The Quad

English department contemplates changes to major

John Angiolillo, Special to the Quad

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There are some possible changes being made to West Chester University’s English curriculum that could have a major impact for current and future students.

“We have been discussing replacing the two-track system for English majors,” said English Professor William Nessly. Non-Education Majors either fall into a writings track or a literature track. English majors can also choose between eight minors as well: African American literature, business and technical writing, creative writing, digital humanities and new media, film criticism, journalism, linguistics and literature. Currently, there are 500 English majors attending West Chester University.

Nessly said, “There may be modifications made to English 400 as well.” English 400, or seminar, is a research course that specializes in a specific topic. Students spend an entire semester honing their research and critical thinking skills. Currently all English majors need to take three courses of English 400 in order to graduate.

Nessly also mentions some changes he would like to see. “I would like to see some changes made for more robust, smaller specialized classes and room for more free electives and requirements.”

Some electives offered to those in the writings track and literatures track include creative writing, linguistics, African American studies, introduction to film and humanities.

Members of the English Department Reform Committee could not be reached for comment.

While not openly discussed, the reason for changes to the curriculum may coincide with the growing demand in the business world for graduates with an English degree. According to Robert Lytle, managing director and co-head of education at Parthenon-EY, most businesses are currently seeking those with a liberal arts background because “they possesses the critical thinking skills, problem solving abilities and communication skills that most employers desire.”

Fifth-year senior English major AJ Campli would like to see changes made to the department’s curriculum.

“I would like to see more broad classes added instead of courses that are narrowed to one specific topic. Some of the courses are too specialized and I feel I do not gain any general knowledge.” He then added, “I want broader, general knowledge of literature than be handcuffed to understanding only certain aspects.”

John Angiolillo is a fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @CornerPubJohn.

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The Student News Service of West Chester University
English department contemplates changes to major