Political Science Professor Selected as Oman Alwaleed Fellow

Hollins University Professor of Political Science Ed Lynch has been named an Oman Alwaleed Fellow for 2015-16 by the National Council on U.S. – Arab Relations (NCUSAR).

The fellowship includes a study visit to the Middle Eastern nation of Oman in August.

The fellowship is highly competitive; only eight college professors are selected each year nationwide. After visiting Oman, fellows will spend the year implementing a variety of programs, events, and outreach efforts in their home communities. These programs will permit Alwaleed Fellows to share their knowledge of Oman and familiarize Americans with this strategically important country.

“The nation of Oman lies directly across the Strait of Hormuz from Iran, and most oil tankers that enter and exit that waterway do so through Omani territory,” Lynch said. “Given Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the volatility of the world oil market, knowing more about the role of the Gulf States, and Oman in particular, is vitally important.

“Most Omanis are fairly knowledgeable about the United States, but most Americans know almost nothing about Oman. I hope my efforts will address that imbalance.”

Lynch expressed his optimism that his fellowship is the start of an ongoing relationship with NCUSAR’s student programs, which include dozens of Model Arab League conferences around the country. Hollins will host the 2015 Appalachia Regional Model Arab League Conference in November.

“We are proud of Ed’s fellowship, and happy that Model Arab League will be coming to Hollins,” said Hollins President Nancy Gray, noting that Hollins students have been active participants in Model United Nations for years.

Lynch chairs the political science department at Hollins, and is a former Academic Fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He has previously traveled to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Chile, Denmark, Israel, and the People’s Republic of China as part of official delegations.


Hollins Professor Wins Environmental Stewardship Book Honor

Children’s book author and illustrator Elizabeth Dulemba, an associate professor at Hollins University, has received a Green Earth Book Award Honor for her work, A Bird on Water Street.

The Green Earth Book Award is the first environmental stewardship book award in the nation for children’s and young adult books. Over 80 winning and honor books have been recognized since 2005. Each year, an expert jury selects books that best convey the message of environmental stewardship in the categories of Picture Book, Children’s Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Children’s Nonfiction, and Young Adult Nonfiction.

“This book is ten years in the making and began when my husband and I moved to the North Georgia Mountains where the story takes place,” Dulemba wrote on her website. “We were invited to a town meeting where a scenic railway was being discussed. It was to be funded by one shipment of sulfuric acid per week from the then closed copper mine. Miners stood up like bent and gnarled trees in their flannel and denim, sharing heart-breaking stories of loss from the cancers believed to be caused by the mines. They made thinly veiled threats that the tracks would be sabotaged if plans moved forward. I sat in shock, wondering what I had stumbled into.

“The story chose me to write it that night. I did dozens of interviews with miners, families and residents of ‘The Red Hills’—a 50-square-mile area devoid of all vegetation from a century of poor copper mining practices. (Astronauts said they could see the devastation from the space shuttle.)

“Ten years later, the book is a testament to growing up in the moon-like, yet close-knit community in 1986, and the efforts toward reclamation which continue to this day. It’s a story of man’s impact on our environment, and hope for our future as better stewards of this Earth.”

Published by Little Pickle Press in the spring of 2014 and geared toward fourth through eighth graders, A Bird on Water Street has earned numerous other prestigious honors, including the 2014 National Book Festival Featured Title for Georgia; the eLit 2014 Gold Medal in the Environment/Ecology/Nature category; and the Academics’ Choice Award.

At Hollins, Dulemba teaches picture book design in both the certificate in children’s book illustration program and the Master of Fine Arts program in children’s book writing and illustrating.


Faculty Members Honored at Founder’s Day Convocation

Hollins University recognized Professor of Spanish Alison Ridley and Associate Professor of Communication Studies Vladimir Bratic with two of the institution’s highest awards during the annual Founder’s Day Convocation on February 19.

Ridley received the Roberta A. Stewart Service Award, which honors Hollins employees who demonstrate long-term service, loyalty to the university and its principles, and deep caring for students and colleagues. Stewart was a professor and administrator at Hollins for 40 years and the award was established in 1993.

