College of Arts and Sciences
Degree BA, English
Department Chair Patrick Hamilton, PhD
W. Scott Blanchard, Professor of English, BA Middlebury College; PhD Columbia University
Amanda M. Caleb, Professor of English, BA Davidson College; MA, PhD University of Sheffield
Patrick A. Danner, Assistant Professor of English, MA, BA Rutgers University; PhD University of Louisville
Patrick L. Hamilton, Associate Professor of English, BA Portland State University; MA University of Arkansas; PhD University of Colorado
Matthew C. Nickel, Assistant Professor of English, BA, MA State University of New York at New Paltz, PhD University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Rebecca Steinberger, Professor of English, BA Wilkes College; MA University of Scranton; PhD Indiana University of Pennsylvania
The English curriculum emphasizes the development of critical reading and writing skills as an essential preparation for professional life or graduate school. Students in English most often seek careers in writing, editing, web design, journalism, law, or teaching at the high school or college level. The English major gives students the ability to adapt to different job markets and career changes. In addition to its focus on improving writing and analytical skills, the program ensures a familiarity with different critical approaches to literature and an understanding of different literary forms, movements, and periods.
Programs Goals and Outcomes
The program in English helps its majors to:
- Develop critical reading skills that will allow them to approach primary and secondary sources thoughtfully, independently, and with attention to detail.
- Develop writing skills that will make them competitive on the job market and prepare them for professional life or graduate school.
- Develop effective research and documentation skills, including the use and evaluation of Internet sources.
- Understand the development of the English language, its structure and basic elements, and linguistic theories that help to explain it.
- Develop discussion and oral presentation skills that will allow them to speak effectively in front of others.
- Acquire a background in English and American literature.
- Become familiar with the perspectives of non-Western literature and the literature of under-represented groups in Western society.
- Become familiar with different critical theories and approaches to literature.
- Understand the opportunities open to English majors, and behaviors that will assist them in finding employment or entering graduate school.
The English major program goals are realized in the following student learning outcomes:
Department/Program Goal 1 Outcomes:
- Students will be able to comprehend texts for their information and/or implications.
- Students will be able to identify texts’ genres and their implications for meaning(s).
- Students will be able to evaluate texts’ meaning within their specific context(s).
- Students will be able to analyze texts in part or as wholes.
- Students will be able to make sense with texts as blueprints for meaning.
- Students will be able to engage in academic discourse about a text or texts.
Department/Program Goal 2 Outcomes:
- Students will be able to establish a focus (i.e., a thesis) that is well-defined, relevant, sophisticated, and original.
- Students will be able to develop complex ideas that are relevant to/support the focus/thesis.
- Students will be able to analyze effectively evidence that is relevant to/supports the focus/thesis.
- Students will be able to demonstrate a logical and compelling progression of ideas through effective and unified paragraphs.
- Students will be able to use appropriate and varied language with fluency.
- Students will be able to write virtually free of grammatical, formatting, and mechanical errors.
Department/Program Goal 3 Outcomes:
- Students will be able to cite sources accurately and completely.
- Students will be able to summarize sources accurately, clearly, and succinctly.
- Students will be able to evaluate sources clearly and critically.
Department/Program Goal 4 Outcomes:
- Students will demonstrate a knowledge of the basic features of historical and structural linguistics as they bear upon English.
- Students will demonstrate a knowledge of the phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon of the English language.
Department/Program Goal 5 Outcomes:
- Students will be able to organize communication skillfully and cohesively.
- Students will be able to use appropriate and effective language.
- Students will be able to use compelling and effective delivery.
- Students will be able to use credible and varied supporting material/evidence.
- Students will be able to communicate a clear, consistent, and compelling central message.
Department/Program Goal 6 Outcomes:
- Students will be able to recognize the cultural movements, genres, key figures, and social/historical forces that shape the Western literary tradition.
Department/Program Goal 7 Outcomes:
- Students will be able to recognize the cultural movements, genres, key figures, and social/historical forces that shape the literary traditions of non-Western society and underrepresented groups in Western society.
Department/Program Goal 8 Outcomes:
- Students will be able to identify a critical lens.
- Students will be able to apply a critical lens to literary texts.
Department/Program Goal 9 Outcomes:
- Students will secure employment in a job/career relevant to their skills and background as an English major.
- Students will be admitted to a graduate program in English or related discipline.
The English major provides students with a firm background in English and American literature, in addition to courses in a variety of areas of interest to the faculty. The major has a large number of free electives and allows students to specialize in pre-law, obtain secondary education certification, or minor in an area of interest. The major also provides excellent preparation for those planning to go on to graduate school.
Incoming first-year students seeking admission to the university as English majors must meet the general and specific admissions requirements of the university as stated in this catalog. When the student does not fully meet those requirements, a personal interview is required. Continuation as an English major requires that the student maintain a minimum 2.0 or “C” average, both in the major and in the overall grade point average.
After transfer credits are applied, transfer students must complete all of the remaining English requirements as listed in the sequence of required courses in this catalog.
To receive a recommendation for graduate school or law school, students must maintain a minimum 3.0 or “B” average, both in the major and in the overall grade point average.
English majors have the option of selecting the writing track within the major, which emphasizes professional writing and is designed for those interested in careers in writing and related fields such as journalism, feature writing, magazine article writing, publishing, editing, technical writing, advertising, script writing for radio and television, screen writing for film, and other kinds of creative writing. It is also appropriate for students interested in teaching writing.
Note: Students on the writing track within the major cannot also receive a Writing minor.
Students in the English major’s writing track must complete the following requirements in addition to fulfilling the University Core Curriculum Requirements. The total number of credits, including University Core Curriculum Requirements and Electives, required for graduation with the English major’s writing track is 121: