Department of English

Contact Us

Administrative Assistant

Lindsay Brandon-Smith
Administrative Assistant
203, Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
419.289.5110
lbrando2@ashland.edu

Department Contact

au-english@ashland.edu

Programs

Undergraduate
Degree Type: BA
Fostering Your Imagination

Are you an enthusiastic writer thinking about turning your passion into a career? Develop your voice in Ashland University’s Creative Writing program.

A degree in Creative Writing is an asset to nearly any career you pursue because it helps you develop critical thinking and...

Undergraduate
Degree Type: BA
Join Us on a Literary Journey

Are you passionate about literature and language ? Join the English Department at Ashland University to start your literary journey across centuries and around the globe.

Undergraduate
Degree Type: BA
Passing Your Love of Language On

Do you have a love of language and literature and want to teach? Bring your passion to life for the next generation of high school students in the Integrated Language Arts program at Ashland University.

This program prepares you for teacher licensure in...

Graduate
Degree Type: MFA

Expand your writing practice and refine your craft within the supportive community of Ashland University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program.

Curriculum

Brochures, Course Rotations & Four-Year Guides

Each department provides information specific to its majors and programs to help ensure you choose exactly which major is right for you. Use the supplemental material below to assist you in finding a major that most interests you.

Current Academic Year

English Department Master Syllabi

Department Course Rotations

Current Academic Year
Creative Writing
Creative Writing, B.A. Four-Year Guide
English
English, B.A. Four-Year Guide
English, B.A. Three-Year Guide
Integrated Language Arts (Grades 7-12)
Integrated Language Arts, B.S. Four-Year Guide

Faculty & Staff

Hilary Donatini
Dr. Hilary Donatini
Chair, English Department, Associate Professor of English
306, Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
419.289.5224 / hdonatin@ashland.edu
Department of English
fleming deb
Deborah Fleming
Professor of English, Editor and Director of Ashland Poetry Press
308 , Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
419.289.5789 / dfleming@ashland.edu
Department of English
Dr. Maura Grady
Dr. Maura Grady
Associate Professor of English, Director of English Composition Program
316, Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
419.289.5670 / mgrady3@ashland.edu
Department of English
Christian Kiefer, Ashland MFA Director
Dr. Christian Kiefer
Director of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
101, Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
/ ckiefer2@ashland.edu
Department of English
Dan Lehman
Dan Lehman
Trustee's Professor Emeritus

/ dlehman@ashland.edu
Department of English
Dr. Joe Mackall
Dr. Joe Mackall
Retired Professor of English
Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall

Department of English
Dr. Sharleen Mondal
Dr. Sharleen Mondal
Associate Professor of English
302, Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
419.289.5393 / smondal@ashland.edu
Department of English
Dr. Naomi Saslaw
Dr. Naomi Saslaw
Professor of English
314, Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
419.289.5198 / nsaslaw@ashland.edu
Department of English
Dr. Kelly Sundberg, Assistant Professor of English
Dr. Kelly Sundberg
Assistant Professor of English
314, Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
419.289.5199 / ksundber@ashland.edu
Department of English
Dr. Jayne Waterman
Dr. Jayne Waterman
Associate Professor of English
312, Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
419.289.5284 / jwaterma@ashland.edu
Department of English
Dr. Russell Weaver
Dr. Russell Weaver
Professor of English
310 , Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
419.289.5117 / rweaver3@ashland.edu
Department of English

Department News

Course Design for AU's Online First-Year Composition Praised in Inside Higher Ed

In early June, an article by Lee Skallerup Bessette in Inside Higher Ed praised the course design of our online version of English 101 that is taught in Ashland’s Correctional Education platform. Bessette, a learning design specialist at the Center for New Directions in Learning and Scholarship at Georgetown University, also teaches AU English courses to incarcerated students. Citing the “less than ideal situation” of teaching a class built by another person, with the logistical challenges of the correctional environment, Bessette finds that “even with the odds stacked against us, the course is nonetheless a meaningful learning (and teaching!) experience because of the care put into designing, and then delivering, the course.” Curtis AllenThe primary designer of the course is Curtis Allen, a part-time faculty member who has been teaching for Ashland since 2003. Allen collaborated with Dr. Maura Grady, Director of Composition, and several instructional designers on the Learn AU team, including Charles Piscatello and Emily Weller. The course design that Bessette calls “top-notch,” and “carefully designed with the learner population at the forefront of any and all pedagogical decisions,” is a result of the team’s sensitivity to the personal experiences and backgrounds of the students, as well as Allen’s long track record of teaching writing to diverse groups of students. Allen describes his approach below:

