Beat Chick

Grad helped define literary scene in Greenwich Village

Hettie Jones ’55 pens her poetry at the $4 writing desk she bought in 1960 in New York City’s East Village. The desk shares a room with burgeoning bookshelves just off the entrance of her fourth-floor walk-up at 27 Cooper Square, the old tenement Jones has called home for 50 years. The man who sold her the little carved oak table called it a secretary. And that’s what it is, Jones says now, although she despised the word at the time. It conjured up images of office help, and Jones had bigger plans. She’d left her Queens, N.Y., home for Mary Washington College at age 17 because she longed for independence. Her parents had hoped the journey would land her a husband. Jones had no use for such conventional expectations. She was going places. The desk would help get her there. But like most things in life, it didn’t happen the way she’d planned. … [Read more...]

Top Profs

 1. Jeffrey W. McClurken • HISTORY and AMERICAN STUDIESTo teach students about the past, McClurken often looks to the future. He weaves Web-based discussions, digital history projects, Twitter, WordPress, and other tools of technology into topics such as women’s suffrage and the Civil War. McClurken doesn’t necessarily want students to believe every word he says about America’s past. Instead, he pushes them outside their comfort zones, urges them to be skeptical of sources, and helps them become “critical consumers of knowledge.” 2. Steve Watkins • ENGLISH For 28 years, Watkins has made his living bringing learning to life. His students don’t just read the material, they breathe it. In his Literature of the Vietnam War class, he divides classes into squads that act as units. Students write about real campus “field exercises” in the style of a writer they’ve studied. The award-winning author brings a wow factor to words, taking students to see musicals like Hair, leading them in pro- … [Read more...]