A strong Department of English is central to a liberal arts education because it helps students to become incisive in their critical thinking, effective as communicators, aware of cultural diversity, and skillful as interpreters of the written and spoken word in all areas of life. We are committed to academic excellence, innovative instruction, and collaborative service to the community.
Why should you spend your time reading novels or plays or poems when there are big things like war, national debt, famine, and college football going on in the world around us? What is the benefit of reading books, watching plays, or analyzing films?
In many ways, all of the disciplines in the humanities drive at similar questions. Just Google “Why Study the Humanities” and see what comes up. In some form or fashion most of the answers will be something like to help us understand others through histories and cultures, or to build skills in critical reading, or how to ask meaningful questions about art, or to show you how to think creatively.
All true. So, what sets literature apart? Strangely enough, Sociologist Max Weber might get closest to that answer when he quotes a question by author Leo Tolstoy: “What shall we do and how shall we live?”
That sentiment is the essence of what studying literature really is: not just learning who you are or who you want to be, but discovering how to become a better person; not just understanding the world around you, but how to make it a better place; not just understanding people different from yourself, but seeing how to put yourself in their position. The study of literature produces people who can build communities and lead those around them with empathy and wisdom because they have seen the goals and regrets of those who have set into record the dreams of what it is to be human. Literature is the story of us. What better way to engage with those big things in the world around you than to know how those different from you see the same things.
Studying literature provides excellent preparation for professional employment in any area where the close examination of written texts and the ability to communicate well are important. The Department takes pride in working with students to connect their immediate studies with their long-term goals. The Department’s goal is to promote critical thinking, effective communication, and intellectual engagement with the key ideas in our fields.
Eagle Elite Literary Society (EELS)
English Honor Society
Sigma Tau Delta