Our English Department conjoins a spirit of pragmatism, creativity, and critical analysis. In the most obvious sense, we strive to produce polished writers and careful readers whose communication skills are much in demand in a wide spectrum of professions. Through the close reading of texts, we also strive to create an understanding of the nuances of language and the intersections between structure and meaning: the ability to read a text is the ability to read the world. Through the reading of literature and critical theory we further teach the ability to view the world through different paradigms—to think beyond personal, historical, and cultural lenses. Through the development of creative and technical writing practices we instruct students on how to write themselves into the world. Through the study of language and pedagogy, we provide students with opportunities to teach and learn in a global society. Such practices cultivate both a much needed understanding in our complex, changing world and the creative and critical skills needed to think beyond traditional and expected solutions.
Those with special interests in composition will find courses in creative writing, practical and professional written communication, styles of writing, and rhetorical theory. For students whose primary concern is with literature, the Department offers work in British, European, American, and World prose, poetry, and drama. Also available for those preparing to teach English are courses in techniques in teaching English, Linguistics, and studies in English as a second language. The interdisciplinary minor of Small-Press Publishing is also housed in the English Department.
The department also offers Master’s level study in English and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Reflecting the changing conceptions of what constitutes English studies, the MA in English offers a range of courses in literature, creative writing, rhetoric, theory, and pedagogy. Students may design their programs to prepare for graduate work at the doctoral level in English and in other professional fields, to enhance their prospects for teaching in high school or community college, or to prepare for a variety of non-teaching occupations. The TESOL degree is designed to train professionals to teach people who are learning to speak English as another language, emphasizing the practical application of theory to the classroom. Students design a program of language instruction for their own particular setting and learn to revise, adapt, and assess the program as they progress in their studies.
The English Education Program has been accredited by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).