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The Mission of the Department of English

The Department of English empowers students “to seek, to know, to serve” by training them to better understand the world through insightful reading, and to better express themselves through incisive writing. While the department’s objectives target our majors and reflect our disciplines, our mission extends to the entire student body through the composition program, the University Studies courses we teach, and the Writing Center. Minors in English and drama provide an opportunity for students who major in other fields to pursue their interests in developing expertise in writing, literary studies, and the dramatic arts.

Learning Outcomes for Undergraduate Students

Students graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English should be able to:

  • Read perceptively, with appreciation for both content and style;
  • Write cleanly and clearly, building in deliberate organization, and demonstrating a habit of thoughtful revision;
  • Discuss intelligently the major periods and authors of English and American literature;
  • Employ fluently literary terms and other disciplinary conventions (e.g. MLA formatting, etc).

Further, students’ concentration in either literature or writing should be reflected in discipline specific outcomes. Students graduating with a literarture emphasis in English should be able to:

  • Evaluate literary texts, from a variety of perspectives: theoretical, historical, artistic, etc.;
  • Form a defensible argument about a work of literature, which is supported by analytical argument, effective evidence, and appropriate documentation;
  • Write analytically about literature, demonstrating knowledge of generic conventions and innovations.

Students graduating with a writing emphasis in English should be able to:

  • Write in a variety of genres, including nonfiction, poetry, drama, short story, and novel;
  • Employ a number of literary devices in their writing, such as dialogue, metaphor, characterization, alliteration, foreshadowing, plot, rhythm, point of view, voice, irony, simile, conflict, and setting;
  • Reflect insightfully on the artistic process.


Learning Outcomes for Graduate Students

Students graduating with a Masters in English, in addition to the learning outcomes fro the undergraduate English majors (literary emphasis), should be able to:

  • Articulate the defining characteristics of the major periods in British and American literature, coherently framing them within the preceding and succeeding periods, and making insightful comparative and contrasting observations about them;
  • Design and execute effective literary research projects, which engage the ongoing critical discussion from a variety of theoretical perspectives;
  • Produce advanced level, persuasive rhetoric in support of their interpretive arguments about literature;
  • Participate in the professional activities of literary scholarship, such as conference paper presentations.

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