Bennet Schaber, Chair
301B Poucher Hall
Professors: David Hill, Christopher LaLonde, Thomas Loe, Robert Moore, Edward O’Shea, Bennet Schaber, Donald Vanouse, Leigh Wilson
Associate Professors: Albert Blissert, Patricia Clark, Maureen F. Curtin, Brad Korbesmeyer, JoEllen Kwiatek, Donald Masterson, Patrick Murphy, Robert O’Connor
Assistant Professors: Karol Cooper, Neelika Jayawardane, Michael Murphy, Amy Shore, Donna Steiner
The English and Creative Writing Department offers both major and minor programs, as well as certification and concentration programs for students who choose to become elementary or secondary school teachers. All of the programs offer intensive training in the interpretive skills necessary for careers in business, industry, and public service as well as public school and college teaching. The English and Creative Writing Department has created a curriculum that balances traditional studies in British and American literature with new intellectual developments in literary and cultural studies. Juniors and seniors often have the opportunity to enroll in courses that are cross-listed with the Master of Arts in English program.
Courses stress the importance of critical reading, writing, and research to provide students with a background suitable for many kinds of careers. These courses are designed: (1) to immerse students in reading and writing; (2) to encourage students to study literary history with accuracy and imagination, helping them to understand how literary canons are established, what they may include and omit, and how they may change; (3) to integrate materials about cultural diversity into the curriculum; (4) to provide students with opportunities for interdisciplinary study; (5) to introduce theoretical questions at an early point in the course of study while integrating these questions throughout the curriculum; (6) to prepare students with conceptual and interpretive skills so they can respond to the demands of a rapidly changing world; and (7) to create the opportunity for students to connect their personal and political experiences with the questions, ideas, and conflicts within literary and interpretive studies. This program is based upon the idea that interpretations have a structure and interpretive competence requires that students learn how to use that structure to understand and test their ideas and the established interpretations of literary works. The structure of interpretation requires there to be a TEXT that is read, a CONTEXT in which it is read, and some THEORIES or presuppositions about texts and contexts, whether those assumptions are implicit or explicit.
Creative Writing Major
The program is one of the largest and best staffed undergraduate writing programs in the United States, and it has been recognized by the national organization, Associated Writing Programs. Professional writers offer a major in writing arts as a special track in the English Department. In consultation with the writers in the program, students choose to focus their work in some combination of genres, including: poetry, fiction, drama, nonfiction and journalism.
Introductory courses in each genre are followed by workshops; these workshops are, in turn, followed by senior seminars that focus upon topical problems and specific issues. A workshop in drama, for instance, may be followed by a senior seminar in writing situation comedies.
African/African-American Studies Minor
Cinema and Screen Studies–B.A.
The Department of English and Creative Writing cosponsors these programs.