Ridley joined the Hollins faculty in 1991 as an assistant professor of Spanish and went on to earn promotion to associate professor in 1997 and the rank of full professor in 2013. She has also served as both chair and clerk of the faculty, chair of her academic department, and director of general education at Hollins. In the latter role, she led the implementation and assessment in 2001 of a new general education program, “Education through Skills and Perspectives,” the first significant reform of general education at Hollins in more than 20 years.

In 2006, as dean of academic services, Ridley was instrumental in creating Hollins’ first-year seminar program. For her work on this initiative, she was selected two years later as one of the 10 Outstanding First-Year Student Advocates in the United States.

The Herta T. Freitag Faculty Legacy Award was presented to Bratic in recognition of his recent scholarly and creative accomplishments. These reflect the extraordinary academic standards set by Freitag, who served as professor of mathematics at Hollins from 1948 to 1971.

Since joining the Hollins faculty in 2006, Bratic has developed as distinguished body of scholarship on the impact of media in peace building. He has written five peer-reviewed journal articles, seven book chapters, and five other publications on this topic. He has also been working on a book that integrates all of his previous work into a unified study on the history of this field over the last three decades.

Bratic has been recognized both nationally and internationally for his expertise. He has worked for several years with the United States Institute for Peace in Washington, D.C., in an advisory capacity. Two years ago, he spent eight days in Israel and Palestine, visiting Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Jaffa, where he interacted with activists and legal experts. He gave a series of lectures on the Peace Boat, an anti-nuclear proliferation NGO. He has been invited to lecture at colleges and universities ranging from Virginia Tech, James Madison University, and Central Connecticut State University to Al Quds University in Palestine, Netanya Academic College in Israel, and Sarajevo University in Bosnia.


Hollins Professor Part of First Large U.S. Delegation to Visit Cuba Since Opening of Relations

LeeRay Costa, John P. Wheeler Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Anthropology at Hollins University, will be traveling to Cuba in February with a “super delegation” of 150 people to mark the recent thawing in U.S. – Cuba relations, particularly the easing of travel restrictions.

Hosted by the activist group CODEPINK and timed for Valentine’s Day, the “To Cuba with Love” delegation will include leaders from the peace and justice movements and the environmental, healthcare and LGBTQ communities, and representatives from Ferguson, Missouri, working on police accountability.

The delegation will meet with high-level government officials, visit members of the Cuban 5, who were recently released from U.S. prison, talk with doctors who combat Ebola in Africa, meet with entrepreneurs about the new business possibilities, and interact with local people about cultural, economic, environmental, educational, agricultural, and healthcare issues.

“I am thrilled to be part of this peace delegation, to have the opportunity to learn more about life in contemporary Cuba, and to talk with Cuban people,” said Costa. “As someone with scholarly interests in social change and social justice, I am particularly fascinated by Cuba’s unique political and social history. I am eager to understand Cuban perspectives on women’s and LGBT rights, race relations, environmental sustainability, and food justice.”

More information about the trip can be found at www.codepink.org/cuba.


Hollins Names Albaugh to Lead Graduate Studies in Screenwriting and Film Studies

albaughHollins University has named writer/producer Tim Albaugh as the new director of Hollins’ master of arts and master of fine arts programs in screenwriting and film studies, beginning in the summer of 2012. He succeeds Professor of Film and Founding Director Klaus Phillips, who passed away suddenly in early October.

Albaugh, who has taught in Hollins’ M.F.A. screenwriting program since 2007, is a graduate of the M.F.A. screenwriting program at UCLA and has taught screenwriting at UCLA, UC Irvine, Pixar Animation Studios, and Walt Disney Feature Animation. He wrote Trading Favors, a film starring Rosanna Arquette and Cuba Gooding, Jr., and his students have sold scripts to numerous studios, producers and production companies, including HBO, Showtime, Lifetime, Nickelodeon Films, the Coen Brothers, and all the major television networks. The film The Machinist, starring Christian Bale, was written by Scott Kosar, a student in Albaugh’s class at UCLA.

