Instruction in our English Department, which offers several courses of study, is distinctive. Professionally active professors draw upon traditional and cutting-edge critical perspectives to help students sharpen their powers of critical inquiry as they become more mindful of our rich heritage of literary texts. Course offerings will introduce you to a variety of texts and cultural traditions. In addition to English and American literature, the Department offers courses to encourage you to explore perspectives from around the world. For those interested in creative writing, workshop courses draw upon the expertise of committed authors who encourage student writers to become members of a broader literary community.
Central to student-centered classes in English is an emphasis on reading, writing, and communicating. Students are encouraged to pursue their own interests in courses they help to design, through Honors projects or independent study opportunities or internships. You may enjoy the personal attention that comes with an individualized course that allows you to read texts not covered in the standard curriculum or to create unique plays, poems, and works of fiction. Past Honors projects have included critical essays, original plays, and collections of poetry. Independent study courses have addressed sports literature, multicultural children’s literature, and poetry writing.
Four programs of study lead to the Bachelor of Arts degree: Literature, Literature and Creative Writing, English-Teacher Preparation (for students interested in teaching high school), and Interdisciplinary English (for students interested in teaching K-8).
Learning continues beyond the classroom as visiting authors present lectures, readings and workshops. Each year the Emory & Henry Literary Festival celebrates an outstanding writer with ties to Appalachia. The designated writer participates in the festival, which includes papers by visiting scholars, and meets with students in various forums. Among the authors featured at past festivals are Fred Chappell, Lee Smith, Maggie Anderson, Ron Rash, Jo Carson, and Emory & Henry alum Mike Chitwood. The annual Leidig Lectureship presents a distinguished poet who presents a lecture and a reading, as well as opportunities for students to meet with the poet. The prestigious Leidig Prize, a poetry award named after a beloved alumnus who also taught in the English Department, is announced each spring when the Leidig Lectureship poet is on campus.
During the Lyceum series, visiting creative writers — and writers on our faculty — read and reflect upon their works. Workshops are often arranged to coincide with readings by visiting writers. Visiting lecturers provide programs on great books and intellectual history. Outside the organized schedule of events, English majors often engage in lively impromptu events, from an informal discussion to a formal debate or casual sharing of creative “works in progress.” You can find a showcase for your own creative work in the student-edited literary magazine, Ampersand.
In each program, students take various core courses in advanced writing and in American, British, and world literature. In addition to these courses, students find a broad range of requirements and electives to choose from, including independent study and Honors thesis options. Students pursuing a Teacher Preparation track work closely with advisors in the Neff Center for Teacher Education to plan programs that will allow them to be certified to teach upon graduation.
A number of students majoring in English strive to complete a second major in a subject such as political science or psychology. Many others choose a minor from the many offered in other degree programs, from philosophy to business. Future teachers focus on courses in education and other requirements for teachers to supplement the major. It is possible to develop an individualized program of study for a contextual and support area to enhance your major as well.
Many graduates of the E&H English program have gone on to graduate schools, including Cornell, Yale, New York University, the University of Virginia, the University of Tennessee, and the University of North Carolina. Others have rewarding careers in teaching, publishing, writing, law, religion, and communications.
- Sarah Fitzgerald, ’08, English teacher, Rockingham County, Va.
- Angela E. Taylor, ’02, teacher (9–12), Galax City High School, Galax, Va.
- Monica F. Jacobe, ’01, Princeton Writing Program, Princeton, N.J.
- Bridgette Natalie McCray, ’99, Ph.D. candidate, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La.
- Rachel Minetree, ’98, lawyer, Conroy, Simberg, Ganon, Miami Beach, Fla.
- Matthew B. Whitenack, ’96, stock consultant, Morgan Stanley/Dean Witter, New York, N.Y.
- Linda Jean Waldron, ’96, teacher (9-12), Bristol Tennessee High School, Bristol, Tenn.
- Suzanne Davis Manibhai, ’94, consultant, Salomon Smith Barney & Ketan, Norcross, Ga.
- Penny Lane Stevens, ’94, teacher (9–12), William Byrd High School, Roanoke, Va.
- Ted Callaway, ’93, paralegal, Jones Day, Washington, D.C.
- Rodes Fishburne, ’93, author, San Francisco, Ca.
- Will Mullins, ’92, Oriana East Productions, Wilmington, N.C.
- Denise D. DuPrau, ’88, lawyer, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, D.C.
- Mary K. Pope Briggs, ’86, chaplain, Emory United Methodist Church, Emory, Va.
- Janet Stratton Sloan, ’80, writer, Miro Computer Systems, Tenn.
- Mark S. Delaney, ’80, teacher, Philips Exeter Academy, New Hampshire.
- Michael A. Chitwood, ’80, poet and teacher, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
- Sally Cook Parsons, ’76, journalist, The New York Times, New York, N.Y.
- Jerry L. Bradley, ’74, actor and teacher, Cornell University, New York, N.Y.