This issue of IMPACT: Scholarship, Creativity, & Community Engagement features the creation of an original Trinity production that examines San Antonio's views on Islam during the 2016 presidential campaign, as well as stories about Trinity students studying neglected Latin poetry and the relationship between diabetes and pregnancy. In addition to updates on grants and awards, IMPACT showcases a sampling of research and creative work done from June 2016 - May 2017 by Tiger faculty and staff.
As an English major at Trinity a decade ago, I was obligated to do some language time traveling and enroll in at least six hours of courses with material dated before the year 1600. Determined to do anything I could from enrolling in two Shakespeare courses—one semester of dramatic tragedies was enough for me—I jumped into the only other alternative: Old and Middle English Philology. I didn’t even know what philology meant.
The course, taught by Richard Newhauser, was an experience in and of itself. Newhauser embodied the material in sight and in sound. In class, he would speak fluent Middle English with a charming accent and a lilting cadence; it was like being transported centuries into the past somewhere between the Shire and Mordor in the Realm of Middle Earth. I was in way over my head with the subject matter, but I sure did enjoy going to class. About a quarter of the way through the semester, Dr. Newhauser asked the class if any of us were interested in helping him with a research project. A few timid hands went up—mine one of them. That Wednesday afternoon, and every Wednesday afternoon that spring, four juniors and seniors would cram into Dr. Newhauser’s office and listen to him read... and read, and read. Somehow, we were supposed to translate the Middle English melody he was singing into readable, modern English.
And somehow, we did it. After weeks of thorns and ashes, eths and wynns, we hacked through versions of texts on vices and virtues, good and evil, learning a lot in the process. By the end of the semester, we gave Dr. Newhauser enough to include as translations for a book.
You might imagine, then, that English professor Andrew Kraebel’s current translation project (read more on page 20) really spoke to my heart. Ten years ago, Trinity’s English department did not have the Mellon Initiative to support its undergraduate research efforts, nor the Humanities Collective to inspire critical thinking through hands-on research in the liberal arts—but that didn’t stop us. Beginning more than three decades ago with the Department of Chemistry’s undergraduate research program, the University’s rich history with undergraduate research continues to grow with the support of faculty, staff, students, and alumni.
The Trinity Tomorrow strategic plan calls specifically for expansion of student involvement in faculty research. I am excited to see what the future has in store for new Tigers as they discover, grow, and become visionaries alongside their faculty mentors. Or, as Dr. Newhauser might sing, “Áfindaþ. Forþframaþ. Snytraþ.”
Jeanna Goodrich Balreira '08