Office: LA 125, 974-2343
Dr. Laura Bolf Beliveau
Laura Bolf-Beliveau, PhD, is an Associate Professor of English and the Assistant Chair of the English Department at UCO. Dr. Bolf-Beliveau completed her Ph.D. at the University of Oklahoma, and her dissertation, English/Language Arts Teachers' Emotional Responses to Difference: A Feminist Poststructural Analysis. studied seven beginning teachers and their reactions to classroom diversity.
Dr. Bolf-Beliveau coordinates UCO’s English education program. In addition to publications in the areas of social justice and education in popular culture, she has given numerous national and state presentations about young adult literature, media integration, and argumentative writing in grades 6-12. She has worked on state standards writing committees and has served on the Oklahoma Council of Teachers of English’s Executive Board for seven years.
Dr. Bolf-Beilveau taught high school English in urban, rural, and suburban districts in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. In Oklahoma, she has visited multiple schools and worked with teachers and administrators on several Regents’ grants.
Dr. Bolf-Beliveau lives in Norman with her husband Ralph and their two children, Abby and Martha. Any free time is spent reading. Her favorite author is Toni Morrison.
Jeannine Nyangira is the Student Success Advisor for English, English Education, and English/Creative Writing majors.
Jeannine was born in Kenya, raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, and lived for fourteen years in Wheaton, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago).
After attending Wheaton College (B.A. Christian Education) and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (M.A. English), she taught Composition and Business Writing at Doane College in rural Nebraska and Composition at Kennedy-King College in urban Chicago. Most recently, she worked for five years in Admissions at Wheaton College.
Having moved to Oklahoma in 2010, she’s been pleasantly shocked by how friendly Oklahomans are and enjoys living here—although when football Saturdays roll around, you can find her screaming for her Nebraska Huskers!
Jeannine loves the liberal arts and what they can do for a soul by opening one up to the world. She’s also passionate about connecting people with the information they need. As a Student Success Advisor, she’s excited to connect students with resources/ideas/opportunities that will enhance their college experiences.
Dr. Susan Spencer
Dr. Susan Spencer is Professor of English and Director of Global Initiatives for the College of Liberal Arts.
Words are marvelous things. They have the ability to mend or rend, to tether but not enslave the abstract, and to give wings to that which is normally earthbound. Words heal and hurt, define and distort. Humans have the ability to impose a modicum of order on chaos merely by mastering words. That said, after studying foreign languages--German, French, and Latin--for a little over two years, Sherry Vowel decided to focus on English for a time and received her Bachelor of Arts in English and her Master of Arts in English--Traditional Studies (which meant lots of reading and thinking and writing about the reading and thinking) from the University of Central Oklahoma.
She wrote an undergraduate honor's thesis on gothic conventions and their propensity to create order out of chaos--a recurring theme in literature and in life. Her master's thesis also dealt with the gothic genre and the influence of American Puritanism on the American branch of the gothic genre.
Like many of her peers, she was fortunate enough to receive awards for academic achievement throughout her entire school career. However, she is most proud to have received the Martin Ausmus Scholarship Award in 1993, which was set up to honor the memory of an excellent teacher whom she was most fortunate to have as an instructor.
Sherry Vowel now teaches English 1113, 1213, and 1153 at the University of Central Oklahoma and teaches ESL at an Edmond language school. Her greatest asset in teaching is her ability to see her students as individuals instead of just a class.
Her goal as a teacher is not only to teach her students the importance of words but also to learn something from her students each semester. Her goal as a human being is to do more good than harm. Words continue to fascinate her, which means she does a lot of reading and thinking. She also continues to pursue her love of languages, which for now means she is enjoying the complexity and beauty of Japanese and Portuguese. Tudo bem.
Jeri Van Cook
a.k.a. Don Pendleton
Jeri Van Cook, who writes under the name "Jerry VanCook" and "Don Pendleton" has published 47 action-adventure novels, two non-fiction books (GOING UNDERCOVER ---based on his years as a police undercover officer, and REAL-WORLD SELF-DEFENSE ---upon which he drew from his real-life experiences in self-defense as well as his 7th Degree Black Belt in Aikijutsu and training in other fighting arts) and dozens of magazine articles in such publications as CLOSE QUARTERS COMBAT. TACTICAL KNIVES. BLADE. TRAIL'S END. GUNS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT. and SOLDIER OF FORTUNE. He is currently at work on a more mainstream thriller and continues to teach close quarters combat to police and military groups in both North and South America.
