Previously, we have looked the FAQs of the MC Schools of Business and Biology and Chemistry. This week, we are highlighting the School of Humanities; specifically the MC English department.
At Mississippi College, English is a diverse major that can open up many opportunities for students. As an English major, you can choose between three main concentrations: English Education, English Literature, or English Writing. All three have unique courses that tailor to those concentrations, as well as many intriguing elective courses.
Despite the diverse nature of the English department, it might still be difficult to understand the practical application of English outside the classroom, or what the day-to-day looks like for a student. To remedy this, we had professors in the MC English department respond to some FAQs about being an English major, and what the department is like. Here is what they said:
What kind of careers do English Majors find themselves in after college?
"Writing and English Ed alumni of our program have entered careers in editing and publishing at presses, magazines, and newspapers; as social media writers, business marketers and advertisers; as music critics, political speech writers, and event planners; and working with non-profits, churches, and mission and humanitarian aid organizations. Others have entered secondary and post-secondary teaching positions at public and private schools as nearby as Clinton, Mississippi and as far away as China and the Middle East. Still others have gone on to graduate school in fields such as rhetoric and composition, writing center studies, library science, psychology and counseling, law, divinity/theology, and editing and publishing."
What is one piece of advice that you would give an incoming English major?
"Embrace the community. If you buy-in, your peers and faculty will become your primary allies, resources, and guides."
What can one expect in a typical upper level English lecture course?
"Well, we rarely lecture. Writing and English Ed faculty believe lecture is an old-fashioned teaching method--sometimes useful in small amounts, but not a cornerstone of our courses. Instead, our classes are spaces for active student-learning opportunities, like writing workshops, small group textual analysis, and problem-solving activities; these practices promote student engagement and growth in the classroom and other academic communities. Students should also expect room to explore their personal interests and career goals throughout our curriculum. In short, we value student voices and student choices."
How strong is the community in this department?
"Community is everything. Among faculty and students--and across our campus and with community partners--we are constantly committed to cultivating an invested community of learners and doers."
How do tests work in the department? Are they essay-based, or multiple choice, etc.?
"Tests are rare within Writing and English Ed courses. Our students showcase their growth in knowledge and skills via a variety of experiences and assignments."
What kind of support structures are in place to help with student success in this department?
"A lot. Faculty conference frequently with our students, and faculty make themselves very accessible, with plenty of office (or coffee shop) hours. Faculty want to meet with students; we enjoy and value those opportunities. When each student is partway through their major, we also hold a Mid-program Review. This is a meeting in which our Writing and English Ed faculty gather with the student for a conversation about how to select courses and design other experiences (like internships, extracurriculars, etc.) to help move them toward their post-graduation goals. The Writing Center is also available to majors, and includes many tutors who have been through the major classes."
What sets MC's English Department apart from departments at other schools?
"Our curriculum grows students’ flexibility as writers; it focuses on analyzing and composing various texts, including creative and diverse projects, as well as writing for a wide range of audiences and rhetorical situations. Writing and English Ed promote and support undergraduate research throughout the degree, providing our students with guided support through primary research in areas of their choosing. We offer the most up-to-date teacher education curriculum for secondary English education in the state.
Also, we offer a growing pool of internship and field experience opportunities both within courses and as independent study opportunities. Students are able to join the largest writing center in the state as early as their first year. Throughout all these practices, our students have consistent, one-with-one access to their faculty for collaboration and support."
What kind of homework is typical of an upper level course in this department?
"Writing, writing, writing--and plenty of reading, too, of course."
How much reading and writing is expected as an English major?
"A lot. Like, really a lot. But our students find that much of the reading and writing is directed by their personal interests and objectives--and they enjoy it. If they don’t enjoy it, they’re probably in the wrong program--and that’s okay. We’re happy to help a student decide on the major that best fits them (but we’ll try to hang on to them at least for a minor; a writing minor enhances just about anything!). Also, our definition of writing is broad. We embrace academic, professional, creative, and practical texts across our programs, so our students have many opportunities to explore genres that reflect their interests and goals."
Does one have to be a talented writer in order to be an English major?
"Nope. In Writing and English Ed we embrace that all writers are on a journey to expand their abilities. Wherever our students start, we support them in becoming the best writer (and thinker) they can be."
Coming from my own personal experiences in the English program at MC, I find these professor's answers to be spot on. Being an English major takes a lot of effort and dedication to your craft. However, if you enjoy learning about English and want to become a part of a unique program that will push you, then look no further than the MC's English department.
I'd like to personally thank Drs. Price, Jordan, Melancon, and Daniel White for collaborating to provide the responses for this piece!
Evan, Poems are still cool, I promise.