Category Archives: University Related

On the Joys of Browsing: Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

By Ron Fritze


These days, people tend to go on the internet to get answers to their questions. I know that I do. That said, I still have and use a big collection of reference books. One reason is that a standard reference book will be more reliable than some of the internet sites (although I think Wikipedia is generally quite reliable). Another reason is that for some purposes, a reference book can be just as easy to use, or even easier than an online source. That is certainly the case for dictionaries. But there is another reason for checking out many ink and paper works of reference—they are fun to browse. Well, maybe not for everyone, but they are fun for me and I am not alone.


Start Here, Start Now!

By Saralyn Mitchell


“Your Graduation Action Plan”
Too many students wait until the last semester of their senior year to start their job search. They are putting themselves at a disadvantage in our current frail job market.

Before or during their junior year students should create a professional online presence. They should begin by making contacts and working to build a resume with work experience. These steps will increase their chances of gaining employment upon graduation. Starting early provides the opportunity to get a clear idea of the kind of work they want to do and the work environment where they want to use their skills, interests, and education.


A University Tradition – A Family Tradition

By Tena Bullington


Please note that this blog article preludes the Founders Queen and Court ceremony on October 22 at 6:00pm in the Parlor of Founders Hall.

Founders Queen and Court is an historic event that has taken place at Athens State University for over fifty years. These honors have been bestowed upon women exemplifying Athens State’s mission and as those chosen are voted upon by their student peers it is truly an honor.


Inhabiting Territories of [Post]Colonial Space

By Kevin Dupre


Please note that this blog article preludes an appearance by Robert Antoni at Athens State University on November 12 and a book discussion of Antoni’s latest book As Flies to Whatless Boys on October 21.

As Flies to Whatless Boys takes readers on a journey into the Caribbean that few in the United States might ever make.  Cruise-line passengers and honeymooners may, on occasion, dip their toes in the warm waters off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago, although still fewer of those explore the space, vicariously or via the history of those exoticized islands so near our shores.  Further, a passing look at the history of the Caribbean might prompt limited questions about what [presumably European] languages are spoken there.   These would get one no closer to what it might be like to migrate or live in the West Indies.   But following Willy, the main character, who journeys there with his family from England, in part on a quest to either to lead or follow his first love Marguerite.  The novel takes readers deep into the bowels of the ship on the passage across the Atlantic and deeper still into the island’s colonial culture.


Tools of the Trade: Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus

By Ron Fritze


In this blog, I want to share with you what has become my favorite tool for putting some variety and spice into my writing. Check out the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus (2004) or OAWT for short. It is a great alternative to Roget’s Thesaurus because it is easier to use and works just as well if not a bit better. It is organized in a dictionary style and provides many synonyms listed in logical order. When appropriate, distinctions are made between formal and informal usages. Some entries also provide a few suggestions for antonyms. Examples of sentences that demonstrate usage of a word are also provided. Take the word “bad.” The OAWT gives twelve different general ways that “bad” can be used. Well over 150 synonyms and antonyms for “bad” are supplied. So if you mean “bad” in the sense of “the bad guys”, it gives alternatives like “corrupt,” “reprobate,” or “crooked” among others. If you mean “bad” in the sense of a “bad child,” it suggests “naughty,” “wayward,” or “undisciplined” among others. Remember, there are often subtle differences in meaning and connotation between some of the alternative suggestions. They are not necessarily inter-changeable parts. Keep your dictionary handy so that you can pick out the word that works best for your situation.


The Elementary Reasons Why a University President Should Strive to Be Like Sherlock Holmes:

By Bob Glenn


Ever since I first read the Adventure of the Red Headed League in my eighth grade literature book I have been a serious fan of Sherlock Holmes. During college I read and reread the fifty-six short stories and four short novels that comprise The Canon. After college I became acquainted with the The Baker Street Irregulars, that society of Sherlockian enthusiasts formed in the late 1940’s by author Christopher Morley that now boasts over 300 chapters in the United States as well as chapters across the world. My wife, Laurie, and I have had the good fortune to be a part of two such groups over the years. Recently while reading a marvelous little book called Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, by Maria Konnikova, it occurred to me that many of the things I strive to do as President of Athens State University are very similar to the traits and habits of the famed detective. So, with apologies to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. John H. Watson, I will in the next few Athens State Blog posts attempt to list all those reasons why a university president should strive to be like my favorite detective.


Greek Tragedy in Athens, AL: Euripides’ Trojan Women

By Travis Sharp


Everyone knows the stories of the Trojan War: Paris (in many minds seen as Orlando Bloom) and his fateful trip to Sparta; Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships; the deaths of Achilles and Hector; the Trojan horse being brought into the impregnable city; the destruction of Troy and those within its walls. A (very) rough interpretation of this ancient Greek lore was presented in the 2004 film Troy. But in all of the retellings, there is something missing—where are the women of Troy, the survivors not killed by the invading Greeks? We know that King Priam was murdered, but what of Queen Hecuba? What of Andromache, Hector’s wife? What fate took Helen of Troy? What destruction fell upon the cursed Cassandra? These are the stories which ancient Greek playwright Euripides explored in Trojan Women, a play which, according to translator Dr. Francis Blessington, “explores, with rare depth, human suffering.”


Do We Have a Club That Fits Your Personality?

By Tena Bullington

Food Drive

At Athens State University, we have many student clubs looking for new members and new ideas. Perhaps you are a closet artist who wants to learn more and participate but do not want to take classes – we have an Art Club for that. Or maybe you are a teacher-in-training and want to visit and learn from other teachers-in-training – there’s the Athens State University Teacher Ambassadors. Maybe you want to participate in things like cookouts and other student-led activities that create a collegiate atmosphere – then maybe the Student Government Association is the club for you.


Tools of the Trade: The Roget’s Thesaurus, Old School

By Ron Fritze


“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain
When it comes to advice on writing well, Mark Twain is someone to be heeded. One of the problems that any writer continually faces is maintaining the variety of their word usage. If you are not careful, you can end up using the same word over and over again. To your reader that practice comes across as dull and boring and may cause them rightly to question the extent of your vocabulary. So how do you get some life in your vocabulary and get from the “lightning bug” word to the “lightning” word? Answer, the thesaurus, a word book of synonyms and related concepts.


5 Tips for Pursuing a (Graduate) Degree

By Tony Ricks


(The following is adapted by the author from an original blog post he wrote on April 21, 2013  and published at

Thinking about taking “the next step” after your bachelor’s degree? Or just after high school?

Recently, I offered advice to a college student at Athens State on the pros and cons of grad school. I hold a Master’s from Boise State and a Doctorate from Florida State. (Combining mascots, this makes me a Seminole on a Bronco). My particular area of expertise is in Rhetoric & Composition.  Today, I regularly work with college writers at Athens State.