Archive for June, 2011

Jason Harper in KC

0 Commentsby   |  06.13.11  |  Advising Information

Jason with famous Southern writer and humorist Roy Blount Jr.

Jason Harper (English BA 2001 and MA 2003) has made Kansas City, Missouri his home.

And he’s doing well.

In the land of barbecue and jazz, Jason has found ways to acquire expertise in the red-hot world of marketing and publicizing through social media.

This is not a surprise to one of Jason’s former profs.

“I had Jason in every creative writing class and he was a standout in all of them,” Prof. Al Haley says. “Poetry, short story, creative nonfiction, he could write them all with a wholly original voice and an unparalleled eye for detail.”

Asked what he thinks of how Jason has ended up working with social media, given that Facebook didn’t even exist when Jason was an undergrad, Prof. Haley continued:

“The world of social media arrived in such a sudden rush that it’s still crying out for creative people to bring some shape and form, and yes, style, to it. Without that, it just becomes the solar system’s most impressive landfill for words. I’m really  happy that Jason figured this out before a lot of the rest of us.”

In Jason’s case, his ability to take his training in English and apply it in a versatile fashion has turned into a job.

In an email, Jason recently shared with us the specifics of his journey into the world of Facebook, Twitter and more in the form of a series of, what else? 140-character or less communications, all of which ends with a piece of advice:

My life in tweets, by Jason Harper (@jasonfharper)

  • 1 – I left my hometown of Abilene in May ’03 and moved to KC with my BA & MA tucked in a hobo bandana-on-a-stick thing. First job: bookstore.

2 – Got a job as writer & editor at an alternative newsweekly in a time when print journalism was moving to a 24/7 web content cycle. I blogged.

3 – And wrote features: And expanded the newspaper’s reach into the online realm of social media, podcasts, photo, video.

4 – Next, I took my skills to the ad/PR world, 1st at a startup social media marketing firm, then as web content developer for@kclibrary.

5 – The Library is amazing. Pic:  I spread the good word about it thru blogs & social media. (

6 – I recently met my hero, @LeVarBurton, and made this video of his visit to the Library:

7 – Most valuable skill: WRITING. Favorite part of the job: telling stories & producing content of benefit to people.

8 – Advice: start a blog, learn Photoshop & video editing. Pay attn to new communication forms. And be sure to slow down & read a good book.

Alumnus Note: Meet Commander Wesley

0 Commentsby   |  06.06.11  |  Alumni Spotlight

Commander Darrell Wesley, Navy Chaplain

Recently when we heard from one of the alums of this department we were reminded of that old question that haunts English majors.

“But what will you do with that degree? Where will you go?”

In the case of Darrell Wesley the answer is two-fold. 

He’s done a lot

And he’s gone a long ways since leaving ACU in 1988 with his BA in English. 

Darrell is now Navy Chaplain Wesley, possessing the rank of Commander.  

That’s not all. 

Recently Darrell finished his second Doctorate, a PhD in Religion from  Claremont Graduate University.  

In addition to his ACU English degree, he already had a Doctor of Ministry Degree from United Theological Seminary, an MS in Biblical and Related Studies from ACU, an MA in philosophy from University of Tennessee, and a Master’s of Sacred Theology from Yale University. 

Before any of our current majors groan about their course loads, they might want to contemplate the stunning number of classes Darrell attended, the stacks of books he read,  and how many papers he must have written over the past 23 years. Not to mention the wealth of knowledge  he has obtained in the process of earning his many degrees. 

Darrell has put this education to use in ways perhaps few have dreamed of while walking the hallway in Chambers to find the English office to talk to the advisor about the next semester’s classes. 

There's an ACU English alum aboard this ship...

He’s  done two tours in Iraq with Marines and served as chaplain and Ethics Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.  

And he has a new assignment, a really big one.

He has recently been selected to be senior Chaplain on Board the USS Ronald Reagan, one of the Navy’s newest aircraft carriers. 

Our sincere congratulations go out to Darrell for all his achievements to date. We’re proud of how he is serving his country and those who are willing to put their lives on the line. He represents ACU well!

Congratulations to our 2011 University Scholars

0 Commentsby   |  06.01.11  |  Student Spotlight

On April 14, four English majors were honored as University Scholars in a special ceremony in the Chapel on the Hill.

Bethany Bradshaw, Sara Morris, Katherine Sinclair, and Kaleigh Wyrick were selected for this competitive honor which recognizes soon-to-graduate students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher who “excel in scholarly activity appropriate to their discipline.” Students are nominated by faculty within their departments.

This year’s English honorees provide a glimpse into the varied fertile explorations ACU English majors are making and how they are producing work worthy of the attention of others.

Prof. Al Haley, who nominated Bethany Bradshaw, lauded her ambition and drive which led her to further her experience of creative writing in a highly practical fashion; in the summer of 2010 Bethany went to New York City and knocked on doors until she found an internship at the Bent Agency.

After a summer of reading through the slush pile, meeting writer clients, and attending readings, Bethany returned to ACU where she was co-editor of The Shinnery Review and planned on-campus writing workshops and readings. She also took Prof. Haley’s Eng. 323: Poetry Workshop where she proved herself to be such a stellar poet that by the end of the semester she had had two poems accepted for publication in an international undergraduate literary magazine.

This fall Bethany will be attending the North Carolina State where she will begin work on a Master’s in literature.

Sara Morris was nominated by Dr. Shelly Sanders who emphasized Sara’s exceptional work in writing short stories. At the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor’s writing festival last February, Sara read “Losing Eden, Gaining Eve,” a quasi-feminist science fiction story about scientists who create a female android without realizing what they’re getting into. Sara reprised her story to much acclaim at the ACU Undergraduate Research Festival in March.

Sara, who graduated in May, has a job working in film art direction in Hollywood.

Prof. Sanders also nominated Katherine Sinclair, singling out a paper written as part of an Honors contract, “That Not My Wife”: Paranoia in the Invasion of the Body Snatchers Films.” In Dr. Sanders’ words Katherine’s paper “demonstrates her ability to bridge disparate fields of knowledge and produce insightful, cohesive analysis.” The paper, which was presented at the ACU Undergraduate Research Festival, analyzed the Body Snatcher films and the societies and times in which they were made, exploring the various ways in which the aliens infiltrate the planet highlight the most prominent paranoia of each film’s decade.” Katherine’s paper was nominated by the Honors College to be in the running for the Boe Award at the GPHC.

Upon graduation Katherine began work at Milsoft in Abilene as a technical writer.

The English Department’s final scholar, Kaleigh Wyrick, was nominated by Dr. Nancy Shankle who noted how Kayleigh’s love of learning is manifested by her having three minors: Spanish, Women’s & Ethnic Studies, and Bible, Missions, and Ministry.

Prof. Shankle particularly appreciated how Kaleigh went beyond class requirements. She noted that in Linguistics, “Kaleigh not only made the highest score on every exam, but she explored far beyond the exam topics, often sharing articles or readings she found.  For example, in a unit on dialects in American English, Kaleigh found a news article that described a dialect coach who teaches British actors to speak with American accents.” 

Kaleigh has twice participated in the ACU Undergraduate Research Festival. This year her paper “Mothers, Daughters, and Matrophobia in American Literature,” explored the way Nathaniel Hawthorne and Kate Chopin used the expected mother-daughter relationship of the 19th century in their novels to promote feminist ideas about womanhood. Comparing these 19th century novels to two feminist books from 2004, Kaleigh looked at the cultural views of motherhood in that century and those of today, showing how the mother-daughter relationship still has a powerful effect on women.