The grandson of an Italian immigrant/coal miner and a Maryland tobacco farmer, Tony's journey to UCO is not unlike the ordeal of a knight errant, having faced numerous ordeals and unforeseen twists and turns in his never-ending quest. During his time at Friendly Senior High School in Fort Washington, Maryland, graduating in 1973, and at The King's College in Briarcliff Manor, New York, Tony followed the path of a musician. Being both a serious vocalist (baritone) and promising instrumentalist (clarinet, saxophone, and flute), Tony saw a future of concert halls and smoke-filled, back-alley bars. Economics and an apparent unsuitability for academia (loved learning, hated school), however, caused a change in direction. Tony entered the Air Force, planning to return to his studies and music at the end of his initial enlistment. Fate had other ideas, and Tony spent the next twenty years roaming the globe as an Electronic Intelligence analyst. During his wanderings, Tony sojourned within the Berlin Wall (before it was torn down), dwelled on the North Sea coast of Scotland, in the shadow of the Highlands, and explored the demilitarized zone and offshore islands of the Korean peninsula. His eventual calling first whispered during this period for Tony began designing, writing, and teaching advanced technical courses, first as an instructor and as the Chief of Curriculum Development for the Air Force activity at the Army Intelligence School at Fort Devens, Massachusetts and later as the Electronic Intelligence Operations Manager for the Special United States Liaison Advisor, Korea.
Tony eventually found himself in Oklahoma at Tinker Air Force Base (a place he absolutely never imagined or looked for) where he retired from the military in 1994 and where his meanderings took a very different direction. He spent several years lost in the digital wilderness, first as a computer salesman and later as a hardware/software technician. Once he realized this was not the yellow wood he sought, Tony emerged from the wasteland and returned to the path he had abandoned twenty-five years earlier, earning his A.A. in Liberal Studies from Rose State College in 1998 and his B.A. in English, with a minor in Psychology, from UCO in 1999. After ultimately finding this path to be amazingly quite suitable, Tony continued his exploration, earning his M.A. in English (Traditional Studies) from UCO in July 2002.
During his travels, Tony has received numerous honors and awards. While in the military, he was awarded both the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal and the Department of Defense Meritorious Service Medal along with several Air Force Commendation Medals. Tony was also formally recognized by the Ministry of National Defense, Republic of Korea for his efforts and dedication while in Korea. Tony's academic laurels include being selected as the Outstanding Undergraduate Student for the UCO English Department in 1999. He is also the recipient of the Lorraine K. Bell Scholarship and was named the 2002 Grady Watkins Scholar by the UCO English Department.
Just as in any good questing tale, Tony has not journeyed alone. Debbie, a native of Gulfport, Mississippi and currently the Head Teacher at City-County Headstart, has been Tony's hale and hardy companion since 1975, having shared and, at times, endured his many trials and tribulations. Tony and Debbie have two children: Rory Sean, who is also a UCO alumnus and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Biology at Iowa State University, and Maria Celeste, who is a student at Harrah High School and has wide ranging interests, currently enjoying the discovery of possible paths to the future.
Tony's love of music and the arts has never faded. Although rarely performing in public, he loves singing and now focuses his instrumental talents on the guitar (it's awfully hard playing a woodwind and singing at the same time unless you're Ian Anderson). He gets great pleasure from a broad range of music, and although he loves studying and performing protest music (topical music) from the twentieth century along with American and Celtic folk music, his current passion is the blues. Tony also has a very large collection of recorded music, including nearly four hundred LPs. Besides his musical interests, Tony enjoys writing poetry along various critical and analytical pieces and is a true student of the past, relishing his studies in the Old English and Middle English periods along with the English Renaissance. He dreams of eventually publishing at least one poetry collection that, in some future century, lit students will attempt to interpret, attempts that will lead to many a heated argument! For recreational reading, the classics (Homer, Dante, and the like) tend to attract Tony's attention. He also loves the cinema, especially classic and modern film noir and films focusing on a quest. Filmed enactments of Shakespeare are particular favorites of his as are modern British dramas and comedies.
