategies, evaluation of source material, appropriate techniques for documenting source material and more.

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  • Free Creative Cloud offers an ‘essential’ boost in workplace

    Understanding the digital creative tools that are a mainstay of the modern workplace is essential, according to faculty and local business leaders.

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  • Incorporating climate change in the classroom provides hope for the future of our planet

    Learning the effects of climate change through science and language can help students understand their role in the environment.

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  • Need affordable instructional materials? Call a librarian

    Library liaisons, course reserves and supplemental resources give students more freedom to succeed academically — because they worry less financially.

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  • Words of Honor

    UAB literary journals spotlight the best contemporary writing for a national audience
    By Laura Jane Crocker

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  • Clements wins prize for essay in History of Ideas

    The winning essay by Jill Clements, Ph.D., assistant professor of English, explores the treatment of sudden death in early English literary representations of dying and the dead.

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  • The College Honors 2018 Alumni Award Recipients at Annual Reception

    The College of Arts and Sciences recognized three notable alumni at the annual Scholarship and Awards Luncheon on March 21, 2019. Our 2018 honorees were recognized for their diverse talents, professional accomplishments, and community service.

    The College of Arts and Sciences recognized three notable alumni at the annual Scholarship and Awards Luncheon on March 21, 2019. Our 2018 honorees were recognized for their diverse talents, professional accomplishments, and community service. Congratulations to our three deserving winners!

    Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award

    David Brasfield, B.S. in Computer Science, 1984

    This is the College’s highest honor, and is awarded to prominent alumni who have achieved distinction through exceptional contribution to their professions. This award highlights the diverse talents, notable accomplishments and extraordinary service of our alumni and is reserved for those with a history of excellence in their careers.

    David Brasfield is the current founder and CEO of NXTsoft.com. Over the last 30 years, he has demonstrated a track record of success in creating and developing several technology companies from inception through to successful exit.

    David has successfully developed and implemented strategies for sales, marketing and software product development. He is the founder and former CEO of Tri-Novus Capital, LLC, SBS Corporation, SBS Data Services, Inc., Brasfield Technology, LLC and Brasfield Data Services, LLC, all of which were providers of automation technology solutions for community financial institutions. He has been a director of a community bank and is currently a member of other boards in the Birmingham area, including our Department of Computer Science Advisory Board.

    Distinguished Young Alumni Award

    Ashley M. Jones, B.A. in English, 2012, UAB; M.F.A. in poetry, Florida International University

    This award honors alumni age 40 or younger for significant accomplishments in industry and/or their career field or for service in the College.

    Ashley M. Jones is a poet, organizer, and educator from Birmingham, Alabama. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from UAB and an MFA in Poetry from Florida International University. She is the author of Magic City Gospel and dark / / thing. Her poetry has earned local and national awards, including the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award, the Silver Medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards, the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry, a Literature Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, and the Lucille Clifton Legacy Award.

    Her poems and essays appear in or are forthcoming at CNN, The Oxford American, Origins Journal, The Quarry by Split This Rock, Obsidian, and many others. She teaches at UAB and at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and she is the founding director of the Magic City Poetry Festival here in Birmingham.

    Alumni Service Award

    Isabel Rubio, B.A. in History, 1987, Southern Mississippi University; B.S. in Social Work, 1993, UAB

    This award honors alumni who have demonstrated extraordinary service to the local, national, or global community.

    Isabel Rubio was born in Mississippi and is a second-generation Mexican-American. After graduating from UAB, she went to work in the social work field in the greater Birmingham area. After eight years, she founded the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (¡HICA!) in 1999, where she has served as Executive Director since 2001.

    ¡HICA! is a nonprofit organization that educates and empowers Alabama’s Hispanic community through its educational, leadership, community development, and advocacy work. ¡HICA! has engaged thousands of Hispanics across Alabama to increase opportunities and, as the only Latino-serving organization in Alabama, is a bridge builder with many local, regional and national organizations.

    Isabel is deeply involved in her community and serves on numerous local, statewide, and national boards, including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Alabama Business Charitable Trust, and the Regions Financial Corporation Diversity Council.

    As a result of her many years of experience, Isabel is now a nationally recognized speaker on the issue of immigrants in the South.

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  • UAB Commission on the Status of Women honors six Outstanding Women for 2019

    Six UAB women are honored as the Outstanding Women for 2019 by the Commission on the Status of Women in celebration of Women’s History Month.

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  • Six honored as Outstanding Women for 2019

    Each year the UAB Commission on the Status of Women presents these awards during Women’s History Month to honor women in the UAB and Birmingham communities who have mentored or served other women, taken a courageous stance or overcome adversity to achieve a goal. They will be honored during a special ceremony March 20.

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  • Celebrate Women's History Month with the women who shape UAB

    From traveling to Antarctica to publishing children’s books, from taking biology educational tools to India to planting pollinator gardens on campus, women have been integral to shaping UAB’s reputation its 50-year history. As part of its annual coverage of Women’s History Month, the UAB Reporter has gathered examples of its more recent coverage of women at UAB.

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  • Smith’s “How To Know the Flowers” explores natural dyeing and healing processes

    UAB English instructor Jessica Smith wrote the poetry collection as she was leaving a job, helping a student learn to trust again and discovering a new skill.

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  • “Game of Thrones” con-language creator will host lecture at UAB on April 4

    Award-winning linguist David J. Peterson will delve into the art of creating artificial languages with the UAB community.

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  • Madden-Lunsford’s new book, “Ernestine’s Milky Way,” pays homage to her ‘mountain mother’

    Ernestine’s Milky Way tells the story of a determined 5-year-old girl in the early 1940s who sets off on a journey to deliver two Mason jars of milk to her neighbors in the holler.

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  • Smith’s ‘How to Know the Flowers’ explores natural dyeing, healing processes

    English Instructor Jessica Smith wrote the book of poetry as she was leaving a job, helping a student learn to trust again, and discovering a new skill.  

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  • Dr. Jill Clements named first-ever winner of the Michel de Montaigne Endowed Prize in the History of Ideas

    Jill Clements, Ph.D., has been named as the recipient of the first Michel de Montaigne Endowed Prize in the History of Ideas.

    Jill Clements, Ph.D., has been named as the recipient of the first Michel de Montaigne Endowed Prize in the History of Ideas.

    Established by Dr. Catherine Danielou, Senior Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, the prize honors the 16th-century French philosopher who is credited with developing the essay as a literary form. Candidates for the award had to hold a full-time appointment at UAB and provide a scholarly essay in the history of ideas that made a unique contribution to the history of thought and culture. Clements was selected by a committee of senior faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences for her essay, "Sudden Death in Early Medieval England and the Anglo-Saxon Fortunes of Men."

    Clements will receive a $1,000 award and will be honored at the College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Book Reception on March 5.

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  • Madden-Lunsford’s new book pays homage to her ‘mountain mother’

    “Ernestine’s Milky Way” tells the story of a determined 5-year-old girl in the early 1940s, who sets off on a journey to deliver two Mason jars of milk to her neighbors in the holler.

    Read more...
  • Two UAB alumnae present Dark Salt Sisters book tour

    Tina Mozelle Braziel and Ashley M. Jones are 2019 Alabama State Council on the Arts literary fellows, creative writing educators, alumnae of UAB and national award-winning poets.

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  • Faculty save students $1.1 million on course materials

    By creating online assets, using rental textbooks or older editions, and seeking out free online resources, 17 UAB faculty have saved students more than $1.1 million on instructional materials.

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