Department of English
Way More than Reading and Writing
The Bachelor of Arts in English invites students to explore the different ways in which the field of English has been studied. Students gain a thorough knowledge of representative works, authors, and critical theories. The program presents an integrated approach to the study of English, while delving into the nature of language in its literary and practical forms. The Bachelor of Arts degree in English is designed for completion in four years.
Students pursuing a BA in English at UWest have the option of selecting from two concentrations: literature or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Courses challenge students to consider different perspectives and to question their assumptions in order to promote reflective engagement with the text, with their peers and faculty, and with social issues and concerns of the day. In this way, each concentration not only introduces a body of knowledge particular to each field of English, but also challenges students to apply this knowledge to ethical dilemmas in the world as represented and discussed in literature.
All students complete a common core curriculum that provides a solid foundation in the study of English. This is followed by specialized study in their concentration. In the final year of the program, students conclude their studies with an integrative capstone.
The literature concentration in the English program equips students with the reading, writing, and research methods for understanding, analyzing, and evaluating literature. The concentration introduces students to a survey of significant works in English-language literature and the growing contemporary canon of Asian-American literary works. It provides an in-depth knowledge of literary genre, figures, and movements while presenting a variety of critical reading approaches (e.g. moral/ intellectual, New Critical, historical, feminist, Marxist, reader response, etc.) for exploring the different traditions, experiences, and voices that make up literature.
As an integral component of these courses, the literature concentration also prepares students to explore complex representations of the human experience in literary texts. The concentration implements a reflective approach to critical response, pressing students to consider the moral and ethical dilemmas demonstrated in key human issues in literature: love, death, work, the nature of good and evil, images of gender and family, immigration and civil rights, and the American dream.
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
The TESOL concentration is designed for students interested in theoretical and practical training in the teaching of English. Students explore the structure of English, teaching methods, and curriculum design. In addition to learning about literature in the English language, TESOL students diversify their degree by taking a sequence of courses in linguistics, second language acquisition, and TESOL pedagogy. The concentration culminates in a capstone teaching practicum. Students who complete the requisite coursework with a 3.0 GPA or higher also receive TESOL certification.
In accordance with the university’s mission statement, the TESOL concentration highlights and explores the relationship between language and culture throughout the program. Students examine the historical, psychological, social, and political dimensions of language, language learning, and language use. While focused on preparing students for teaching, the TESOL concentration also challenges them to reflect on the ways language is tied to power, culture, and identity.