College of Arts and Letters2021-2022

Department of English

English, Bachelor of Arts

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

The Bachelor of Arts in English prepares graduates for any future that demands proficiency in literature, language, and writing, as well as general excellence in resourceful, well-informed communication. Our graduates recognize the close weave of logical thought and effective expression, strive for more persuasive or more creative uses of English, possess the sense and insight to appreciate the value and quality of literature, have developed their historical and cultural imaginations by studying the marks of other times and diverse peoples in language and text, and recognize the global contexts of English as well as the social, civic, and environmental responsibilities that come with a liberal education. Our graduates have attained the high-level literacy skills and have practiced the research methods needed to compete in graduate and professional schools and to succeed in the workplace. With our help, they have prepared themselves to become productive, responsible members of the communities in which they live and work.

The Comprehensive Emphasis encourages students to explore multiple exciting fields of English study. Students practice creative, linguistic, literary, and rhetorical modes of analysis, and they have opportunities to engage with digital media studies and professional and technical writing. The Comprehensive Emphasis offers a well-rounded undergraduate experience and allows students to select their own path of study.

The Creative Writing Emphasis provides experience and stimulation to advance students’ writing and reading skills, as well as their discipline and habits. We offer techniques to deepen students’ talents, and we demonstrate how to make writing creatively a part of students’ lives and careers.
The Literature Emphasis engages students in the study of the literary arts. Students gain an understanding of the sociohistorical context of literary production and reception and have the opportunity to study specific eras, cultural traditions, genres, and critical and interpretative methods, while simultaneously refining their skills in literary analysis. Students become well-versed in historical and contemporary discourse within the field and in the terminology used in literary studies. This work deepens their knowledge of how various texts (film, comics, video games, novels, poems, drama, etc.) evince meaning by using particular language structures, forms, and rhetorical strategies. Among other widely transferable skills, students learn how to write fluently and eloquently. They also learn how to make effective use of primary textual sources in their analyses and develop a repertoire of skills that includes the search for and incorporation of scholarly sources in support of their own analytical arguments.
The Rhetoric and Professional Writing Emphasis engages students with a curriculum that prepares them as writers and scholars. The program emphasizes the importance of critical reading, reflection, writing, digital media, and spoken language to educate knowledgeable citizens who understand and appreciate their civic, professional, and personal responsibilities in an increasingly global community. We specialize in preparing students for intercultural and interdisciplinary communication practices in digital and traditional work settings to further global engagement, diversity, and social participation. Students gain experience with rhetorical theory and persuasive argumentation, social media literacy and multimedia writing, and professional workplace writing through theory-based application projects. In addition, our courses provide a foundation for M.A. programs in rhetoric, writing, digital media, communication, and composition studies.
The Linguistics emphasis introduces students to the scientific/analytic study of language, including such topics as how language is constructed, and acquired, and processed and how language use is affected by social and cultural factors, context, and goals of communication.

Student Learning Outcomes - English, B.A.

General Knowledge of English
  • Graduates will know about language as a system and about language change and variation. Students will be able to identify, describe, explain, or interpret such features as grammar, language patterns, language differences, the history of English, dialects, semantics, dictionaries and lexicons, idioms, or semiotic structures.
  • Graduates will know how effective writers and speakers adapt language to various purposes in school, the workplace, civic life, creative work, and elsewhere, and to the varying circumstances of interpersonal communication. Graduates will be able to describe and explain such discourse features as rhetorical situation (speaker, purpose, audience), performative language, orality vs. literacy, print literacy vs. media literacies, style, or word-choice. 
  • Graduates will know basic concepts and terminology in the study of literature, linguistics, rhetoric, and creative writing. Students will know how to use appropriate disciplinary and professional language.
  • Graduates will know about forms, designs, and genres, including appropriate traditions and histories. They will know how formal conventions, social contexts, and audience expectations affect purposes of discourses. Graduates will be able to describe and explain such things as literary and creative genres, canons, practical and professional writing formats and genres, types of rhetorical discourse, types of linguistic phenomena, or media and web formats and genres. 
  • Graduates will know how social, cultural, and historical contexts affect personal expression; the reception, comprehension, or study of texts; and specific communication purposes for both writers and readers. Graduates will be conversant with English in global settings and with the increasing impact of international forces—the history and politics of cultural and linguistic diversity, of environmental sustainability, and of globalization—on the discipline of English.
  • Graduates will know how to read and think critically in response to a variety of texts, drawing on appropriate knowledge, concepts, and terms from the study of literature, linguistics, rhetoric, and creative writing. Graduates will know how to focus these skills on the close interpretation of texts (which could include film, signs, encoded cultural forms or messages, or graphic art, in addition to printed works) or extend these skills to the close study of empirical data or information. Graduates will know how to draw inferences or conclusions from their reading or to formulate interpretive hypotheses or arguments from primary sources or researched information.
  • Graduates will know how to write effectively in several genres and for various purposes—with appropriate design, fluency, voice, style, vividness, self-awareness, and awareness of audience or reader. Graduates will know how to invent, find, develop, and support content relevant for their writing purposes.
  • Graduates will know how to critique and to augment, rework, or revise both their own writing and the writing of others. Graduates will know how to edit for style, for grammar, and for correct spelling and punctuation according to a work’s purpose, audience, and level or manner of discourse.
  • Graduates will know how to use appropriate principles and methods of research for a variety of purposes in literature, rhetoric, writing, and linguistics. Graduates will know how to determine effective research scope, to apply and refine search strategies, to analyze and evaluate information, to synthesize and apply information, and to use information responsibly.
Applications and Attitudes
  • Graduates will know how to apply advanced academic training in English to further schooling or to public, professional, or workplace settings that demand clear, efficiently organized information-sharing; lucid expressions of imaginative thinking; persuasive, well-documented discourse; or concise, accessible expository communication. Graduates will know where and how to seek opportunities for employment, publication, continued education, public service, or personal enrichment.
  • Graduates will benefit from the experience of English as a liberal arts discipline in studies that impart intellectual growth, empower imagination, and attune responsiveness to creative expression and artful communication. Students will cultivate habits of empathy, introspection, and ethical reasoning. Students will develop resourcefulness in communication, aptitude for creative problem solving, and openness to change, adaptation, and opportunity.
Detailed Student Learning Outcomes for English BA Emphases

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