The English department is dedicated to developing its students' abilities through instruction focused on correct, effective writing techniques and the artistic, intellectual, and social values of literature and rhetoric. With courses in the English Department ranging from "From Middle-Earth to Outer Space" to "Creative Non-Fiction Workshop," the Illinois College English curriculum challenges students to extend their literary experience and sharpen their critical analysis and interpretation skills. Students majoring in English choose either the department's literature or writing—expository or creative—concentration, but all English majors come together in their senior year for a special topic senior seminar. Past senior seminar topics include: Critical Race Studies, Literary Biography, Literature and Medicine, among others. English majors who choose to undertake a program in secondary education coordinate their studies in English with the coursework required for teacher certification, as outlined by the Education Department.
What opportunities are available for students?
Sigma Tau Delta
is the international English honors society. The objectives of the society are to bestow distinction for higher achievement in undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies in English language and literature, to foster community interest within English departments, to encourage creative and critical writing.
Past projects and events include:
- campus poetry slams;
- fiction readings;
- literary competitions;
- student presentation at the Sigma Tau Delta national conference;
- travel to dramatic presentations in St. Louis, Bloomington, and Champaign Urbana;
is a student-edited literary magazine of poetry, prose, and visual arts created by Illinois College students. The journal, published annually, not only provides an opportunity for IC students to see their work in print, but also develops copy editing experience and leadership skills among its student editors. New issues of Forté
are distributed to the campus community every spring, while past editions can be found in the online archive.
The Rambler is Illinois College's campus newspaper. Published regularly, the Rambler has been a part of the IC community for over 130 years. The paper is filled with campus news, student opinions, and other interesting articles, many of which are written by IC students. Since the Rambler is run completely by students, opportunities for writing, editing, and leadership experience abound.
The Campus Writing Center provides assistance refining Illinois College community members' written work. Open six days a week and staffed almost entirely by students, the CWC is a vital part of the campus community. Consultants work closely with faculty and students to help them edit, organize, and polish writing from every discipline. Students interested in becoming CWC consultants must first complete English 204, an editing-based course, but consulting is an excellent on-campus job opportunity for those interested in writing and editing.
The Illinois College Undergraduate Conference on Writing (ICUCOW)
is a yearly event sponsored by the Campus Writing Center where Illinois College students present their written work to the campus community. The conference accepts submission from all disciplines and cash prizes are awarded to the best papers. Participating in ICUCOW provides valuable experience for those interested in participating in other conferences in the future.
The English honors program is open to all English majors entering the second semester of their junior year. The program involves a project to be developed by the student in consultation with a member of the English Department and to continue for four semesters. The project stresses both research and integration of sources. Creative writing projects may also be undertaken. The goal of the program is to give students a taste of graduate school and to produce a published paper.
Students in all academic disciplines are strongly encouraged to acquire practical experience by completing an internship. The Career Center, located in Baxter Hall, is Illinois College's main resource for matching a student's interest with their field of study. English majors have completed internships at the Springfield Magazine, New Salem, and Illinois College Public Relations Office. Students can also gain experience working in the Campus Writing Center, located in Kirby 204. The Campus Writing Center offers peer tutoring, faculty assistance and a number of other support services to all writers at Illinois College.
What options are available after graduation?
Often students recognize that English is a discipline that will prepare them well for graduate study, professional school or for a particular vocation in law, education, journalism, or business. The most easily accessible career paths for English majors include:
- education (elementary through post-secondary);
- public relations and advertising;
- library science;
- editing and publishing;
- staff writing;
- technical writing;
- news media;
- business administration.
Many English Department alumni are now employed in library science, teaching, various levels of government, and business areas.
Illinois College English majors have pursued graduate work at Washington University, Tulane University, University of Illinois, the Ohio State University, Kent State, University of Kentucky, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, St. Louis University, Clemson University and the University of Illinois at Springfield.
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.