When I begin working on a course, I begin with two questions (and these are questions I keep emphasizing to my students when they write too): Who are these people and what do I want to do to them? The "who" for incarcerated students meant that a LOT of them speak AAVE (African American Vernacular English) as their first language (which really impacted the design of the grammar lessons) and many Black or Latino students had not...Read more

Alumni Spotlight: Brian Stevens


By Brian Stevens
Class of 2011
English and Journalism major
Court-Appointed Guardian and Volunteers Coordinator

I graduated from Ashland University in spring, 2011. After a brief stint in direct marketing, I left for South Korea to teach English as a Second Language. I had a wonderful time in Seoul. When I had the chance, I hostel-hopped around Cambodia and Vietnam. After completing just one contract in Korea, however, I returned to the US. I meant to be overseas again soon, specifically Malaysia, even taking TESL classes to boost my application. I found “temporary” work coordinating a volunteer program for a small hospice in Cleveland. 
I recruited, trained, assigned, and supervised hospice volunteers. I also had plenty of client visits of my own and quickly learned to love the work. My hospice team was incredible. Their dedication and caring inspired me to take up new direction for my life and stick around Cleveland for a while. I sometimes sat ‘vigil’ with our actively dying patients. Those were strangely peaceful, still nights spent at dimly lit bedsides. I offered whatever comfort I could. Often that meant just being there.

It took a while, but I learned that the only work for me is with people in need. After several years at my “temporary” job, I was offered a position at a much larger hospice. They had no functional volunteer program and meant to change that. With big plans in mind, I established a growing population of qualified volunteers. Barely into my new position, I was suddenly laid off as our programs were rolled back statewide. I had another opportunity to reinvent myself, and I did.

Throughout my short-lived hospice career, I noticed that many of our patients were without family or close friends. They often had a guardian appointed to them, so that they had one...Read more

Integrated Language Arts Major Faith Edwards Awarded Competitive Scholarship

Integrated Language Arts Major Faith Edwards Awarded Competitive Scholarship.

Faith Edwards, ILA major (English Education grades 7-12) and this years recipient of the Outstanding Junior in English, was recently awarded the Isaac Webb Memorial Scholarship.

Ohio State Reformatory, Mansfield Ohio
The Isaac Webb Scholarship is established by the Board of Trustees of the Ohio State Reformatory Historic Site. Isaac Webb, as an esteemed volunteer and board member, was a former captain of the guards, author, and historian. In his honor, the board awards three scholarships each year to students interested in pursuing higher education in English, history, and/or law enforcement. More information is available here: https://www.mrps.org/learn/isaac-webb-memorial-scholarship.



We asked Faith to tell us more!
Q: What is the scholarship? Why did you decide to apply for it?
Faith Edwards: I received The Isaac Webb Memorial Scholarship through the [nonprofit] Ohio State Reformatory Preservation Society (mrps.org). The committee requested that applicants be pursuing careers in English, history, or law enforcement. As an integrated language arts major, I qualified. Additionally, this scholarship was brought to my attention by Professor Grady in a previous course.
Q: What is it that you look forward to most about being a teacher?
Faith Edwards: In my future classroom, I am looking forward to challenging students to think deeply beyond the surface level and to reconsider their preconceived notions of their world in the past, present, and future. Literature offers an unmatched opportunity for reflection, contemplation, and growth into new ideas that impact the way in which we live. My passion is using English as a tool to help students develop into individuals of strong character, intellectual thought, and concerned citizens.

Q: What have you learned about teaching in the last semester?
Faith Edwards: From my previous experiences with high schoolers, I have learned...Read more

Kellie Pleshinger Awarded Howard O. Rowe Prize for Top Capstone


OUTSTANDING HONORS SENIOR CAPSTONES - HOWARD O. ROWE SCHOLARSHIP


The Ashland University Honors Program annually awards the Howard O. Rowe Endowed Scholarship to recognize the top Honors Capstone Project. Dr. Howard O. Rowe was a faculty member in Ashland College’s Education Department who was described as a compassionate teacher and a fine scholar committed to the success of the Honors Program. This scholarship fund was established in 1976 to remember Dr. Rowe’s contributions to Ashland University. This year, three students have been selected to be honored with the Howard O. Rowe award recognizing the quality of their capstone projects.

English major (Creative Writing) Kellie Pleshinger was named one of the three winners!

