winter 2016
A Message from the Dean 

Life continues at a fast pace as we transform the lives of our students and the communities we serve.  Our focus remains on our students as we further develop the Center for Liberal Arts Student Success (CLASS) with additional programming, retention activities, outreach, internships, and alumni engagement opportunities. We work to increase student scholarships across all areas of the college with significant support from our generous donors through the Rise.Shine. Campaign for Wright State University.  I enjoyed meeting our alumni and friends across the nation at the various mini-launches and seeing their success first-hand.  In particular I have enjoyed getting to know the wonderful, engaged, entrepreneurial and hard-working students on my Dean's Student Advisory Board.  They keep me hopping with great ideas, engagement activities, and information on how to improve the student experience here at Wright State.  Kudos to them!  Our future is in good hands! 

CoLA Dean's Student Advisory Board  
Front row: Denny Wilson, Jonathan Klugh, Dean Kristin Sobolik, Lukas Wenrick; Middle row: Elizabeth Sweeney, Joseph Panfile, Rachel Jackson, Tristina Allen; Back row: Caressa Brown, Nicholas Anderson, McKenzie McQuown, Lauren Duke. Members unavailable at time of photo: Elijah Knapp, Leah Mikesell, Stephen Monath, Gabe Riegle
KSO signature
Kristin Sobolik
Dean, College of Liberal Arts

CoLA Authors Celebration  

At CoLA's third annual Authors Celebration on January 25 we celebrated 13 faculty who published books and CDs during 2015.

Attendees heard remarks from the authors, browsed their books, and enjoyed food and drink in the Millett Hall Atrium.  Baseball, beards, xenophobia, wolves, kisses from Thermopylae, and "aha" moments were among the topics gracing the presentations and enlightening the audience with authors' cutting-edge research.  Congratulations to CoLA's hardworking (hard-writing) faculty!

Those celebrated were:  Front row: Ed Fitzgerald, Dean Kristin Sobolik, William Irvine, Nancy, Mack. Middle row: Myron Levine, Scott Peterson, James Guthrie, Noeleen McIlvenna. Back row: Christopher Chaffee, R. William Ayres, Brody McDonald, Christopher Oldstone-Moore. Not available at time of photo: Joe Deer, Christopher DeWeese

Actress Breaks Barriers 

Theatre's spring play, A Streetcar Named Desire, includes a very special student in its cast. Nerissa Johnson has Cerebral Palsy and is the first Wright State student with a disability to take the stage in a performance.  Nerissa will share a role as a flower vendor, and she will use a special wheelchair that the crew made for her to fit the era of the play. Nerissa is excited about this opportunity and credited the welcoming and accommodating culture at Wright State University, which she said is nice for students with unique needs.  Director Jason Podplesky added, "This play looks like the world I see at Wright State.  With the cast, there's a real nice multi-cultural thing happening here and that's important to me. That's the world we live in and that's the world I want to show on stage."
WSU Student Emily Bingham to appear on JEOPARDY!

Emily Bingham, a senior majoring in literature and marketing, was among the 15 contestants competing in the "Jeopardy! College Championship" on January 5-6 in California.  The WSU Alumni Association is hosting a watch party on Tuesday, February 2, 7:00-8:00 p.m. at Fox and Hound when Emily's performance will be aired.  We hope you will tune in to the show or come to the watch party to celebrate Emily's great accomplishment!  

Creative Arts Center Project Continues
Every day is an adventure as we drive by the ever-changing CAC construction project!  The shape and mass of the addition is clearly visible, and  it is easy to see just how much the addition will change the appearance of the building.  The "knife wall" that reaches into the parking lot and articulates the entrance is big and bold, just as it should be.  The new fašade will be a fitting symbol of the extraordinary quality of our fine and performing arts programs.

Work is progressing nicely on interior details.  We beat the cold weather and sealed up the building envelope so workers are comfortable and paint can dry.  We are on target for completion of the addition for ARTSGALA 2016.

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Donor Appreciation Reception and Harmony in the Heartland Concert

CoLA hosted more than 300 people for our annual Donor Appreciation Reception at the Schuster Center on October 25. Over 65 scholarship recipients along with their families had the chance to thank the many generous donors who made their scholarships possible. It was magical to see our donors realize the tremendous impact their gifts have on our students.

