Members of the University of the Ozarks' student organization Wordsmiths who attended the New Orleans Poetry Festival were (from left) Jake Sawyer, Lauren Dotson, Samuel Binns, Taylor Snellback, Ariana Lujan and Professor Chris Carrier."Although our time in New Orleans was short, I feel like we all walked away with new-found inspiration," said Ariana Lujan. "Sitting in each of the readings and panels made me realize the importance of listening to a variety of voices, and how we all have something to learn from those around us. Something that stuck out for me was the community that was present at the conference; readers or presenters from one panel would go to another, and that idea of 'community' is something that can be translated to education." The group had the opportunity to enjoy a walking tour of some of the cultural and literary sites in the French Quarter, including the Mississippi River, Marie Laveau's House of Voodoo, Preservation Hall Jazz Club, William Faulkner House of Books, and Tennessee Williams' residence. They also were able to see a jazz show and eat beignets at famous Caf? du Monde in the French Quarter. "The trip to the New Orleans Poetry Festival is going down as one of the coolest things I have done since coming to Ozarks, and that is saying a lot," said freshman Jake Sawyer. "The festival itself was amazing, being able to rub elbows with nationally known poets, talk about their work and listen to their readings. Then just the time we got to spend wandering around the French Quarter in New Orleans. We ate local Cajun and creole food for every meal, visited a bookstore in a house where William Faulkner lived and wrote, and listened to a New Orleans Jazz band in a cafe. As an English major with an interest in writing, being in a city with such a rich literary history and distinct feel was invaluable. I wrote more in those three days than I have in the last month. I've come away from New Orleans with a lot of new ideas, a couple new books, and a wealth of experiences that won't fade easily from my mind." Samuel Binns, president of Wordsmiths, said the trip was the perfect way for the club to celebrate National Poetry Month. "I greatly benefited from the intimacy of the New Orleans Poetry Festival as we were able to meet many writers, listen to them read, and contribute to discussions in the panels," Binns said. "We were also able to be a part of a broader creative writing community, which gave us a great example for our own facilitation and development of a creative writing community on campus. We explored the writing spirit that is unique to the city, and it was the perfect location to celebrate National Poetry Month and receive new material and encouragement for our endeavors." Wordsmiths, which has about 12 members this semester, seeks to promote the creation and appreciation of creative writing and the literary arts at U of O and for the members of its community through a variety of programs, including student-led workshops, group writing projects, community readings, and field trips.
University of the Ozarks officials have announced that Dr. David Daily (right) and Joel Rossmaier have been named academic deans in their respective divisions, effective July 1. Daily, professor of religion, will serve as the dean of the Humanities & Fine Arts Division, while Rossmaier, associate professor of practice of business and accounting, will be the dean of the University’s Division of Social Sciences. The appointments coincide with the July 1 reorganization of the academic divisions. Daily has taught at Ozarks since 2000 and received the University’s Bagwell Outstanding Faculty Award in both 2004 and 2009. He will replace Dr. Steve Oatis, professor of history, who has served as dean since 2015. “It will be an honor to serve as dean of the Division of Humanities & Fine Arts,” Daily said. “Through his years in that role, Steve Oatis has put the division on a strong footing, and I look forward to building on his work.” Rossmaier, joined Ozarks in 2002 as an adjunct instructor and became a full-time professor in 2003. He served as interim dean of the Division of Business at Ozarks for the 2018-19 academic year. “I am honored to be named as the dean of the Division of Social Sciences,” Rossmaier said. “The University is going through some exciting changes right now, and I look forward to being able to contribute to the growth of the programs within the division.” University Provost Dr. Alyson Gill commended the two new deans, who have a combined 36 years of Ozarks teaching experience. “Dr. Daily is a deeply respected member of the Ozarks community, and I am thrilled that he has agreed to take on this new role,” said Gill. “Since I have known him, I have found his to be a voice of gentle reason, and he brings with him not only a love for the Ozarks community, but a commitment to leading in a time of unprecedented growth with pedagogical richness. As the new dean of Humanities & Fine Arts, I believe that he will play a critical role in providing strong, consistent and communicative leadership for the division.” “Last year, I asked Professor Rossmaier to serve as interim Dean of Business. I have seen him step more fully into that role, and have grown to rely on his sound advice and ability to view things from multiple perspectives. He is a skilled navigator of complex spreadsheets, and comes into this role as a respected and thoughtful leader.” Oatis will return to full-time teaching and will continue to chair the provost advisory group and serve as the division representative on the HLC strategic assessment team. “As a new provost, I appreciate Dr. Oatis’ tireless efforts in leading the division over the years,” Gill said. “This cannot be overstated, and I am deeply grateful for his service to the University—a place that he loves and is deeply invested in.” In a related note, beginning July 1 the four current academic divisions will be aligned to reflect the LENS curriculum and will be known as Humanities & Fine Arts, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences & Mathematics divisions. With this re-organization, the communication and sociology disciplines will move to