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Department of English to revise 3-track curriculum

Published: Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 22:02


Tanner Garza

The English department, housed in the Liberal Arts and Humanities Building, will alter its degree plan and eliminate mandatory tracks.

Recent changes made by the Department of English to the English major degree plan have created rumors around campus, concerning and confusing students.

Nancy Warren, English department head, said the revision to the English major curriculum is the result of a two-year process involving multiple committees and faculty members. She said the areas of rhetoric, literature and creative writing, the tracks in which students previously had to choose to specialize, will now no longer be mandatory and will instead be
considered concentrations.

Warren said the new degree plan still will allow students to study the three areas, just without mandating students to choose one of the three as a track.

“The new degree plan has a required ‘approaches’ course that provides students with an introduction to the discipline and grounds them in the writing and analytical skills that will help them succeed in the major,” Warren said.

After the ‘approaches’ course Warren said students can fulfill other requirements of the plan and then take a final capstone course, or senior seminar, their senior year. She said the changes allow for more flexibility for students and reflect a more modern view of the English discipline.

“A student may still choose to concentrate in, say, literature or creative writing, but a student might also custom design — with the help of our advisors — a track that combines, for example, rhetoric and creative writing,” Warren said.

Jennifer Wollock, English professor and director of undergraduate studies for the department of English, said she understood there could be possible panic with rumors of the removal of tracks, but said students should see the revision as more of a renaming. She said she thinks the changes will end up being positive for the department and its students.

“I think it’s going to wind up being a plus because it gives the students more options, taking a course in an area of interest,” Wollock said. “[It will provide] flexibility too, because we’re not being quite so rigid.”

Amy Arndt, sophomore English and psychology major, said the changes allow students to be more flexible with the classes they take, but the change devalues the overall worth of the English major.

“One of the things that I really liked about the English department here was that it did have the tracks,” Arndt said. “I feel like people think that English is just all one thing. English is one of those fields where there are a lot of different things you can go into, and I think the tracks were great for that.”

Wollock said students should contact the undergraduate office of the department of English if they have any questions.

“We’re going to have the new degree plan available and it will list the different classes available and what you need to do to get certified as an English major,” Wollock said.


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