Points of Distinction

Scholarships Awarded Annually to Continuing English Majors.  Generous gifts from friends and alumni over the years allow the English Department to award endowed scholarships to our majors to help them complete their degrees in English.  For the 2016-2017 academic year, the department awarded over $8,000 in scholarships to current English majors.  New gifts will significantly increase the scholarships available to English majors in the coming years.

  • The Thomas F. Heitlinger Scholarship: Monica Trout, Katherine Blanner, Matthew Wilde
  • The Dr. James F. Ragan Scholarship: Bridget Woulf, Sydney Martin, Matthew Wilde, Monica Trout
  • The Kenneth J. Sullivan Scholarship: Mary Elfrink, Moira Myers

Rockhurst Review, New Issue.  From prophetic animals to elegiac pizza delivery boys, this issue of Rockhurst Review showcases lyrical, emotionally resonant writing from some of the strongest voices in contemporary literature. Starting August 22, 2016 you can read a selection of featured pieces on our website, rockhurstreview.org.

Jason Arthur named Co-Editor of Journal.  Jason Arthur, Associate Professor of English, became co-editor of the Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association. His essays, on Craig Finn, Dana Spiotta, and the “Rise of the Elsewheres” appeared in Slate, The Millions, and JMMLA, respectively.

English Major, Matthew Wilde Wins Prestigious Scholarship.  Matthew Wilde has won the E. Nelson James Junior Scholarship, from Sigma Tau Delta, National English Honor Society.  Only two such scholarships are awarded each year, chosen from applicants from all over the United States.

Film Made from Elizabeth Barnett's Poem.  Creative Writing Professor Elizabeth Barnett recently published two poems in Poetry Northwest, where the editors turned one of her poems into this lovely short film entitled "Song." 

Students Present Work at National Conference. John Kerrigan, Associate Professor of English, recently led a group of ten students to travel to the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society Convention in Minneapolis, MN.  Three students, Jacob Gutierrez, Gregory Noonan, and Matthew Wilde presented their critical and creative work at formal sessions. 

Translations and Poetry by Silvia Kofler.   Silvia Kofler, Rockhurst Instructor of English, recently published In the Silence Between Love Songs: In der Stille zvischen Liebesliedern, a bilingual (English-German) co-edition of Bill Wolak’s poetry, which Kofler has translated into German (Cross Cultural Communications, 2016). Kofler read her work at Kansas City's Writers Place in June 2916.

New Mystery Novel by Charles Kovich and Curtis Hancock.  Dr. Charles Kovich (English Department) and Dr. Curtis Hancock (Philosophy) recently released their third novel in their mystery series.  Like the previous two volumes, The Case of the Owl of Minerva is an academic murder mystery whose protagonist applies philosophical principles rather deduction to solve the crime.  In this installment, Murder is afoot at St. Swithun’s College.  Fortunately, Fr. Dietrich Shrader, genius and philosopher-detective, with his chronicler, Gerard Channing, will use cunning philosophy to solve the murder in this satirical world.  See the story about the collaboration of these two professors.




Recent Book by Professor Jason Arthur.  In April 2013, University of Iowa Press published Jason Arthur’s Violet America: Regional Cosmopolitanism in U.S. Fiction since the Great Depression, in its New American Canon series. In this book, Arthur challenges conventional ideas associated with the term regional. He argues that writers such as James Agee, Jack Kerouac, Maxine Hong Kingston, Russell Banks, and Jonathan Franzen apply a regional imagination to matters that are national, global, and cosmopolitan. He shifts away from polarizing notions like red vs. blue, rural vs. urban, and moves us toward a richer sense of the interdependence of America’s diverse cultural landscape. Arthur brings new subtleties to recent works of U.S. fiction, offering readers and scholars a more nuanced way of fitting them into American literary history, and offering us all a more thoughtful way of understanding ourselves.

English Honor Society Wins Chapter of the Year.  In 2013 at the international Sigma Tau Delta Convention in Portland, Oregon, Rockhurst's Alpha Mu Gamma chapter was presented with a national Chapter of the Year award.  The chapter was presented with a plaque, a $400 prize, and $250 for travel expenses (to attend the Portland Convention and arrange a display showcasing the Rockhurst chapter's achievement).

The award was given based on the work of Rockhurst students during the 2011-2012 academic year.  The Rockhurst English Club and Honor Society hosted a wide range of activities: the annual Marathon Reading; a reading and panel discussion on two different nights during Banned Books Week; Poetry Jams in the Fall and Spring; recording and distribution of an audio book (available on CD and internet) featuring readings of original and public domain works by Rockhurst English students and faculty; participation in an after-school reading program service project; our annual Book and Bake Sale fundraiser; an evening reading and discussion of Natasha Trethewey's poetry collection, Bellocq's Ophelia, which brought together over twenty students from multiple Sigma Tau Delta chapters in Missouri; and our annual spring induction ceremony for new members.  Our student members also played key roles as contributors and editors to Infectus, Rockhurst's student literary arts publication, founded by Sigma Tau Delta members in 2005.

Plays in Progress Workshop is a twice yearly production of professional and student playwriting efforts. Dr. Charles Kovich, as Managing Director, supervises the student-run program that has found a sturdy support in the Rockhurst community as well as the greater Kansas City area. For further information, contact Dr. Kovich at (816) 501-4034.