Found Object: Graduate Newsletter

Location: File cabinet with Grad Program files, storage room, ECS Building.
Object: File folder titled “Graduate Newsletter.”
Observations: It appears that, for a period of 10 years, the Graduate Program in English produced a Graduate Alumni Newsletter.

Location: File cabinet with Grad Program files, storage room, ECS Building.
Object: File folder titled “Graduate Newsletter.”
Observations: 1) The first issue in the file folder dates to October 27, 1969. 2) The gender politics of this first page speak to its year of publication, as the Department prepares to go “into the market this year for a new man in modern drama.” 3) One of the more recognizable names on the list of faculty: Earle Davis, a long-time Department Head whose name appears on one of our oldest graduate student awards, who was spending the year in Cork, Ireland.
… and the sign-off for the 1969 newsletter confirms its inaugural status, given that it holds the “first sheaf of answers.”

Location: File cabinet with Grad Program files, storage room, ECS Building.
Object: File folder titled “Graduate Newsletter.”
Observations: 1) As of 1971, the Graduate Alumni Newsletter is not only bringing news to fellow of alumni but also serving as a means of program assessment for an upcoming university accreditation visit by the North Central Association — an approach that we have used, too, with our recent Grad Alumni Surveys. 2) Brewster Rogerson, the faculty member issuing the call, is another well-known faculty name, thanks to the Brewster Rogerson Scholarship for our undergraduate majors. 3) The Kansas State University letterhead c. 1971 has a distinctly mid-century modern look — and the university had a different area code (913 in place of today’s 785).

Location: File cabinet with Grad Program files, storage room, ECS Building.
Object: File folder titled “Graduate Newsletter.”
Observations: 1) As of the 1978 issue, the newsletter is becoming something of a tradition, with the annual call garnering over 80 responses from M.A. and Ph.D. alumni across 30 graduation years. 2) The faculty names are becoming even more familiar — and not just from award plaques — as we read about new faculty members Jonathan Holden, Don Hedrick, Jerry Dees, George Keiser, and Leland (Eddie) Warren. 3) We also learn the timing of renovations in the old Denison Hall to create additional office space for administrative staff — a redesign that held until Denison’s demolition in 2004. 4) 1978 = a new aesthetic for the Kansas State University letterhead.

Location: File cabinet with Grad Program files, storage room, ECS Building.
Object: File folder titled “Graduate Newsletter.”
Observations: 1) The newsletter for 1979 — the most recent issue found in the file folder — offers even more information about the department in its prelude to sharing news from graduate alumni. 2) Graduate students themselves are now serving as the editors. 3) We learn that, as of 1979, the Graduate Program had just three Tracks: Creative Writing, Language and Composition, and British and American Literature. (In 2020, we have five.) 3) 1979 = another approach towards Kansas State University letterhead.
Location: File cabinet with Grad Program files, storage room, ECS Building.
Object: File folder titled “Graduate Newsletter.”
Observations: 1) The events of the Department, as of 1979, bear some resemblance to the kinds we might see in recent years, with readings by faculty and visiting writers, special events around a particular author or text, and visiting scholars. 2) “Diversity,” in 1979, appears to signal range in discipline, period, and genre. 3) In 1979, first-year GTAs were earning a stipend of $4,300. Today, all M.A. students earn a base stipend of $12,000, along with tuition waiver and health insurance.
4) Though the sign-off for the 1979 newsletter presages a sequel for 1980, its absence in the file folder indicates otherwise. 5) As of 2020, social media has taken the place of these hard-copy Graduate Newsletters, but their contents offer lively snapshots of our alumni and the life of the Department, 1969-1979.

Today, “Graduate Newsletter” best describes the one recently produced by our current graduate students, as they foster community amongst themselves during our physically-distanced, COVID-19 moment. Best wishes to our new first-year graduate students and our continuing graduate students as they start the fall semester of a most unusual academic year!

Karin Westman, Associate Professor and Department Head

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s