Professor Andrew McCarthy, Head
“Unless you are at home in metaphor,” Robert Frost once wrote—unless you are able to deal with the complexities, implications and surprises of figurative language, a language that surrounds us even in the worlds of advertising and science—then “you are lost.” The English Department teaches students both to read and write maturely and correctly on the literal level and also to interpret and use figurative language. In the classroom, that role is carried out through studies in composition; language, rhetoric and writing, literature, criticism; and creative writing.
Every aspect of the English Department’s program attempts to communicate a sense of wonder and excitement about our written culture and to engage the student’s imagination. We make students aware that whenever they read or write, complex and sometimes contradictory elements—factual, emotive, logical—must be apprehended, held in balance, and accorded appropriate weight. We want them to be able to identify and order intricate responses to arrive at a sound understanding of a written text or to produce clear and forceful writing of their own.
What students learn in the English Department adds to their inventory of competencies and enriches their experience of life. We recognize that the ability to understand and produce good writing is an invaluable mental resource.
- Students will be able to recognize and use effectively the conventions of standard written and spoken English.
- Students will be able to read, write, and think analytically and critically in a variety of genres.
- Students will have command of research methods, bibliographic resources, and documentation.
- Students will have command of specific literatures, rhetorics, or creative writing genres (based on their individual plans of study) and the bases for understanding all others.
- Students will develop advanced literary and rhetorical skills including aesthetic discernment.
- Students will be adequately prepared to enter the job market and/or pursue graduate or professional studies.
The English Department offers programs leading to the B.A. in English with concentrations in literary studies and writing, along with course work toward the B.S. in the teaching of English in the secondary school Secondary English, B.S. Regardless of focus, the major in English emphasizes the critical study of language, literature, and rhetoric, and the writing of a wide variety of texts for diverse situations and audiences. Through reading, interpreting, and criticizing texts, the student has multiple opportunities to explore and participate in the tradition of using language to embody human experience. The variety of writing experiences available within the department allows students to reach an advanced level of competence in the use of language and those intellectual skills which support a variety of career options and professional choices. The major in English provides an essential and versatile education for both life and work.