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Students visit Greenhead Ghyll in Grasmere, England, the setting for Wordsworth’s “Michael.”(Story)

  • About the program
  • Careers/internships
  • What students say

Augustana offers a major and minor in English, a major in teaching English, and a major in English with a writing emphasis.

There are 12 full-time and three part-time English faculty, the majority of whom hold a Ph.D.

First-year writing classes enroll no more than 18 students; upper-division writing classes close at 15. Literature classes range from 10 to 35 students. Almost all courses use discussion as a teaching tool. All courses are writing-intensive. Students learn to write thoughtful, fluent, well-informed and fundamentally persuasive essays. (More on writing and editing opportunities)

The department operates its own publishing house, East Hall Press, and offers students instruction in all phases of book publishing.

English majors regularly write for and edit Augustana’s weekly newspaper The Observer. Many majors edit and publish a campus literary magazine, Saga, and compete for that journal’s annual monetary awards in poetry, fiction and essay writing.

Majors may apply to work as tutors in the college Reading/Writing Center, where they help students of different disciplines and a wide range of abilities improve their writing.

English professors regularly take students abroad — to Paris and Rome, the Lakes District of England, Ireland or India — during an international study term. Professors also take students on field trips to such places as a Cascade Mountain spiritual retreat center and the Land Institute in Kansas. (More on travel)

English majors possess skills that are in high demand. Organizations value graduates who combine clear thinking with effective communication and creative problem-solving, and look for leaders who can approach issues using more than one perspective. These are all skills built through the English program at Augustana.

The English major provides a strong background for teaching, publishing, law, the ministry, business, and even medicine.

Augustana graduates in English have found their life's work in such roles as professor, teacher, TV news commentator and anchor, foreign correspondent, children's book editor, producer, grant consultant, pastor, museum curator, film crew writer, attorney, judge, entrepreneur, librarian and many others. (See list of Augustana graduates' careers)

English majors can gain experience as paid tutors in the college's Reading/Writing Center. Such hands-on experience in teaching, editing and articulation of the writing process helps graduates stand out to employers and graduate programs.

Stephanie Ewing '08, English major, music and classics minor:

"While experts in any respective field can seem intimidating, the English professors I've worked with here all seem to have a genuine concern for the individual and are very willing to pursue discussion outside of class time. Chats with some have helped me develop a plan for graduate studies, while other chats have merely been about interesting class material that I wanted to explore more deeply on my own... I feel that I will be prepared to tackle my post-Augie graduate studies. Studying literature has changed the way I see and interact with my world. It's so exciting to be able to say that because of my studies, I see the world as a meaningful and interesting place and that I feel more equipped to make a positive difference in it."

Kimberly Hedlin ‘11, English major, religion and New Testament Greek minors:

"When I came to Augustana, I was 100% positive I would major in elementary education with a minor in psychology. Like so many other students, I switched majors when I fell in love with my English classes. The religion and NT Greek minors were also late add-ons that resulted from taking interesting classes. My sister and I presented our Honors Capstone project at the Illinois Reading Council (IRC) conference, which was exciting and rewarding. For our project, we created a research-based poetry curriculum that uses clogging to teach abstract concepts like meter, onomatopoeia and rhyme. We shared our project with teachers at the IRC conference and received a lot of fun, positive feedback."

Internship turns out to be something more

Chelsea Fray '15 interned with Wells 4 Wellness, a grassroots organization working to install 33 wells in Niger, an African country the area of which is 80% covered by the Sahara desert. Fray is a communication studies and English major who also is completing a Nonprofit Leadership Development certificate.

Tweet raising money for kids' book on evolution

Award-winning game designer Jonathan Tweet has raised $12,000 in a recent Kickstarter campaign to self-publish a book — "Grandmother Fish" — that aims to make human evolution understandable to young children. Tweet, 48, the son of Augustana professor emeritus Roald Tweet, is aiming the book at preschoolers. "I love science, but I'm also a storyteller, and evolution is a great story," he said.

More Than I Imagined: Chrissy Kunkel

Chrissy Kunkel '14 is attending graduate school for a master’s in communication studies. She studied representations of female empowerment in HBO's “Game of Thrones” as an Augustana Summer Research Fellow and presented her research at the Women & Society Conference last fall in New York.

Wollstonecraft, Vázquez-Valarezo awards announced

Essays on Catholic sexual ethics, gender and gods in ancient Greece, and an exploration of the furry genre of anthropomorphic animal fiction won the the top prizes in the 2014 Wollstonecraft Essay Contest.

Augustana students win national creative writing contest

Alexandria Petrassi and Alyssa Froehling won awards for their creative writing entries in the 2014 Suffolk County Community College's (SCCC) Creative Writing Festival. Petrassi won first prizes in both creative nonfiction and poetry, and Froehling won third place in poetry.
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