By Francisco Portillo
The English Department faculty elected a new department chair Dr. Ruth Blandón after James Kenny was promoted to Dean of Academic Affairs. Kenny held the position since 2007.
“Being … Latina elected as English Department Chair is a tremendous honor, and the vote of confidence is both humbling and inspiring,” Blandón said. With the current Vice Chair/ Interim Chair Sharon Allerson retiring at the end of the semester, Blandón is to officially take the position on July 1.
“The Jimmy Kenny/Sharon Allerson team was one that we all would have been happy to enjoy perpetually. No one wanted to see this end. I aspire to lead as they did, to help the department grow and flourish, and to meet new challenges head on,” Blandón said.
The new position has demanding administrative work such as meetings that requires one’s full attention.
In order to accept the position, Blandón has to drop three of the four classes that she is currently teaching.
While excited about the historical aspect of the election, student Vianey Hernandez said the bittersweet news left the students in her 12:10 p.m. class shocked and saddened.
“I was disappointed because she is such a great professor. I had taken her in the past and it’s hard to find a good professor that works with you so much,” Hernandez said.
Blandón decided that she would drop all three of her 103 courses because of the amount of candidates that are qualified to fill her position.
However, the students who are enrolled in her Film & Literature course are not facing any change.
“Those are the classes that many of our faculty teach and they could, therefore, step right into teaching them, thus providing a smooth and fluid transition for the students,” Blandón said.
Blandón has chosen professor Obed Silva as her replacement for one of her English 103 courses.
According to B l a n d ó n , some of the students in her class have taken her for consecutive English courses. “He seems like a cool professor. We still don’t know his teaching methods. That could be completely different, but so far he’s been good,” Hernandez said.
Blandón credits her pursuit of a career in education to the inspiration that was provided to her by past educators and the relevance of her work.
“Their passion was infectious! A passion for teaching, however, must have a source that keeps it all aflame and, for me, this was the fact that every day, my work in the classroom is relevant in a deeply political way.” Blandón said.
“Given these tense and alarming times, we do have new challenges,” Blandón said, “such as student homelessness, hunger, and immigration status anxiety and insecurity.”
Blandón wants students to be aware of their rights. She would like to see students use the campus and community resources available to them.
She said that the English Department has extensively sought to reassure students and educate them of the resources available, yet she believes resources are left unused.
“Student success cannot be seen as something separate from student wellbeing. They are inextricably linked.” Blandón said.