The English department is currently conducting a search for a new poet to replace Di Seuss, former Writer in Residence. With 216 applications submitted for the position, it has been a long process but the search committee has recently narrowed it down to three candidates. The position involves teaching some Intro to Creative Writing courses, poetry workshops, as well as the opportunity to create a course based on the candidate’s interests and specialities.
All three candidates have visited the school for in person interviews, mock classes, and to present some of their work. The three finalists are Ching-In Chen of Sam Houston State University, Michelle Brittan Rosado of the University of Southern California, and Oliver Baez Bendorf of the University of Wisconsin Madison. All three of them currently teach poetry focused courses at their respective schools, and have published works of poetry and other writing.
The search committee consisted of all faculty in the English department, as well as Chris Latiolais and Sarah Lindley. Deia Sportel was administrator. “All of the final candidates were chosen based on talents in poetry, and interest in the intersection between poetry and social justice,” Andrew Mozina, chair of the search committee, said. The applicants were narrowed down based on basic criteria of degrees, social justice involvement, how they might fit in the liberal arts environment, how they could bring diversity to the faculty, and other deciding factors throughout the process.
Each candidate’s visit had a lot of student involvement, with students volunteering to sit in on classes, go to lunch with the candidate, and/or attend a talk where they shared some of their work and gave a lecture. Students then had the opportunity to give feedback on each candidate, in the form of a written evaluation, or just an email of their thoughts. All feedback was then put in a document and given to the search committee to look over and take into consideration. “Student input is important and taken seriously, we want to see how this person will work with students in and out of the classroom,” said Mozina.
Following the end of these three visits, all that is left is for final deliberations by the search committee, before they make a recommendation to the Provost and President, who ultimately decide on a candidate and officially hire one to fill the position. The committee hopes there will be an offer to one of the candidates in the next month.