English Department News, Fall 2020: Announcing the Dabney Adams Hart Endowment 

Posted On December 16, 2020
Categories News & Events

English Department News, Fall 2020: Announcing the Dabney Adams Hart Endowment

Welcome to the fifth edition of the English Department News! Below is our feature on the establishment of the Dabney Adams Hart Endowment. Please click here for the full PDF of the newsletter. 

The English Department is excited to announce that fundraising is under way through the College of Arts & Sciences Development and Special Events Office to establish the Dabney Adams Hart Endowment, started with seed funding by Hart’s family to honor the memory of the former GSU English professor. The hope is that the endowment will fund both the Dabney Adams Hart Legacy Scholarship and the Dabney Adams Hart Junior Faculty Research Fund. If you are interested in contributing to the Dabney Adams Hart Endowment, please contact Allison Bass, Associate Director of Development, at abass6@gsu.edu or fill out the online donation form here.

So far, the department has been able to use the initial funds to support Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Summer Research Grants (SOTL) in 2019 and 2020. These grants funded some exciting research that we would like to share to give you an idea of the positive impact that donations to the Dabney Adams Hart Endowment would have on the department. Here are some highlights of the SOTL grants awarded thus far:


Principal Senior Lecturer Jody Brooks—Connecting GSU: Collaborative, Interactive Art. Together with the GSU Mind & Body Clinic Directors and the Spotlight Arts Director, Brooks worked with students on a series of cooperative, interactive pop-up art installations. The interactive exhibits included:

What Do You Value? From a group of 30 value cards, students (individuals, pairs, or groups) choose their Top 10 Core Values (the beliefs that drive their everyday behavior). Then, they divide their Top 10 into two piles—“What I Actually Value” and “What I Think I’m Supposed to Value.” What’s the difference? Why is there a gap between actual and alleged? What effect(s) does this have on our emotional and mental well-being?

How Are We Connected? A collaborative mural on which students represent themselves by coloring one quarter of a circle. The quarters are posted together to form circles in a larger quilt-like pattern.

What Do You Find Beautiful? Students write down (or draw a picture) of something they find beautiful that doesn’t fit the current cultural definition of beauty. The images and words are used to create posters.


Lecturer Matthew Dischinger—Teaching Feeling: Affect in the Humanities Classroom. Dischinger’s SoTL grant supported two projects: the development of an online, asynchronous version of ENGL 1102 (English Composition II) and his work as the editor of an essay cluster entitled “Teaching Feeling: Affect in the Humanities Classroom.” Dischinger’s primary goal this summer was to design a course that took advantage of the possibilities that digital learning provides while also helping students see how writing can respond to the difficult social and political conditions of 2020. The theme of the class he designed is “Democracy from Home.” The readings and projects focused on what sorts of civic engagement can be carried out during an election season complicated by a pandemic. One project required students to write a letter to someone they know encouraging them to vote; Dischinger printed, addressed, and mailed the letters. In their reflections after the project, students mentioned the various responses they received from their letters. They were excited to see their writing go out into the world and help generate action.


Principal Senior Lecturer Laurah Norton—Writing the First Podcasting Textbook. Norton’s SoTL grant allowed her to work on a proposal for a podcasting textbook tentatively titled “Podcasting: The Essential Guide to Crafting, Producing, and Marketing Narrative Audio.” The planned text has four main sections: the introduction and landscape, which covers the major genres, where the field is now, where it’s going, and how podcasting has changed the shape of journalism, fiction, and even publishing; a section on craft, which discusses putting together both longform and short form podcasts, with an emphasis on creative nonfiction tenets—plot structure, character, point of view; a section on the crossover into journalism and its associated ethics, reporting, standards, and issues like fact checking and fair use; and a series of essays from experts in the field. The book will operate both as an academic text that will introduce novices to new ideas, real concerns, and even job opportunities they never knew existed and as a field guide for podcasters who want to learn how to craft quality stories that hold up, even as independent works, to the major players’ productions.


Lecturer Stephanie Richardson—Social Justice and Activist Rhetorics. Richards’s objectives for the SoTL grant were 1) To research opportunities for students to explore sites in close proximity to GSU for the purposes of engaging with original artifacts and experiences relevant to the intersections of rhetoric, civil rights, and social justice; 2) To partner with individuals and organizations associated with said sites to locate content reflective of activist rhetoric that can be contextualized for delivery in both live and online platforms; 3) To create a course and syllabus based on activist rhetoric developed as a result of the aforementioned research, designed to be delivered both live and online; 4) To contribute to current scholarship regarding civic engagement and activism as a pedagogical option for courses in Rhetoric & Composition and beyond; and 5) To contribute to scholarship regarding rhetorical activism in sonic and digital spaces.

COVID19 and the social unrest across the country in response to racial injustices ignited by the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers on May 25, 2020, added challenges to this project. In Atlanta, thousands of protestors took to the streets to exercise their right to peacefully assemble, though some protests escalated violently. Businesses closed, traffic in downtown Atlanta was compromised, and, in some cases, downtown was simply unsafe. Richardson commented, “as an African-American woman, the toll wasn’t simply one of mere inconvenience; on an emotional level, I grieved and lamented for my community, my loved ones, and especially my son. But I also felt that this moment highlighted how critical this project is, as many protestors seemed overcome with the need to do something, but were not clear as to what, or how, or when. Now I am continuing to pursue this project with an even greater sense of purpose.”

If you would like more information about the Dabney Adams Hart Endowment or are interested in contributing, please email Allison Bass in Development at abass6@gsu.edu or fill out the online donation form here. You may also email English chair Lynée Gaillet at LGaillet@gsu.edu with questions about the endowment. Thank you for your support!