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Faculty Spotlight

Bruce Ballenger

We don’t quite know how we’ll cope when Dr. Bruce Ballenger retires in 2018, after 23 years of stellar service to our students and our department. For now, we’re happy to get one more year with him on campus. He’s a Boise State Treasure.

Dr. Ballenger joined the English faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1995, upon completion of his Ph.D. in Composition and Literature from the U. of New Hampshire. To all of his students in the years since, he is Bruce: a much-respected, collegial, and energizing mentor. Students write that Bruce “understands that our lives are bigger than college,” that “he believed in me, sincerely cared, and fostered an environment to help my passion [for writing] flourish.” Another shares that “he’s been an amazing person to learn from, a voracious reader and lovingly-critical responder to writing.”

Bruce has served our campus with elegance and uncommon vision, as Director of Writing, English Department Chair, and Director of Rhetoric and Composition. His achievements are charged with innovation and ambition and were instrumental in forming the MFA program in Creative Writing in 1997 and the MA emphasis in Rhetoric and Composition in 2006. Long-time colleague Kenya Jenkins-Fletcher writes that Bruce represents “everything that is good about my job and the English department and Boise State.” This year, Bruce received the COAS (College of Arts and Sciences) 2017 Excellence Award.

In the field of Writing Studies, Bruce is a nationally known scholar and author. He’s published best-selling textbooks The Curious Researcher (9 editions) and The Curious Writer (5 editions), as well as the texts The Curious Reader, Crafting Truth, Beyond Note Cards: Rethinking the Freshman Research Paper, Discovering the Writer Within, The Lobster Almanac, and The Cousteau Almanac of the Environment. These stand beside his wide variety of articles and essays that continue to appear in professional journals and newspapers.

We look forward to a wonderful final year with Bruce on campus. Though his retirement will be well-earned, it is not welcome in our eyes. But we’ll always benefit from his innovations, his graciousness, and his dynamic inspiration.