English MATTERS — SPRING 2010

Picture of Directors: Reed, Harkins, and Triplett

Brian Reed, Gillian Harkins, Pimone Triplett

New Directors

The 2009-10 academic year brought leadership changes to three important programs in the Department of English. Brian Reed is the new Director of English Graduate Programs, taking over from Kate Cummings. “I believe graduate education is an essential part of the Department’s mission,” Reed told EM, “and I am happy to do my best to make this a place where people can come into their own as researchers, teachers, and public leaders.” One of Reed’s goals is to increase the coherence of the M.A./Ph.D. program: “We particularly hope to make clearer the continuities between coursework, exam preparation, and dissertation writing. We have already made significant progress on matters such as a new online ‘practical guide’ to the program.” When he has some spare time, Reed is a certified A2 square dancer and translates Russian poetry. (You may read his blog about Russian literature at http://arcade.stanford.edu/blogs/brian-reed.)

Gillian Harkins is the new Director of English Undergraduate Programs, relieving Míċeál Vaughan from the post. One of her goals is to see the undergraduate major become more coherent for students: “I plan to focus on clarifying the meaning of the English major so that students graduating with an English degree understand the importance of the skills they developed here. On a practical level, this means focusing on developing clear learning objectives and transferable skills for our students.” Harkins would also like to see the Department clarify the importance of its role in the larger university. “We provide critical learning in reading, interpretation, and writing for students across the university. These critical skills are key to developing an active and transformed group of people, able to engage the world around them,” she explained.

Pimone Triplett is the new Director of the Creative Writing Program, a position vacated by Maya Sonenberg. “Maya held the position for eight years. It was time she had a well-deserved break, and I was happy to step in,” says Triplett. “Our most pressing goal is to secure better funding for our deserving graduate students. It’s getting harder and harder to see how that goal can be realized in our present economic environment, but we are working at the baby steps, like holding on to the TA-ships we currently have and trying to get internships for students that pay.” When Triplett is allowed the time to work on her own projects, she likes to write poetry in a tree house.

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