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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."

River Readings April 28: Mathematical dragons

Rachel Hartman, author of the New York Times bestselling young adult novel "Seraphina," will speak at 7 p.m. April 28 in the Gävle Room, Center for Student Life. The novel introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages.

Video: Examining the poetry of death and the Civil War

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Dr. Ed Folsom explores how it became possible to make poetry out of the pain and grief the U.S. experienced.Folsom, Roy J. Carver Professor of English at the University of Iowa, focuses on the ways America's two most innovative 19 century poets, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, became the first to wrest an art out of that horrific experience. He also talks about war photographs by Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner represented mass death and influenced Whitman and Dickinson.

More Than I Imagined: Samantha Paddock

At Augustana, Paddock learned that she is an arist, "which I never in a million years thought I would be. In high school, I didn’t take a single art class or venture out of my comfort zone for that matter. Then I came to Augustana, took a photography class freshman year, and am now on an entirely different path than I thought I would be."

More Than I Imagined: Chase Matzinger

Senior Chase Matzinger is majoring in English education with a music minor. He did student teaching at Bettendorf (Iowa) Middle School, and wants to teach language arts in public school after graduation. Why Augie? "As I began visiting as a prospective student, the faculty were all very welcoming, and I knew the supportive atmosphere would be a great place to learn."

Internship profile: Cutting Edge Press

Augustana's book publishing course gave Alexandria Petrassi the skills for an ideal internship at Cutting Edge Press in London.
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