Department Information

Professors Ferrence (Chair), Bakken, Caballero, Hart, Hellwarth, Julian, Lo, J. Miller, B. Slote, S. Slote, Votava

Allegheny’s English Department offers a wide range of courses in literature and in creative and critical writing. Our program is informed by the goals and philosophies outlined in our mission statement:

English Department Mission Statement:

Allegheny’s English Department offers a wide range of courses in literature and in creative and critical writing. The study of literature provides our students with a variety of interpretive methods and perspectives, increases their awareness of the range of creative expression, and introduces them to cultural values that deepen and challenge their own. Our writing-intensive classes seek to improve students’ ability to express their own best ideas in many different forms. By mastering modes of analytical reading, critical explication, coherent argument, and creative thinking, students acquire those skills required to succeed in many professional fields. By studying a variety of literatures in English, they learn to recognize the ideas and perspectives that shape their own and earlier times; and by cultivating a sensitivity to the subtlety and power of language, they become educated in the fullest sense.

English Department Learning Outcomes

The guiding principle behind these learning goals is to create a clear path of student development in keeping with the spirit of the department’s mission statement (above).

Overview of Course Levels

The English Department curriculum is tiered to emphasize different practices and skills within the discipline and to indicate to students a coherent progression in their course of study.

  • Our introductory course, ENGL 110, emphasizes close reading and the study of at least three literary genres.
  • FSENG 201 is required for all English majors. While ENGL 110 introduces critical methodologies to students, the FSENG 201 syllabus is organized around such methodologies, reflecting the course’s deeper investigation of critical modes. FSENG 201 also contains a research component, which will prepare sophomore majors for their upper-level work as English majors.
  • Our 200-level studies courses study literature in its historical context. ENGL 201–ENGL 204 courses should cover at least two historical periods of literary history (e.g. realism and modernism) and the connections between them. Our 200-level creative writing courses offer students an introduction to the art of reading and writing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.
  • All 300-level courses incorporate some secondary research and a consideration of literary criticism.
  • 400-level literature courses will be more rigorous than at the 300-level and will include theoretical approaches to literature. Our 400-level creative writing courses offer students more advanced instruction in the art of reading and writing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.
  • Junior Seminars build upon the skills introduced at the earlier levels and prepare students for completing the senior project. In addition to an extended term paper that exhibits a defined critical methodology, the junior seminar usually requires an annotated bibliography.

Learning Outcomes for ENGL 110

Students who successfully complete ENGL 110 will:

  • Master basic terms of literary study;
  • Utilize close reading as a primary skill of literary analysis;
  • Encounter other interpretive methods that build upon the principle of close reading;
  • Recognize the conventions of different genres;
  • Develop interpretive arguments both in writing and discussion;
  • Understand the significance of historically underrepresented perspectives and traditions.

Learning Outcomes for 200-level Studies Courses in English

Students who successfully complete 200-level Studies courses in English will:

  • Describe literature in its historical contexts;
  • Differentiate between at least two periods of literary history;
  • Identify how literature and culture are interrelated;
  • Continue to develop and refine skills as close readers of literary texts;
  • Continue to develop interpretive arguments about literary texts.

Learning Outcomes for 200-level Creative Writing Workshops

Students who successfully complete creative writing workshops at the 200-level will:

  • Examine and describe choices writers make to construct meaning and express human experiences;
  • Identify the traditions, controversies, vocabulary, and conventions pertinent to the craft of poetry, fiction, or literary nonfiction;
  • Demonstrate in their own poetry, fiction, or literary nonfiction an awareness of the relationship between form and subject matter;
  • Revise their own poetry, fiction, or literary nonfiction by considering feedback;
  • Provide constructive and informed feedback on peers’ poetry, fiction, or literary nonfiction.

Learning Outcomes for 300-level Courses in English

Students who successfully complete 300-level courses in English (with the exception of ENGL 380 and ENGL 385) will:

  • Continue to hone their skills as close readers of literary texts;
  • Enhance their understanding of the relationship between text and context (literary, historical) begun in the 200-level Studies courses;
  • Refine their ability to ask relevant, independent interpretive questions of literary texts;
  • Encounter relevant examples of literary criticism and be able to summarize and respond to the argument of select articles.

Learning Outcomes for 400-level Courses in English

Students who successfully complete a 400-level literature course in English will:

  1. Continue to hone their skills as close readers of literary texts;
  2. Find and evaluate relevant published criticism;
  3. Apply critical methods to a focused literary topic;
  4. Complete a substantial research project that displays a sustained sense of historical and cultural context.

Learning Outcomes for the Junior Seminar in English

The Junior Seminar is required of all English majors and may be taken by minors to fulfill the 400-level requirement. These seminars place an emphasis on discussion, individual student research, and critical methodology. The subject matter of junior seminars varies according to individual instructors.

Learning Outcomes for the Senior Project in English

Every Allegheny student completes a Senior Project: a significant piece of original research or creative work, designed by the student under the guidance of a faculty advisor, that demonstrates the ability to complete a major assignment, to work independently, to analyze and synthesize information, and to write and to speak persuasively.

Academic Bulletin

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