The reception was followed by an amazing Harmony in the Heartland concert performed by faculty and students from our School of Music. The concert's theme of peace recognized and honored Dayton's rich heritage as the home of peace, first hosting the landmark Dayton Peace Accords and then instituting the internationally recognized Dayton Literary Peace Prize.
Curtain Call

Wright State's theatre program became Ohio's dominant undergraduate theatre program within ten years of its founding in 1970 and today is considered one of the nation's top exclusively undergraduate theatre programs.  Abe Bassett, who started the program and served as theatre director for 18 years, has written "Producer's Notes," a vivid, behind-the-curtain history of his time at the helm of the Wright State theatre program.  "From the beginning, I was just amazed at the quality of the students that we had," he said.  "We really had some good young people - bright, intelligent, hard-working. They were the kernel that enabled us to grow." 

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Emily Dickinson Journal Comes to Wright State
English literature students Sebastian Williams and Sonora Humphreys are helping edit scholarly articles from around the world submitted to The Emily Dickinson Journal - the only publication devoted to the poet's writing.  Last year, the Department of English Language and Literatures became the journal's new home after 25 years of being printed at and distributed from Johns Hopkins University.  James Guthrie, English professor and internationally known Dickinson scholar, serves as the journal's editor.

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Political Science Alum Stays Engaged with CoLA 

Gary Gall graduated from Wright State with honors in political science in 1973, got his law degree from the University of Toledo in 1976 and landed a job with a law firm in St. Marys, Ohio. After his military service he had successful careers as an attorney and prosecutor and is now keeping busy in retirement. Gary has stayed engaged with the College of Liberal Arts through his many years of service and scholarship support as a member of the Dean's Leadership Board. He and his wife Kathleen also made recent gifts to support our deserving students in theatre and on the Model United Nations team. We are proud to count him as one of our alumni! 
Tomb Treasures    
Assistant art history professor Caroline Hillard participated in a traveling seminar last June that took a select group of American academics to Etruscan sites in Italy, including a necropolis in the west central Italian city of Tarquinia.  "It consists of a bunch of small underground chambers," Hillard said. "You climb down these stairs and there are these little chambers decorated with incredible frescoes. Some of them would just knock your socks off." The purpose of the traveling seminar was to enable people who teach at the college level to study a topic in depth to bring new knowledge into the classroom and further their own research, which is exactly what Hillard has been able to do.  "We went to some digs and we were able to look and really understand them in a way that just reading about them in books doesn't allow. It will be great for the students, great for my research."

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Mark Your Calendar - Exciting Upcoming Events

CoLA Research Conference - February 22, 2016

The Second Annual CoLA Research Conference will be held on Monday, February 22, 1:30 - 5:00 p.m. in the Millett Hall Atrium with a reception following. Come learn more about the research developed by CoLA faculty during their professional development leave in 2014-15. The conference's illustrious keynote speaker will be Liam Anderson, Political Science, CoLA Outstanding Research Faculty awardee. Both the conference and the reception are free and open to the public and we hope you will join us!  

For a complete program schedule please visit our website.

The Sultans of Swing
100 Years of Baseball, Jazz, and Short Fiction

Commemorating three unique American art forms, The Sultans of Swing: 100 Years of Baseball, Jazz, and Short Fiction will feature lectures by early-baseball experts (January 29 and February 10), an academic conference including a baseball picnic with speaker Hal McCoy and Raider home game (April 14-15), and a flapper ball (October 29). This CELIA event has been created by 2014-2015 CELIA Fellows Scott Peterson (Communication) and Sharon Lynette Jones (English). For more information and registration, see the event webpage at

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ARTSGALA - April 9, 2016

GALA 2016 will be held Saturday, April 9, 6:30-midnight.  Enjoy a thrilling evening of art, music, and theatre by our very talented students and experience the transformation of the Creative Arts Center as it becomes an elegant showplace for arts education and performance. All net proceeds from this event support much-needed arts scholarships. For more information or to order your tickets online, visit our website.

Jessica Penwell Barnett
Sociology & Anthropology; Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Robert F. Carley
Sociology & Anthropology

James R. Carter
Social Work 

Cathy Cooke
Sociology & Anthropology

Lance Greene
Sociology & Anthropology

Ashley Hall
English Language & Literatures

Lee Hannah, Jr.
Political Science

Shona N. Jackson 
English Language & Literatures 

Hyeseon Jeong 
Urban Affairs & Geography

Doug Keown
Social Work

Hyejin Kim
Social Work

Les Loncharich 
English Language & Literatures

Paula Rae Long
Social Work

Kelli Melson
Theatre Arts 

Jen Ware 

Fall 2015