English Faculty & Staff
Dan Barden is the author of The Next Right Thing (2012, Dial Press) and John Wayne: A Novel (Doubleday, 1997). He teaches all levels of creative writing in fiction, nonfiction, and dramatic writing.
Bryce Berkowitz is a poet and screenwriter based in Indianapolis via Montana, West Virginia, L.A., Chicago, and southern Illinois. He dropped out of college at 19 to book touring hip hop acts until career shifts took him from restaurant worker to Hollywood literary assistant to professor.
Bryce is part of Butler’s Inclusion Advocate program, the program coordinator for the Visiting Writers’ Series, and faculty advisor for the Screenwriting Club. His course topics range from Writing for Sustainability to Arts-Based Social Justice to the TV Writers’ Room, and his professional development interests include working with students who have ADHD, as well as innovative and inclusive assignment design that reflect pragmatic applications to the work world.
He thinks of the classroom as a practice field where students can figure out who they are and what matters to them, where perfection is an illusion that gets in the way of learning, where mistakes are not failures but are instead part of a greater learning process in the journey toward self-discovery.
As a screenwriter, Bryce is the recipient of the Austin Film Festival AMC TV Pilot Award, a ScreenCraft Fellowship finalist, and an NBC TV Writers’ Program finalist. As a poet, his work has appeared twice in Best New Poets, and he’s the author of Bermuda Ferris Wheel, recipient of the 42 Miles | Indiana University Press Poetry Award.
When not teaching, Bryce enjoys watching movies at Kan-Kan, picking up produce at Mad Farmers Collective, attending First Friday art shows, and supporting Indy’s many great lit hubs, including Dear Mom, Tomorrow, Dream Palace, Loudmouth, Golden Hour, and Indy Reads.Find out more about him at bryceberkowitz.com
Andrea Boucher teaches both FYS and EN101. She is also a writer and book/graphic designer. She has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Butler University and is the Associate Editor for Booth, Butler’s literary journal.
Barbara Campbell received her Ph.D. in English and a certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Connecticut in 2010. She also holds certificates in labor organizing and grievance handling through the AFL-CIO. Her areas of expertise include American literature and culture with an emphasis on US proletarian fiction and modernism, rhetorical theory and composition, and disability studies. Writing creative nonfiction and memoir are recent additions to her repertoire. During her time at Butler, she has taught courses in medical humanities and bioethics, disability studies, and American Literature.
Natalie Carter holds a Ph.D. in English with a concentration in American Literature and Culture from George Washington University. Her research and pedagogical interests include trauma theory, gender and sexuality studies, and the dynamics of race, ethnicity, and violence in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century literary and cultural artifacts. Scholarship includes publications on Dorothy Allison, Julia Alvarez, and Ernest Hemingway, as well as works addressing violence against women and race-related trauma in American society. She teaches American Literature and Culture in addition to courses in the Honors and First-Year Seminar Programs, and is Affiliate Faculty in the Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (RGSS) program.
Carter is an elected member of the Faculty Senate; a Social Justice and Diversity (SJD) Faculty Mentor; member of the FYS Advisory Committee; and the advisor for several student organizations. She has been named Butler University’s Woman of Distinction (2019), and received the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ Outstanding Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching (2021).