Tony's true professional joy is found in the classroom. While still a graduate student, he began his current career, starting off as a Teaching Assistant within the UCO English Department. In the fall of 2002, Tony became an adjunct professor at UCO, teaching composition courses, and at Rose State College, teaching a variety of composition, literature, and humanities courses. He began working within the Compass Community program in 2008, finding it both challenging and very rewarding. Tony became a Full-Time Lecturer at UCO in January 2010. He hopes to eventually pursue a Ph.D. possibly in medieval literature or similar field of study; for now he is taking a break from his formal studies and savoring the moment. Although he knows the quest is never over, he has found his road within his yellow wood, and is devoted to helping his students find theirs.
Benjamin Smith received his bachelor's degree in Film Studies from the University of Oklahoma in 2004, and a master's degree in English, focusing on Film Studies from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2009. His thesis, focusing on the theoretical adaptation processes for comic book cinema, was published in an abridged form in the anthology Adapting America/America Adapted. His academic interests and writings include adaptation theory, comics and culture, and the cultural history of cinema and literature. Ben has presented at the Southwest/Texas Popular and American Culture conference, the Oklahoma Film and Video Studies Society Conference, and the UCO Liberal Arts Symposium, and he was an Invited Lecturer for the Oklahoma City Metro Library. Benjamin has given talks on the films of Romero, the politics of the film 300, and, of course, methods of adapting comics to film. In addition to his academic work, he is an avid guitarist, painter, and short story writer.
Heidi Silcox graduated from The Ohio State University in 1998 with a B.A. in English. Immediately thereafter, she attended The University of Akron School of Law and obtained her Juris Doctorate in 2001.
For the past five years, Heidi has practiced law in Georgia, working as an Assistant Solicitor-General in the suburbs of Atlanta.
She moved to Oklahoma with her husband in 2006 and is now a proud graduate student and adjunct faculty member with the UCO English Department.
In her spare time, Heidi enjoys playing with her two ferocious chihuahuas. She is also in the process of writing a young adult novel.
Dagmar Rossberg has two Masters Degrees: one in leadership management from Oklahoma City University, another in English/Technical Communication from Oklahoma State University. She is currently teaching English 1213 Composition and Research. Mrs. Rossberg was born and raised in Germany. She attended college
in England and traveled extensively prior to making the United States her home.
Presently, she is writing her biography and is working on her first novel and several short stories. She loves cats, is very interested in psychology, nutrition and exercise. And, yes, she is always on the prowl to find yet another good murder mystery with which to burn the midnight oil.
Cynthia Hampton Prince, adjunct instructor, completed her graduate work in English at the University of Central Oklahoma. In addition to her duties at UCO, Ms. Prince enjoys teaching sophomore English and upper level psychology to high school students.
While studying for her master's degree, she developed a love for British literature and Shakespeare. One of her favourite quotes is "Some there be that shadows kiss, such have but a shadow's bliss," taken from the Bard's play Merchant of Venice. Teaching for the past ten years has been the joy of her life as she strives to make a difference in the lives of her students, both academically and personally.
Laurie Polhemus graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a Master of Arts in English in 1997. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Criminal Justice, also earned at UCO. Since 1996, Laurie has taught college courses, specializing in the teaching of writing, critical thinking, and research skills to first-year college students.
Helen is a transplant from Wisconsin who has always complained about the hot Oklahoma summers. She became affiliated with UCO in 1965 where she completed a BA in English Education, a MA in English, and worked toward a ME in Education Administration.
She taught English and chaired the English department at Millwood High School in Oklahoma City from 1972 to 1977, and then transferred to Edmond Memorial High School where she taught English for 20 years. She has traveled in England and Western Europe and was fortunate to participate in educational programs which helped to broaden her capabilities as an educator. Her life-long love of literature and writing is reflected in her enthusiasm in the classroom. In 1998, when she had the opportunity to return to UCO as an English instructor, she saw it as a way of not only continuing her career as an educator but also as means of being a positive influence at the university which has been so important to her.
