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English (BA) Program Assessment


Mission The Department of English offers students opportunities to enrich their lives with courses in literature, writing, rhetoric, language, and journalism. Mission Statement We aim to serve the needs of all students by developing their abilities to write for college, for professional work, and for their lives as citizens, and by preparing them to understand and to write on academic topics in their major disciplines. Faculty scholarship is an integral part of the English department mission, and we are committed to fostering a collegial, supportive, and collaborative intellectual environment. Students are best served by faculty who are actively contributing to the production and advancement of knowledge, and thus can guide students in their coursework and mentor them in their own research aspirations in directions that are relevant to the present and the future. This overall mission takes concrete form through our majors in English and Journalism; through our minors in English, Creative Writing, and Journalism; through our courses that support the college’s general education requirements; and through the Writing Program, which serves the entire campus with first-year and junior-year writing courses, with Writing Across the Curriculum, and with the Writing Center. In what follows we define our mission more specifically in each of these areas. BA in ENGLISH Literature We are committed to fostering our students’ capacity for deep reading and to increasing their understanding of the power and beauty of literary works. We enable students to analyze and critique literature with insight and interpretive power and to communicate their ideas about literature effectively in writing. We want our students to recognize how literature illuminates the human condition, expands their capacity for sympathy, and inspires them to respond significantly and powerfully to their local and global communities. Writing, Rhetoric, and Language Writing We encourage and teach students to develop expressive techniques and abilities with which to succeed in creative, professional, and civic writing. We provide them the means to serve as a voice for themselves, their community, and humankind. Rhetoric Through study of the uses and effects of language in various contexts and historical periods, we are committed to helping students gain a rhetorical awareness of how writers and speakers have structured their written and spoken discourse to reflect their goals and beliefs. Through guided practice, we assist students in developing rhetorical capabilities that will enable them to influence debate in the various communities that they will participate in throughout their academic, professional, and civic lives. Language We teach students sociolinguistic theory and the history of English to help them explore where their own language fits in the complex linguistic landscape of the United States and beyond. ENGLISH MINOR The goals of the English minor are the same as those articulated for the major, designed to encourage students who have an interest in literature and language studies, but adjusted to meet the needs of students who are majoring in another subject.


  • Critical Reading: Students will understand and articulate insights about complex texts, both primary and secondary, including literature, criticism, and various genres of non-fiction.
  • Discipline-specific Knowledge and Discourse: Students will speak and write effectively, addressing complex issues in the language of the chosen field of study.
  • Research Activities: Students will engage in authentic research, including finding and evaluating both primary and secondary sources.
  • Writing: Students will produce a work in an appropriate genre for a chosen emphasis and at an appropriate level: literary criticism, creative writing, rhetorical or linguistic analysis.

The English (BA) Program is part of the school of Arts and Sciences, English Department