Mission & Learning Outcomes
In the Department of English we cultivate the gifts of language and story.
These gifts are close to the heart of our humanity: they are tools by which we process our own experiences, understand other people and other cultures, hear God's word, and act within the world each day. By helping students grow in their facility with language and literature, we prepare them for thoughtful and effective lives, better serving Christ's kingdom in the communities where they live, worship, and work.
The following outline presents a summary of the goals, objectives, and learning outcomes that shape the English Department's programs:
Become a reader. Study canonical and contemporary works of literature; gain facility in reading with both greater attention and pleasure. Learn to value literary and intellectual history and to attune oneself to truthfulness in everything that is read.
- Demonstrate range and competence as a literary reader: Be conversant with a broad cross-section of British, American and non-Western literatures and show an understanding of the interplay among form, history and culture, authorial innovation, and literary tradition at work in the creation of literary works.
- Demonstrate proficiency with a variety of ways of responding to written texts: Recognize how the collaborative processes of interpretation and response can yield critical insight and spawn creative work.
Become a writer. Gain confidence in one’s ability to employ language that achieves the desired purpose with cogency, force, and precision. Know how to write for exploration, for artistic, and for practical ends. Experience the creative process and come to enjoy the difficulty and reward of writing well.
- Demonstrate rhetorical effectiveness across multiple situations and discourses, whether critical, exploratory, professional, or creative.
- Demonstrate the skills of an independent writer: Engage multiple voices, generate ideas, organize research, experiment with form and style, and revise effectively.
Become a more thoughtful person. Strive to better understand, to ask good questions with openness to and respect for divergent points of view. Desire to be a person who seeks—through study and meditation, through conversation and action—to challenge the self and know the world.
- Assess personal growth as a reader and writer: Reflect upon classroom experiences, personal reading, extracurricular, and professional activities; and consider how these experiences are shaping current and future character development.
- Explore complex issues with increasing maturity and clarity, integrating academic ideas and critical perspectives into individual thinking.
Be a person of commitment. Practice intelligent belief, and discover how the liberal arts can inform, widen, and strengthen personal faith. Live and work with integrity.
- Develop a niche within the department and campus community: Reflect upon the ways this work, service, and play intersects with coursework and contributes to the overall educational experience.
- Document experiences—both curricular and co-curricular—where personal faith has been challenged, informed, or tested in ways ultimately fruitful for both conceptual understandings and practice.