Academic Planning

Departmental Mission and Goals for Student Learning:

  1. To assist students in improving their critical and creative writing, and to help them express ideas coherently, with clarity, precision, forcefulness, and grace;
  2. To enrich the cultural background of students through the study of significant works of literature and the programming of extracurricular literary events;
  3. To provide for those students who choose to major or minor in English a rich, intensive program of study of literature and film through textual analysis and an understanding of historical periods, cultural movements, and critical and theoretical approaches, while emphasizing Literary Studies, Film Studies, or Creative Writing.

 

Program Assessment:

In assessing the outcomes of the English major, the Department will use the senior thesis as the major object of direct measurement, given that the thesis best demonstrates the progress our students have toward our goals for them. A statement of the thesis goals is below. It should be noted that though this plan names the Department chair as responsible for some items, the chair and the Department are welcome to delegate such duties to individual members.

The measures that we will employ are the following:

Senior Thesis evaluation. Each thesis is reviewed by two faculty members, and each senior defends the thesis before a panel of three faculty members. In addition, the thesis instructor and the second readers make recommends for the Kenneth Story Best Thesis Award; we all review these theses, and make a collective decision. This process ensures that we have all read several theses, that some of us have read some in common, and that all of us have read some in common. The Department will use this information to assess the thesis seminar itself, but more importantly the major program. Essays from ENGL 280 will be saved for “before/after” comparison of specific desired competencies, such as close textual reading and ability to engage secondary sources substantively.

Senior written program feedback. Each year, in the thesis seminar, the seniors will provide written feedback on the program. The form should ask them several questions about the program; it should also ask for them to reflect on their own intellectual growth. These documents will be scanned, distributed to Department members electronically, reviewed, and discussed at the following departmental retreat.

Biennial review of ENGL 280, & 300- and 400-level courses. Every other year, the Department (or subset thereof) will collect and review course descriptions, syllabi, assignments, and—where applicable—grading rubrics to ensure that individual course designs contribute to the desired learning outcomes for the major. This review also enable us to a formal way of sharing “best practices” within the department.

Annual majors/minors meeting. Prior to spring registration, Department members will meet with non-senior majors and minors (and potential majors/minor) to disseminate information and solicit student questions, comments, and concerns.

NSSE data. Every retreat, the Department will review data from the National Survey of Student Engagement to help assess campus-wide commitment to writing as well as campus-wide engagement in extracurricular literary activities.

Extracurricular. The chair will collect and record from the Department such information as student conference presentation/attendance; internships; and English major event participation. This information is not a direct measure of student outcome, but it would be interesting to see if we could spy any trends, any correlations, between these activities and learning outcomes. The chair will also collect and record all departmentally-sponsored extracurricular events.

Postgraduate evidence. The Department chair will collect and record from the Department and other sources (career services; alumni affairs) any information on postgraduate accomplishments of our majors.

 

Senior Thesis Objectives for the Literary and Film Studies Emphases (encapsulates goals for student learning in the major)

  1. The thesis essay will present an original, compelling argument. It must at once explicate the issue and appreciate its complexity. The thesis must also make a case for its own significance: Why does this matter? An audience unfamiliar with the text or the approach should still be able to follow the argument.
  2. The thesis will engage secondary and critical sources in substantive ways. Instead of dropping occasional supporting quotations, it should make those sources an integral part of the line of argumentation and inquiry. The sources should be discussed.
  3. The thesis will demonstrate command of its own methodology (including its limitations).
  4. The thesis will show familiarity with the other pertinent and important scholarship.
  5. The thesis will place its subject in a larger aesthetic, cultural, and/or historical context.
  6. The thesis will be well-organized, solidly and compellingly argued, and gracefully written, free of grammatical errors and stylistic gaffes.
  7. The thesis will demonstrate mastery the MLA style in terms of format, documentation, citation, and other matters.

