Our Land Grant Mission in Action

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Students from St. Louis who traveled five hours to hear Angie Thomas’s KSBN lecture capture a photo with her before starting the drive back.

Three outreach events in 24 hours.

April is always a busy month, and the past day is no exception. The hours between 7pm on Wednesday April 10 and 7pm on Thursday April 11 found our faculty and students participating in three different kinds of outreach events — events designed to engage not only our campus community but also members of the community beyond K-State.

Such events are part of our department’s mission — “The English Department at Kansas State University is committed to enhancing the intellectual and cultural lives of its students, its faculty, and the citizens of the region” — and part of our department’s core values of “diversity, social justice, critical thinking, creativity, and empathy.” In sponsoring these events, we are also contributing to K-State’s land grant mission: “to foster excellent teaching, research, and service that develop a highly skilled and educated citizenry necessary to advancing the well-being of Kansas, the nation, and the international community.”

Below are three ways that we’re meeting these goals.


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“Art and Resistance: Adaptations of The Handmaid’s Tale” (Wednesday, April 10, 7:00pm, Manhattan Public Library)

Faculty, students, and community members gathered to discuss Atwood’s novel and its adaptations for film, television, and political activism. Organized by our Graduate Track in Literature, this discussion served as the finale to a year-long engagement with The Handmaid’s Tale. Our thanks to Manhattan Public Library for partnering with us and providing meeting space!

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“Mead Middle School 8th Grade Gear Up College Visit” (Thursday, April 11, 10:30am-12:45pm, K-State Student Union)

How do you introduce 120 8th graders from Wichita to the major in English in just 12-15 minutes? We looked to language as a key element of our diverse approaches to the field and, in its honor, celebrated National Poetry Month with a “mad libs” poem activity. Many thanks to the College of Arts and Sciences for the invitation to present — and many thanks to faculty members Mary Kohn and Katy Karlin for assisting with this endeavor!

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KSBN Lecture by Angie Thomas on “The Hate U Give: Finding Your Activism and Turning the Personal into the Political” (Thursday, April 11, 7:00pm)

The Department of English and our English honorary society Sigma Tau Delta have been co-sponsors for the K-State Book Network (KSBN) since its launch with Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games in 2010. This year’s selection, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, fostered significant conversations between campus and community partners — and, with Angie Thomas’s lecture today, brought middle and high school students from as far away St. Louis, Missouri, into the conversation. Our thanks to Angie Thomas for a poignant, funny, insightful, and inspiring talk and to our campus and community partners for their contributions to an amazing academic year discussing Angie’s novel.

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Students from St. Louis who traveled five hours to hear Angie Thomas’s KSBN lecture capture a photo with her before starting the drive back.

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Onward to the end of the spring semester — and to our next outreach events!

Karin Westman, Department Head

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