“While the campus community continues to miss Klaus’ presence, we know he would like nothing more than for the graduate programs in screenwriting and film studies to continue and to grow,” said Hollins’ Vice President for Academic Affairs Jeanine Stewart. “Tim is the person we believe is best able to take on this challenge. He has been a wonderful asset for the past four years and offers a wealth of experience as well as familiarity with our students and faculty. He will do an excellent job of leading these programs.”

Hollins has offered an M.A. in screenwriting and film studies since 1999 and an M.F.A. in screenwriting since 2005. The summer programs draw instructors from the ranks of Hollins’ permanent faculty as well as visiting screenwriters, filmmakers and distinguished scholars from other institutions. The Summer 2012 session will be held June 18 – July 27.


Hollins Professor Has Dialogue with Kurdistan PM, Libyan Ambassador at ASMEA Conference

lynch_kurdistanDr. Edward Lynch, (left),  John P. Wheeler Professor of Political Science at Hollins University, met with the leader of Kurdistan and Libya’s Ambassador to the United States during the Fourth Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA), held November 3 – 4 in Arlington, Virginia.

Lynch talked with Barham Salih, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, following His Excellency’s remarks at a luncheon on Friday, November 4. “He spoke of the remarkable economic, political and social progress of the region since the end of the regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003,” Lynch said. “Foreign investment is flowing into the region, and roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects are being built.”

During his meeting with Salih, Lynch received an invitation to visit Kurdistan.

Lynch queried Ali Suleiman Aujali, Ambassador of Libya to the United States, at the conference’s opening reception.

“He gave a soothing description of what he called ‘the new Libya,’ and told us not to worry about radical Islam, weapons of mass destruction, or links to terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda,” Lynch recalled. “I asked the Ambassador what sort of relationship the ‘new Libya’ would have with the state of Israel. Clearly taken aback by the question, he responded that Libya is a member of the Arab League. The League has stated that if Israel withdraws from the ‘occupied territories,’ its members will consider normal relations. He also called upon ASMEA members to persuade U.S. representatives to put pressure on Israel to bring about the withdrawal.”

Lynch added, “My question caused quite a stir, and I was told it and the Ambassador’s non-committal answer will be featured among the conference highlights on ASMEA’s web page.”

Lynch is an Academic Fellow of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy, which is affiliated with ASMEA. He also presented a paper on U.S. relations with Uganda at the conference.


New Award Pays Homage to the Memory of Film Professor Klaus Phillips

phillipsTwo friends and colleagues of the founding director of Hollins University’s graduate programs in screenwriting and film studies are honoring his memory by establishing a monetary award in his name.

Hal Ackerman, co-chair of the graduate screenwriting program at UCLA, and Tim Albaugh, a member of the UCLA screenwriting faculty who was recently named the new director of Hollins’ master of arts (M.A.) and master of fine arts (M.F.A.) programs in screenwriting and film studies, have created The Klaus Phillips/UCLA Screenwriting Award in tribute to the professor of film and internationally recognized film scholar who passed away in October 2011.

“Each year, a $1,000 award will be made to a student participating in the summer M.A. or M.F.A program in screenwriting and film studies who writes a screenplay that best exemplifies the joyous, courageous, independent spirit that emanated from Klaus Phillips,” said Albaugh, who along with Ackerman has been a member of the screenwriting and film studies faculty at Hollins for several years.

“For nearly three decades, Klaus shared his passion for and vast knowledge of film with countless undergraduate and graduate students,” Albaugh added. “Thanks to his tireless dedication, the summer master’s programs continually feature noted scholars, filmmakers, and screenwriters from around the world.”

Born in Munich, Germany, Phillips joined the Hollins faculty in 1984 and started the university’s M.A. program in screenwriting and film studies in 1999. The M.F.A. program was launched in 2005. The programs offer courses of study in the writing of screenplays and the study of the history, aesthetics, and theory of the art of film.

Classes take place for six weeks each summer and students typically complete their graduate degree in three years.


