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Department of English Mission Statement

Versions for Consideration, Havening III, 2009

1) In the English department, we foster an appreciation for the beauty and the
power of the English language. We encourage scholarship through an attitude of
intellectual curiosity and an inculcation of analytical skills. We support the practical
application of knowledge to empower our students and enrich their lives long past
graduation.
In our department, we examine the ways writers relate to one another through
language; we interpret the complexity of our human lives as they are represented
through writing, and we strive to expand our roles as citizens of the world engaged
in the exchange of texts. To do this, we specialize in the study of literature,
linguistics, rhetoric, and writing, but we often use concepts, texts and approaches
from the study of history, culture, philosophy, and art. We believe that the close
study of language should be a transformative experience culminating in literate,
articulate, and open-minded readers and writers curious about the interplay of
language and culture.

2) Our purposes in English Department courses are to help students develop


four personal aptitudes: an appreciation for the beauty and power of the English
language, a deep intellectual curiosity, the analytical powers to closely examine
texts, and the concepts, techniques, and skills to create effective texts. The goal is
not only to strengthen them as university students but to empower and enrich
their lives long past graduation. We specialize in the study of literature, linguistics,
rhetoric, and writing, often using concepts and approaches from history, culture,
philosophy, and art in addressing the complexity and profoundness of human life
as it is represented through the creation and exchange of texts. The culmination of
this work should be transformative for students: shaping them—in the tradition of
liberal arts education—into skilled and thoughtful readers and writers . . . and into
literate, articulate, and open-minded citizens.

3) The UWL English department offers classes in literature read in English,


rhetoric and writing, but we are the most interdisciplinary department on campus.
Our instructors often utilize forms from other disciplines—linguistics, philosophy,
history, art, music, science, political science, religion, sociology, psychology,
anthropology, film and popular culture studies, ethnic and women’s studies—in
their attempts to address the complexity of human beings, their relations, and the
world they live in. We try to foster not just an appreciation for the beauty and the
power of language, but an attitude of intellectual curiosity that will empower our
students and enrich their lives for long after they graduate.

4) In the English department, we foster an appreciation for the beauty and


power of the English language. English classes introduce students to literature,
writing, and rhetoric, while drawing on concepts and approaches from other
disciplines, such as anthropology, art, ethnic and women’s studies, film and
popular culture studies, history, linguistics, music, philosophy, political science,
religion studies, science, sociology, and psychology. What makes the English
department unique, however, is that we also examine what readers do when they
read and what writers do when they write. The close study of language should be
a transformative experience. We help our students develop an attitude of
intellectual curiosity that will enrich their lives long past graduation. As such, we
expect that students will take what happens in our classrooms beyond the
department and into the university, the community, the country, and the world.