Helen is a lover of the fine arts, especially music and theatrical productions. She has always been an avid reader; however, she confesses that her favorite escape literature is spy and detective fiction. Someday she hopes to accomplish her dream of having her short stories published and finally completing her novel.
Betteanne Daro is a graduate of the University of Kansas, where she received a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Creative Writing. She also studied the teaching of writing at the University of Colorado at Denver, where she earned her teaching license in secondary English.
Betteanne earned her Master of Arts in the Creative Studies program at the University of Central Oklahoma in 2007.
A native Oklahoman, Janeen Myers earned her Bachelor's degree in English from Oklahoma State University. She took a long hiatus from education to raise a family and to take an active part in her family's business. She began teaching English as a graduate TA at the University of Central Oklahoma where she earned her Master of Arts degree in English studies in 1988. From 1988 through 1993, she taught Freshman Composition classes as an adjunct at UCO, Rose State College, and Oklahoma City Community College.
In 1993, Janeen took a position at Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma City as an English Specialist in the newly organized Learning Center. At OSU-OKC she taught Composition courses and helped develop and teach Freshman orientation courses, Student Success Strategies, which introduced students to online learning. She co-chaired the Writing Across the Curriculum program, attending and presenting at several national conferences. In 1996, she was appointed co-chair of the Honors Program and saw the campus wide program grow from participation of only a few students to nearly 100. In the time since 1996, the Honors Program established Honors courses in English and film, scholarship and cash awards for academic research projects, and student participation in Honors conferences locally and across the country.
After ten years of fulltime teaching, Janeen retired from OSU-OKC. In the fall of 2004, she returns to UCO as an adjunct teaching Freshman Composition. She also begins the Master Gardner program this fall, an ambition she has had for many years. Along with gardening, Janeen enjoys writing and movies and grandchildren.
Kay McConathy received her B.A. in English/History from Austin College, Sherman, Texas and her Master of Arts in the Teaching of English from Teachers College, Columbia University. After graduating from Northeast High School and then going on to college, she left the area to continue an education in world studies. A diverse career consisted of secondary teaching in Chicago and New York City, as well as overseas teaching for the Department of Defense. A lengthy advertising and media career in San Francisco reinforced her communication skills. She chose to return to Oklahoma City, her heart's home, to take care of her mother fighting cancer. The enlightened return to the classroom has been as an adjunct freshman composition instructor at OCCC, 2005, and her recent appointment at UCO, the alma mater of her illustrious brother, Dale.
Amy Lawrence has taught English composition courses for over five years at the University of Central Oklahoma. Although Ms. Lawrence is originally from Houston, Texas, Oklahoma's sense of community and dynamic weather makes her proud to be an Okie.
Ms. Lawrence has an A.A. in Journalism, a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Composition, the latter two earned at UCO, which also makes her a proud Broncho. In the classroom, she emphasizes critical thinking, reading and writing, which promote both academic and professional development. Students are invited to explore language and communication through various media outlets in order to discover how literacy and discourses shape our culture.
When Ms. Lawrence is not investigating the philosophical "who's/why's" of the universe, she decompresses by chasing tornados, boating/fishing Arcadia, re-reading Harry Potter books, and surfing the Internet. One day soon, she aspires to earn her Ph.D. in Composition, Rhetoric and Literacy at the University of Oklahoma. But in the meantime, you will see her hanging with friends and enjoying life.
Lee Hinds earned a bachelor's degree in Business Education from Oklahoma State University in 1986. After leaving OSU and making a whirlwind trip to Niagara Falls, she began teaching at a high school in Michigan. With subsequent moves, she also worked in various business settings for RadioShack Corporation and Electronic Data Systems in Colorado and Texas.
While volunteering in an English teaching program in Edmond, Ms. Hinds worked with non-native English speakers and enjoyed it so much, she decided to study TESL at UCO. She received her master's degree in Teaching English as a Second Language in 2003.
Along with teaching, she enjoys many sports and especially likes watching those in which hers sons participate. She also enjoys traveling, reading and cooking.
