CHAMPION OF LITERACY

April 15, 2002 12:00 am
Eloise Dielman ().
Eloise Dielman ().

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

Baker Citys Eloise Dielman, a former Eastern Oregon University professor, embraces this regions history.

She publishes a Baker County history newsletter and has compiled and edited two photo history books.

On Saturday the tables were turned on Dielman her name was etched into history. She was the first inductee into the hall of fame at the Oregon Writing Project at EOU.

I commend her, she is a champion of literacy, said George Venn, EOU professor of English and writing.

Dielman was inducted during a banquet celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Oregon Writing Project at Eastern. The OWPE is designed to help teachers learn to provide better writing instruction. Institutes are conducted each summer for future, present and former teachers. A total of 117 people have participated in the project since it started in 1992.

Dielman directed the OWP at Eastern in 1994-95, the same year she taught at EOU. In addition she taught English and German a total of 23 years at Baker High School before retiring. Charissa Hixenbaugh, now a teacher at Grant Union High School, is among Dielmans former students at Baker High School.

She was very open and forgiving. She allowed us to find out about ourselves and find our own identity, Hixenbaugh said on Saturday.

Dielman did this in part by encouraging students to write about personal issues. Hixenbaugh said that Dielman created an environment in which students felt comfortable doing this.

She was not judgmental, Hixenbaugh said.

John Scanlon, who teaches English at Pendleton High School, has worked with Dielman as a member of the OWPE.

She exudes wisdom, kindness and gentleness. She has a sense of history and she supports people unconditionally, Scanlon said.

One of her dominant traits is that she is always truthful ... I cant remember her saying anything that was wrong, Scanlon said.

Dielman grew up in Western Oregon and graduated from Sweet Home High School. She received her bachelors and masters degrees from Purdue University. She received her doctorate from the University of Oregon.

In addition to EOU and Baker High School, she has taught at Purdue University, the University of Oregon and Blue Mountain Community College.

Dielman is a member of the Baker County Historical Society, for which she publishes her quarterly newsletter.

A charter member of the OWP at Eastern, she said that it felt strange to be honored for participating in something that she has enjoyed so much.

I know 117 people just as deserving. I salute you, every one of you, Dielman said.

The Oregon Writing Project at Eastern is part of the federally funded National Writing Project. The director of the OWP is Donald Wolff, an EOU English professor. Cherie Murray is the assistant director and the co-directors are Janet Scoubes, Norma Barber and Karen Lawrence.