Professors Allison, DeMarco
Associate Professors Butcher, Comorau, Long, Merkel
Professors Emeriti Musser, Olmstead
Part-Time Senior Lecturer Burns
English majors develop both reading and writing skills. They gain a wide knowledge of authors, of texts originally written in English, of the English language, and of interpretive approaches to literature. They read literary works and watch films selected to illustrate the linguistic connections among texts, historical perspectives, cultural contexts, the development of English as a language, and the canon, its critics, and its alternatives. The major and minor foster curiosity about language, and the conviction that literature and film enrich human experience.
In English courses, students develop close reading skills—heightening their awareness of the conventions of literary and cinematic form, structure, language, genre, and rhetoric—and are introduced to current critical methods. Throughout the major, students test and revise their notions of what makes literature literature. They cultivate sensitivity to language as a medium of thought and communication, and they learn to ask penetrating questions about texts and language.
English majors and minors become thoroughly acquainted with the writing process, sensitive to the rhetorical situation, and alert to the demands for correctness and precision.
The English department expects that its students will explore the relationship of language and literature to social and cultural issues. It hopes they will become habitual, morally engaged readers, appreciating literature’s function in developing an imaginative sensitivity to and disciplined regard for the relation between words and the world, the writer and the work, the representing self and the represented other.
The English major and minor also provide practical preparation for the world of work. They equip students to communicate clearly, to write effectively, and to read critically and accurately. These skills are fundamental for success in numerous professions and occupations, especially in the age of the Internet.
Many English courses do not carry prerequisites. In general, however, courses at the 100 and 200 levels are most appropriate for first-year students and sophomores, or for those students who have not previously taken a college literature course. Upper-level students and those who have previously taken a college literature course may take courses at all levels.