From the Honors Program blog: Creative Writing/JDM major Kellie Pleshinger’s capstone is titled "Eris Heights: The Search for Truth in a Supernatural-Horror Screenplay and Trailer." Kellie’s mentor, Dr. Maura Grady, writes: “Kellie’s project, the TV pilot script for Eris Heights, is excellent work. . . Eris Heights is tightly plotted but also has engaging characters and a compelling setting. . . . Kellie’s script leaves no detail unconsidered – music cues, character descriptions, and actions are precise and appropriate for her story. The characters jump off the page and tell the casting director exactly what to look for in the actors. . . . [Kellie] has also planned, filmed, and edited a film trailer for the series. Her technical filmmaking skills are on display in the trailer. Producing the trailer is a further step of creation beyond the already first-rate achievement of writing the screenplay.”


Kellie Pleshinger

...Read more

Contact Us

Contact Us

Administrative Assistant

Lindsay Brandon-Smith
Administrative Assistant
203, Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
419.289.5110
lbrando2@ashland.edu

Department Contact

au-english@ashland.edu

Programs

Programs

Undergraduate
Degree Type: BA
Fostering Your Imagination

Are you an enthusiastic writer thinking about turning your passion into a career? Develop your voice in Ashland University’s Creative Writing program.

A degree in Creative Writing is an asset to nearly any career you pursue because it helps you develop critical thinking and...

Undergraduate
Degree Type: BA
Join Us on a Literary Journey

Are you passionate about literature and language ? Join the English Department at Ashland University to start your literary journey across centuries and around the globe.

Undergraduate
Degree Type: BA
Passing Your Love of Language On

Do you have a love of language and literature and want to teach? Bring your passion to life for the next generation of high school students in the Integrated Language Arts program at Ashland University.

This program prepares you for teacher licensure in...

Graduate
Degree Type: MFA

Expand your writing practice and refine your craft within the supportive community of Ashland University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program.

Curriculum

Curriculum

Brochures, Course Rotations & Four-Year Guides

Each department provides information specific to its majors and programs to help ensure you choose exactly which major is right for you. Use the supplemental material below to assist you in finding a major that most interests you.

Current Academic Year

English Department Master Syllabi

Department Course Rotations

Current Academic Year
Creative Writing
Creative Writing, B.A. Four-Year Guide
English
English, B.A. Four-Year Guide
English, B.A. Three-Year Guide
Integrated Language Arts (Grades 7-12)
Integrated Language Arts, B.S. Four-Year Guide

Faculty & Staff

Faculty & Staff

Hilary Donatini
Dr. Hilary Donatini
Chair, English Department, Associate Professor of English
306, Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
419.289.5224 / hdonatin@ashland.edu
Department of English
fleming deb
Deborah Fleming
Professor of English, Editor and Director of Ashland Poetry Press
308 , Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
419.289.5789 / dfleming@ashland.edu
Department of English
Dr. Maura Grady
Dr. Maura Grady
Associate Professor of English, Director of English Composition Program
316, Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
419.289.5670 / mgrady3@ashland.edu
Department of English
Christian Kiefer, Ashland MFA Director
Dr. Christian Kiefer
Director of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
101, Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
/ ckiefer2@ashland.edu
Department of English
Dan Lehman
Dan Lehman
Trustee's Professor Emeritus

/ dlehman@ashland.edu
Department of English
Dr. Joe Mackall
Dr. Joe Mackall
Retired Professor of English
Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall

Department of English
Dr. Sharleen Mondal
Dr. Sharleen Mondal
Associate Professor of English
302, Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
419.289.5393 / smondal@ashland.edu
Department of English
Dr. Naomi Saslaw
Dr. Naomi Saslaw
Professor of English
314, Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
419.289.5198 / nsaslaw@ashland.edu
Department of English
Dr. Kelly Sundberg, Assistant Professor of English
Dr. Kelly Sundberg
Assistant Professor of English
314, Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
419.289.5199 / ksundber@ashland.edu
Department of English
Dr. Jayne Waterman
Dr. Jayne Waterman
Associate Professor of English
312, Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
419.289.5284 / jwaterma@ashland.edu
Department of English
Dr. Russell Weaver
Dr. Russell Weaver
Professor of English
310 , Center for the Humanities of Bixler Hall
419.289.5117 / rweaver3@ashland.edu
Department of English

