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Stories

Canterbury Program

by Jill Goodman

Each year, one to three Canterbury Fellows are chosen to develop and complete in-depth projects of their own design.  The fellowship gives students an opportunity to work closely with faculty members on year-long projects in literary analysis, pedagogy, or business or creative writing.  Students use Canterbury funds for books and supplies as well as for travel to workshops, conferences, and archives. 

The Canterbury is a prestigious and competitive award that interested juniors apply for through a formal proposal – usually about 20 pages long – that a committee of faculty members judges on the following criteria:  quality of the proposal; significance, originality, and breadth of the project; and faculty recommendations of students’ intellectual promise and motivation. 

At the Senior Dinner on May 26th, we celebrated the 2014-15 Canterbury Fellows -- Sabrina Barretto, Sabine Hoskinson, and Jacob Wilber. All three of these students wrote creative writing projects:  Sabrina worked with Professors Kirk Glaser and Ted Rynes on her collection of poems: “Fields of Splendor,” Sabine worked with Professors Jill Goodman and Diane Dreher on her collection of personal essays entitled “Ojai, Ohio, Italy, Home,” and Jacob worked with Professors Simone Billings and Cruz Medina on creative nonfiction essays entitled “Children of the False Garden, a Collection.”

Particularly hard working and energetic, these 3 students were responsible for a number of “firsts.” For the first time in the department’s history, the fellows organized their own small writing group: they met monthly throughout the academic year to share their work, workshop their papers, and support each other in their writing.  The three fellows also planned and promoted the first Canterbury spring reading, which was held on May 13th in the St. Clare Room at the Learning Commons.  Many of the faculty as well as students and family members were there to hear the fellows read excerpts from their work.  And, finally, this is our first group of fellows to submit their completed projects to the library’s Scholar Commons site.  Soon their projects will be available through the Commons, providing wider access to their work and giving the Canterbury Program more visibility. https://scholarcommons.scu.edu/

Members of this year’s Canterbury Council – Professors Simone Billings, Diane Dreher, Judith Dunbar, Kirk Glaser, Jill Goodman, Cruz Medina, Aparajita Nanda, and Ted Rynes – were delighted to receive a large number of original and thought-provoking proposals for next year’s program.  The Council is happy to announce the 2015-16 Canterbury Scholars: Natalie Grazian and Helena Alfajora.  Both of these students have developed projects that are very ambitious, and both projects grow out of work they have been doing since their first year at Santa Clara. Natalie is working with Professor Cynthia Mahamdi on a collection of linked historical short stories.  Helena is working with Professor Stephen Carroll (and Julie Hughes in the art department) to create an art installation piece that brings to life (and comments on) a fantasy short story.

From its beginning in 1997 with a generous endowment from alumna Katherine Woodall, the program, one of the highlights of the English Department, has now funded 41 students to do advanced, independent study. The Canterbury Program is also able to aid majors with travel funds for research and conferences from the Reverend Theodore Rynes, S.J., Canterbury Fellowship.  All alumni who wish to enable future English majors to continue having such opportunities are invited to donate to either the Canterbury Program general fund or to the Father Theodore Rynes travel fund specifically (Please see the article elsewhere in The Quill that celebrates Fr. Rynes’s life of dedication to his students and the University).