Overview

What is the career track for an English major at The College of Wooster?

The ability to write and speak clearly, work closely with others, think critically and work independently are all skills that are built in the courses taken by English majors. And those skills transfer to a wide variety of career paths. English majors from The College of Wooster have gone on to be award-winning journalists, novelists, librarians, and teachers. Many graduates use their English degrees to find success in law school, medical school, business and other graduate programs. The student resources and classes at Wooster, combined with a network of alumni and peers who can help students navigate their chosen career paths, give English majors a lot of opportunities.

Mission Statement of the English Department of The College of Wooster

The English department at Wooster believes that the study of literature and other expressive media is essential to understanding the past, confronting the critical issues of the present, and imagining a collective future. The department therefore encourages students to read both widely and deeply, engaging with literatures in English across the long history and varied geographies of their production, while also identifying specific fields of interest to ground students’ capstone project, Senior Independent Study. English majors pursue deliberate pathways through the major, first establishing a foundation in literary history as well as contemporary theories and methods of cultural study, and then building toward a specialized critical or creative research project that demonstrates not only breadth and depth of literary knowledge and sensitivity to language, but also appreciation of the dynamic relations between literary and cultural artifacts and the socioeconomic, geopolitical, and ecological contexts of their creation.

Ultimately, English majors develop the skills of critical thinking and cogent expression that will serve them well in an increasingly competitive job market. They also graduate with something more: an ability to imagine alternatives to the logic of that market, which threads its way through every aspect of our lives. While the English major opens doors to careers in fields such as education, journalism, law, marketing, communication, and many others, its larger purpose is to broaden our graduates’ apprehension of what is possible. If literary and cultural history illuminates how the past informs the challenges of the present—from racial, gender, and economic inequality to the legacies of colonialism and the threat of planetary climate change—the study of imaginative literature just as powerfully reveals the possibility of alternative social, economic, and ecological relations that might create a different world in the future.


Faculty

Katherine Beutner

Katharine Beutner

Assistant Professor of English

kbeutner@wooster.edu

Jessica Cowing

Jessica Cowing

Perry-Williams Postdoctoral Fellow of English

jcowing@wooster.edu

Claire J. C. Eager

Claire Eager

Assistant Professor of English

ceager@wooster.edu

Jennifer Hayward portrait

Jennifer Hayward

Virginia Myers Professor of English; Global Media & Digital Studies (On leave 2021-21)

jhayward@wooster.edu

Christopher Kang

Christopher Kang

Assistant Professor of English

ckang@wooster.edu

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Natalie McCoy

Administrative Coordinator of Kauke, English, French and Francophone Studies, German, Spanish, Russian Studies

nmccoy@wooster.edu

Thomas Prendergast

Thomas Prendergast

Professor of English, Comparative Literature

tprendergast@wooster.edu

Susanna Sacks

Susanna Sacks

Assistant Professor of English

ssacks@wooster.edu

Leslie Wingard

Leslie Wingard

Associate Professor and Department Chair of English

lwingard@wooster.edu


Latest News

Holly Engel '21

Wooster ’21 graduate pursues doctorate at The Ohio State University

After a year’s worth of writing to complete her Independent Study titled “Sinister Cinema: Depictions of Evil in the WWII and Postwar Thrillers of […]

Claire J. C. Eager

Claire J.C. Eager awarded grant to complete book

Claire J.C. Eager, visiting assistant professor of English at The College of Wooster, was named one of 14 awardees of the Project Development Grant […]

James Shanahan

The Apprentice and One Binary to Rule Them All: Gender in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Name: James Shanahan Major: English Minor: Film Advisor: Dr. Bryan Alkemeyer For my Independent Study I wrote the first draft of a novel I […]

Kath Scott

Eat Your Heart Out: Cannibalism, Incorporation, and Transgression in Contemporary and Traditional Fairy Tales

Name: Kath Scott Major: English Advisor: Susanna Sacks When cannibalism is presented in media, it is often mistaken for gratuitous violence, but cannibalism was […]

Major

The South African writer Nadine Gordimer once said that “writing is making sense of life.” The challenge and pleasure for both writers and readers is to make sense of the writing that makes sense of life. The English Department offers students a unique opportunity to encounter a rich variety of texts in which English, American, and Anglophone writers inscribe meaning into our world. Students discover their own relationship with the world as they hone their skills in reading imaginatively, thinking analytically, and expressing their thoughts clearly, creatively, and persuasively both orally and in writing.

Courses in English are designed to explore texts across historical periods, cultures, geographical regions and theoretical approaches so as to invite students to ask a wide and diverse range of questions. The curriculum is organized according to those questions-whether they aim to illuminate the cultural construction of gender, sexuality, race, or ethnicity, the career of a single writer, a period in literary history, a literary genre, a reader’s response to texts, or creative writing in fictional and non-fictional forms.

