English

English is the way we communicate, understand the human condition and relate to those around us through literature and writing.

The English program at Davis & Elkins College encourages you to use your talents and abilities to make a difference in the world through language. You’ll be given the tools to dive into your next writing adventure, dissect the English language, and promote education and understanding while focusing on your own interests in one of three concentration areas – literature, writing or education.

Literature: If you choose the literature concentration, your coursework will focus on ways of reading and engaging with multiple literatures. Recent courses have included traditional studies of British and American literature as well as special topics including “Women in Literature,” “Text and Context: Science Fiction” and “Single Author Study: Flannery O’Connor.” The literature concentration prepares students for range of careers from law and publishing to business and library instruction.

Writing: Unique for a small college, the writing concentration combines creative and professional writing courses to prepare you for a variety of writing careers, including technical and grant writing as well as public relations and advertising or marketing. Recent courses have included “Writing for Digital Media,” “Creative Non-Fiction” and “Writing in the Professions.”

Education: An education concentration will prepare you for teaching English at the middle or high school levels. Students on this track complete the core curriculum in English as well as an education minor, including observations and student teaching in the local public schools. Most graduates pursue middle or high school English positions, but other teaching and mentoring careers include curriculum development, corporate or government training and library instruction.

Regardless of your concentration, the supportive community of the English Department and a broad range of courses will teach you thoughtfulness, understanding, dedication, attention to detail and creativity. Dedicated faculty members create an inspiring environment where you and your peers can learn from each other and share your ideas and interests.

Through the on-campus publications, Aurora and The Senator, faculty mentors will help you prepare your work for sharing with a public audience. You’ll also be able to share your work at the annual College Writing Showcase or open mic events. The College also welcomes writers from around the country to campus for an annual Writers’ Series. Engaging opportunities exist off campus, as well. Internships in the community, such as The Inter-Mountain newspaper, and study abroad programs are all available to students studying English.

Learning Outcomes

The main objective of the English program is for students to be able to contribute an original argument to the scholarly conversation, which means:

  • Students will demonstrate understanding of the development and evolution of literary traditions.
  • Students will apply different critical approaches and methods at the heart of literary criticism.
  • Students will utilize standard conventions of writing in the humanities.
  • Students will engage in oral communication in a manner appropriate to the humanities.
  • Students will demonstrate information fluency in the humanities.

English Career Guide

Clubs & Activities

In addition to encouraging you to explore your individual interests in literature and writing in class, the English program sponsors and supports many other creative outlets. Two of the most popular groups led by English students are those devoted to student publications – Aurora and The Senator.

Aurora
The literary and creative journal of Davis & Elkins College, Aurora is a student-edited publication. First published in 1962 under the name Adum, the journal features poems, artwork, short stories and critical literary essays submitted by students, faculty and staff at the College. In addition to its annual publication, Aurora frequently hosts open mic nights for anyone who would like to share his or her writing, whether it’s a short story, essay, poem or song.

Spring Picnic
Every spring English faculty and students gather at a professor’s house for delicious eats, a game of kickball, group poetry and literary Pictionary. English majors, minors and friends are welcome!

Writer Visits
Once a year, the English Department hosts a visiting writer on campus. Over a two-day period, the visiting writer facilitates class discussions, leads a writing workshop and presents his or her work in a public reading. Previous visiting writers include Ann Pancake, Maggie Anderson and WV Poet Laureate Mark Harshman.

Writing Showcase
Every March, the department organizes a showcase of student writers from across campus. Nominated by their writing instructors, select students share their essays with an audience of their peers and professors. Past plenary sessions have featured faculty reading their own poetry, upper-class English majors sharing their creative writing and a panel of seniors meditating on their journeys at D&E.

Students
Writing class
Student Speaking

Department Directory

Helen Benigni

Helen Benigni

Professor of English
Kim Elza-Wilkie

Kim Elza-Wilkie

Adjunct Faculty, Humanities
Melanie Gribble

Melanie Gribble

Instructor of English
Andrew Jones

Andrew Jones

Assistant Professor of Communications
William King

William King

Chair, Division of Humanities; Professor of English
Bryan Kozik

Bryan Kozik

Assistant Professor of History
James Martin

James Martin

Adjunct Faculty, Humanities
Katherine Osborne

Katherine Osborne

Chair, Department of English, Communication, and Foreign Language; Professor of English
Janet Shifflett

Janet Shifflett

Adjunct Faculty, Humanities
James Smith

James Smith

Assistant Professor of History
Sebastian Williams

Sebastian Williams

Assistant Professor of English

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