Senior Thesis Objectives for the Creative Writing Emphasis (encapsulates goals for student learning in the major)

  1. The senior thesis will consist of a brief aesthetic statement and an extended creative manuscript of a single literary genre (poetry, fiction, or nonfiction).
  2. The aesthetic statement will place the creative manuscript in a larger aesthetic context, including literary influences and issues of form, craft, and genre. It will engage secondary sources in substantive ways, discussing the secondary sources listed in its bibliography.
  3. The thesis will be in Standard Manuscript Format, gracefully written, and free of grammatical errors and stylistic gaffes (unless errors are intended to produce specific effects).
  4. The creative manuscript will demonstrate engagement with the contextual and formal issues put forth in the aesthetic statement.
  5. The aesthetic statement will demonstrate mastery of MLA style in terms of format, documentation, citation, and other matters.


Major Requirements

Students majoring in English choose one of three emphases: Literary Studies (ENGL), Film Studies (ENGF), or Creative Writing (ENGC). Students interested in a Film Studies minor should refer to the Film Studies section of the catalogue.  

Literary Studies

11 courses distributed as follows:  

 

  • ENGL 280 Literary Analysis  
  • ENGL 497 Senior Thesis Seminar 
  • Three ENGL courses focused on pre-1900 literature, at least one of which must be pre-1700 
  • Three ENGL courses focused on post-1900 literature 
  • One course in literary theory 
  • Two other ENGL/F/C courses 

Of these courses: 

  • The Literary Studies emphasis must have one 200-level ENGL course in addition to ENGL 280, and nine 300-400 level courses, including ENGL 497 Senior Thesis Seminar and at least one other 400-level ENGL seminar 
  • Only one ENGC and one ENGF count toward the Literary Studies emphasis. 
  • The Literary Studies emphasis does not prevent a student from a Film Studies minor. 

 

Film Studies

 

11 courses distributed as follows: 

  • Any 200-level ENGF course or ENGL 223 Literary and Cinematic Adaptations 
  • ENGL 280, Literary Analysis 
  • ENGL 497, Senior Thesis Seminar 
  • Two ENGL courses focused on pre-1900 literature, at least one of which must be pre-1700 
  • Two ENGL courses focused on post-1900 literature 
  • One course in literary theory 
  • Three 300-400 level ENGF courses, one of which can be a film course from another department 

Of these courses: 

  • In addition to the two specified 200-level courses, the Film Studies emphasis must have nine 300-400 level courses, including ENGL 497 Senior Thesis Seminar and at least one other 400-level ENGL/F-level seminar 
  • Only one film course can come from another department 
  • A student with a Film Studies emphasis cannot minor in film studies  

 

Creative Writing

11 courses distributed as follows: 

 

ENGL 280 Literary Analysis 

  • ENGC 497 Creative Writing Senior Thesis Seminar 
  • Two ENGL courses focused on pre-1900 literature, at least one of which must be pre-1700 
  • Two ENGL courses focused on post-1900 literature 
  • Any other ENGL or ENGF course  
  • Four 300-400 level ENGC courses 

Of these courses: 

  • The Creative Writing emphasis must have one 200-level course in addition to ENGL 280, and nine 300-400 level courses, including ENGC 497 Senior Thesis Seminar and at least one other 400-level ENGC seminar 
  • Only one creative writing course can come from another department. 

 

Minor (Literary Studies)

6 courses distributed as follows: 

 

  • Two 200-level courses including ENGL 280 
  • Four 300-400 level courses 

Of these courses: 

  • One of the courses must emphasize literature before 1700 
  • One Film Studies (ENGF) course or one Creative Writing (ENGC) course can count toward a minor in English  

 

 

Courses by requirements

 

Pre-1700:  ENGL 238, 239, 305, 313, 316, 317, 318, 414 

Pre-1900: ENGL 240, 256, 319, 320, 322, 325, 328, 416, 418, 420, 432, 435, 441, 467 

Post-1900: ENGL 223, 245, 248, 250, 251, 258, 262, 265, 275, 321, 330, 332, 335, 336, 342, 350, 353, 397, 450, 455, 461, 465 

Literary Theory: ENGL 362, 390; ENGF 381; PHIL/ARTH 389