What constitutes a literary education in the 21st century? What critical elements are involved in understanding and processing perspectives emerging from complex local and global landscapes? How do we cultivate and nurture an interest in critical interdisciplinary thinking that challenges students to explore contexts that inform and shape them as thinkers and doers? How do courses in English and the humanities prepare students for living in and thoughtfully engaging with the world?
The English and Humanities Department invites students to capture these questions, explore them, challenge them, analyze them, and process them through the lens of community contribution. Students are then encouraged to reshape, redefine, and/or reject these questions in favor of their own. They do this through class meetings, individual and collaborative community engagement, special projects, literary and research analyses, and mandatory and voluntary exposure to and processing of stimulating interdisciplinary theory and practice.
The English and Humanities Department strives to enrich the overall educational experience of students, inspiring them to bring to the world community original perspectives, inventive strategies, and a knowledge that will contribute to the intellectual creative spirit of our collective human experience.
The English Program
The English Program comprises a large portion of the liberal arts core of the university and includes three emphases: literature, writing, and preparation for teaching certification. An Associate of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in English is offered through the program, as is a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English or English/Language Arts (for a 5-12 teaching credential).
The English Program also serves the university by supporting the “W” courses (see “Special Programs”) and general undergraduate requirements, as well as the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship and the McNair Scholars Program, providing specialized classes in writing personal statements and research proposals.
Shared Outcomes for English and Composition Courses
- Use writing and reading for inquiry, thinking, and processing ideas
- Demonstrate skill in oral and written communication, reflective listening, and critical reading
- Express their own ideas as informed opinions that are in dialogue with a larger community
- Display mastery in word processing programs, e-mail communication, and accessing electronic resources
- Understand research methods and citation styles
- Critically analyze information sources
- Recognize interconnections between ideas and fields of knowledge
- Acknowledge the continuums of social, academic, and professional situations and adapt language accordingly
- Discover multidimensional perspectives, learn from them, and conceptualize their potential impact on local and global communities
- Develop proficiency in collaborative work
Specific Outcomes for English Courses
- Understand the history, forms, and conventions of various periods and genres
- Read literary works with understanding of their backgrounds, structures, meanings, implications, and relevance
- Practice and master specific critical approaches to literary analysis
- Integrate or synthesize knowledge from a variety of disciplines as a means to interpret the text
- Master literary terminology (e.g., satire, metaphor, allusion, ambiguity, aesthetic distance, symbol, theme)
- Ask informed questions about literature and language and explore their potential to transform the global community
Specific Outcomes for Composition Courses
- Understand writing as a connected, relational process
- Recognize the value of prewriting strategies
- Grasp the significance of the rhetorical situation (author, audience, text, context)
- Distinguish between, and produce accurate examples of, summary and paraphrase
- Craft theses that serve as organizational guides to key concepts under discussion
- Present topic sentences that are clearly related to the thesis and to the supporting sentences that follow (connected, relational process)
- Produce cohesive, developed paragraphs, and understand the paragraph as a unit of meaning
- Use transitions effectively both in sentence-to-sentence movement and in movement between paragraphs (horizontal and vertical transitions)
- Consistently use complete, grammatically correct sentences, evidencing minimal errors in usage and mechanics
- View writing as a series of tasks involving formulating, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing primary and secondary sources
- Effectively integrate source material into academic narratives (bringing the thoughts of several scholars together — synthesis)
- Reflect on the purpose and value of peer review and practice revision strategies that produce questions for the writer and stimulate further development of ideas
- Recognize the value of producing multiple drafts as a revision strategy
The Humanities Program
- Exhibit critical thinking skills in diverse oral and written contexts
- Develop a multicultural awareness in the contexts of language, the arts, community practices, and belief traditions
- Acquire the knowledge and abilities needed to become an effective participant in the political and cultural lives of communities, assuming leadership roles in many cases
- Identify different values and world views, with an emphasis on understanding relationships among government, religion, art, and science, and among individuals, society, and the global community
- Produce critically reflective, well-supported, organized, and clearly articulated research papers using both primary and secondary sources
- Recognize the connection among values, beliefs, and cultural forms, and among humanity’s economic, social, and environmental sustainabilities
What jobs are available for English graduates?
- English teacher
- Public relations specialist
- Nonprofit director
- Grant writer
- Professional fund-raiser
The Humanities Program offers courses in communications, history, humanities, philosophy, and religion. Thus, like the English program, the Humanities program contributes to the university by providing many of the General University Course Requirements, especially those that contribute to the general education goals in communications skills, critical thinking, multicultural awareness, ethics, and humanities. The program thereby helps students acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to become effective participants in the political and cultural life and leadership of their chosen communities.
In addition, the Humanities program houses Associate of Arts degrees in both Humanities and Native American Studies.The Bachelor of Arts degree in Native American Studies or American Cultural Studies, provide opportunities to explore the arts, language/linguistics, history and culture, through varios socio-political and historical lenses. These areas of focus provide excellent support for practical careers involving multicultural skills, as well as offer graduate studies a critical overview of fields such as linguistics, museum science, professional writing, library science, history, American studies, and Ethnic studies.
Degrees and Programs Offered
The Humanities program offers courses to complete the following degrees and programs:
ProgramsAssociate of ArtsBachelor of ArtsNon-Degree
CoursesAmerican Cultural StudiesArtCommunicationsEnglishHistoryHonorsHumanitiesPhilosophyReligionSpeech