Brooke Lenz, Ph.D., Chair
Offering an intellectually stimulating curriculum to a diverse community of learners, the department of English engages those skills at the heart of a liberal arts education and essential to lifelong learning and success beyond the entry-level job. Consistent with the mission of the university, the department aims “to challenge and support students in their intellectual, spiritual, personal and professional development.” Almost every student at Saint Mary’s takes at least one class offered by the department of English. Courses for majors and non-majors help students develop the capacity to:
- Read literary and nonliterary texts with understanding and insight;
- Write effectively in academic and professional genres;
- Do research efficiently and honestly;
- Understand the significance of writers and works in their social and historical contexts;
- Understand how works reflect and express diverse cultural perspectives; and
- Assess the value of various critical approaches to literary and humanistic questions.
The department of English offerings prepare students for a lifetime in which their facility as readers and writers not only helps them succeed and advance professionally, but also, by allowing them to engage with the cultural discourse surrounding them, contributes to making their intellectual and personal lives more pleasurable and meaningful.
General Department Goals
The main goals of the department are to help English majors do the following:
- Read with comprehension and aesthetic appreciation, think critically about and respond to texts from a variety of genres and periods, and articulate why they respond the way they do to the readings.
- Produce written documents that demonstrate an understanding of the roles that audience, context and purpose play in determining rhetorical choices. Further, these documents should demonstrate the ability to state and develop a thesis; to employ an effective organizational scheme; to write unified and coherent sentences and paragraphs; and to edit for correctness in grammar, punctuation, usage and mechanics.
- Conduct, assess, and make use of research done through a variety of media.
Department Honors at Graduation
The department of English awards departmental distinction at faculty discretion to graduating seniors. These honors are to inspire and reward students who have completed outstanding work within the department. Students must have a minimum 3.700 department and major-field GPA and a 3.300 cumulative GPA. Students must complete a superior senior thesis with a grade of A, present some piece of their work in a public forum, and demonstrate truly distinctive ability and performance in the English major.