Victor Hawk was born in Georgia in approximately 35 BTI (Before The Internet). He received his B.S. in Physics in 1982 from Davidson College, where he won the 1982 Vereen Bell Award for creative writing, and where his senior physics project was using a KIM-1 microcomputer (with 8K of memory!) to measure the Mössbauer Effect using an acoustic loudspeaker and two isotopes of cobalt. His early life was devoted to engineering and technology. He worked for AT&T, Lucent Technologies, and Celestica as a manufacturing and systems engineer from 1985 to 2005. During that time he attended Purdue University, where he received an M.S. in Industrial Engineering in 1993.
By 2005, he was ready for something completely different and left engineering to enroll in UCO's Creative Writing program. He received his M.A. in 2008 with his short story thesis, "Valentine, Texas." He began teaching English composition in Fall 2007 as a T.A. and has continued as an adjunct instructor since Fall 2008.
Victor's hobbies over the years have included running, genealogy, astronomy, autocross, in addition to writing poetry and fiction. His novel in progress, Stumblingbear, continues to expand in its search for an ending. His poems have appeared in New Plains Review, Wind. Cold Mountain Review. and Davidson Miscellany .
A writer and partner in an international distance education consulting firm, Morris has worked for over ten years in a foreign environment: in the Far East (Japan and SE Asia), in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia) and in the Republic of Ireland. His background includes successful efforts in the US Navy and in the fields of business and education both in the US and abroad.
In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia he developed and operated an American-style secondary school designed to prepare non-English speaking students to function capably in major US universities. Morris possesses a Master of Arts Degree from the University of Central Oklahoma in English (Creative Studies).
Dr. Thomas Graves
Dr. Thomas E. Graves is an adjunct instructor in the English department and received his Ph.D. in linguistics from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2007. He has conducted descriptive linguistic research on the Sherpa language since 2002. He wrote on the use of noun classifiers in Chinese discourse for his M.A. He has taught numerous linguistics, English, medical terminology, and humanities courses at the University of Central Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Community College, Rose State College, and SUNY
Dr. Graves has been interested in human language and the cultures of the world since he was in junior high school, where he took both French and Spanish classes. He bought his first two language-learning books, Teach Yourself Swahili and Teach Yourself Icelandic. when he was in the eleventh grade. As an undergraduate in college, he was delighted to meet people from assorted cultures around the world. He has had friends, roommates, and acquaintances from a variety of countries including China, Ghana, Iran, Japan, Korea, Nicaragua, and Samoa. His interactions with international students have also generated an interest in language acquisition, especially since he would often help his friends learn to speak English better. They, in turn, would often help him to learn some of their native languages and tell him about their cultures. He has continued to retain his passion for exploring languages, cultures, and history, as well as his interest in teaching such subjects effectively.
Academically, Dr. Graves is interested in human language, history, culture, and the pedagogical aspects of language acquisition. He has focused his research interests in various areas. One is exploring effective methods of learning and teaching language. Other domains include the most efficient way to describe the grammatical structures and their functions in a given language, as well as the use of language in discourse and social encounters.
Dr. Graves is currently working on several projects. He is writing a textbook on spelling and word formation. He is also writing an introductory textbook on the languages of world, since he has discovered that there is no level-appropriate book on this subject. This textbook introduces the student to basic grammatical concepts that are necessary for understanding the mechanisms of human language. The textbook then expands on the genetic and areal relationships among languages, investigates their morphological and syntactic traits, and also elaborates on the languages in their historical and cultural contexts.
Dr. Graves is able to play a decent game of chess and a passable game of go, and he spends much of his time listening to language CDs and reading grammars on a variety of languages.
Educated at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri for all four years of undergraduate work, Kent Gordon graduated in 1983 with a B. A. in English Literature. After living in upstate New York for a couple of years, he returned to Oklahoma and began his graduate work at UCO in 1986.
From 1987 to 1996 he began working at Bollinger Books in Oklahoma City, finished his Master’s degree in English Traditional Studies, and began graduate work in the field of Creative Writing. Upon completion of his M. A. Kent Gordon began to teach at UCO in 1991, taught for three years, and then left to become general manager of Bollingers.
When Bollingers closed its doors in 1996, Kent Gordon became Community Relations Manager at Barnes & Noble Bookstore, a position he held until August, 2000.