English and American Studies

Courses in the Department of English prepare students for success in a wide variety of careers. In literature, authors examine the challenges of human existence, and readers participate by discussing and writing about what makes texts and their ideas important and pertinent to new generations. We consider the English degree to be the “degree for life” because English courses develop three skills needed in any field:

  1. The ability to read analytically
  2. The ability to think critically
  3. The ability to write clearly

These skills are developed by close reading of literary texts and by exploring their personal and historical contexts. The English degree prepares students to enter fields where knowledge of texts, critical thinking, and written and oral communication are vital.

The English department at Western Connecticut State University seeks to promote the university’s mission by providing students with a high-quality education in English language and literature. We are committed to developing students’ powers of critical thinking, analysis, and writing as well as knowledge of important texts, contexts, traditions, and modern developments. We believe students who complete any of the department’s programs will be prepared to compete vigorously in the global marketplace and to pursue a variety of career paths or to seek further education.

As a department, our goals are to:

  • develop and maintain a solid curriculum in language and literature that stimulates student curiosity, rewards critical engagement, and is central to a valuable liberal arts education;
  • emphasize critical reading and writing as an integral component of success in our program, our university, and beyond;
  • build a community of scholars, professionals, and life-long learners and help initiate students in the profession(s) through regular events, faculty-student collaborative projects, and opportunities to tutor and to assist in the teaching of language and literature courses in the department;
  • encourage and support research, scholarship, and professional achievement that advance the field of study and enhance the programs and visibility of the university at large;
  • encourage interdisciplinary and interdepartmental initiatives to augment the intellectual vitality of the department and of the university and to help students develop an integrated approach to learning; and
  • serve the community through event programming and collaborative projects and to serve as a resource to local schools and other public institutions.

Alpha Lambda Epsilon

The department sponsors Alpha Lambda Epsilon, a local chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society. Sigma Tau Delta’s central purpose is to confer distinction upon students of the English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate and professional studies. Candidates for undergraduate membership must have completed at least three semesters of college work and a minimum of two college courses in English language or literature beyond the usual requirements in freshman English. Members must also have a minimum 3.0 grade point average in English and rank at least in the highest 35 percent of their class in general scholarship. Students may contact the department chair for more information on becoming a member of Alpha Lambda Epsilon.

At the completion of their English degrees, students should be able to:

  1. Read texts with an appreciation of their cultural, historical, and literary contexts
  2. Analyze texts from various critical perspectives
  3. Write essays that develop critical readings of text-based subjects
  4. Incorporate secondary research in the writing of essays
  5. Articulate basic knowledge of important authors, texts, and issues.

Minor Program Sheets: