Office of Assessment


English Mission Statement

The English Department offers a wide-range program of poetry, prose, drama, film, linguistics, writing, and journalism for majors and non-majors alike.  This program is designed to help students develop increased skills in reading, writing, and analytical thinking; greater appreciation of literature; and deeper understanding of the relationship between literature and race, gender, culture, history, and our shared humanity.


English Major Learning Objectives

Demonstrate an aesthetic appreciation of language and literature

  1. Explain the specific effects of language in close readings of texts.
  2. Analyze complex grammar and syntax.
  3. Apply the terminology used in literary analysis.
  4. Recognize patterns, repetitions, oppositions, or other literary techniques and strategies.
  5. Articulate relationships between parts of the text and the whole.
  6. Articulate relationships between content and form.
  7. Situate the formal qualities and conventions of a text in relation to those of other texts.

Interpret a range of texts in American, British, and world literature, providing those texts with appropriate historical and cultural contexts

  1. Discuss and assess literary texts within specific traditions or groups.
  2. Select appropriate cultural contexts for literary texts.
  3. Connect literary texts to appropriate contexts.

Demonstrate advanced analytical reading skills

  1. Analyze complex literary works.
  2. Understand scholarly discourse.
  3. Analyze complex grammar and syntax.

Understand a variety of critical theories, approaches, and methodologies and apply them to the interpretation of texts

  1. Summarize the basic tenets of critical theories, approaches, and methodologies such as formalism, cultural studies, deconstruction, and postcolonial and gender criticism.
  2. Develop readings of texts by using specific critical theories, approaches, and methodologies.

Demonstrate substantial communication skills, including the ability to write lucid prose for specific rhetorical situations

  1. Demonstrate rhetorical awareness in written work, including the ability to adapt the writing to audience and purpose.
  2. Demonstrate ability to select evidence appropriate to audience and purpose.
  3. Demonstrate ability to develop structure appropriate to audience and purpose.
  4. Demonstrate ability to develop ideas that link evidence to purpose.
  5. Use style and diction appropriate for a given rhetorical situation.
  6. Use appropriate conventions, including those for grammar, format, and documentation
  7. Demonstrate ability to improve writing through revision.
  8. Demonstrate competence in oral interpretation or oral presentations.

Demonstrate advanced ability to conduct and use academic research, from locating and evaluating print and electronic sources to integrating research materials into substantial critical essays

  1. Design theoretically informed projects that address significant questions, problems, or issues.
  2. Demonstrate familiarity with common research tools in the field, including academic databases and electronic scholarly resources.
  3. Perform a comprehensive review of literature appropriate for an undergraduate research project.
  4. Select and evaluate appropriate and authoritative sources.
  5. Explain the main elements of a critical conversation on a limited topic.
  6. Use source material in the body of an essay to demonstrate critical engagement with an appropriate range of viewpoints.
  7. Integrate quotations effectively.
  8. Maintain a clear distinction between the voice and argument of the writer and the voice and argument of the source(s).
  9. Cite sources accurately and completely in both in-text citations and Works Cited lists following MLA style.