The Murphy Scholars Program in Literature and Language allows Hendrix students from any major
to deepen their knowledge of literature and language through a variety of enhanced
experiences. Students join the program as sophomores, selecting and completing their
designated activities as they move through their sophomore, junior, and
senior years. Murphy Scholars graduate with an added layer of distinction in literature
and language that will enrich their lives as well as attracting the notice of future
employers and graduate and professional schools.
Murphy Scholars have the opportunity to shape the literary and language scene
at Hendrix and beyond. They help lead and sustain our rich array of existing literary and language activities while adding distinctive new voices through the work they undertake. And they venture beyond the physical bounds of campus to study, explore,
and serve in literature and language.
Murphy Scholars enjoy the following benefits:
- Study-Travel Allowance Funds in the amount of $4,000, to be used for approved
cocurricular experiences in literature and language;
- structured ways to pursue deeper study of literature and language beyond
- opportunities for in-depth exchanges with Distinguished Visitors in literature
and language — writers, translators, editors, and scholars whom the program brings
- distinction upon graduation; and
- the advantages of belonging to a community of scholars — including fellowship,
professional preparation, and the excitement that comes from the collective
investigation of literature and language.
Murphy Scholars are required
- to participate actively in Hendrix’s community of scholarship in literature
and language by attending the monthly Murphy Scholar meetings and supporting Hendrix-Murphy events;
- to complete a tutorial course in literature or language;
- to complete three cocurricular experiences in literature or language
(many of which are activities Scholars may already be involved in, and may count
for Odyssey credit). More details about these requirements are given here.
About the community of scholarship in literature and language
Each semester that they’re on campus, Murphy Scholars must attend at least one
Hendrix-Murphy Distinguished Visitor event and one theatrical production, as well
as frequenting their choice of the following:
- Word Garden (student readings of original fiction, poetry, and creative
nonfiction — occasional Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. in the Murphy House)
- ShopTalk (informal talks about the craft of writing, led by visiting
writers in many genres)
- Literature and Language over Lunch (Fridays, noon to 1:00 p.m. at
the Murphy House — brown-bag and box-lunch opportunities to share informally in
- Book discussion groups (periodically led by faculty on a topic of
- Literary competitions (annual awards for original drama, poetry, fiction,
and creative nonfiction)
- Campus community readings (collective out-loud readings of great
- Language Commons activities (games, cooking, songfests, and holiday
observances to increase fun and fluency in various languages)
About tutorial courses in literature and language
Tutorial courses, based on an instructional model developed at Oxford University
in Oxford, England, feature weekly meetings where one to three students and a faculty
member engage deeply in readings, discussion of student papers, or intensive translation work. Tutorials have long been considered
the paragon of undergraduate instruction, promoting close relationships between
faculty and students, intensive focus on texts (both reading and writing), and oral
Hendrix offers tutorial courses in literary studies, world literature, creative writing, and dramatic literature through the departments
of English, Languages, and Theatre Arts and Dance. Currently these are open only
to Murphy Scholars, who are required to take at least one tutorial, ideally in the
junior year (although study abroad or other circumstances may sometimes necessitate
Scholars’ taking a tutorial in their senior year).
Tutorials are normal academic credits that in most cases count as 200- or 300-level courses or seminars. At the 300-level they may count for credit toward a major or minor, depending on that department’s policy. Tutorials do not satisfy Learning Domain or Odyssey requirements.
With their low student-to-professor ratio, Hendrix’s tutorial courses in literature
and language foster deep, individualized exploration of their subjects. The
tutorial’s intimate setting, with ample time for dialogue between professor and
students, lends itself excitingly to exploration and discovery at the frontiers
About cocurricular experiences in literature and language
- Three of these must be completed across the span from sophomore to senior
- These may be, but do not have to be, Odyssey projects.
- Murphy Scholars may choose from activities that are preapproved
for Murphy Scholar credit, or propose their own.
Most literary and language cocurriculars that are already well established at
Hendrix are preapproved for Murphy Scholar credit. For these, Murphy Scholars
simply certify their participation in that cocurricular experience by submitting
two items to the Murphy Scholars Program office — a Statement of Intent at the
outset and a brief reflection once the experience is finished.
For individually designed cocurricular projects, Murphy Scholars must submit a proposal
to the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation. A selection committee will evaluate each request
to ensure it meets the program learning goals and, if so, to approve the funding, including any expenditures
from that Scholar’s Study-Travel Allowance Fund.