This we believe: a Rationale for the English Major

by the Salem State University English Faculty

We live in an information age, but this information does not speak for itself. By grounding our students in the study of language and the texts that this language creates, the English major provides a diverse set of methods for understanding and generating texts.

People are employed in the 21st century global economy because they are smart, articulate, able to assess situations well and be able to express themselves verbally and in writing clearly, effectively, and convincingly. They are content providers in the digital world employed in the areas of education, non-profit, government, commerce, publishing and health care as researchers, writers, teachers, and administrators. We teach collaboration, analysis, research, and the synthesis of complex ideas.

The study of English/Literature/Writing allows students the ability to go outside of their own experience, to engage in global conversations because they have learned how to interact with a variety of contexts and forms. We expose students to subject matter that engenders empathy and tolerance, and inspires civic responsibility.

The broad expertise and flexibility of the English faculty allows students to explore the various components of the writing process, from creative composition, to literary analysis, to professional writing, all within the context of the major itself.

According to former Harvard University President Derek Bok, many students graduate from college today “without being able to write well enough to satisfy their employers...reason clearly or perform competently in analyzing complex non-technical problems.” (Academically Adrift, 1) We directly address these issues in all of our classes through investigation, examination and research as well as through writing and revision-all crucial for a productive and dynamic workforce.

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