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Derek Driedger, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English
Chair of the English Department
(605) 995-2635

Winner of the 2010-11 Faculty Professional Excellence Award

Derek Driedger grew up outside the small community of Oakville, Manitoba, Canada. His parents instilled his fondness for reading by setting aside time for books every day. Whenever Oakville School held a month-long reading contest, Driedger would win by several hours.

Having lived in Manitoba, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and spending portions of several summers in Saskatchewan, Driedger has spent his life on the Great Plains.

A DWU faculty member since 2007, he regularly teaches Great Plains literature, women writers, introduction to literature, expository writing (online and traditional), journalism, and mass media law. He is also the supervisor of DWU’s student newspaper, the “Phreno Cosmian.”

Driedger has maintained a dual focus in journalism and English since he began his undergraduate studies at the University of North Dakota. At UND he enrolled in communications with a journalism emphasis, but added English as a second major when he wanted to study literature beyond the general education requirements. He remained at UND to obtain an M.A. in English, while also teaching in the college classroom for the first time.

He received his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2007. At UNL he received a teaching award during each of his last three years. His dissertation, “Writing and Circulating Modern America: Journalism and the American Novelist, 1872-1938” was named a 2009 University Libraries Influence Award Winner by the University of Nebraska as one of the top 25 most downloaded dissertations/theses available in the UNL Libraries’ Digital Commons. His dissertation analyzed America’s journalism history from 1835 to the 1930s in order to draw conclusions about 10 American novelists who worked as journalists during the late-nineteenth and/or early-twentieth century. (His dissertation is available at http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/englishdiss/5.)

Driedger’s recent publications include two essays focusing on Willa Cather. “The ‘Burden’ of the Prairie?: Studying Willa Cather’s ‘My Ántonia’ and Sinclair Ross’s ‘As for Me and My House’ ” was published in the 2009 collection, “Teaching the Works of Willa Cather,” edited by Steven B. Shively and Virgil Albertini, and published by GreenTower Press. “Writing Isolation and the Resistance to Assimilation as ‘Imaginative Art’: Willa Cather’s Anti-Narrative in Shadows on the Rock” appeared in the fall 2007 issue of “JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory.”

Driedger presented a paper on “Lucy Gayheart” and “Shadows on the Rock,” and served as a session chair for a panel on “My Ántonia” during the 2009 12th International Cather Seminar.

In June 2011 at the 13th International Cather Seminar, he presented a paper on E.W. Howe’s “The Story of a Country Town” and Cather’s “O Pioneers!,” and served as a session chair for a panel on place in Cather’s fiction.

In March 2012 he will present “Dakota Territory Visions, Corrections, and Nostalgia in Newspapers and Fiction” at the 38th Interdisciplinary Symposium sponsored by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Barbara Duffey, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English
(605) 995-2733

Barbara Duffey joined the Dakota Wesleyan English staff fall 2012 and will supervise the publication of the student literary magazine, “Prairie Winds.”

Duffey received her Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City; a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Houston; and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern California. Duffey also served as a grant writer for the University of Houston’s College of Education; a writer in residence for the Writers in the Schools, Houston; and a reading instructor at the Institute of Reading Development. She has one chapbook, “The Circus of Forgetting,” in the process of publishing.

She has also had several poems published over the summer and fall of 2012 in which she uses mechanical metaphors to portray a personal connection between man and machine.

Her poems, “Archimedes Screw,” “Diesel Engine” and “Ferris Wheel to the Fun House,” were published in the current issue (summer 2012) of “Western Humanities Review” and two poems, “Cento:  ‘Instinct,’ by Lester Del Rey” and “Wheel & Axle,” appear in the current issue (fall 2012) of “Sugar House Review.”

All of these poems are from Duffey’s manuscript in progress, “Simple Machines,” which uses famous machines as metaphors for the human body.

“I use the machine metaphors as a way to highlight my frustrations at my infertility diagnosis, that my body didn’t work as mechanically as I had expected,” Duffey describes. “I focus on machines named after people, such as the Diesel engine, the Archimedes screw, and the Ferris wheel, because those personal names make the machines feel almost like the children of their inventors.”

