Professor Rani Deighe Crowe has been working on writing and producing her short film Safety State, where a gay and a lesbian couple form an unlikely friendship while fleeing the Midwest for safety in New England. She did principal photography with her collaborators in Athens, Ohio in April, and now they are in post-production, finalizing the edit and working on animation sequences, sound, music, and color. She received a $1,500 grant from The Puffin Foundation toward completing the film. Her short screenplay for Safety State, was selected for a reading at the Women in Film and Television Short Film Atlanta Short Film Showcase. It was also selected for the Kinodrome International Motion Picture and Screenplay Festival in Cleveland.

Rani’s short monologue film, Just in Case was a selection for the International Black and Diversity Film Festival in Toronto. The short film depicts a nurse in quarantine for testing positive for Covid recording an emotional video message for her young sons after the murder of George Floyd.

Rani’s short film screenplay, Church Ladies, a comedy about casserole judgment and repressed lesbian desire at a church potluck, was a semi-finalist in the San Francisco Indie Fest Screenplay Competition and a Quarter Finalist in the International Comedy Film Festival.

Indiana Writing Project, directed by faculty members Susanna Benko, Andrea Wolfe, and Matt Hartman, was very busy this summer! IWP is a site of the National Writing Project, a network of teachers, university faculty, researchers, writers, and community educators working together to advance writing and the teaching of writing. With grant support from the Learning Recovery Grant from Teachers College, IWP ran the following writing programs:

  • Youth Writing  Camps: In June 2023, over 75 students from east central Indiana attended a writing camp sponsored by IWP. In these camps, students wrote (and wrote and wrote and wrote), revised, conferenced, and published a piece of writing. All told, IWP provided more than 1983 hours of literacy instruction for students! These camps were led by area teachers including Julie Fierce, Amanda Craw, and Aryn Enos.
  • Summer Professional Development for Teachers:  IWP sponsored our annual Invitational Summer Institute, where 10 local teachers attended over 70 hours of professional development on campus with facilitators Barb Miller and Heather Abernathy. In this institute, teachers spent time writing, studying writing pedagogy, researching problems of practice in their own classrooms, and collaborating with their peers.

Many of our teacher leaders have earned their undergraduate degrees at Ball State (Barb Miller; Julie Fierce ‘04) and graduate degrees at Ball State (Heather Abernathy ‘09, Amanda Craw in English ‘18).

Drs. Darolyn “Lyn” Jones, Kathryn Ludwig, and Laura Romano participated in the  Summer Scholarship Program at Ball State University over the summer, successfully crafting and submitting a 10,000-word article titled “Composition in the Community: the 5 C’s Model”. 

Dr. Jones presented “Babies and Bathwater: Post Pandemic Effects on Faculty Members with Children with Special Needs,” with James W. Jones, Roan Distinguished Professor and Department Chair for Construction Management and Interior Design (CMID), Ball State University at the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry (ICQI), University of Illinois, Champagne- Urbana, ILL on May 19, 2023

Dr. Jones authored four articles for Indy Special Needs Living Magazine including:

  • “The Gregory S. Ferhibach Center: Turning Dreams into Reality,” September 2023 Issue
  • “Meet Dr. Courtney Jarrett: Pioneering Disability Services at Ball State University, August 2023 Issue
  • “See Me, Not the Wheelchair,” (featured a Ball State student, Leslie Gonzalez), July 2023 Issue
  • “Tim Vermande’s Good Fight,” June 2023 Issue

Over the Summer of 2023, Dr. Emily Ruth Rutter signed publishing contracts for book chapters forthcoming in the following volumes: Greater Atlanta: Black Satire after Obama (University Press of Mississippi, 2024); Race in the Multiethnic Literature Classroom (University of Illinois Press, 2024); and Oxford Bibliographies in American Literature (Oxford University Press, 2024).

Dr. Molly Ferguson was honored to be a faculty speaker at the Freshman Convocation (to 3,800 incoming first-year students) on August 19th. This summer, she was also a speaker at the Ball State Dual Credit Workshop for teachers. In June, she presented a panel paper and a roundtable presentation at the American Conference for Irish Studies in San Jose, CA. 

Prof. Michael Begnal recently published the article “American Punk and the Rhetoric of ‘Political Correctness’” in Popular Music and Society, vol. 46, no. 2, May 2023, pp. 172-90. https://doi.org/10.1080/03007766.2023.2184600.

Begnal also published the article  “’Torn by the Rocks Like the Drowned Girls’: Dark Ecology in the Early Poetry of Peggy Pond Church” in Arizona Quarterly, vol. 78, no.  4, Winter 2022-23, pp. 55-79, DOI: 10.1353/arq.2022.0022. 

Some of Begnal’s recent poetry publications include:

Finally, Begnal’s book The Music and Noise of the Stooges, 1967-71: Lost in the Future (Routledge, 2022) was published in a paperback edition in May 2023.

Kathryn S. Gardiner’s feature-length screenplay The Art of Yielding advanced to the second round of the Austin Film Festival. Second-rounders represent the top 20% of the scripts received by the AFF. The Art of Yielding is a fictionalized account of Kathryn’s time as an amateur mixed martial arts fighter.

Jill Christman’s new(ish) book, If This Were Fiction: A Love Story in Essays (University of Nebraska Press, 2022), is celebrating its first birthday as a finalist for the 2023 Finalist Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Award. Last spring, ITWF won a 2022 Foreword INDIES Award Winner for Autobiography & Memoir (Silver). In October, Christman will be a featured presenter at the 2023 LitYoungstown’s Fall Literary Festival with Ross Gay and Alison Stine.


On Wednesday 22 March, Dr. Felsenstein was the guest of the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago where his subject was “‘No Peaceful Burial Place’: Encountering Body-Snatching and Teaching Anatomy from a Lost Letter of Tobias Smollett, M.D., to Dr. William Hunter”. A version of his talk is due to be published later this year in Tobias Smollett after 300 Years,” ed. Richard J. Jones (Clemson UP).

On Tuesday 2 May, Frank Felsenstein was the invited speaker for the 2023 Kirkham Lecture to the Friends of the Bracken library. His topic was “From Gutenberg to Google: Teaching Book History from the Bracken Library.” The lecture is named after Edwin Bruce Kirkham (1938-2021), Executive Secretary of the Friends from 1976 to 2000, and Professor of English. An exhibition based on the academic work and donated book collection of Dr. Felsenstein is at present on display at Archives & Special Collections of the Bracken Library (second floor).

On Saturday, 6 May, Dr. Felsenstein was an invited speaker at a day symposium on “Abolitionism and the Arts” at Columbia University in New York (see https://abolitionism.universityseminars.columbia.edu). His topic was “An Ekphrastic Interlude: From Mainland Liberty to Island Enslavement in the Story of Inkle and Yarico.”