Dr. Janet Blank-Libra
Professor, Director of Journalism & Chair of the English and Journalism Department
Janet Blank-Libra regularly teaches courses in literary journalism, empathetic journalism, ethics and law of the press, multimedia journalism, photojournalism, news reporting and writing and the Civitas literature and Reading Augustana courses. She was the 2005 recipient of the Vernon and Mildred Niebuhr Faculty Excellence Award, the Stanley L. Olsen Chair of Moral Values from 2010-2013 and the 2008 recipient of the Augustana Student Association teaching award. In 2017 Blank-Libra published Pursuing an Ethic of Empathy in Journalism (Routledge). Blank-Libra received her Ph.D. in journalism from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and her M.A. in journalism from the University of Montana, Missoula. She has led study-abroad courses in India, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.
Dr. Beth Boyens
An Augustana alumna, Beth Boyens has been teaching foundational courses in literature and composition since she joined the English department in 2000. She has taught in the First-Year Seminar (FYS) program since its start in 2016: a course on wandering each fall and a course on the perception of character each spring. Additionally, she teaches advanced composition, non-western literature, young adult literature, trauma literature, and an interim course which considers literary depictions of diseased and traumatized bodies. She also co-leads a spring break study abroad experience to Scotland with Dr. Janet Blank-Libra. Boyens’s research area is nineteenth-century American women’s literature; her other areas of interest include multicultural literature, regionalism, gender studies, and trauma studies. She has presented at the American Literature Association, the Midwest Modern Language Association, and the Northeast Modern Language Association conferences, among others. Her M.A. in English is from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and her Ph.D. is from the University of South Dakota.
Dr. Daniel Gerling
Daniel Gerling received his B.A. in philosophy and M.A. in English at Eastern Illinois University and spent significant time abroad before completing his Ph.D. in American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. His research focuses on late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century American culture and its effect on U.S. foreign relations, and he is developing his dissertation, “American Wasteland: A Social and Cultural History of Excrement, 1860-1920,” into a book. Gerling joined Augustana in 2012, and in 2013 he began serving as the director of the Writing Center, Augustana’s nationally certified peer tutoring program. His writing center and composition research focuses on the problem of correctness in Standard Written Academic English. He is a featured historian in the 2017 documentary Flush, and has been a content consultant on several books on excrement and sanitation. He teaches courses on literature, grammar, FYS courses on excrement and English usage debates (different courses), and co-teaches a J-term course in Cuba on race, gender, and cultural cross-pollination with the U.S. He was the 2019 recipient of both the Augustana Student Association Best Teacher Award and the Granskou Award for Professional Development.
J.J. Gohl teaches foundational courses in composition and literature, as well as the methods class for English students going into secondary education. Her M.A. in English is from Southwest State University (Minn.).
Dr. Debbie Hanson
Dr. Debbie Hanson teaches Introduction to American Literary History, seminars in early and later American literature, World Literature I, World Literature II, and Creative Writing: Drama. She has also taught interim courses about American cuisine and culture and musicals on film. She served as the guest editor for The Willa Cather Yearbook, was a contributor to In Search of the Interior Borderlands: Where Does the Midwest End that Great Plains Begin?, and presents papers regularly at the American Folklore Society’s national conference. In 2017, she was the recipient of the Dakota Conference on the Northern Plains’ Herbert W. Blakely Professional Award for her paper “Lending a Feminine Touch to the B-29: Depictions of Women Workers in WWII Aircraft Industry Publications.” Debbie is also an active member of Chapter 200 of Therapy Dogs International, and she and her dog Tully visit three dorms on campus and attend other campus events, such as December’s Semester Shutdown.