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Minor

A minor in English requires the completion of at least six English courses, including classes on fiction, non-fiction, and literary theory.

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Independent Study

All students at The College of Wooster complete independent study under the guidance of a faculty mentor. English majors are required to take English 451, 452, a two-course senior experience that allows English majors a unique and creative approach to Wooster’s Independent Study. Students define their projects with the help of an adviser who meets weekly with each student during the course of the project. Projects range widely, reflecting the diversity and creative imagination of the department’s students and faculty, and have included:

  • literary analyses
  • collections of short stories and poems
  • novellas
  • news writing
  • film studies
  • magazines
  • creative non-fiction and memoir

 

Search the I.S. Database

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Related Articles

James Shanahan

The Apprentice and One Binary to Rule Them All: Gender in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Name: James Shanahan Major: English Minor: Film Advisor: Dr. Bryan Alkemeyer For my Independent Study I wrote the first draft of a novel I […]

Kath Scott

Eat Your Heart Out: Cannibalism, Incorporation, and Transgression in Contemporary and Traditional Fairy Tales

Name: Kath Scott Major: English Advisor: Susanna Sacks When cannibalism is presented in media, it is often mistaken for gratuitous violence, but cannibalism was […]

Sunscreen

Name: Zoe Covey Major: English Advisors: Dr. Christopher Kang and Dr. Thomas Prendergast Sunscreen is a 68-page long novella following different members of a […]

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Name: Hannah Jun Langer Major: English, Studio Art Minor: History Advisors: Thomas Prendergast and Cassidy Ely AMERICAN DRAGON: A Story of an Asian American […]

Alumni

A few years ago, a graduate of Wooster’s English department returned to campus to discuss the Pulitzer Prize for journalism that he and several colleagues had won. He just missed crossing paths with another English graduate who received an honorary degree in recognition of his best-selling novels.

Of course, not all Wooster English majors win a Pulitzer or write a bestseller. But they do go on to successful careers in a myriad of fields: television news producer, city planner, film editor at a Hollywood studio (his dream job as an Independent Study student), and an orthopedic surgeon. Many majors have become attorneys, reporters (print and broadcast), bankers (one is a vice-president at Morgan Stanley), and editors.

The department is also quite proud of those who have become teachers in our schools or gone on to graduate work and become English professors at colleges and universities throughout the country.


Related Articles

Holly Engel '21

Wooster ’21 graduate pursues doctorate at The Ohio State University

After a year’s worth of writing to complete her Independent Study titled “Sinister Cinema: Depictions of Evil in the WWII and Postwar Thrillers of […]

Love Will Come to You, the fourth and final book in Robert Kugler's '95 YA series

Alumnus authors fourth and final book in YA series

Robert Kugler ’95 credits Wooster’s emphasis on writing for his success as educator and writer

Bob Dyer '74

English alumnus credits Wooster education for journalism skills

Accomplished Ohio journalist Bob Dyer ’74 retires from distinguished career at the Akron Beacon Journal

Mesky Brhane ’89

Liberal arts education prepared English and French alumna for post-graduation achievements

Mesky Brhane ’89 supports vulnerable populations through her role at World Bank

Prizes & Scholarships

The English Department regularly recognizes students who demonstrate outstanding writing ability.  More than $3,500 is awarded annually in prizes and scholarships.

Prizes

  • The Thomas D. Clareson Prize for the best English Junior Independent Study paper of the year
  • The Waldo H. Dunn Prize for the best English Senior Independent critical analysis thesis
  • The Vonna Hicks Adrian Poetry Prize for an outstanding body of poetry
  • The Vonna Hicks Adrian Prize for a Critical Essay on Poetry for an original critical analysis of a poem or poems
  • The Ralph L. Kinsey Poetry Award
  • The Academy of American Poets Prize
  • The Donaldson Prize for Fiction
  • The Donaldson Prize for Non-Fiction
  • The Donaldson Prize for the best English Senior Independent Study creative project
  • The Becky DeWine Endowment Fund sponsors a summer internship opportunity in journalism between the junior and senior year
  • The Robert M. Bruce Memorial Scholarship is awarded to the first-year student who has shown the most improvement in writing skills during the first year

Faculty Emeriti

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Daniel Bourne

Professor Emeritus, English

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C. Paul Christianson

Professor Emeritus, English

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Joanne S. Frye

Professor Emerita, English

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Nancy Grace

Professor Emerita, English

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Peter L. Havholm

Professor Emeritus, English

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Henry D. Herring

Professor Emeritus, English

Maria Theresa Prendergast

Maria Teresa Micaela Prendergast

Associate Professor Emerita, English

mprendergast@wooster.edu

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David F. Moldstad

Professor Emeritus, English

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Debra Shostak

Professor Emerita, English