J. Rocky Colavito (B.A., M.A. St. Bonaventure University; Ph.D. University of Arizona) is trained as a specialist in rhetorical theory and the teaching of writing, and serves as the Department’s Assessment Coordinator. Much of his research considers the interplay between rhetorical theories and popular culture with a specific interest in horror literature and films. His teaching ranges from First-Year Seminar through Texts and Ideas courses on popular culture, a PCA course on writing horror, introductory and specialized courses on professional writing, Speaking Across the Curriculum courses on popular culture subjects, and advanced courses on rhetorical theory, scholarly research and writing, and monster/horror studies. Specific courses include The Culture of Fear, Haunted Spaces and People, The Frankenstein Myth; Vampires and Vampirism, Global Horror Films, Writing about Film, and Zombie Literature and Film. His current research project is a more extended analysis of global Zombie cinema, and he is readying two collections of horror stories (Time to Let the Monsters Out, and This Infernal Process) for publication as e-books. He has presented papers at domestic and international conferences on global zombie cinema, the appropriation of classical literature in The Walking Dead graphic novel series,body horror, Zombie studies/literature for the classroom, and the Sharknado franchise. When not preoccupied with all things horror and popular culture, Dr.Colavito is an avid follower of college sports, a wide and varied reader (he highly recommends Carl Hiaasen, James Ellroy, and Jon Maberry to those interested, and just finished Ezekiel Boone’s The Hatching, the start of series about prehistoric spiders that create a global menace) and is forever seeking to perfect his chili recipe; he reports that the last batch was close to where he wants it.
Michael Dahlie is Associate Professor of English in Butler University’s MFA program and he’s the author of two novels with W.W. Norton. His short fiction has been published in journals and magazines including Harper’s, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, and Tin House, and he won a Pushcart Prize for a short story first published in The Yale Review. He’s received the PEN/Hemingway Award and a Whiting Award, and he was a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow in 2020.
“My role as a creative writing teacher is to help studentssay the things they want to say, write aboutthe subjects they think are important, and to do it in a way they value.I assign a wide variety of publishedwork, and my courses emphasize the fact that first-rate narrative comes from adiverse set of sources and in a broad range of forms. Most important, I workhard to ensure my classes give students a sense of belonging, camaraderie and afeeling of common purpose while making sure each person has the resources andencouragement to develop and refine their own unique literary vision.”
Mindy Dunn (’05) has a B.A. in English from Butler University and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Purdue University, with a specialty in poetry. Mindy is Academic Program Manager for the MFA program and has taught at Butler in the English, First Year Seminar, and Honors departments.
Hilene Flanzbaum is a Professor of English and the Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing. She also holds the Allegra Stewart Chair in Modern Literature. Her specialties include Modern and American Poetry, Jewish-American Literature, Twentieth-Century Literature and creative writing. See attached cv for details.
Chris Forhan is the author of three books of poetry: Black Leapt In, winner of the Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize; The Actual Moon, The Actual Stars, winner of the Morse Poetry Prize and a Washington State Book Award; and Forgive Us Our Happiness, winner of the Bakeless Prize. He has also written two books of nonfiction: My Father Before Me: A Memoir and the forthcoming A Mind Full of Music: Essays on Imagination and Popular Song. He has published three chapbooks, Ransack and Dance, x, and Crumbs of Bread, and his poems have appeared in Poetry, Paris Review, Ploughshares, New England Review, Parnassus, Georgia Review, Field, and other magazines, as well as in The Best American Poetry. He has won a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and three Pushcart Prizes, has earned a "Discover Great New Writers" selection from Barnes and Noble, and has been a resident at Yaddo and a fellow at Bread Loaf. He was born and raised in Seattle and lives with his wife, the poet Alessandra Lynch, and their two sons, Milo and Oliver, in Indianapolis, where he teaches at Butler University. More at http://www.chrisforhan.com.
Author of a couple of novels, The Lost Episodes of Revie Bryson and Do Not Go On. Co-author (with Sarah Layden) of The Invisible Art of Literary Editing. Editor of a few anthologies, My Name was Never Frankenstein: And Other Classic Adventure Tales Reanimated and An Indiana Christmas. Co-editor (with Michael Martone) of the anthology, Winesburg, Indiana. Stories have appeared in Ninth Letter, Sycamore Review, Southeast Review, and elsewhere, including New Stories from the Midwest and Best American Nonrequired Reading. Wishes he was a hawk, believes that breakfast burritos are the perfect food.