Department News

Department News

Course Design for AU's Online First-Year Composition Praised in Inside Higher Ed

In early June, an article by Lee Skallerup Bessette in Inside Higher Ed praised the course design of our online version of English 101 that is taught in Ashland’s Correctional Education platform. Bessette, a learning design specialist at the Center for New Directions in Learning and Scholarship at Georgetown University, also teaches AU English courses to incarcerated students. Citing the “less than ideal situation” of teaching a class built by another person, with the logistical challenges of the correctional environment, Bessette finds that “even with the odds stacked against us, the course is nonetheless a meaningful learning (and teaching!) experience because of the care put into designing, and then delivering, the course.” Curtis AllenThe primary designer of the course is Curtis Allen, a part-time faculty member who has been teaching for Ashland since 2003. Allen collaborated with Dr. Maura Grady, Director of Composition, and several instructional designers on the Learn AU team, including Charles Piscatello and Emily Weller. The course design that Bessette calls “top-notch,” and “carefully designed with the learner population at the forefront of any and all pedagogical decisions,” is a result of the team’s sensitivity to the personal experiences and backgrounds of the students, as well as Allen’s long track record of teaching writing to diverse groups of students. Allen describes his approach below:

When I begin working on a course, I begin with two questions (and these are questions I keep emphasizing to my students when they write too): Who are these people and what do I want to do to them? The "who" for incarcerated students meant that a LOT of them speak AAVE (African American Vernacular English) as their first language (which really impacted the design of the grammar lessons) and many Black or Latino students had not...Read more

Alumni Spotlight: Brian Stevens


By Brian Stevens
Class of 2011
English and Journalism major
Court-Appointed Guardian and Volunteers Coordinator

I graduated from Ashland University in spring, 2011. After a brief stint in direct marketing, I left for South Korea to teach English as a Second Language. I had a wonderful time in Seoul. When I had the chance, I hostel-hopped around Cambodia and Vietnam. After completing just one contract in Korea, however, I returned to the US. I meant to be overseas again soon, specifically Malaysia, even taking TESL classes to boost my application. I found “temporary” work coordinating a volunteer program for a small hospice in Cleveland. 
I recruited, trained, assigned, and supervised hospice volunteers. I also had plenty of client visits of my own and quickly learned to love the work. My hospice team was incredible. Their dedication and caring inspired me to take up new direction for my life and stick around Cleveland for a while. I sometimes sat ‘vigil’ with our actively dying patients. Those were strangely peaceful, still nights spent at dimly lit bedsides. I offered whatever comfort I could. Often that meant just being there.

It took a while, but I learned that the only work for me is with people in need. After several years at my “temporary” job, I was offered a position at a much larger hospice. They had no functional volunteer program and meant to change that. With big plans in mind, I established a growing population of qualified volunteers. Barely into my new position, I was suddenly laid off as our programs were rolled back statewide. I had another opportunity to reinvent myself, and I did.

Throughout my short-lived hospice career, I noticed that many of our patients were without family or close friends. They often had a guardian appointed to them, so that they had one...Read more

Integrated Language Arts Major Faith Edwards Awarded Competitive Scholarship

Integrated Language Arts Major Faith Edwards Awarded Competitive Scholarship.

Faith Edwards, ILA major (English Education grades 7-12) and this years recipient of the Outstanding Junior in English, was recently awarded the Isaac Webb Memorial Scholarship.

Ohio State Reformatory, Mansfield Ohio
The Isaac Webb Scholarship is established by the Board of Trustees of the Ohio State Reformatory Historic Site. Isaac Webb, as an esteemed volunteer and board member, was a former captain of the guards, author, and historian. In his honor, the board awards three scholarships each year to students interested in pursuing higher education in English, history, and/or law enforcement. More information is available here: https://www.mrps.org/learn/isaac-webb-memorial-scholarship.



We asked Faith to tell us more!
Q: What is the scholarship? Why did you decide to apply for it?
Faith Edwards: I received The Isaac Webb Memorial Scholarship through the [nonprofit] Ohio State Reformatory Preservation Society (mrps.org). The committee requested that applicants be pursuing careers in English, history, or law enforcement. As an integrated language arts major, I qualified. Additionally, this scholarship was brought to my attention by Professor Grady in a previous course.
Q: What is it that you look forward to most about being a teacher?
Faith Edwards: In my future classroom, I am looking forward to challenging students to think deeply beyond the surface level and to reconsider their preconceived notions of their world in the past, present, and future. Literature offers an unmatched opportunity for reflection, contemplation, and growth into new ideas that impact the way in which we live. My passion is using English as a tool to help students develop into individuals of strong character, intellectual thought, and concerned citizens.

