The Department of English supports the mission of the University by upholding its responsibility for the widest range of programs and levels of instruction of any department:
- Developmental courses in reading, study skills and composition for at-risk students
- First and second semester College Composition courses required in the Liberal Studies program, including four different versions of the second composition course to meet the needs and interests of students
- A wide variety of courses to meet the Humanities requirement of the Liberal Studies program and to serve as additional electives for many students
- Five different minor programs including English, both Elementary and Secondary English Education, Journalism and Writing
- Courses in support of interdisciplinary minors in Gender Studies, Latin American Studies and Native American Studies
- Four major programs including English, English Graduate Bound, Writing and Secondary Education
- Courses as part of the interdisciplinary major in Technical Communication
- Graduate courses leading to the Master of Arts degree with a focus in literature, writing or pedagogy
- Graduate courses for the continuing education of Upper Peninsula teachers
- Additional graduate courses leading to the Master of Fine Arts in English
The primary mission of the Department of English is undergraduate education in accord with the University's overall mission. We provide instruction in reading, study skills and composition for at-risk entering students. Then through composition courses, the Department provides instruction in critical thinking, organizational skills and clear written expression. Elective and Liberal Studies courses in literature allow students to broaden their personal and cultural awareness and enhance their ability to analyze and discuss literary texts and the values and viewpoints reflected in them. Upper level literature courses allow students to broaden their repertoire of analytical and interpretive skills through work with more complex texts and to increase their awareness of both the historical and cultural contexts of literature. Upper level courses in Creative Writing allow students to broaden their ability both to critique and to produce literary texts in various genres, while upper level technical communication and journalism courses develop skills in both rhetorical and technical aspects of the production of documents. The various major tracks and the wide choice of minors allow students to prepare for careers in secondary teaching, journalism, business, industry or government, or to pursue further study of English, law or many other fields in graduate school.
The Master of Arts (MA) program allows students to pursue a focus on writing, literature or pedagogy. Students selected as Graduate Assistants receive concentrated training in writing instruction and are then allowed to teach a section of College Composition under faculty supervision. Graduate students also have an opportunity to work closely with faculty scholars in seminar classes and are encouraged to develop papers and presentations for professional meetings. Each graduate student prepares a thesis or other extensive project to complete the degree.
The new Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program, the first terminal degree offered at NMU, allows promising writers to further hone their skills in advanced workshops with successful practicing writers.
Research and Creative Activity
Research in the Department is carried out both to expand the state of knowledge in the discipline and to enhance the success of the teaching-learning environment. Faculty research thus encompasses a broad range of topics:
Pedagogical issues like teaching strategies, the development of new courses and adaptation to new methods of instruction (like the web and interactive TV);
literary issues in the traditional fields of research--historical periods, authors and genres, language and linguistics, and the evolution of literary criticism;
new and emerging issues like developments in literary theory and cultural studies;
as well as specific fields like journalism and technical communication.
Creative activity encompasses a wide variety of genres and styles with members producing extensive work in the novel, short fiction, poetry and non-fiction prose. The good working relationship and mutual respect between the analysts and producers of literary texts in the Department make it a good place for students, especially for those who have interests in both areas.
The undergraduate program is intentionally broad with several different tracks to allow students some exposure to many of the possible subfields within the wide domain of English. On the graduate level, the focus on literature, writing or pedagogy allows both graduate faculty and students to develop greater depth in defined areas. The Creative Writing emphasis of the MFA involves its students in the major regional center for literary activity not only through its regular program, but also summer workshops, visiting writers, and the publication of Passages North.
The Department of English welcomes comments and responses regarding this Mission Statement. Please contact Dr. Ray Ventre, firstname.lastname@example.org.