The College of Sciences and Humanities would like to congratulate the 2020-2021 calendar year retirees from the Humanities departments. In this unusual year, their goodbyes have been without the fanfare retirement should foment, but we are thankful for their years of excellence and service to Ball State University and to our college.
Paul Ranieri, Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of English
Paul Ranieri taught in higher education for 42 years, the last 37 at Ball State. Over those years he valued most teaching freshman writing, honors humanities, and graduate courses in rhetorical history and writing theory—teaching all together 39 different courses over 37 years.
A Midwesterner by birth and choice, he received his BA from Xavier University in Cincinnati, a Master’s of Arts in Teaching from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and a doctorate in English Education from the University of Texas at Austin.
He served the Department of English as Director of Undergraduate Studies, Director of the Writing Program, Assistant Chairperson, and Chairperson. He has served as Interim Associate Dean of Sciences and Humanities, Director of Freshman Connections, Director of the Indiana Writing Project, President of the Indiana Teachers of Writing, and Executive Director of the Association for General & Liberal Studies.
Over the past three decades he has participated in 20 study abroad programs, including two semester-length programs at Westminster College (Oxford) and at the London Centre, and the last eight with KIIS-Greece. He has been named a University Teaching Professor, been recognized for Outstanding Service as a Doctoral Committee Chair, and received the Lawhead Teaching Award for General Studies, the C. Warren Vander Hill Award for Distinguished Teaching in Honors Education, and the university’s Outstanding Faculty Service Award. The recipient of 11 external grants, he has delivered more than 50 state, national, and international presentations, and published six journal articles, two book chapters, and two multimedia textbooks.
A note from Paul
Throughout the 2019-2020 academic year, as I prepared for my retirement in June 2020, I completed what seemed to be the endless stream of paperwork, all the while setting up what I hoped would be a fun “retirement tour” into early 2021. We all know how that turned out!
After spending a month cleaning out my office of 37 years, and squeezing what little I could into my home office, I hunkered down over the summer, fall, and winter—catching up on four decades of lost sleep, walking three miles every day along the Cardinal and White River Greenways, integrating myself back into the goings-on of our household, and putting in 2-3 hours a day on one of my three writing projects. For this project, unhindered finally by meetings and grading papers, I am engaged in reimagining Liberal Education for the 21st century American university. I have finally been able to draft about 175 pages focusing on the classical rhetorician Isocrates and how his concept of language, culture, and education might once again produce the leaders it did 2400 years ago. It has been a joy working on those ideas in my study carrel in Bracken Library—isolated with my books, my notes, and ideas drawn from years of reading, traveling abroad, and teaching, especially honors students in their honors humanities courses.
Students from my last year have been a welcomed “break” from this schedule. I have enjoyed individual, almost weekly casual coffee chats. I miss teaching the most, being rooted in day-to-day, face-to-face engagement with so many bright young minds. I hope to collect my thoughts on teaching and all these fascinating personalities in the second of my writing projects.
I have traveled some over the past year, but Lynn and I hope to do much more in the years to come, travels back to Greece, England, Scotland, and Ireland; new trips to Italy and Germany; and visits to multiple locations throughout the U.S.– all the places promised to my very patient wife. I have already spend much more time with my daughter, her husband and our granddaughter. With Emma’s recent interest in middle school sports, I am sure I will once again get to know all the regional track and cross country courses as we did with Claire. And then there is baseball—I have a lifetime of baseball games to get caught up on, especially spring training games in Lakeland, Florida when the Midwest is still in the dying throes of winter.
“Retirement” is a strange word to me. My daughter once claimed that the concept is so strange that I would never try it. I am trying it, and giving it my best shot! So far, so good. . . .
Mary Theresa Seig, Associate Provost for Global Initiatives
Mary Theresa Seig received her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics and TESOL from Oklahoma State University in 1998. She was hired as Assistant Professor of English in 2001, after completing a post-doctoral fellowship appointment in the Indiana Center for Intercultural Communication at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Early in her career she taught TESOL, linguistics, and applied linguistics to graduate and undergraduate students, eventually serving on 21 dissertation committees and supervising three dissertations and more than 30 masters projects.
At Ball State, Dr. Seig was involved in a series of large applied research projects. She partnered with Conner Prairie Living History Park to apply linguistic insights to the visitor experience. She and her Connor Prairie partners redesigned the visitor experience to better meet the museum’s pedagogical aims and improve the experience for return visitors. In a follow-up grant, Dr. Seig and her partners applied their insights to create Opening Doors, a guest engagement curriculum that would go on to be distributed and influence guest experiences for more than 26 million visitors at museums around the world each year. Ellen Rosenthal, then CEO of Conner Prairie, wrote that she had “never worked with or even met an academic as able as Dr. Seig to apply her research in such a practical way.”
In 2006, Dr. Seig was appointed Director of the Intensive English Institute (IEI). As a result of strategic international recruitment, and under her leadership, the IEI grew from an enrollment of approximately 36 international students taught by 10 graduate students to enrollment of more than 300 international students and a staff of 24 full-time instructors, 14 graduate assistants, and three assistant directors. During this period of growth, which peaked in 2014, the IEI earned the gold standard of accreditation from the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA).
Dr. Seig was also involved in grant-funded teacher development projects abroad, serving as either principal investigator or co-principal investigator on 16 funded projects totaling over $3.7M. One of the largest grew out of project-based curriculum she helped develop at Ball State’s IEI. Working for six years with the U.S. State Department and the Iraqi Government, Dr. Seig and IEI colleagues worked collaboratively to design and implement an English Language Center (ELC) in Baghdad, employing 10 Iraqi teachers and five expatriate teachers to serve Iraqi scholarship students learning English. She travelled to Iraq 18 times, spending nearly nine months there over the course of the six-year partnership.
In 2017, Dr. Seig was appointed to serve as the Associate Provost for Global Initiatives, where she managed the IEI and the Rinker Center for International Programs (RCIP). Tasked with developing a comprehensive plan for internationalizing the university, she re-doubled RCIP and IEI international outreach, assisting faculty pursuing international efforts and connections and seeking partnerships in various countries.
Dr. Seig retired from Ball State University in August 2020 and is currently serving as the Dean of the College of Arts, Education, and Humanities at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota.
Marina Guntsche, Associate Professor, Department of Modern Languages and Classics
Marina Guntsche received a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish Language and Literature from Universidad Nacional de Cuyo (Mendoza, Argentina), and her Master’s Degree and Doctorate in Spanish from the University of Michigan. Dr. Guntsche began working for Ball State in 1994. During her nearly three decades at the University, Dr. Guntsche authored two books and several other professional publications on Argentine and Latin American Literature. She was the only native Spanish speaker tenured faculty member in the Spanish section for most of the years she served there. In addition, she tirelessly served her department, college, and university on numerous committees. She was known among students for her high academic teaching standards and for her dedication to helping them succeed in her classes.