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Peter Norberg, Ph.D., Chair


The Department of English seeks to enlarge and refine the imaginative intelligence of its students—to enrich their intellectual lives as well as to help them develop their professional ones. The disciplined study of both literature and professional writing and speaking provides the means to those ends. Although the variety of the curriculum makes possible a student-determined emphasis on one or the other of these concentrations, the program requires competence in both. The English major offers both a humane and a liberalizing experience, while at the same time making available to its students the opportunity to acquire and practice the skills in professional writing and speaking that will enhance their careers.

For students who select the study of literature as their major concentration, the Department seeks to give an introduction to the most formative traditions—generic, historical, and critical—of British and American letters. Critical and analytical skills are developed by courses and seminars which offer an in-depth examination of a single author or specific topic. Because of their innate value in fostering intellectual maturity and as a preparation for more advanced study, the fundamentals of research will be systematically made available.

For those who emphasize the Professional Writing and Speaking concentration, the program stresses the study of the theories and techniques of rhetoric as they are applied in particular professional fields including business communications, advertising, public relations, and journalism. Many of the courses in this program are offered in an accelerated format, i.e., in modules of eight weeks. Frequent practice in these techniques encourages students to communicate coherently, imaginatively, and with impact.