Department of English
English is the study of a language, of the novels, poems, plays, and other forms of literature written in it, of the creative process of self-expression, and of the ideas and experiences that have been (and are being) shaped and expressed in our language.
The English Department at Stetson is (as a recent reviewer noted) "a wonderful place for both students and faculty," created by "a vast volume of good will, positive energy, fine talent, and fierce dedication" among department members. For our professors, teaching comes first: classes are small, and students are encouraged to ask questions and get to know their professors. Excellence in teaching and our focus on student development allow our students to learn critical thinking skills and strategies to communicate their ideas clearly through the written word. Our curriculum emphasizes
- Analysis and writing, the skills most sought by employers,
- Student-centered seminars,
- Individualized instruction
All students study canonical works, newly appreciated texts, language, writing and literary theories, choosing points of emphasis for themselves. Majors take two seminars, limited to just 15 students each, and the Senior Colloquium, in which they pursue individual senior research.
The department houses a lively endowed program in creative writing (Sullivan Creative Writing Program) and offers many options for students of all levels eager to become studio practitioners. These include small workshop-style classes from the 100-600 levels, 2 undergraduate minors, one for English majors and one for all other majors. The department also hosts an exciting low-residency Masters of Fine Arts: MFA of the Americas. The program also supports scholarships, prizes, and a visiting writers/artists series.
Learning by Doing
Students who major in English are encouraged to test career goals through internships and other opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. Recent students of English of Stetson have worked with commercial television stations in Orlando and Tampa, and with the national publishing firm, Harcourt Brace, also in Orlando.
One of the longest-running weekly student-run reading series in the nation, Uncouth Hour has met on weekly since 1991. Sponsored by Touchstone, the campus literary magazine, and part of Hatter Network, Uncouth Hour offers cultural credit in an informal setting every Thursday evening.
English majors also can gain valuable experience as staff members for Touchstone and The Stetson Reporter, Florida's first campus newspaper.
Life After Stetson
A degree in English can open the door to a wide variety of careers because it gives students an excellent foundation in such skills as analysis and writing. Responding to a national survey of college graduates, an English major said recently:
"Problems in literary study are more like real-life problems than any I was given in other classes. When you're asked to compare Hemingway and Faulkner, there is no right answer in the back of the book. You have to figure out for yourself what matters."
Stetson students have taken English courses to prepare for business, education, law and veterinary school, as well as for graduate study in English and Creative Writing. An advisor can recommend additional courses that might be helpful for English majors who plan a career in law, business, writing, web design, community arts organizations or other areas. In addition, the resources of Stetson's Career Services Office are available to assist students in setting specific career goals and development the skills needed to implement these goals.