The faculty of the English department have three goals for students who graduate with a major or minor in English:
- Students should be able to critically and imaginatively analyze and produce texts, understanding both the theoretical and practical dimensions of reading and communicating.
Students should understand the rhetorical, cultural, historical, and interdisciplinary contexts of the texts we study and the texts we produce.
Students should join the discourse of the fields of English and explore the nature and possibilities of the professions they could choose. Students should know how to work independently and collaboratively, how to blur and cross disciplinary lines in research and writing, how to investigate complex relationships, how to assess and reflect on their learning processes within the discipline, and how to transfer disciplinary skills beyond disciplinary projects.
All students reach these goals across the range of English disciplines in our core major, and can further specialize in one or more core area for minors or concentrations: Literary and Cultural Studies, Professional Writing and Rhetoric, and Creative Writing. The curriculum connects theory to practice from the very first course and throughout the program, preparing students for research and study abroad experiences, publishing opportunities, and competitive internships across their years at Hamline. Students will hone their practices and develop expertise through civic and professional engagement, developing an understanding of expression and analysis as powerful tools for advocacy and social justice. These learning experiences also offer students marketable skills adaptable to a variety of fields and thorough preparation for many avenues of postgraduate study.
Honors projects are student-initiated and culminate in the production of professional quality research projects of 40-50 pages (or equivalent content in various forms). Honors projects offer an opportunity in the junior and senior years for students to work closely with a faculty member on a theoretically sophisticated project designed to explore more deeply a particular focus of the student’s major program. This work is conducted independently in consultation with an advisor to be selected from among the full-time faculty. The student should begin exploring an honors project by discussing topics with his or her English advisor.
Students wishing to be considered for honors in English should review the detailed information and application forms available from their academic advisor early in their junior years. Applications are reviewed for approval by the full-time faculty members of the English department. Those who successfully defend their honors projects will be awarded honors at graduation and have the designation of “honors” on their transcripts.
Students at Hamline can apply for a college-wide competitive summer grant to pursue a focused research project in close collaboration with a faculty member. These grants, usually given between the junior and senior years often (but not exclusively) contribute to honors projects.
National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) and Professional Presentations
English majors are encouraged and can apply for resources to present their research at regional and national conferences. Students working on honors projects or completing collaborative research typically submit abstracts for NCUR, a prestigious national conference. Also, students in the fall sections of the senior seminar each produce an abstract and final paper developing their own professional research in the course topic. If accepted by NCUR, these students travel with a large cohort from across the University to present their work in the spring. Others present annually to an English conference organized by the Associated Colleges of the Twin CIties (ACTC), as well as at various regional and national conferences.
To help answer the question: “What do English majors do?” students are strongly encouraged to explore connections between their learning experiences in the major/minor and possible meaningful vocations through traditional internships and through courses that offer LEAP (Liberal Education as Practice) credits with experiential, service, or community-based learning opportunities. English majors and minors have had satisfying LEAP experiences at Graywolf Press, Minnesota State Arts Board, WCCO-TV, Minnesota Monthly, Children’s Museum, Urban League, ACLU of Minnesota, KFAI, and Bell Museum of Natural History among others.
Connections to Interdisciplinary Programs
English department faculty team-teach courses with faculty in other disciplines as well as teach courses that are cross-listed with interdisciplinary programs such as African-American Studies, Digital Media Arts, Environmental Studies, Global Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Social Justice program. English majors and minors are thus well positioned to explore connections and develop secondary majors or minors among these programs. In the context of globalization such interdisciplinary connections offer students the foundation of the discipline of English as well as a broader understanding of connections with other fields and disciplines.
Students’ critical reading and writing abilities prepare them for success in the workplace and in postgraduate education. Vocational exploration opportunities are incorporated into the major’s gateway courses and senior seminar. The college and department help English majors plan for graduate school; law school; business careers; and writing-related fields such as communications, advertising, and journalism.
Paul Bogard, associate professor. BA 1989, Carleton College; MA 2003, University of New Mexico; PhD 2007, University of Nevada, Reno. Creative nonfiction and creative writing, environmental studies and environmental literatures.
Kristina K. Deffenbacher, professor. BA 1991, Carleton College; MA 1994, PhD and graduate certificate in gender studies 1998, University of Southern California. Nineteenth-century British literature and culture, contemporary English and Irish literatures, gender studies, literary and cultural theory, composition and rhetoric.
Jennifer England, assistant professor. BSJ 2009, Ohio University; MA 2011, University of Dayton; PhD 2016, New Mexico State University. Professional writing, environmental and sustainability rhetorics, feminist theory, digital literacies, multimodal composition, and game studies.
Catheryn Jennings, assistant professor. BA 2009, MA 2011, Northeastern State University; PhD 2020 Michigan State University. Indigenous Rhetorics, Queer Rhetorics, Composition and Rhetoric, Cultural Rhetorics, archival studies, Digital Rhetorics, Community Engaged Rhetorics.
Marcela Kostihová, professor. BA 1998, North Central College; PhD 2004, University of Minnesota. Medieval and Renaissance literature, Shakespeare, critical theory, post- communist studies, global studies, gender and sexuality studies, and Tolkien.
Michael Reynolds, professor, chair. BA 1989, St. Lawrence University; PhD 2000, University of Southern California. Twentieth-century American literature and culture, theories of literature and culture, genre studies, environmental literatures, media literacies: film, drama, television, and the web.
Jermaine Singleton, professor. BA 1996, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; MA 1999, University of Illinois at Chicago; PhD 2005, University of Minnesota. Nineteenth- and 20th-century African American literature and culture, 19th- and 20th-century American literature and culture, psychoanalytic literary theory, performance studies, gender and sexuality studies, and queer theory.
Rachel Tofteland-Trampe, assistant professor. BA 2007, Concordia College-Moorhead; MA 2009, New Mexico State University; PhD 2017, University of Minnesota. Scientific and technical communication, rhetoric and professional communication, digital literacies, multimodality, usability and user experience, and networked learning.