Jason Goldsmith is a writer, artist, and educator whose work traces the vexed relationship between art and place from the19th-century Picturesque tradition through today’s twinned unravelling of ecological and social networks. He has published numerous scholarly articles on place-based writing, and his creative nonfiction and art have appeared in River Teeth, Humana Obscura, Grasmere, Indiana Waterways:The Art of Conservation, and on the cover of publications from the University of Iowa Press.
His sense of place sharpened by figures such as Jamaica Kincaid, bell hooks, James Baldwin, and Ross Gay, Goldsmith introduces students to a range of diverse voices to interrogate the limits inherent in literary traditions and to cultivate an inclusive and equitable classroom. He teaches courses on art, literature, and the environment, from Romanticism to 19th-Century British Women Writers, from Jane Austen to Video Game Narrative, from Contemporary Writers to Creative Non-Fiction, and from Urban Sketching to Wilderness Literature.
He is a member of the Etheridge Knight advisory group, sits on the education subcommittee of the Task Force for Indigenous Inclusion and Engagement, is faculty advisor for the undergraduate journal Manuscripts and an editor of The Hopper, an environmental literary magazine.
When not teaching, he enjoys hiking, sitting by a river while sketching, and spending time outdoors with his wife and children.
Megan’s background includes an AS in Broadcast Production from Vincennes University, a BA in Anthropology with a minor in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from IU Bloomington, and an MA in English from Butler University. She has worked in higher education for the last fifteen years—first as an English instructor, later as an administrator in advising and registration, and now as an academic technology specialist and co-supervisor of the Information Commons program. Prior to commencing work at Butler, she spent five years focused on delivery of quality academic programs delivered in face-to-face, online, and blended modalities, with responsibilities in faculty development.
Grady, Megan, and Nick Wilson. "Mastering Micro-Training." Indiana Library Federation Conference, 18 Nov. 2020Grady, Megan, and Nick Wilson. "Virtual Programming Know-How: A Technical Perspective." Indiana Library Federation Youth Services Conference, 17 Aug. 2020.
“Moodle 3.1 Mobile Pilot,” CLAMP’s Moodle Hack/Doc annual meeting, Amherst, MA, 23 June 2017.
"Information Commons 2.0: Transforming Objectives, Training, & Learner Experience," Butler University’s Celebration of Innovation in Teaching and Learning, 18 April 2017.
"Tips and Tools for Literary Mapping in the Digital Age," Indiana College English Association annual conference, Marion, IN, 28 October 2016.
“Soft Skills: A Hard Nut to Crack,” LERN Faculty Development Conference, Savannah, GA, 3 March 2015.
CME 106: Survey of Digital Media
EN 203: Introduction to Professional Writing
EN 303: Digital Writing and Rhetoric
GHS 207: Global Women – Resistance and Rights
BU Systems: Canvas, Panopto, Turnitin, WordPress, Zoom
Digital pedagogies in the humanities
Digital storytelling (story maps, videos, infographics, & multimedia presentations)
Information Commons, a student employee partnership between Butler Libraries and the Center for Academic Technology
Video editing and post-production
Adriana Jones coordinates Butler University’s Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series while also providing administrative support to the English Department’s Peer Tutoring Studio and the undergraduate literary magazine, Manuscripts. She earned her bachelor’s degrees from Indiana University in English, Telecommunications, and French. Adriana’s previous employment includes editorial work at Houghton Mifflin Co. (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) in Boston; editorial work at magazine subscription marketer American Family Enterprises in Jersey City, NJ; marketing management and event planning at software manufacturer Made2Manage Systems (later Consona Corp.) of Indianapolis; and admissions assistance at Indiana University.
*On Research Leave: 2023-2024*
Mira ‘Assaf Kafantaris ميرا عساف كفنتاريس is an Assistant Professor of English and Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Butler University, specializing in Premodern Critical Race Studies, Shakespeare, and Early Modern Culture. She earned her Ph.D. in English from The Ohio State University, her M.A. in English from the American University of Beirut, and her B.A. in English Literature and Language from the Lebanese University. Her trans-historical and cross-disciplinary research explores the intersections of race-making with the politics of royal marriage, foreign queens, and border-crossing in the early modern period and in our current historical moment.
