Academics: Majors and Programs

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Communicating the ‘Write’ Message (continued)

By equipping students with an extensive knowledge of the English language and vital critical thinking skills, the English major provides a platform for success in more than just literature.  “We are increasingly innovative,” says Tarshia L. Stanley, Ph.D., department chair. “We want to figure out who our students are, what they need, and how they are going to be able to compete in the 21st century.”

Spelman College English majors can expect to have a vast knowledge of literature including African-American literature, British literature and American literature. The curriculum covers periods, cultures and ideologies. In addition to required courses, students take electives and can choose from three minors in the department – two writing minors (a creative writing minor track and business and professional writing track); and a film and visual culture minor. The minors are open to non-English majors as well.

Shaping Outlooks and Ideologies

 “The Spelman English department prepared me for life as a 2010 - 2011 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Turkey, a graduate student at Emerson College for journalism, and to critically assess the world around me,” said Rachel Marie Smith, C’2010, who is currently studying to become an international news producer.  

She credits the English department for providing her with the foundation needed to pursue her goals and for shaping her outlook and ideologies. “The ‘Images of Women in the Media’ course that I took with Dr. Stanley completely changed how I view the media,” said Smith.  “It changed my view as a journalist and what I would like to portray on the news.”

The English department boasts a large, accomplished faculty with a variety of research interests including internationally recognized Langston Hughes scholar Donna Akiba Harper, Ph.D., endowed Fuller E. Callaway Professor.

English alumnae often further their education by pursing graduate degrees like law and enrolling in Ph.D. programs; while many launch careers in the publishing industry, public relations, human resources, secondary school teaching, and the media industry.

Choose What You Want to Do

“The English major can take students into almost any field,” said Dr. Stanley. “Our students are prepared to communicate, to do research and to think analytically.  When they leave with a degree in English, they won’t know all the answers, however, they will know how to find the answers.  What a student gets from our English curriculum allows her to parlay those skills into a variety of jobs.