Social Sciences. The reorganized divisions: Humanities & Fine Arts (Dr. David Daily, Dean) MAJORS: Art, English, History, Music, Philosophy, Religion, Spanish, Theatre MINORS: American Studies, Art, Creative Writing & Thought, English, History, Interfaith Studies, Music, Philosophy, Religion, Spanish, Theatre Social Sciences (Joel Rossmaier, Dean) MAJORS: Accounting, Business Administration, Communication Studies, Elementary Education, Environmental Studies, Physical Education K-12, Political Science, Sociology MINORS: Accounting, Athletic Coaching, Business Administration, Communication Studies, Criminal Justice, Economics, Education, Film Studies, Management, Marketing, Media Production, Military Science, Physical Education, Political Science, Sociology, Strategic Communication Natural Sciences & Mathematics (Dr. Sean Coleman, Dean) MAJORS: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Health Science, Mathematics, Psychology MINORS: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Health Science, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology, Sustainable AgricultureUniversity of the Ozarks Professor of Spanish Dr. William Clary has published a review of renowned Salvadoran novelist Horacio Castellanos Moya’s latest book for Latin American Literature Today (LALT). The review of the 2018 novel, “Moronga,” appears on the LALT website, www.latinamericanliteraturetoday.org, as well as in the February edition of its magazine. Clary said he first became aware of the writer’s work in the early 1980s when he purchased Moya’s first collection of short stories in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. “As his production as a novelist began to proliferate after 2000, I began to follow him, always finding his work fascinating,” Clary said. “Last year, when he published ‘Moronga,’ I decided to take it on as a project. The book review for LALT is just a part of the project. I have presented a paper on the novel at a conference and am currently finishing a much longer critical article on the novel for publication.” Clary, who has taught at Ozarks since 2006, was instrumental in bringing Moya to the University in 2014 to speak as part of the Walton Arts & Ideas Series. “I believe Horacio Castellanos Moya is one of the most creative narrative voices in Central America today,” Clary said. “His work tends to focus on the latent and persistent traumas from the period of the 1980s, which still haunts many Central Americans today, either as residents of their home countries or members of the large Central American diaspora in the U.S. today.” “Moya’s is a powerful and piercing voice of memory that references the horrors of war that consumed the isthmus and how they remain in the minds of so many who were first-hand witnesses to this tragic decade in Central American history. Yet his work also deals with the demoralization and disenchantment that have also subjected Central America to the equally devastating problems of gangs and the drug trade, major problems of the postwar period which persist, alongside widespread poverty, in the conflicted region.” A former editor of news agencies, magazines and newspapers in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador, Moya has published 12 novels, five short story collections and two essay collections. In 2014 he received Chile's Manuel Rojas Ibero-American Narrative Award. Currently he teaches creative writing and media in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Iowa.Lauren Dotson, a senior English major from Harrison, Ark., took home top honors in Season 13 of the University of the Ozarks' Project Poet competition. A total of 28 students entered the annual multi-week, fall semester competition that started in mid-September. In the following weeks, several poets went out of print until five remained, competing against each other in a lively finals episode on Oct. 26. Dotson won the top prize of $1,000 and the title of Poet Laureate of the Spadra Valley for 2018. Rebekah Moore, last year's co-champion, finished runner-up and took home the $500 second prize. Chava Roberts, Jarret Bain, and Marcelina Pop received $250, $150, and $100, respectively "Over the course of the season all Project Poet poets wrote thought-provoking poems about various subjects, poems infused with love and grief and grace," said Chris Carrier, adjunct English professor and coordinator of this year’s competition. "They made Ozarks a richer, more beautiful place." Project Poet began in 2006 as the brainchild of Ozarks’ Professor of English, Dr. David Strain, and his former colleague, Dr. Kendrick Prewitt. The competition challenges students to draw on their creative writing skills and their wit, and is open to students from any program on campus. Based on Bravo TV’s program "Project Runway," the poetry competition presents contestants with a new challenge each week. Contestants read their entries before the panel of three faculty/staff judges, and the audience, who acts as the fourth judge. When all votes are tallied, one contestant wins immunity for the next week’s challenge, while two or three others go “out of print.” The contestants who make it through to each successive round are given more difficult challenges as the competition progresses. Since 2006, more than 300 students have competed in Project Poet.One of the University of the Ozarks' newest student organizations, Wordsmiths, recently spent a weekend in the Big Easy, soaking up the culture and gleaning inspiration from a regional poetry festival. Several members of Wordsmiths, the creative writing club that was organized in 2016, travelled to New Orleans to attend the second annual New Orleans Poetry Festival. They attended various panel discussions and poetry readings by well-known scholars and poets and also had the opportunity to meet and talk with many of them. The trip left a lasting impression on the five students who accompanied Ozarks professors Chris Carrier and his wife, Dawn Holder to the festival. Carrier is the advisor of the organization, which was named the University's Up-and-Coming Organization of the Year for 2016-17 during this week's Leadership Awards ceremony.