‘Assaf Kafantaris is a 2023-2024 Folger Shakespeare Library Long-Term fellow. She is completing her first manuscript, titled Royal Marriage, Foreign Queens, and Constructions of Race in Early Modern England, which is under contract with the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies Press and will be published in 2026.
With Sonja Drimmer and Treva B. Lindsey, she co-edited an open-access special issue of the Barnard Center for Research on Women’s journal, The Scholar and Feminist Online, titled “Race-ing Queens.” Her book chapters have appeared in Race and/as Affect; The Palgrave Handbook of Shakespeare’s Queens; and The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson (with Richard Dutton). A new commissioned article on the mobility of racialized foreign queens is forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Travel, Identity, and Race in Early Modern England, edited by Nandini Das. Her current work includes an edited collection (with Urvashi Chakravarty) on early modern queenship, premodern critical race studies, and queer theory. The volume will be published in 2025.
For the Oxford World Series, she is writing the critical introduction to Antony and Cleopatra.
Her public humanities essays have appeared in several online publications, including Shakespeare Globe, The Sundial, The Millions, Overland Journal, The Rambling, The Conversation, Medium-Equity, and The Platform.
‘Assaf Kafantaris currently serves as Early Modern Section Editor for The Sundial. In 2023-2024, she is serving on the Program Committee for the Shakespeare Association of America. Her work has been supported by generous grants and fellowship from The Folger Shakespeare Library, The Shakespeare Association of America, The Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS), The Renaissance Society of America, The Women’s Place at The Ohio State University; The Muslim Studies Endowment (Butler), and NEH/Frederic M. Ayres Fund (Butler).
At Butler, ‘Assaf Kafantaris teaches courses on Shakespeare, early British literature, critical race studies, and women, gender, and sexuality studies.
2021: ACMRS Short-Term Fellow.
In 2021-22: Folger Shakespeare Library and Society for the Study of Early Women and Gender Margaret Hannay Fellow.
Author, Huck Finn’s America (2014), A Brain Wider Than The Sky (2009), The First Emancipator (2005), The Culture and Commerce of the American Short Story (1992), and co-editor of Creating Fiction (1994) and Postmodern American Fiction: A Norton Anthology (1997). Essays and reviews have appeared in Harper’s, American Scholar, Missouri Review, Best American Essays, and elsewhere. Winner of Slatten award for Biography (2005), reviews of work and public appearances include Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, NPR’s All Things Considered and This American Life, Spin, Sports Illustrated, C-Span, Salon, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and other places. Teaches American literature and culture and creative writing.
Natalie Lima is a Cuban-Puerto Rican writer, raised in Las Vegas, NV and Hialeah, FL. She is a first-generation college graduate of Northwestern University and a graduate of the MFA program in creative nonfiction writing at the University of Arizona. Her essays and fiction have been published or are forthcoming in Longreads, Guernica, Brevity, The Offing, Catapult, Sex and the Single Woman (Harper Perennial, 2022), Body Language (Catapult, 2022), and elsewhere. Lima’s writing has been honored in Best Small Fictions (2020), and noted twice in Best American Essays (2019 and 2020). Her work has received support from PEN America Emerging Voices, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Tin House, the VONA/Voices Workshop, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, the Mellon Foundation, and the Hedgebrook Writers’ Residency.
Alessandra Lynch, Senior Lecturer/Poet-in-Residence at Butler University, is the author
of four collections of poems, Sails the Wind Left Behind (Alice James Books), It was a
terrible cloud at twilight (LSU Press, winner of the Lena Miles-Wever Todd Award),
Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment (finalist for the UNT Rilke Prize and the LA
Times Poetry Book Prize, winner of the 2017 Balcones Prize in Poetry, one of The New
York Times’ ten Best Poetry Books of 2017) and Pretty Tripwire (Alice James Books).