“‘Simple Machines’ takes up language as another possible ‘simple machine.’ I experiment with composition methods that might be considered ‘mechanical,’ or actually use machines, literally,” she said. “For example, I use the online Oxford English Dictionary’s reverse-search feature to create word lists from which to compose poems. I also make ‘poem machines’ in homage to the language machine in Swift’s ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ — I build paper structures that can be bound in a book and later detached, assembled, and manipulated to make poems.”

Duffey grew up in Los Angeles and Albuquerque, N.M., and now lives in Mitchell with her husband and infant son.

Vince RedderVince Redder, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English and Languages
Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities
(605) 995-2631

A Texan by birth, Dr. Vince Redder grew up as the eldest of seven brothers. Although his parents were extremely busy, they instilled in him and his brothers a love of reading and a curiosity about the world. This has been the foundation of Dr. Redder’s several careers and the biggest advantage he brings to his students at Dakota Wesleyan University.

Dr. Redder graduated from the University of Dallas with a bachelor’s degree in German and a liberal arts education that would benefit him for the rest of his life. He was in the seminary studying for the priesthood, and, after finishing in Dallas, he was sent by his bishop to Rome where he spent the next four years studying theology. The Gregorian University where he studied had five official languages, of which a student was expected to speak, read, and write three and read the other two. He learned quickly the importance of languages in a European education: besides the five official languages, seminarians were expected to have at least a passing knowledge of the ancient biblical languages as well.

Dr. Redder left the priesthood and went back to school to earn his teaching certification. When the chair of the education department told him he would never teach history in Texas unless he was a coach, he settled on English as a poor second choice. To his surprise, he found that he liked literature and looked forward to teaching it. The economy at the time, however, did not allow room for one more English teacher, so Dr. Redder found a position as a probation officer. He spent eight years supervising offenders and then writing pre-sentence investigations for the district court judges. He also served as a trainer for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, training new officers all over the state.

Despite his blossoming criminal justice career, Dr. Redder decided to go back to school and work on his master’sdegree at Midwestern State University. When he completed his master’s degree, he and his patient family moved to South Carolina, where he worked on his Ph.D. When the time came to choose a specialty, there was only one choice—he remembered Rome and the splendor of the Renaissance that surrounded him daily as a seminarian, and decided to major in Renaissance literature.

After graduation from the University of South Carolina, Dr. Redder began his fourth career, this time as a professor. He passed up a better paying job offer so that he could teach at Dakota Wesleyan University because he felt at home both at the university and in Mitchell. He also felt he could make a positive impact on the students at DWU. The impact is important, because there is still a bit of the priest and probation officer in him. At Dakota Wesleyan, he teaches German, Italian, and the occasional Latin and Greek course, besides all of the British literature courses. He is also open to teaching Old English, but so far no one has taken him up on it.

Dr. Redder has been published in the Proceedings of the 11th and 14th Annual North Central Plains Pre-1750 British Literature Conference. His current project is a study of the poet Ben Jonson’s Catholic years. Since becoming dean of the College of Arts and Humanities in 2008, his spare time has diminished somewhat, but in what remains, Dr. Redder likes to tinker with his collection of old pocket watches and spend time with his wife and children.

The reliques and ragges of popish superstition by Dr. Redder (111k pdf)

Gretchen RichGretchen Rich
Assistant Professor of English
(605) 995-2640

Gretchen Rich is a combination teacher; she works in most areas of communication and greatly enjoys working with words. Born and raised in a “communications” family, she learned early that words were key to understanding, and she has kept using them even when many would have asked her to hush.

Rich earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Yankton College, Yankton, S.D., in 1977, and worked for two years in a small private girls’ school with Native American girls of various ages. Her work convinced her that she needed more education, so she went back to school to work on her master’s degree from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, obtaining it in 1983. She taught for two years at Wayne State College, Wayne, Neb., in two temporary positions and then took her third “temporary” position at Huron College, Huron, S.D., which resulted in 23 years at the college, which was later renamed Si Tanka University.

She came to work at DWU in 2005 and works part-time for the English department and also part-time for TRiO Student Support Services.  Her bachelor’s degree in speech and theater helps her present all her classes, but it is especially useful in basic speech; her master’s degree in American Literature has served her well while teaching various lit classes, and it also helps her discuss and teach writing with both her own students and those who need help in the TRiO Writing Center.  

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Last updated: 4/12/13