Professors celebrate return of department’s journal


    Forget about grading essays and writing novels, English professors jumped into the party scene last week, eating strawberries and sipping sparkling punch as they celebrated the homecoming of the English department’s journal and its new editorial leadership.

    “I’m delighted it’s back home,” said Gary Tate, founder of the original journal, Freshman English News, which is now called Composition Studies.

    He and his wife Priscilla gave a brief speech at the gathering on Friday afternoon.
    The nationally circulated journal was founded in 1972 to teach freshmen how to write and aid freshman composition professors, Tate said. The first issue included articles about the training of teacher assistants, the use of writing labs, establishing standards in composition and the use of media.

    “It enhances the status of the program as a whole and provides support for graduate students,” said Austin Lingerfelt, undergraduate assistant and senior English major. Lingerfelt produced and designed the journal’s Web site.

    The journal moved to DePaul University in 1997 when editor Christina Murphy needed a break. It returned to TCU in June 2003 under the editorial direction of English professors Ann George and Carrie S. Leverenz.

    The first issue was published toward the end of the fall semester and the department wanted to celebrate after the first publication was mailed out.

    Forty graduate students, English faculty and staff were invited to the celebration at 2 p.m. in the Student Center.

    English Professor Ann George said the journal highlights the writing program and aids the graduate program.

    “It’s a great opportunity to bring back the rhetoric,” George said. “Students get to practice editing, gain connections with well-known scholars, and have a stronger sense of how manuscripts work.”

    Lingerfelt said working with the journal will allow him to be mentored by two professors in the graduate program who will teach him how to work and write within the rhetoric and composition field.

    He said thedepartment will gain national prominence within otherEnglish departments.

    “Students who graduate from a more prestigious program get better jobs,” George said. “Better students apply to better programs, so the level of student work improves.”

    Students will gain experience with editing, budgeting money, managing time, supervising other students and reading manuscripts, George said.

    “Composition Studies serves as a resource for scholars within this field, and when they view the Web site or read the journal, they will take notice of the university,” Lingerfelt said. “Composition Studies is a high-quality publication, and that reflects back upon the English department and the university as a whole.”

    The journal can be accessed at