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Whitworth University English Department
Whitworth's English majors choose one of three approaches to the major, based on their interests and career goals: literature (Track I), writing (Track II), or preparation for secondary teaching (Track III). Students in every track complete challenging courses in literature, writing and critical theory so that all majors become careful and insightful readers, judicious and flexible researchers, and clear, imaginative writers. We aim to graduate students whose strong speaking, writing, analysis and problem-solving skills make them extraordinary, resourceful professionals.
The department offers six minors: a general (and very flexible) English minor, and minors in editing and publishing, film and visual narrative, teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), medieval and early modern studies, and language arts (designed especially for education students). We also support the university's interdisciplinary minors in U.S. cultural studies and women's and gender studies.
Each year we see graduates go on to excellent graduate programs and to careers in fields that include teaching (at all levels, at home and abroad), marketing and professional writing, community outreach and nonprofit work, banking and management, and positions in the film and publishing industries.
Whitworth's English faculty includes Christian scholars and creators specializing in British and American literature, creative writing, and composition and rhetoric. Our students have the opportunity to take traditional literature and writing courses alongside courses that investigate subjects such as digital composition, public discourse and rhetoric, professional writing, community art, film and publishing. We are committed to mentoring and guiding our students through their studies, and we love to see the hallways, offices and student-lounge space in Westminster Hall (our departmental home) full of enthusiastic students. Our students complete a senior portfolio process during which they refine their professional documents, consider career pathways, and work directly with a mentoring faculty member to revise and reflect on major writing projects. As we work to prepare our students for professional success, we also hope to pass on to them our own love of reading, writing, language and storytelling in all forms. Through our teaching, our research and writing, and our shared community events, we hope to encourage our students to live lives of spiritual commitment, acting as stewards of God's creation while promoting civil and personal justice at home and in the community.
The English department brings a number of speakers and visiting writers to campus annually, both to read and to meet with our students. In recent years our students have enjoyed readings, classroom visits and meals with the likes of poet B. H. Fairchild; scholar Solveig Robinson, of Pacific Lutheran's Publishing and Print Arts Program; National Book Award for Fiction nominee Jess Walter; documentarian Alexandra Hidalgo, from Michigan State University; and Gregory Wolfe, founder and editor of the journal Image.
Our students often become consultants for Whitworth Composition Commons, helping other students and faculty from all over campus as they develop and refine their writing. Comp Commons consultants receive training not only for one-on-one tutoring and consultation but also for developing and presenting seminars on composition topics ranging from mastering college writing to résumé revision. Outstanding consultants are selected each year for Comp Commons leadership positions.
Many English majors work on and publish in Script, our campus literary magazine, and many also work on Rock and Sling, our national literary journal.
Our students frequently present their work at regional and national undergraduate conferences, and each year we send a delegation of students to attend the annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference as representatives of Rock and Sling.
We regularly send students abroad (typically every other January) for the Jan Term British Culture Through the Arts Study Trip and (typically every third spring) for the British Isles Study Program.
Last, but certainly not least, our official student club, Westminster Round, stages a series of English-minded gatherings each year, including events like Poetry and Pie, Live Action Literary Clue, a Christmas-time reading of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol (suitably abridged!), and a Gatsby-themed ball (in collaboration with the Whitworth Ballroom Dance Club). In warm weather, our students enjoy the beautiful Westminster Garden, a labor of love on the part of our faculty, featuring sculptural art and a pergola designed by the artist David Shelton. We punctuate the end of each school year with a used-book sale and a Script reading in the Westminster Garden, along with a Senior Reading during graduation weekend.