Honors College Graduate Named 2021 Distinguished Honors Faculty Award Winner
The event, which, in years prior to COVID-19, was held in a luncheon format with a formal recognition ceremony, also recognized the recipients of the Distinguished Honors Faculty and Distinguished Honors Alumni awards for both 2020 and 2021. The ceremony was cancelled last spring soon after the university shut-down in March 2020.
Charlie Malone, Program and Outreach Manager for Wick Poetry Center, proved to be the perfect candidate for this year’s 2021 Distinguished Honors Faculty Award.
Charlie Malone has worked at Kent State University in various roles since 2016.
Malone graduated from Kent State University’s Honors College with his bachelor’s degree in English in 2002. He then stayed at Kent State to obtain his master’s in Literature in 2004. Following this, he attended Colorado State University earning his MFA in poetry in 2009.
After graduating with his MFA, Malone worked at Ferris State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he helped develop and grow the honors program. Malone referred to this as a wonderful hands-on experience.
In 2016, Malone returned to Kent State University as an academic advisor for the Kent State Honors College. He also taught the Brainchild course at that time. Malone also oversaw Honors College admissions and scholarships during that period.
Malone shifted to the Wick Poetry Center in the fall of 2017. He also began instructing the “Poetry in the Schools” course through the Wick Poetry Outreach Program, and offered through the Department of English. In the fall of 2019, Malone began teaching for the Honors College as an instructor.
Currently, Malone continues to teach Freshman Honors Colloquium, “Poetry in the Schools,” the Brainchild course where honors students create a literary arts magazine, as well as conducting community-based outreach for the Wick Poetry Center. His position at the Wick Poetry Center is his primary role at Kent State University.
“As a graduate of the Honors College, I am really happy to stay involved and teach for the Honors College,” Malone said.
Malone changes his Freshman Honors Colloquium course theme each year. He believes in working through new things with his students rather than knowing everything going into the course.
“I want to be discovering things as my students are discovering things,” Malone said.
During the 2019-2020 academic year, Malone’s course covered the intersection between the arts and sciences. This was in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience, not just English majors. He looked at literary works with scientific connections like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. More contemporary works and works from the Enlightenment period were included, as well.
This academic year, Malone and his Freshman Honors Colloquium students are looking at creative responses to conflict. He has students looking at different civil wars and revolutions from around the world. Some of the texts he has included are Between the World and Me and Wind from an Enemy Sky.
Next year, Malone plans to focus on joy, beauty and delight with his Colloquium students. He will focus on how beauty can be dangerous, damaging, and marginalizing. One of the texts that inspired this is The Book of Delights by Ross Gay. This is a collection of essays about the delights occurring in everyday life. Malone believes this is a kind of medicine needed after a year of online learning during a pandemic.
When asked how the Honors College has helped him to thrive as a professor, Malone said, “I’ve only thought of teaching these courses as a privilege.” He finds the conditions of the Honors College to be inspiring. The opportunity to work with students who are interested in what they are learning makes it all the more worthwhile for Malone.
“For me, I am sort of stepping into a tradition,” Malone said. He had a Freshman Honors Colloquium professor who allowed him to be creative in his responses and work. This is something he is out to give to his own students now.
Malone’s favorite part of teaching for the Honors College is the interaction with his students. “The conversations that we get to have twice a week are just inspiring, they’re just exciting,” Malone said. He states that putting in the work outside of class allows for the in class discussion time to be a joy. Malone says it’s great when students get excited about a text.
He allows his students to substitute one short response for a creative response in his class. Malone states this blows him away. He has had students compose music, paint, draw, make short films, and more. He states his role is just to give them parameters to make the experience worthwhile.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Malone says the constant validation that it is worth it to hold synchronous class sessions for the Freshman Honors Colloquium classes has been the most helpful. He appreciates the expectation to still create a space for the interaction between students and ideas, even in a virtual setting.
Malone states that Freshman Honors Colloquium has been an anchor and a bright spot for him during this time. He believes that the colloquium courses are also about building community between students in the Honors College.
Malone’s instruction did not change much in the face of the pandemic. He did create a website where he shares discussion questions, Youtube video links, and class plans with his students. He also includes interactive quizzes, forms, and questionnaires through this format. He believes he will continue this when classes return to in-person. He is also still maintaining his practice of one-on-one conferences with his students regarding their writing.
Outside of Kent State University, Malone is involved in Literary Youngstown and other local creative writing organizations. Most of his organization involvement revolves around keeping up with his own creative writing.
Malone loves to work with bicycles in his free time. He tinkers and restores old bikes as well as riding bikes often. He also loves to hike and travel. Malone met his wife at Kent State University and says they joke that their first date was traveling to Wales to visit a friend studying abroad. Up until the pandemic, they have traveled somewhere each year. Malone and his wife have two cats, Dizzy Gillespie (after the jazz trumpeter) and Meeka.
When asked how he feels about being selected as the 2021 Distinguished Honors Faculty award winner, he says he feels uncomfortable in a very grateful way. “I walk by the wall and see the other award winners, and I had many of them,” Malone said. He states that he knows what they meant to him and how they challenged and shaped him. Malone is humbled his students feel this way about him.
Malone does not like to talk about himself or awards, but he is very grateful and moved to be recognized as the 2021 Distinguished Honors Faculty award recipient.
PHOTO CAPTION 1: Panoramic view of the Wick Poetry Center and the Lefton Esplanade.
PHOTO CAPTION 2: Charlie Malone, 2021 Distinguished Honors Faculty Award Recipient.
Media Contact: Stephanie Moskal, firstname.lastname@example.org, 330-672-2312