Our Thanks to Alison Wheatley and Marcella Reekie


During the past weeks, we celebrated the contributions of Alison Wheatley and Marcella Reekie, two of our faculty members who are retiring this May and this August, respectively, after more than 30 years of service to Kansas State.

Our first celebration took place during our final department faculty meeting of the year and on Zoom, thanks to the continued challenges of the COVID pandemic and the current location of some faculty members. Here we debuted the retirement citations below.

Additional celebrations occurred in person for Alison, hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences, and for Marcella, hosted by colleagues in the department.

We look forward to hearing about their next adventures!

For now, we thank them for their significant and lasting contributions to our students, the department, the college, the university, and the profession.

Thank you, Alison and Marcella!

Karin Westman, Department Head

Alison Wheatley introduces Melinda Cro (Modern Languages) as the next Assistant Dean of Students in the College of Arts and Sciences (10 May 2022)

Note: The information below complements the official citation prepared by the College of Arts and Sciences

Arts and Sciences

Department of English

Alison Wheatley

Dr. Alison Wheatley retires in May 2022 after 36 years of service to Kansas State. 

Alison earned her A.B. (1974) in English from Barnard College at Columbia University and her M.A. (1980) and her Ph.D. (1994) in English from the University of Virginia. Alison joined the Department of English in 1986 as a temporary instructor and was appointed as a Regularized Instructor in 1989. In 1994, she was appointed as Assistant Professor, and she earned tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 2001. In 2002, Alison began her service as Assistant Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, a position from which she retires.

From the earliest days of her appointment in English, Alison has pursued a vocation of service – through her teaching, through her advising, and through her administrative work. When teaching full-time in English, Alison frequently taught courses in general education, including “Classical Humanities,” “Short Story,” and “Great Books,” as well as courses for majors and minors, including ENGL 345 “Drama,” an area of research expertise. Her service to students extended beyond the classroom to the Writing Center (then known as the Writing Lab), where she served as a tutor, and to her leadership in undergraduate advising. In all of these roles, students and colleagues praised her creativity, invention, empathy, fairness, rigor, and wit.

These qualities and experiences prompted her appointment to the College-level role of Assistant Dean. Her contributions were officially recognized that same year with the College’s Stamey Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising (2002).

Alison’s service to students is not the only feature of her success – she has published scholarship on Conrad’s plays, his narrative style, and his career, and on modern drama, and she has received praise for many years of service to The College Board and Educational Testing Service for the annual Advanced Placement Reading and the National Teachers Examination – but her dedication to student success and well-being is exemplary.

With gratitude, we recognize Alison’s significant contributions to the mission of the Department of English, the College of Arts and Science, and Kansas State University.

Marcella Reekie (right) with colleague Tanya Gonzalez (left) at the reception for their respective 2019 university awards (Marcella received a K-State Presidential Teaching Award, and Tanya received the K-State Presidential Faculty/Staff Award for Distinguished Services to Historically Under-Represented Students)

Arts and Sciences

Department of English

Marcella Reekie

Marcella Reekie retires in August 2022 after 37 years of service to Kansas State. 

Marcella earned her B.Sc. in English and in History, with a concentration in Business Concentration, in 1982 from Union College, Lincoln, NE, and her M.A. in English in 1985 from Kansas State with an emphasis in Literature.

Marcella’s extensive service to Kansas State began with her appointment as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (1982-1985) while completing her M.A. degree. During her appointment as a GTA, she taught not only Expository Writing but also Technical Writing under the direction of Professor Emeritus Dean Hall. This additional teaching expertise presaged her significant contribution to instruction in the decades ahead.

Marcella joined the Department of English as a temporary instructor in 1985. In 1988, she was appointed to the position of Regularized Instructor and was recently promoted to the position of Senior Instructor, from which she now retires. During her appointment as Instructor, she held positions on the department’s Professional/Technical Writing Committee and its Technical Writing Awards Committee, and she served as a mentor for instructors new to the field of technical writing. Throughout her career at Kansas State, she has advised colleagues in Engineering during their college’s ABETT accreditation process, provided assistance with editing manuscripts for graduate students and faculty, and supported industry partners.

Marcella has been a superlative instructor of technical writing, earning acclaim from students and department colleagues as well as the University. Teaching exclusively ENGL 415 “Written Communication for Engineers” since her appointment as Instructor, Marcella consistently earns high praise from a typically resistant audience of advanced undergraduates. An early assessment of her success with students, drafted by a former Department Head, has held true across nearly four decades of writing instruction: “Several noted their initial dissatisfaction with having to take Written Communication for Engineers, but they indicated further that her guidance and formal instruction resulted in their significant improvement. Their praise was both thoughtful and widespread.”

Marcella’s excellence in teaching was formally recognized with an English Department Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2017) and with the University’s Commerce Bank and W. T. Kemper Foundation Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2019). Thanks to an Open Access Textbook Grant (2015-2016) to create a free digital textbook for ENGL 415, thousands of students and professionals beyond K-State are benefiting from her pedagogy.

With gratitude, we recognize Marcella’s significant contributions to the teaching of writing, to mentoring, and to the mission of Kansas State University.

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