English department faculty accomplishments

At the end of the spring semester, three faculty members from SAU’s Department of English were honored for their academic accomplishments. Associate professor of English Dr. Jack Baker and assistant professor of English Dr. Jeffrey Bilbro saw the release of their co-authored book Wendell Berry and Higher Education: Cultivating Virtues of Place, while assistant professor of English Dr. Cameron Moore received the McKenna Scholars Endowment Award.

Wendell Berry and Higher Education: Cultivating Virtues of Place

In their recently released book, Wendell Berry and Higher Education: Cultivating Virtues of Place, Drs. Baker and Bilbro contribute to the body of literary criticism surrounding Berry’s essays and Port William fiction as they explore the mission of higher education from the perspective that Berry offers in his writing. Central to their thesis are Berry’s ideas about “America’s cultural obsession with restless mobility,” which leads ultimately to the destruction of land and community, yet is nevertheless embedded into the philosophies of most institutions of higher education in the U.S.

Baker and Bilbro argue for higher education that encourages students to become, not only professionals, but inhabitants and servants of their local communities, as well. Furthermore, they suggest practical ways for students, teachers and administrators to implement their ideas.

“We’re grateful for the support of so many of our students and colleagues, and for the McKenna Award, which helped to fund our research and writing,” say Baker and Bilbro.

Wendell Berry and Higher Education: Cultivating Virtues of Place was released on May 9. It is available for purchase in stores and online.

The McKenna Scholars Endowment Award

Dr. Cameron Moore was presented with the McKenna Scholars Endowment Award during honors chapel at the end of the spring semester, making him the fourth member of the English department faculty to both qualify for and receive the scholarship.

The McKenna Scholars Endowment Award highlights the SAU Concept by encouraging and supporting the scholarship of faculty — especially those in the early stages of their careers. It is supported by a generous endowment from the life and estate plan of David L. and Janet R. McKenna.

Dr. Moore was selected by a committee of faculty peers appointed by the provost, Dr. Kimberly Rupert. The award includes $10,000 to fund research or a scholarly project.

The McKenna scholarship will allow Moore to research and write about the works of G.K. Chesterton. He plans to focus on Chesterton’s transformation of characters via their imaginative experiences with beauty and form. Furthermore, he intends to apply his thesis to the discipline of English specifically and Christian higher education more broadly.

He says that his project will offer “an important addition to Christian higher education as we think through how to best communicate the truth to which we are dedicated.”

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