NORMAL - Four Illinois State University professors and 11 graduate students have contributed to The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poets and Poetry, the largest reference work on American poetry ever assembled.
The five-volume work contains more than 900 essays of poets from the colonial period to present. The work also includes descriptions of key schools, movements, poetic theories, practices and terms and helps put American poetry into a social, historical, political and cultural context.
"This is a major publishing event," said John Shields, ISU distinguished professor of English and an advisory board member for the encyclopedia. "Illinois State faculty and graduate students have made a substantial contribution to a very important new reference work on American poetry. I am particularly excited for our accomplished graduate colleagues who have gotten their work published."
Local contributors are Shields and fellow professors Russell Rutter, Victoria Harris and Willard Bohn, and students Maureen Anderson, Jennifer Billingsley, Bruce Erickson, Thomas Herakovich, Melvin Hill, Eric Lamore, Devona Mallory, Patrick Moseley, Zachary Petra and Deborah Adams Renville, and alumnus Raymond Yanek.
Organizers want healthy Darwin debate
CHARLESTON - To some scientists at Eastern Illinois University, it is noteworthy that today's anniversary of Charles Darwin's birthday year falls on a Sunday - a day often associated with religion.
And in advance of "Darwin Day," EIU is hosting a series of events that aim not only to remember Darwin's contribution to the sciences, but also to discuss what some see as a misguided antagonism between the theory of evolution and certain religious beliefs.
"We're not doing this to slam religion, we're not doing this to divorce the students from their own ideology," said Stephen Mullin, an associate professor of biological sciences who is helping coordinate the Darwin Day events this week.
"One can accept the facts of evolution and accept a religious ideology without any conflict," Mullin said.
EIU joins institutions all over the world in commemorating the contributions of Darwin, a 19th century British scientist who postulated theories on evolution and the biological origins of humanity.
"Hopefully (Darwin Day) tells students that not everything is concrete," said John Stimac acting chairman of the EIU Geology/Geography Department, who will lecture Wednesday. "Sometimes we need to step back and think about some things. Science is constantly changing. One of the principles of science is that you test your theories. That's what Darwin Day asks students to do. Darwin Day gives us the opportunity to see how things have changed."
Poshard promises fellowship changes
CARBONDALE - Southern Illinois University settled terms with the U.S. justice department, but raised fears among minorities statewide last week about the future of diversity in higher education now that the university has given up racially exclusive fellowships.
Under a consent decree filed in the federal court in Benton, SIU agreed to open up three graduate fellowships, previously off limits to white males. University officials took the matter a step further to declare all programs would be open to all students in the future, and the campuses will work to improve minority participation in fellowships within the parameters of the law.
SIU President Glenn Poshard said he is instructing each campus to set up task forces to monitor minority student involvement in graduate programs, and his office will be held accountable for the success or failure of the initiatives.
Michelle Steinbacher of The Pantagraph, Caleb Hale of The Southern Illinoisan and Nathaniel West of the Times Courier/Journal Gazette contributed to this report.