Q: What have you learned about teaching in the last semester?
Faith Edwards: From my previous experiences with high schoolers, I have learned...Read more

Kellie Pleshinger Awarded Howard O. Rowe Prize for Top Capstone


OUTSTANDING HONORS SENIOR CAPSTONES - HOWARD O. ROWE SCHOLARSHIP


The Ashland University Honors Program annually awards the Howard O. Rowe Endowed Scholarship to recognize the top Honors Capstone Project. Dr. Howard O. Rowe was a faculty member in Ashland College’s Education Department who was described as a compassionate teacher and a fine scholar committed to the success of the Honors Program. This scholarship fund was established in 1976 to remember Dr. Rowe’s contributions to Ashland University. This year, three students have been selected to be honored with the Howard O. Rowe award recognizing the quality of their capstone projects.

English major (Creative Writing) Kellie Pleshinger was named one of the three winners!

From the Honors Program blog: Creative Writing/JDM major Kellie Pleshinger’s capstone is titled "Eris Heights: The Search for Truth in a Supernatural-Horror Screenplay and Trailer." Kellie’s mentor, Dr. Maura Grady, writes: “Kellie’s project, the TV pilot script for Eris Heights, is excellent work. . . Eris Heights is tightly plotted but also has engaging characters and a compelling setting. . . . Kellie’s script leaves no detail unconsidered – music cues, character descriptions, and actions are precise and appropriate for her story. The characters jump off the page and tell the casting director exactly what to look for in the actors. . . . [Kellie] has also planned, filmed, and edited a film trailer for the series. Her technical filmmaking skills are on display in the trailer. Producing the trailer is a further step of creation beyond the already first-rate achievement of writing the screenplay.”


Kellie Pleshinger

...Read more

A THRIVING COMMUNITY OF READERS AND WRITERS

Join the English Department at Ashland University and learn how stories have the power to change the world. From the classics to the contemporary literary scene, our flexible curriculum allows you to customize your education based on your interests. In the English Department’s three majors—English, Creative Writing, and Integrated Language Arts Education (Grades 7-12) you will find yourself surrounded by a thriving community of readers and writers.

Why Choose a Major in the English Department?

As a student in the English Department, you will:

  • Receive personal attention with small class sizes at all course levels.

  • Have the oppurtunity to double major in both Creative Writing and English, or pair an English program with a major in Communication Studies, Foreign Languages, History, Journalism, Digital Media Marketing, Philosophy, Religion, or Theatre.

  • Learn from expert faculty comprised of published authors and working editors who bring their expertise to the classroom.

  • Collaborate with faculty on research projects and publishing opportunities, with the chance to present your findings at professional conferences.

  • Get paid experience by working as a writing tutor in the University Writing Center and in internships with the Ashland Poetry Press and the AU Master of Fine Arts Program.

  • Join the editorial team of the Black Fork Review, a literary journal run by students and featuring student writing.

  • Be prepared to extend your education by pursuing graduate school. Previous majors are proven to have excelled in top graduate programs in their chosen field.

Graduates of our English Department work as arts administrators, attorneys, digital marketing strategists, editors, higher education administrators, journalists, librarians, professors, technical writers, and more.

Integrated Language Arts Education graduates hold positions throughout Ohio, across the United States, and in other countries. 

Find your voice by exploring the programs within the English Department.

Honor Society 

Sigma Tau Delta, Alpha Beta Phi Chapter

Sigma Tau Delta is a National English Honor Society. In addition to conferring distinction for high achievement in English language and literature, the Society’s Articles of Incorporation call for “service to society by fostering literacy.” Ashland University’s chapter strives to build student-professor relationships outside of the classroom, serve as leaders in the English department and foster literacy in the Ashland community.

Qualifications for Membership

To apply to Sigma Tau Delta, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Sophomore standing or higher
  2. 3.0 minimum GPA in at least TWO English classes beyond English 102
  • You DO NOT need to have an English major or minor to be a member of Sigma Tau Delta. We welcome all who love literature and writing to join.

Application for Membership

Please contact Dr. Hilary Donatini for an application (hdonatin@ashland.edu).

http://www.english.org/sigmatd/

Support the Department of English

By donating any amount you're making a big difference in our department's future. To designate your gift to the Department of English , select “Other” in the "Designated Options" and type the department's name in the associated box.

Counseling Services

Counseling