Eric Alai, a native of Peoria, Illinois, earned a BA in English from Illinois State University in 2000, where he won the prestigious “Anne Keaton Award for Promising Writers. He earned an MA in Language and Literature from Western Illinois University in 2003 and was employed at Carl Sandburg College from 2004-11 as an English instructor, teaching composition, creative writing, and literature. In 2016, he moved to Louisiana and began his position at LSUA as an English Instructor. Alai’s writing credits are many: in 1999, he published a chapbook of poetry titled Northland. He won First Place in the Poetry Category and Third Place in the Adult Short Story Category of “Galesburg Public Library’s Annual Creative Writing Contest 2016” sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. He was published in The Bluffs Literary Journal in 2016. In 2021, he received an Honorable Mention in the 2021 “Flash Fiction Contest” held by the LSUA Department of English and Humanities; and he won 1st Place in the 2022 “Flash Fiction Contest.” In 2021, Alai was awarded the “Mark Eugene Howard Endowed Professorship in Liberal Arts” for work on LSUA’s literary and art journal, the Jongleur, for which he has been Editor-in Chief since 2016. Currently, Alai is working on publishing a completed biography on his parents, writing a fantasy novel, and also writing a television series.
Elizabeth Milton Beard is Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at LSUA. A proud central Louisiana native, Dr. Beard has been on the English faculty at LSUA since 2005. She graduated from Rapides High School (class of ’92); earned her BA in English, Secondary Education from Spring Hill College; and completed her MA and PhD in English at LSU Baton Rouge. Dr. Beard was the founding coordinator of the LSUA Writing Center, a Louisiana Writing Project teacher consultant, and is the current holder of the Richard Bryan Gwartney Endowed Professorship in the Liberal Arts. Her areas of research and teaching include writing pedagogy and regional literature. Dr. Beard serves on the LSUA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Team, the Alexandria Museum of Art Board of Directors, and the Generals Athletic Association Board.
Dr. Zeb Bell joined the Psychology Department at LSUA in 2021. He completed a BA from Auburn University, an MS from Georgia Southern University, and a PhD in from Oakland University, all in psychology. He specializes in human and non-human animal cognition and behavior, and his research experience and interests include spatial and temporal cognition across species, increasing retention and opportunities for underrepresented minorities in STEM fields, and captive animal welfare and conservation.
Dr. Alice Blackwell received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina. She teaches British Literature I, Chaucer, Milton, and Literature and Religion. She advises English and Humanities majors. She is on the Editorial Board of the Oak Leaf, the LSUA Journal of Teaching and Research.