Feb 10, 2009

Major Focus: English

by Caroline Harrison

Liberty’s English majors have proven that a career path in English can be quite rewarding, even though it is often written off as impractical. Several students have gone on to be teachers, copy editors, writers, actors and even Web site mangers, according to English and Modern Languages Chairwoman Dr. Karen Prior.

The English program not only teaches students about the vast world of the written word, but also equips them with important life skills.

“English teaches one to think critically, to analyze and to interpret, all of which are necessary skills for success in life,” Prior said.

From 100 to 400 level classes, English students spend their days reading, writing papers and explaining or interpreting points, according to sophomore Deidre Singleton.

The English department agrees that developing the ability to break down and analyze information is great preparation for any career.

Liberty alumna Suzanne Edwards was recently hired as the operations manager for an upcoming Liberty Web site. Edwards graduated from the English program last spring.

“A lot of other majors open a door to a room. I think of an English major as opening a door to a hallway with many doors,” Prior said.

Because of the subjects they study, English students are exposed to a wealth of knowledge.

“When we read a book we talk about the history, culture, philosophies (and) ideas expressed in that time and location and the influences upon that society or author. I feel as though I’ve majored in three or four different studies,” senior Mallory Butincu said.

Through examining a range of writing styles and philosophies, English students are exposed to a broad understanding of the human condition.

“I think English majors are more fully engaged in their education, and ultimately in life, than I typically see with other majors,” Prior said.

For senior Jennifer Lind, the teachers are the best part of being an English major.

“Regardless of the different events and fun exciting things Liberty offers, what really made a difference in my life is know(ing) at any given time I could e-mail one of my professors in the department and they would do anything in their power to help me,” Lind said.

Lind plans to earn her Master of Arts degree in English education and ultimately desires to teach English in a public high school.

For students who may be interested in English, but are not sure if they want to major in it, English and modern languages Student Advisor Karen Young suggests taking some lower level English courses.
However, Advanced Writing (ENGL 350) would be a good way to gauge the difficulty of the English major, according to Young. Non- English majors looking for some good electives are encouraged to take World Literature (ENGL 221).

“It wouldn’t hurt (students) because it would go towards their 200 level English credit for any major, in case they decide to go a different route,” Young said.

The English and Modern Languages Department also offers French, Spanish, Teaching English as a Second/foreign Language (TESL) and English and linguistics minors.

To be successful, a student must possess, “an interest in people and the human condition,” according to Dean of the School of Communication Dr. William Gribbin.

Contact Caroline Harrison at

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