TWU Student, Faculty Attend Sigma Tau Delta Convention
Creative writing major Tatum Ward and Dr. Elizabeth Ruleman, Professor of English, attended the 2022 Sigma Tau Delta Convention entitled “Action” in Atlanta, March 30-April 2.
Dr. Ruleman serves as the faculty sponsor of Tennessee Wesleyan’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society. “Action” was the first in-person convention since 2019 for Sigma Tau Delta and offered the chance to hear the inaugural poet Richard Blanco and best-selling novelist Nic Stone.
Ward attended creative non-fiction and poetry readings as well as lively and compelling roundtable discussions, one of which was on how the pandemic has revolutionized learning.
"It was wonderful to get to be around so many like-minded young people with incredible writing talent,” said Ward about the session, ‘Women in the Superverse.’ “The discussions were all well thought out and full of new ideas, while also being engaging and fun to listen to. It was easy to leave feeling inspired to keep creating, and I hope I get to come back next year to present some of my own work."
Ward also represented Tennessee Wesleyan by chairing a session titled, “Confronting Colonialism and Inherited Trauma in Contemporary World Literature,” in which she introduced the speakers and led the discussion afterward.
"Chairing this session allowed me to get really involved in the papers that I listened to, all of which were compelling and thoughtful, and also gave me a chance to step out of my comfort zone and meet new people,” added Ward. “It was an amazing opportunity to learn and grow my skills while also supporting my fellow Sigma Tau Delta peers."
In addition to moderating a session, “Pedagogy and Action,” in which young teachers re-envisioned different and better ways of teaching, Dr. Ruleman attended a workshop for chapter sponsors as well as a session on putting the English degree to work. In addition to getting lots of ideas to use on campus, Dr. Ruleman heard students attest to how their degrees in English provided them with the skills needed for such positions as editor in a university press, writer for a news channel, operations manager for a political party office, technical writer for a large corporation, and non-profit executive.
“The discussions were all well thought out and full of new ideas, while also being engaging and fun to listen to. It was easy to leave feeling inspired to keep creating, and I hope I get to come back next year to present some of my own work."
For these young people, the often-asked question “What will you do with an English major?” was easily answered with “Whatever I want!” They also asserted that “I don’t know” or “I’m figuring it out” are fine answers for college students who want to turn their passion into their life’s work.
“This convention is as much of a learning experience for me as for the students who go with me and participate in all the activities,” said Dr. Ruleman, a veteran of student-faculty collaboration and conventions. “The enthusiasm of hundreds of young readers and writers is contagious. Their ideas shared in presentations and discussions, coupled with the sheer depth of their questioning, always make me come away with a renewed sense that the world of literature and of education will be safe in the hands of this generation.”
Ward and Dr. Ruleman are already planning to represent Tennessee Wesleyan’s chapter at next year’s convention in Denver and to take other chapter members with them. Ward and Dr. Ruleman thank the Student Government Association and the Department of English and Modern Languages for the funding that made this year’s trip to convention.