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English Department

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The Old English term wordcræft captures the essence of the way in which English Department students and faculty work on creative, professional, and analytical writing. Instead of relying solely on the inspiration of a moment, writers at Marist develop their craft through practice, conversation, and revision. Careful reading plays a key role in this process; writers at Marist pay close attention to the way particular writers deploy the rhetorical tools at their disposal.

The Writing concentration in the English major enables students to sharpen their skills in a wide range of genres and styles. In a given semester, a student might work with a professional client in a Technical Writing course, compose verse for a Poetry Workshop, and ponder Aristotle's ideas for a Rhetorical Theory class.

Extracurricular opportunities to write are similarly varied. Writers at Marist perform at poetry slams, conduct staged readings of one another's work, and present both their creative and scholarly work at national conferences. The craft of good writing emerges not through isolated effort, but through collaborative, playful, and thoughtful exchange with others.

Internships play a key role in introducing students to professional opportunities in writing and editing. The experiences of current and former students demonstrate the many venues in which students can pursue careers in publishing, magazine writing, and editing.

The Writing Program includes not only the variety of courses offered by the English Department’s Concentration in Writing and Creative Writing and Professional Writings minors, but also the diverse array of student events and activities of interest to writers outside the classroom. This includes regular visits to campus by established writers in all genres, student readings, excursions to places of literary interest, and popular campus-wide events like the Red Fox Poetry Slam. All Marist students are welcome to participate in Writing Program events, regardless of major. Student organizations like the Literary Arts Society and Sigma Tau Delta (English Honors Society) are active in planning many of these annual events, and they always welcome new members.

Students have the ability to pursue a BA in English with a concentration in writing and/or minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing.

Departmental Goals

The English program offers concentrations in literature, writing, and theatre; the goals and principles underlying these concentrations are the same:

  1. To increase the student’s appreciation and understanding of the literary, pragmatic, rhetorical, and dramatic uses of language.
  2. To develop the student’s ability to write effectively in a variety of situations.
  3. To help the student become more receptive to the many-sided pleasures of reading, writing, and oral presentation.
  4. To enable the student to see how literary and nonliterary texts illuminate the complexity of human experience.
  5. To heighten the student’s awareness of the moral and ethical implications of literary and nonliterary texts.
  6. To foster the student’s intellectual, aesthetic, and professional creativity.

Individual Concentration Goals

  1. To prepare students for careers utilizing analytical writing skills and/or performance skills in such fields as business, industry, education, government, theatre, and media.
  2. To prepare students for graduate studies in literature and writing and in fields that require analytic, interpretive, and writing skills.
  3. In conjunction with the Teacher Education Program, to prepare students for careers in secondary education.

Student Learning Outcomes and Associated Skill Categories (**Language developed from the AACU VALUEs Rubrics)

  • Analytical
  • Interpretive
  • Writing

1. Rhetorical Task and Audience

a. Students will be able to integrate a thorough understanding of context, audience, and purpose into projects.

2. Disciplinary Conventions and Formal and Informal Rules

a. Students will be able to execute a wide range of disciplinary writing, analytical, and performance tasks according to specific conventions.
b. Students will be able to adapt their authorial voice and rhetorical strategies to the conventions of a particular genre.

3. Control of Syntax and Mechanics

a. Students will be able to create written, spoke, and multi-modal communications with clarity and fluency.
b. Students will be able to create written, spoken, and multi-modal communications free from mechanics errors.

4. Authorial Voice/Rhetorical Positioning

a. Students will be able to analyze the complexities of an issue to inform their authorial voice.
b. Students will be able to synthesize differing points of view into their authorial voice.

5. Analysis/Insightful Patterning

a. Students will be able to organize/synthesize/integrate evidence and content to craft/reveal insightful patterns, differences, or similarities related to their focused topic.