Program Mission Statement
The mission of the English Department is to provide students with an advanced understanding of oral and written communication through practice in critical reading and discussion, research, and analytical writing. Students engage in a course of study that encourages the exploration of cultural, historical, and philosophical ideas in literature and other media and the examination of these ideas in a variety of experiential projects; in doing so, students develop skills in understanding different perspectives, building effective arguments, and communicating complex ideas clearly and effectively. Overall, our English classes encourage students to become empowered and astute readers, writers, speakers, and listeners. Graduates from our programs are well positioned to enter fields such as education, publishing and journalism, counseling, marketing and public relations, or to pursue advanced degrees in graduate or law school.
The foundation of education is the development of skills in critical reading, writing, and thinking, and these are the very skills English courses at UMW emphasize. The study of literature and the practice of writing compels us toward self-reflection, the discovery of the things we share with others, and the appreciation of our differences. As the world grows more connected and complex, we need not only to understand history and tradition but also to find new ideas and approaches. We need a citizenry able to articulate their thoughts, formally and informally, in writing and in speech, while acknowledging the importance of diverse opinions. The study of literature and writing addresses these needs and thus creates a stronger and more civic-minded person, a person more apt to comprehend the complexity of life in the past and the present.
The English Department offers a variety of courses reflecting both the traditional field of English study and the discipline’s modern, expanded range of coverage that includes pop culture, creative and professional writing, and newer mediums like film and graphic novels. Our faculty, all active scholars and writers, offer these courses in the engaging, experiential approaches of UMW’s Experience One model. With projects ranging from podcasts and video essays to original research and conference-style presentations, our English classes provide students real-world applications of the critical thinking, research, and writing skills employers in the post-college job market value most. Montana Western’s perspective on the study of literature and writing is to both teach and learn through new and innovative processes and foster creative and innovative approaches to learning in the classroom and beyond.
Program graduates will:
- Produce texts informed by a knowledge of literary terminology, theory, and traditions;
- Produce texts using conventions from the discipline;
- Engage in critical research.
The English department engages in direct assessment of program outcomes through rubric-based review of student senior-level projects and indirect assessment via program self-study, informal student surveys, and/or reports from external reviews. The assessment plan for the BA: English is available from the English Department.
Additional English Major and Course Information