English Department Faculty
Get to know the English department faculty by reading a bit about them here.
Beverly Beem came to Walla Walla University in 1976 and declared it home. After graduating from Union College she received a M.A. from Andrews University and a Ph.D. in Renaissance Literature from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln. She specialized in the devotional poets of the seventeenth-century, particularly George Herbert. Aside from her interest in Renaissance Literature, she teaches classes in Medieval Literature, Classical Literature, and Biblical Literature. She says that she gets to teach all the old stuff—“The older it is, the better I like it.”
Bev does most of her current scholarship in Old Testament Narrative—particularly the wild and woolly stories in the Book of Judges. She enjoys the challenge of interdisciplinary studies and team-taught a class with Kent Bramlett from the religion department on The Book of Judges. “Much of what we learn from the text depends on the questions we bring to it. By bringing together the different perspectives of literature, theology, archaeology, and history, we can see more clearly the richness and complexity of these great stories.” She is also working with Ginger Harwood from La Sierra University on an interdisciplinary project on the role of women in the early Adventist church. She was selected as the Distinguished Faculty Lecturer for fall of 2005 where she spoke about her search through the Review and Herald for the nineteenth century to discover the roots of Adventist spirituality.
Kellie Bond, department chair, joined the English Department in 2004. She received her B.A. from WWU in 1993 and her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 2002. Her areas of specialization are nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature, modern literature, poetry, and composition. She served as College Writing Coordinator from 2005-2009. In addition to teaching literature and composition courses, Dr. Bond team teaches a quarter of Honors Western Thought.
For fun, Dr. Bond reads novels; for amazement, she reads poems. Modern poetry is the focus of her research, as it was at the U of O—specifically the work of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Carl Sandburg, and Sterling Brown. Besides books and people, Dr. Bond likes cats and basketball. Fortunately, her husband, Paul Johnson, also likes these things.
Karen Clausen-Brown, Assistant Professor of English, is completing the final stages of a Ph.D. in English from the University of Notre Dame. She specializes in early modern literature and interactions between religion and literature. Her dissertation, "Remembering the Sabbath: Literary and Biblical Authority in Milton and His Contemporaries," explores how sixteenth-and seventeenth-century debates about the Sabbath shaped understandings of the proper role of religious culture in the political life. She focuses especially on the writings of John Milton, Margaret Fell, Thomas Hobbes, and Benedict de Spinoza. With Stephen Fallon, Clausen-Brown recently co-edited a forum titled "Defining Religion in Milton," and it is forthcoming in Religion and Literature in 2013. For the English Department, Clausen-Brown teaches composition and courses on biblical, classical, medieval, and early modern literature. For the Honors Program, she teaches a quarter of Western Thought.
Kristin (Bergman) Fry has been teaching College Writing for the English Department since 2005. She received her B.A. in English and History from WWU in 1998. Her goal is to teach students to think, read, and write clearly and critically (and, incidentally, to stop comma misuse and abuse).
Kristin lives in Milton-Freewater with her husband Scott, a family practice physician. They have three children. When not teaching, Kristin enjoys reading (particularly classic mysteries and early 20th-century popular/household magazines), knitting, chicken farming, and baking.
Dalene Johnson, a native Northwesterner, has been teaching at Walla Walla University since 1985. As the College Writing Coordinator since 2009, she has spent considerable time with the University librarians, integrating Information Literacy standards into the Walla Walla University writing curriculum. She oversees testing and placement of university students into the writing sequence, supports the contract writing teachers, and teaches writing classes.
She graduated from Walla Walla College with a BA in English, and earned an MA in English from Andrews University. Her study focused on the Transcendental Utopian societies in early America. She continues to follow with interest, societies’ unsuccessful attempts to make “heaven on earth.”
When not rearranging piles of papers on her office desk, she plays violin in the Walla Walla Symphony, maintains a weekly watercolor painting session with friends, talks to family on Amateur Radio, and sponsors WWU’s service club, His Kids in Action.
