Annual Author’s Event celebrates faculty, alumni work

The Geneseo community fosters, encourages and supports the intellectual growth of its students; as a student community, Geneseo actively celebrates each other’s passions—both inside and outside of the classroom. There’s nothing like going to a musical performance and seeing your friends display their talent and hard work on stage or like watching the Geneseo hockey team dominate the rink. But there is an area of campus culture that students may not be aware of: that of our faculty and staff. Geneseo is incredibly dedicated to enriching the lives of its students, but what are the professors up to?

I had the privilege of attending a special event in Milne Library on the snowy day of Nov. 21. The annual event, called Author’s Event, celebrated the writings, performances and publications of the Geneseo faculty and staff.

Author’s Event has been held for about five years and is for any faculty or staff member who has published material in the past year, academic or otherwise. It’s an opportunity for staff to gather and to converse with each other about their work and their interests––in addition to eating some cake, too.

President Battles was in attendance, as she gave a friendly, but informal “thank you” to the authors, as well as to Milne Library for organizing the event.

As seemingly the only student present, I felt like a fly on the wall in a part of our educational community that not many of us experience or even know about. Curious, I spoke with Milne Reference and Research Librarian Sue Ann Brainard—one of the organizers of the event—about the origin of this celebration and why there aren’t more students involved.

Brainard highlighted an important issue: even though so many of our staff members are actively publishing research and other writing, there is no single place in the college where the publications are collected, listed or recorded. It is Brainard who keeps track of it all through emailing faculty members and through independently gathering information in order to compile a list.

The list of publications for 2016 was organized into a PowerPoint and projected on the wall during the event. Additionally, there was a display table that contained some of the actual faculty-authored books. Among the displayed writings was a collection of stories by professor of English Rachel Hall, research by visiting assistant professor of art history Alla Myzelev and a collection of poetry that was edited by Robert Doggett, chair of the English Department.

Brainard stated that the main reason that they’ve never invited students to the event is that Milne Library doesn’t have the space or the budget to accommodate such large numbers. She does wish, however, that students would become more involved and invested in the work that their professors are doing in their respective fields.

“What a lot of students don’t realize,” she said, “is that their professors have to be published.”

For a student studying a specific field—whether it is in the STEM subjects or the humanities—the work of a favorite professor could become an invaluable resource. Many students have even worked with professors and published collaborative material.

“That’s how these students get published before they even graduate from college,” Brainard said.

The Author’s Event showcased one such student: alumna Erika Danielson ‘15, who published research with Jeff Over from Geneseo’s geology department.

Attending this event showed me new ways to utilize the resources and great minds that make Geneseo the flourishing intellectual community it is. As students, we are always enthusiastically supporting each other in our academic, artistic and extracurricular endeavors–– so let’s not forget to do the same for the professors that do so much for us.