Two Prestigious “Best of” Lists for 2011 Feature Novel by Children’s Literature Program Director

whatwekeepThe director of Hollins University’s graduate program in children’s literature has received some impressive year-end recognition for her latest book.

Amanda Cockrell’s debut young-adult novel, What We Keep Is Not Always What Will Stay, has been acclaimed as one of the best books of the year for children by The Boston Globe, and has also been named to the Bulletin Blue Ribbons 2011 list from The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.

In selecting What We Keep for the Globe’s review of the year’s most notable writing for young people, author Liz Rosenberg writes, “Cockrell balances on the knife’s edge between comedy and tragedy. The depth and darkness of her themes makes an absorbing read for older young adults.”

Geared toward readers ages 12 and up, What We Keep is the story of 15-year-old Angie, who falls for a 19-year-old Afghanistan veteran suffering from both physical and emotional trauma. The novel was published by Flux in July 2011.

Along with directing the graduate program in children’s literature at Hollins, Cockrell is managing editor of The Hollins Critic, the university’s literary journal. A native of Ojai, California, she also earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Hollins. Cockrell has published numerous essays, poems, and articles in addition to her novels The Legions of the Mist, The Moonshine Blade, The Deer Dancers trilogy, The Horse Catchers trilogy, and Pomegranate Seed. She has received fiction fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.


Hollins Appoints Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing

brownHollins University has named author and professor Carrie Brown as distinguished visiting professor of creative writing. She will join the Hollins faculty in August.

Brown is the author of five novels, including The Rope Walk (Pantheon Books, 2007), Confinement (Algonquin Books, 2004), The Hatbox Baby (Algonquin, 2000), Lamb in Love (Algonquin, 1999), and Rose’s Garden (Algonquin, 1998), and a collection of short stories, The House on Belle Isle (Algonquin, 2002). Her short fiction has appeared in such journals as One Story, Glimmer Train, The Georgia Review, and The Oxford American, and she regularly reviews fiction for major newspapers. Her work has been translated into several languages, and she has read at literary festivals, libraries, bookstores, and colleges and universities across the country.

Brown is a two-time winner of the Library of Virginia Book Award and a past recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, and the Barnes & Noble Discover Award. In 2009, The Rope Walk was selected by the Iowa Public Library as the “All Iowa Reads” book and as the “Lynchburg, Virginia Reads” book by the Lynchburg Public Library.

Brown earned a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Virginia and is currently associate professor of English and Margaret Banister Writer-in-Residence at Sweet Briar College, where she teaches creative writing courses in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. She also serves as coordinator of international programs for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, a year-round residential working retreat center for visual artists, writers, and composers.

Brown succeeds David Huddle, who has served as distinguished visiting professor of creative writing at Hollins since 2009. The professorship is a one-year, full-time, renewable position.


Natasha Trethewey M.A. ’91 Named Mississippi Poet Laureate

tretheweyHollins alumna and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey has been named Mississippi’s poet laureate by Gov. Haley Barbour. Her duties will include reading from her work at meetings, seminars and conferences throughout Mississippi as a way to advance the literary arts in the Magnolia State.

“It’s an honor to have been named poet laureate of my native state – the place that made me a writer – and I am delighted to serve the citizens of Mississippi by promoting our rich and ongoing cultural and literary traditions,” Trethewey said in an article in The Sun Herald newspaper in Gulfport, Mississippi.

Trethewey is a native of Gulfport and earned her Master of Arts degree in English and creative writing from Hollins in 1991. She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 2007 for her collection, Native Guard, which pays tribute to African American soldiers who were stationed near the city during the Civil War. She has garnered numerous other prestigious writing awards such as the inaugural 1999 Cave Canem poetry prize, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize in 2001 and 2003, and the 2008 Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for Poetry.

“She has received national and international for her poetry that is, often, a tribute to the state of Mississippi, and more specifically, the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” Barbour told The Sun Herald.

Trethewey is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University in Atlanta, and will serve as the Louis D. Rubin Writer-in-Residence at Hollins in 2012. The Hollins Theatre is staging an adaptation of her book of poems, Bellocq’s Ophelia, February 15-19.