Dr. Kendall Dunkelberg, professor of English and director of the master’s of fine arts creative writing program at Mississippi University for Women, was named the recipient of this year’s Kossen Faculty Excellence Award.
The award, which includes a $5,000 stipend, recognizes the role of faculty as the heart of the university. It was established in 2004 by Connie Kossen, a 1964 alumna of MUW, and her husband Tom.
Based on three fundamentals, the award focuses on excellence in teaching, excellence in scholarly or artistic achievement and excellence in service, preferably both on campus and in communities throughout MUW’s service area. Further, to be considered for this award, a faculty member must exhibit a commitment to student success in each of these three areas of responsibility.
In her nomination letter, Dr. Bridget Smith Pieschel, professor of English and Women’s Studies, praised Dunkelberg for his “stellar successes in teaching, publication, research, community involvement, service and his ongoing support of our campus family and our university’s programs.”
Pieschel pointed to Dunkelberg’s leadership for the success of the university’s growing and prize-winning low-residency MFA in creative writing. “In the past year, Dr. Dunkelberg has advised and mentored all of the 27 graduate students enrolled in the program,” she said.
In addition, she described Dunkelberg as an engaged and respected faculty member who is internationally respected as a writer, translator and Fulbright Scholar. Dunkelberg has published three books of poetry and was nominated for a prize from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. His creative writing textbook, “A Writer’s Craft: Multi-Genre Creative Writing,” is scheduled for release in July.
Pieschel added that Dunkelberg is always willing to serve and the first to volunteer if a colleague needs a class covered or is in a crisis. The same compassion is also exhibited toward students.
Between fall 2015 and spring 2017 he created and taught five new graduate courses, which were described as innovative in content as well as in delivery. In addition, he developed and taught a new graduate class in which students researched and wrote the proposal for The W’s new graduate literary magazine, Ponder Review.
He continues to serve on the Graduate Council as graduate director of the creative writing MFA. As creative writing director and Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium director, he organizes the application and selection process for the Neill James Scholarship competition and the Ephemera Prize for high school writers. He also assisted with securing a $60,000 Hearin grant for the Welty Series. Lastly, he manages the websites for Languages, Literature, and Philosophy; the Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium, The Dilettanti, the MFA program, Poetry South and Ponder Review.
Dunkelberg is also respected outside of campus, Pieschel explained. Last year he served on a small committee to select Mississippi’s poet laureate. He also serves on the multi-state Southern Literary Festival Board as co-executive director, organizing this year’s campus contest for the Southern Literary Festival.
“I can state with confidence that Dr. Dunkelberg is not only a valuable and brilliant faculty member, but also a selfless person who thinks of the well-being of his students, colleagues and our university in everything he does,” Pieschel said.
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