Dr. Patrick Hicks
Professor, Augustana Writer-in-Residence
Patrick Hicks is the Writer-in-Residence at Augustana University where he teaches courses on creative writing, Irish literature, and such honors courses as “Great Britain and the Great War,” and “Eleutheria: Freedom and Literature.” He is the author most recently of In the Shadow of Dora: A Novel of the Holocaust and the Apollo Program, published in 2020 by Stephen F. Austin University Press and Texas A&M Press. His other works include The Commandant of Lubizec: A Novel of the Holocaust and Operation Reinhard, published by Steerforth/Random House, a short story collection, The Collector of Names, published by Schaffner Press, as well as six poetry collections, most recently Adoptable and This London, both from Ireland’s prestigious press, Salmon Poetry. He also edited A Harvest of Words, which was partially funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Alaska Quarterly Review, The National Catholic Reporter, Commonweal, The Huffington Post, and many others. He has been nominated seven times for the Pushcart Prize, he has won the “Glimmer Train Fiction Award,” been a notable mention in Best American Stories, been a finalist for the Steinberg Essay Prize, and his first novel was one of only twenty books chosen for National Reading Group Month. He is also the host of “Poetry from Studio 47,” broadcast weekly on the South Dakota Public Broadcasting Radio network and on the Prairie Public Radio network in North Dakota. To his total astonishment, he was a finalist for an Emmy in 2017, and he’s received individual artist grants from the Bush Artist Foundation, the Loft Literary Center, and the South Dakota Arts Council. He was also the recipient of the 2018 Frederick C. Kohlmeyer Teaching Award from Augustana. Before taking his Ph.D. from the University of Sussex (England), Patrick lived in Northern Ireland, Germany, and Spain for many years. A former Visiting Fellow at Oxford and a dual citizen of Ireland and the United States, he gives fiction and poetry readings all across the nation. His website is www.patrickhicks.org.
Dr. Jeffrey Miller
Chair of Humanities Division and Professor
Jeffrey Miller teaches courses on editing, sports writing and opinion writing in journalism, as well as classes in film and media studies. He also teaches regularly in the Civitas honors program, with courses including “Reading Augustana,” “History of the American Press” and “The Cutting Room Floor: Film and Censorship.” His areas of scholarly interest include transnational television/film and American media history. He is the author of Something Completely Different: British Television and American Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 2000). Jeffrey is the 2014 recipient of the Augustana Student Association teaching award and also serves as adviser to the university newspaper, The Mirror. He previously worked as director of news services at Gustavus Adolphus College and as alumni magazine editor at Lafayette College (Penn.). His reviews and opinion pieces have appeared in newspapers including the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others. He has also written for numerous local and regional publications. Jeffrey’s B.A. is from Grinnell College, his M.A. from the University of Iowa, and he earned his Ph.D. from Michigan State University.
Dr. Darcie Rives-East
Darcie Rives-East teaches the survey course in American literature as well as upper-level seminars on early American literature and modern American literature. She also teaches literary criticism and theory, in addition to foundational composition and literature courses. Further, she has taught the Civitas course “Race and Justice in America: 1600-Present,” and is faculty advisor to the Augustana Women's Association. Her interests include women’s and ethnic studies and popular culture, with a particular emphasis on speculative and Gothic literature and film. Her book, Surveillance and Terror in Post-9/11 British and American Television, was published in 2019 by Palgrave Macmillan. Darcie was one of two recipients to be awarded the 2011-2012 Carole Bland Cultivating Faculty Excellence Award; she was also the recipient of the Jane & Charles Zaloudek Faculty Research Fellowship in 2016-17. Darcie’s B.A. is from Grinnell College, and her Ph.D. in English is from the University of Nebraska.
Dr. Sarah B. Rude
Sarah B. Rude teaches classes in the SOPHIA core curriculum as well as the survey of British literature and upper-level seminars on literature of the Middle Ages and English Renaissance. She also serves as the advisor to Augustana’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society. Her research focuses on works by Geoffrey Chaucer and Thomas Malory, and she is a regular presenter at the Southeastern Medieval Association and the International Medieval Congress. Her most recent article entitled “Eye Beams and Boethian Sufficiency in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde” appears in the journal Mediaevalia. Sarah earned her M.A. from North Dakota State University and her Ph.D. from Baylor University.
Dr. Janet Blank-Libra
Professor, Director of Journalism
Janet Blank-Libra regularly teaches courses in literary journalism, empathetic journalism, ethics and law of the press, multimedia journalism, photojournalism, news reporting and writing and the Civitas literature and Reading Augustana courses. She was the 2005 recipient of the Vernon and Mildred Niebuhr Faculty Excellence Award and the 2008 recipient of the Augustana Student Association teaching award. In 2017 Blank-Libra published Pursuing an Ethic of Empathy in Journalism (Routledge). Blank-Libra received her Ph.D. in journalism from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and her M.A. in journalism from the University of Montana, Missoula. She has led study-abroad courses in India, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.