Why Should You Study English at Illinois College?
"A major strength is the diversity of experiences in the faculty; someone was always able to help me. Post-graduate and job-search advice was very strategic and useful, (I still employ some of the tips and resources today!)"
--Claire Brakel Packer, '08
Our Global Vision. Our students and faculty come to the English Department because they love to read and write. We explore the literary output of humanity throughout its history, and we endeavor to add to it. We understand that the study and creation of literature allows us to learn not only about ourselves but also about people from our culture and other global cultures. Our faculty members invite our students, both in their thoughts and through their actions, to travel beyond the walls of our classrooms, and many students write for off-campus publications, volunteer at local organizations, or study abroad (most recently to England, Japan, Ecuador, Ireland, Argentina, and Spain).
Our Curriculum. The Department recently revised the English curriculum to reflect our belief that students should explore many areas of literary activity but also, should fully understand the professional possibilities opened to them by the English major and minor. The department has added an introductory English Studies course to the curriculum to provide students with a big-picture overview of the profession and a concentrated exposure to the particular specializations of professors. The curriculum also includes a capstone senior seminar course that allows students to complete a major, individualized research project. Of course, we want our graduates to be fully prepared for graduate study or employment in a career track, but we also want them to understand that a life without exposure to the beauty and pleasures of the written word truly is a life lived in quiet desperation. We believe in the centrality of literature within the world's civilizations. We are readers and writers, students and creators of literature, and this work enables us to live meaningful lives.
Our Faculty. Our faculty members possess deep knowledge of their specializations and enthusiasm regarding their privilege of sharing the world's literature with the next generation of English scholars and writers. These specializations range from the common and very important (American literature, British literature, multicultural literatures of the Americas, creative writing, rhetoric, and composition, journalism) to the unexpected but equally important (classical literature, Japanese literature, the literature of war, speculative and popular fiction, film, nature and travel writing). Our faculty members have traveled the world, and several have lived and taught abroad for extended periods. They also share the passionate conviction that no Departmental Open House is complete unless every student leaves with the gift of a new book and the pleasure of further acquaintance with other lovers of good writing and reading.
Our Alumni. Our alumni include professors, writers, lawyers, teachers, editors, librarians, scientists, content managers, marketing specialists, game designers, grant writers, artists, and police officers, and we are proud of the accomplishments of all of them. Within our department's hallways, students encounter lists of jobs our alumni currently hold and advanced degrees that they have earned. We maintain close contacts with many alumni who have experienced high levels of success in their chosen career paths, and many young alumni accept our invitations to return to campus to share their advice and perspectives with current students. A good number of alumni share the faculty's delight with travel and exploring the world, with some even gaining valuable global experience as Peace Corps participants, and they maintain the friendships with peers that they formed while studying literature and writing at Illinois College.
Terms List for English Majors
Students can find definitions for these terms inThe Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms. Eds. Ross Murfin and Supryia M. Ray.