Thinking about majoring in English? Then you might want to meet Nick Shahid. When Nick came to the College, English wasn’t in the picture for him. But during his first year – while taking classes to satisfy his general education requirements – he made a connection. “It was all about the English professors,” he says.
“It didn’t take me long to realize how phenomenal the English faculty is. They truly understand the emphasis the College puts on teaching, and they embrace it. For me, the mark of a great teacher is that you go into their class not expecting to be super into the particular topic, but then you end up reflecting that person’s passion about the material. That has happened a lot with this department.”
Nick is a big proponent of the liberal arts, and he wanted to find a discipline that wraps all the liberal arts into one. “English seemed to me to be that discipline,” he explains. “It’s a very historical field. You read philosophy and religious studies and history and so much else in this major. It’s really cool. For me, this discipline is the culmination of Western liberal arts.”
He admits to making a few discoveries by way of his work in the major. “In one class – British Literature to 1700 – we read Beowulf and Chaucer and all that early stuff, which I normally would not be into. It seems really removed. But our professor taught it so well, with such passion, that it was interesting.”
So, what in particular about this major resonates with Nick? “The fact that discussion is the cornerstone of the English major is huge for me. In any given class, you come in having read the material for that day, and you look closely at passages that you’ve read using various literary tools – and then you discuss. You share what you think about it, what the author is trying to say, what you think it means and what the impact is. If you like discussion, if you like sharing ideas – even if you’re not talkative by nature – this is a good program. It’s all about in-depth discourse, and that’s what counts. It’s a skill that you can take into almost any profession, and definitely to graduate school.”
We teach students to read with insight, perception and objectivity, and to write with clarity and precision. Our faculty members possess expertise in a broad spectrum of genres from poetry to novels to literary criticism, song and zines. They’re also scholars in the literature of varying eras, geographic regions, cultures and individual authors. In addition, English majors benefit from small class sizes, individualized attention from tenured and tenure-track professors, and a lengthy tradition of teaching literature in all its forms.
- Several faculty members are published authors, and some are editors of academic journals, and one sits on the National Council of the Arts.
- Through the English department, the College publishes Illuminations: an International Magazine of Contemporary Writing, which includes work by both established and up and coming writers. In addition, the College publishes Crazyhorse, a nationally recognized journal of fiction, poetry and essays.
- We offer minors in creative writing and film studies, as well as a concentration in creative writing.
- Students are invited to submit written work to Miscellany (the College’s literary arts journal).
- Want to teach high school English? The College offers a bachelor’s degree program for that.