More to English than reading and writing


Zachary Araki

The Department of English offers resources like the Writing Center to help students with their writing including assignments outside of an English class.

Zachary Araki , A&E Editor

The majority of students at the university are or will become familiar with the writing, reading and analysis characteristic of the Department of English through various English courses.

Although interpreting literature may seem useless or disconnected for some students, Professor of English Dr. Joan Faust discussed the varied utility found in studying English.

“The skills attained in this degree are the skills that every job requires: analysis capabilities and clear written expression,” said Faust. “Our majors are not trained for one career but all careers. Our former students have succeeded in med school, human resources, business and industry, editing, the list goes on.”

Department Head Dr. David Hanson urges students to see and understand the connections between English and multiple other disciplines. According to Hanson, writing and communication skills learned in the department allow for flexibility and adaptability to succeed in a range of fields. 

“The study of English is a big umbrella, and it means a lot of different things to a lot of different people,” said Hanson. “It doesn’t mean that the discipline is undefined or simply a catchall. It means that the discipline has many different kinds of applications and directions, and the more you know about those, the more successful you will be.”

Professor of English Dr. Jack Bedell believes that the range of interests among the department faculty makes the English department special.

“Because the study and practice of English reaches into so many disciplines, our faculty have an almost limitless range of specialties,” said Bedell. “We’ve got literary scholars, linguists, creative writers, publishers, digital specialists, pop culture experts, graphic novelists, editors and performance artists all working together in our department, and I think it’s a wonderful environment of activity for our students.”

Instructor of English David Armand sees a sense of community within the English department.

“We have a big department, but I think that the students get a sense we know them,” said Armand. “We care about them. We have a lot of faculty also. I guess for lack of a better term, it feels like a big family.”

As a former art major, graduate student in English Jessica Firmin compared her experience in different departments.

“It’s been very weird for me coming from a department that was friendly but very competitive to a department that’s just very open and friendly, and everybody wants to help everyone,” said Firmin.

Students not majoring in English are encouraged to attain a minor to increase job opportunities. Students can get help with any writing at the Writing Center located in D Vickers Hall Room 210. This semester’s Common Read program is scheduled for Oct. 22 and will feature author Claire Vaye Watkins. The English department also includes two student-led publications, The Pick for class papers and the Manchac Review, a creative writing journal. Submission forms for either journal can be found online.