Ron Jolliffe, Professor of English, received his M.A in literature and film and his Ph.D in textual studies from Claremont Graduate University. He teaches literature, film, and writing, with attention to the way images and texts about the "other" inform the reader's local present. The stories people tell shape both the teller and the listener. Jolliffe believes that when people listen and speak empathically, the world becomes a better place.
His teaching and research interests include using film (a) as an effective way to examine narrative structure (b) as the focus of College Writing Research papers, and (c) as a dialogue base toward understanding whole-person care for medical students. Films, or at least film clips, find their way into most of his classes.
Jolliffe is a native Northwesterner and graduate of Walla Walla University. His recent publications include three research volumes on gospel sources published by Peeters Press, Leuven, Belgium.
Dan Lamberton has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Washington and has published poems, stories, and critical articles nationally. He is the author of On the River through the Valley of Fire: The Collaborative Ceramics of the Frank Boyden and Tom Coleman (American Museum of Ceramic Art, 2008). He is a contributing editor to Poetry Northwest, where he also serves on the advisory board. Lamberton has delivered, throughout the state, over 100 lectures on Washington’s poets and artists for Humanities Washington’s state speaker’s bureau. He has also lectured for the Teachers as Scholars program, sponsored by the Seattle Arts and Lectures Series, and has taught at the University of Washington, a course called “A Sense of Where We Are: Literature and History of the Pacific Northwest.” Along with colleagues, he created a northwest literary history anthology in cooperation with the University of Washington history department. Dan is the Walla Walla University Humanities Program Director as well as the Fulbright adviser, and Oxford (CMRS) year abroad program adviser.
Sylvia Nosworthy has taught for the English department at Walla Walla University since 1978. She received her M.A. in English at Andrews University. In 1991, she completed her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with specialization in Children’s Literature from University of Minnesota. Besides teaching classes in Literature for Children and Young Adults, she also teaches classes in Grammar and Linguistics, Jewish Literature, and Arthurian Literature. She has developed distance-learning classes in Jewish Literature, Children’s Classics, Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults, and Seminar in Classics.
Her latest research interest is literature about the 1893 Columbian World’s Fair in Chicago. She presented a paper on “A Comparison of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Two Little Pilgrim’s Progress with Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and Richard Peck’s Fair Weather.” Her latest research concerns “The Unvarnished Opinions of Josiah Allen’s wife on the 1893 World’s Fair Art,” a reading of excerpts from Marietta Holley’s Samantha at the World’s Fair, presented with pictures of the art.
LuAnn Venden has taught at Walla Walla University since 1999. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of North Texas. Her areas of academic interest are eighteenth-century drama and women novelists, Victorian novels, and classical drama. She is currently working on the dramatic works of Susanna Centlivre with the goal of producing both scholarly and stageable editions of her plays. LuAnn loves reading (anything and everything) and enjoys all aspects of theatre. When she isn’t teaching or directing plays with wwudrama, she enjoys going to Shakespeare Festival in Ashland with her husband David and spending time with her son Mark.
A New Englander, Tom Wehtje received English degrees from Atlantic Union College (B.A.), Andrews University (M.A.), and Stony Brook University (Ph.D.). His interdisciplinary dissertation was titled, “Out of Darkness, Light: The Theological Implications of (Dis)Belief in Witchcraft in Early Modern English Literature and Thought.” He has directed and produced (and acted in) various college plays, including King Lear. At WWU Wehtje teaches History of the English Language, a British and American Literature survey course now and then, and mostly College Writing I and II and Research Writing. In his spare time he enjoys writing poems (an Elizabethan sonnet anyone?), collecting thousands of books culled from library sales, playing basketball, and traveling to Italy with his wife, WWU music professor Dr. Karin Thompson, to track down Renaissance frescoes.
Last update on July 1, 2015