Her work has appeared in the American Poetry Review, The New England Review, The
Kenyon Review, Ploughshares and other literary journals. In 2015, Alessandra received
a Creative Renewal Fellowship, from the Indianapolis Council for the Arts. She was
also one of the three poets involved in the Stream / Lines: Reconnecting to Our
Waterways project, funded by the National Science Foundation. Alessandra has received
fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, the MacDowell Colony for the Arts, and Yaddo.
Susan Neville is the author of six works of creative nonfiction: Indiana Winter; Fabrication: Essays on Making Things and Making Meaning; Twilight in Arcadia; Iconography: A Writer’s Meditation; Light, and Sailing the Inland Sea. Her collections of short fiction include The Town of Whispering Dolls, winner of the Doctorow Prize for Innovative Fiction; In the House of Blue Lights, winner of the Richard Sullivan prize; and Invention of Flight, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Her stories have appeared in the Pushcart Prize anthology and in anthologies including Extreme Fiction (Longman) and The Story Behind the Story (Norton.) Her story "Here" won the 2015 McGinnis-Ritchie Award from the Southwest Review, and recent stories and essays have appeared or will appear in Ploughshares, Image, North American Review, The Collagist, The Missouri Review, Diagram, and other magazines. She teaches creative writing, a seminar in Willa Cather, and courses in Butler’s First Year Seminar program.
Bianca has her BS in Rehabilitation Studies with minors in Addiction and Behavior Analysis. She worked for years as a Caseworker with adjudicated juveniles before transitioning to the public school system in nearby Washington Township working primarily with special education students. Bianca came to Butler as an Administrative Specialist because of a real passion for helping others and organization.
Bianca believes being student focused should be a priority and has tried to alter the landscape of the English department to make sure students realize we genuinely care about them. She has created an environment in the English office that reflects this by clearing out all the clutter, adding comfy chairs, music, a lending library and free coffee/tea for her majors and minors. Her efforts were even chronicled in the Butler Collegian as one of the unique spaces on campus in the Butler Burrows segment.
Bianca likes to repurpose items and loves to adopt discarded vinyl and melt them into flowers and bowls. Feel free to stop by her office to see some of her work. Additionally, Bianca likes to find the humor in the day-to-day and you will often see silly displays in the English hallway of Jordan Hall. She loves a pun and isn’t afraid to laugh at most dad jokes. Bianca once tore down a, albeit small, tree with one hand while holding a newborn in the other. Sadly, this unexpected super-power rarely comes in handy.
In her spare time Bianca enjoys reading, horror movies, and sunshine. She has one senior cat and three pandemic cats – because that was the perfect time to add a kitten, or three.
Carol Reeves, Rebecca Clifton Reade Professor of English,came to Butler from Texas in 1989 after receiving her Ph.D. from TexasChristian University.
Professor Reeves investigates how language and rhetoric shapeour knowledge and understanding of our world, ourselves, and others. In particular, she examines how language bothenables and disables the growth of knowledge and consensus surroundingscientific claims, both inside science and in the public. Her publications on the AIDS epidemic, MadCow Disease or Prion Disease, agricultural chemicals, addiction, and climatechange all demonstrate the tenuous relation between “reality” and the languagewe use to represent that reality. Bias,context, and limited data inevitably lead to imperfect definitions,descriptions, labels, and visuals representations that can easily come to“stand in” for an unexplored or unknown totality. She also explores the struggles scientistsface when they attempt to describe and establish new phenomena, engage incross-disciplinary debates over the nature of a phenomenon, when they areentrenched in high stakes disagreements over threats to the environment andhuman health, when they need to communicate risk to the general public, andwhen they want to change perceptions of stigmatized conditions.
