Joseph Bathanti, Professor in the Department of English in the College of Arts and Sciences has been named the inaugural McFarlane Family Distinguished Professor in Interdisciplinary Education at Appalachian State University. With this appointment, Bathanti will teach full time in Watauga Residential College, housed in the Department of Cultural, Global and Gender Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, and he will develop new programs to promote the Residential College.
Bathanti is a Professor of Creative Writing, Writer-in-Residence in Watauga Residential College in the Department of Cultural, Global and Gender Studies and teaches as an affiliate faculty member in the Appalachian Studies academic program. He was appointed North Carolina’s seventh Poet Laureate in 2012-14. In 2016 he was the recipient of the 2016 North Carolina Award in Literature, the state’s highest civilian honor and served as the Charles George Veterans Affairs Medical Center Writer-in-Residence in Asheville, N.C. He will be featured as part of the N.C. Arts Council's 50th anniversary celebration in Raleigh this year as one of the "50 for 50" artists.
"I can't think of a more deserving and distinguished faculty member at Appalachian State. Joseph is an amazing teacher, a renowned writer and someone with a deep understanding of and commitment to the mission of Watauga Residential College," said Dr. Carl Eby, Chair of the Department of English.
The McFarlane Family Distinguished Professorship in Interdisciplinary Education was established to be held by a faculty member at the rank of full professor assigned to the College of Arts and Sciences, with preference given to a professor connected to Watauga Residential College, formerly called the Watauga Global Community. The appointment is for a three-year term and the goal is to further the promotion and support of Watauga Residential College as it continues to pursue its mission through a sequenced, interdisciplinary, experiential curriculum that requires students to integrate class content, community-based research and multicultural immersion.
Bathanti received a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College. He first came to North Carolina as a VISTA Volunteer in 1976 to work with prison inmates in the N.C. Department of Correction and later joined the Department of English at Appalachian in 2001.
He is the author of 17 books spanning the literary genres of short stories, poetry, fiction and non-fiction. He has published ten books of poetry including “This Metal,” nominated for the National Book Award and winner of the of the Poetry Council of North Carolina's 1997 Oscar Arnold Young Award for best book of poetry published in 1996; “Restoring Sacred Art,” winner of the 2010 Roanoke Chowan Prize, awarded annually by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association; and “Concertina,” winner of the 2014 Roanoke Chowan Prize.
His novel, “East Liberty,” won the 2001 Carolina Novel Award and the novel “Coventry,” won the 2006 Novello Literary Award. His book of short stories, “The High Heart,” won the 2006 Spokane Prize for Short Fiction. Bathanti’s book of personal essays, “Half of What I Say Is Meaningless,” is the winner of the 2012 Will D. Campbell Award in Creative Nonfiction.
Bathanti has served several editorship roles over the years including: editor of “Between Ourselves,” a National Endowment for the Arts-funded anthology of writing by N.C. prison inmates in 1978; a guest editor for the Cold Mountain Review special 35th anniversary issue in 2007; and as guest editor for Appalachian Journal Black Mountain College Special Edition in 2018 as a part of the collaborative and cross-disciplinary Black Mountain College Semester at Appalachian.
He has served in numerous capacities on several public and professional organizations, such as: Creative Aging Network of North Carolina Advisory Council, International Higher Education Teaching & Learning Association Editorial Board, the Armed Services Arts Partnership Writing Advisory Committee, Saint Andrews University Press Board of Advisors, North Carolina Literary Map Advisory Board, Benevolence Farm Advisory Council, Robert Morris University Multi-Media Press Advisory Board, Appalachian Veterans Arts & Humanities Collective and the North Carolina Humanities Council Board of Trustees (2012 to 2018).
"Joseph Bathanti brings to us a wealth of experience in building partnerships across the region, an unparalleled depth of creativity, and an encyclopedic knowledge of experiential learning. He has been our Writer-in-Residence for several years already and we look forward to him joining us full time in Watauga Residential College," said Clark Maddux, Director of Watauga Residential College.
To learn more about Watauga Residential College and its mission as a living and learning community, visit: https://watauga.appstate.edu/ and to learn more about Bathanti’s many publications and further accomplishments, visit: https://english.appstate.edu/faculty-staff.
About the Watauga Residential College at Appalachian
The Watauga Residential College is a specialized academic program where classes are discussion-based seminars that allow students to pursue topics of interest to them within the context of the class. This program provides an unusual opportunity for students to become engaged in learning at a deep level through class discussions and research projects. Watauga classes are interdisciplinary and this approach to learning requires students to integrate knowledge from a variety of disciplines to gain a complete perspective on a topic.
About the Department of English
The Department of English at Appalachian State University is committed to outstanding work in the classroom, the support and mentorship of students, and a dynamic engagement with culture, history, language, theory and literature. The department offers master’s degrees in English and rhetoric and composition, as well as undergraduate degrees in literary studies, film studies, creative writing, professional writing and English education. Learn more at https://english.appstate.edu.
About the Department of Cultural, Gender and Global Studies
The Department of Cultural, Gender and Global Studies offers degrees in global studies, interdisciplinary studies, and gender, women’s and sexuality studies. The department promotes creative and imaginative engagement in cross-disciplinary investigation of complex systems and problems. Learn more at https://cgg.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, two stand-alone academic programs, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. Our values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of our students as global citizens. There are approximately 5,850 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at http://cas.appstate.edu.
By Ellen Gwin Burnette
April 30, 2018