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Working Vacation

English professor gears up for travel course


09/09/2009

MCLA's professors may not be in class over the summer months, but they spend that time with a wide variety of activities that prepare them to enhance their students' learning.

Over her summer vacation, English Professor Rosanne Denhard (above) cultivated a blend of family time and work-related activities that enrich her teaching and scholarship as she traveled with her family to London, Yorkshire, and Edinburgh.

In addition to preparing with a colleague at York St. John University for an upcoming conference presentation, she organized a roundtable discussion to bring American and British students together this spring as part of her Arts of Medieval and Renaissance Britain travel course.

"The British and American systems and curricula have some interesting differences as well as some major similarities," Denhard says. "As global citizens, today's students can gain so much from having face-to-face conversations with their peers from other countries."

In London, Denhard took in a few shows - the Donmar Warehouse's West End Hamlet with Jude Law and Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. In addition, she visited the "amazing" Baroque special exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum and saw current exhibits on King Henry VIII and Shakespeare's playwriting contemporaries at the National Portrait Gallery. 

"I also continued my explorations of medieval and Renaissance Edinburgh, Scotland, and did a great deal of planning for my travel course, which will visit London, York, and Edinburgh in March," says Denhard. 

As a teaching scholar, Denhard values continued research and collaboration. This includes projects on and off campus and involves work with both colleagues and her students.  Her scholarly partnership with Prof. Gweno Williams of York St. John University is but one example.

The colleagues are preparing for the November 2009 Attending to Early Modern Women Symposium at The Center for Renaissance and Baroque Studies, University of Maryland at College Park. There, Denhard and Williams will present a workshop called "Approaches to Studying Early Modern Women in the Undergraduate classroom."  

This semester, Denhard is teaching four upper-level literature classes in her specialty areas: William Shakespeare, British Literary Survey, Critical Reading, and Novels in Context.

"I'll also be very engaged all semester with co-chairing the MCLA Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) Steering Committee with Professor Anthony Daly of the History Department," Denhard adds.

The URC is campus-wide celebration of students' accomplishments in all areas of scholarship and creative activity.

"This recognition of undergraduate student achievement really builds on MCLA's strength in student-faculty interaction," she says. "Mentoring and supporting my students in their research activities is something I consider very important."

To find out more about Denhard and her upcoming travel course, go to www.mcla.edu/Undergraduate/majors/englishcommunications/rosannefleszardenhard and www.mcla.edu/Undergraduate/Experience/travelcourses/england .

"It's been a wonderful summer," Denhard says. "So much of what I do flows right back into my teaching work with my students. And, since my scholarly interests are also real pleasures for me, the lines between 'work' and 'vacation' often blur."