Professor Reeves’ teaching fields include courses in MedicalHumanities, Political Rhetoric, Scientific Rhetoric, Professional Writing abouthealth and the environment, and Literature.
Professor Reeves has also made contributions to severalorganizations in Indianapolis and Indiana that have provided opportunities forher students. Working with CAFO Watch,Indiana to increase regulatory oversight for Concentrated Animal FeedingOperations, Reeves has brought many students into the organization as internswho learn about the legislative process and environmental policymaking. She and students worked with the RileyHospital Ryan White Pediatric Infectious Disease department to plan a campaignto create awareness of pre- and peri-natal HIV transmission and the importanceof testing. She and her students alsowork with Women for Change Indianapolis and Planned Parenthood to help buildopportunities for women to access educational opportunities and healthcare and tocombat discrimination.
Dr. Sunny (as Dr. Romack prefers to be known) holds a B.A. in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing; a M.A. in English-Literature; and a PhD in English-Rhetoric and Composition. Before coming to Butler, she served as an Associate Professor of English at the University of Southern Indiana, where she also directed the Eagles Write Writing Center and established the River Bend National Writing Project Site, and at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, where she directed the university-wide writing center and the Quality Enhancement Plan to Improve Student Writing. Her areas of scholarship include gender studies, horror film, and composition pedagogy. At Butler, Dr. Sunny directs the Writers’ Studio and teaches courses in English and the Core Curriculum. Her application of Deleuzian schizoanalysis to gender in horror film, The Gynesis of Horror: From Monstrous Births to the Birth of the Monster, was published in 2020 by Bloomsbury Academic Press.
Chris earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Butler University. He helped develop and currently serves as director of the Writing in the Schools program, a Jefferson Award-winning partnership between Butler and Indianapolis Public Schools. He is the assistant editor of Booth. His poems and stories have appeared in Cimarron Review, Passages North, PANK, Harpur Palate, Word Riot, Stirring, Rust + Moth, and the anthology It Was Written: Poetry Inspired by Hip-Hop.
Elisabeth Speckman (Giffin) proudly received her MFA in Fiction from Butler in 2016 and has a BA in Theatre and English-Creative Writing from Denison University, where she graduated magna cum laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She is the Director of the Butler Bridge Program and has previously taught courses in media literacy, academic writing, creative writing, and first year studies.
A member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Elisabeth’s plays have been produced throughout the United States and internationally.
Ania Spyra grew up in a German and Polish speaking home in Upper Silesia in Southern Poland. She received her MA in Literature and Linguistics from the University of Silesia, and her PhD in English from the University of Iowa. Dr. Spyra’s research looks at the influence of migration on the language of literature. She has published articles on feminist contestations of cosmopolitanism, multilingualism and transnationalism, most recently in Studies in the Novel, Contemporary Literature and Comparative Literature. Dr. Spyra teaches a wide range of courses in Transnational and Postcolonial Literature, Translation and Creative Writing. In her commitment to Global Education, she twice directed Butler University’s Global Adventures in Liberal Arts (GALA) as well as taught short term study abroad courses in Cuba, Ireland, Scotland and Australia.
Robert Stapleton is a proud product of California public schools. He earned his MFA from Long Beach State in 1997 and has taught at Butler since 2003. He teaches in the MFA program as well as courses in creative writing, graphic novels, and the First-Year Seminar. He is the founder and editor of Booth, and his writing has appeared in various publications.
Brynnar Swenson holds a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society (2008). He is Associate Professor and the Director of the M.A. in English. He teaches American literature, literary theory, and cultural studies and his research focuses on literature, continental philosophy, and the history of capitalism. He is the editor of Literature and the Encounter with Immanence (Brill / Rodopi, 2017), and his essays have appeared in Cultural Critique, The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, New American Notes Online (NANO), Letterature d’America, and The Baltic Journal of Law and Politics.