From Chaucer to graphic novels, from the English Renaissance to the Harlem Renaissance, from poetry and fiction writing to writing for the professions: the English Department at Southern Connecticut State University offers a thriving, diverse program of study for students interested in careers in teaching, law, publishing, the arts, and more.
Through intensive study in literature and writing, the English department immerses students in the power, complexity, and variety of the English language, deepening their understanding of the ways written language shapes every aspect of the world we live in, while developing the potential of their own writing to serve as a vehicle for analytical, critical, and creative thinking.
The core of the English major is the study of literature, that intensely creative use of writing to imaginatively engage with every aspect of human experience. Why study literature? Because, as the English scholar M.H. Abrams recently put it, literature “expands you in every way. It illuminates what you’re doing. It shows you possibilities you haven’t thought of. It enables you to live the lives of other people than yourself. It broadens you, it makes you more human. It makes life enjoyable.” We agree.
Literary studies courses at SCSU are designed to introduce students to a broad array of literary periods, genres, authors, and topics while exploring the integral relationships between literature and history, in all its dimensions, including political, aesthetic, cultural, and social history. Students learn to practice a variety of analytical and critical methods, and to communicate their insights and ideas via effective writing and intelligent discussion. Our students thus learn to tap literature’s potential to tell us about lives and experiences and ideas both near and far from their own, complicating, extending, and enriching their understanding of themselves and others.
In addition to literary studies, the major introduces students to rhetorical theory and practice, offering opportunities for coursework in professional writing (practical training in various kinds of workplace writing) and in creative writing (intensive workshops for aspiring poets and fiction writers). The English Department also offers a Bachelor of Science program in English Education, tailored to majors who want to teach English in grades 7–12, as well as an English minor designed for the specific needs of Elementary Education majors.
All courses in the major are taught by faculty members invested in the model of the teacher-scholar: as active researchers and published authors in our various fields of specialized study, we bring to the English classroom a freshness born of our active engagement in the same processes of reading, thinking, discussion, and writing in which we seek to immerse our students.
(Approved November 20, 2013)