Advanced Work

After completing English 1010 (Introduction to Writing) and English 2010/2020 (Intermediate Writing), students will have a solid introduction to the fundamental research and writing skills that they will need to succeed in future college courses. Advanced work in English courses will build upon these skills in ways that reflect the diversity and engagement of the discipline. Though the following examples are far from comprehensive, they do provide a sampling of advanced work in the Department of English and Literature.

Theoretical Frameworks

Introductory classes provide a strong foundation in incorporating research into a student’s writing. In advanced work, students are introduced to a variety of theoretical frameworks and perspectives including: poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, feminist theory, postcolonialism, and more. Students engage with the primary authors of these difficult texts to gain an understanding of how theory can help frame literature and other cultural texts in varied and complex ways. Students are then encouraged to apply various theories inside their own analytical writing to synthesize ideas and contribute to the academic conversation.

Evaluation and Articulation

Much evaluation work begins in first year composition classes. However, advanced classes continue this work to push students’ analytical abilities. Though English majors are frequently exposed to famous and canonical works of classic literature and critical essays, our courses do not encourage an uncritical acceptance of their validity or “greatness.” In advanced classes, students are encouraged to evaluate and critique all texts according to well-defined disciplinary and personal criteria. Students will learn how to form and articulate this evaluation criteria to share their points of view and contribute to the conversation of ideas. While literature remains a large focus of the Writing Program, this emphasis on evaluation expands our concerns into the variety of texts composed both in academia and popular culture.

Visual Composing

Though words are obviously a primary concern of the Writing Program, many advanced classes also stress the importance of visual composing. From the simple indentations on an MLA citation page to the more complex selection of a harmonious color palette, students learn that all written documents are also visual documents (even pure text is a visual medium where matters of font choice and white space contribute to the effectiveness of a document). Students will learn to think of their documents as audience interfaces where the visual design aspects can actually help or hinder their messages. Some classes encourage document design through the use of industry standard software which, when paired with some basic design principles, prepares students to compose in both personal and professional environments.

Developing Voice

An uncited excerpt of text from Ernest Hemingway would likely never be mistaken for J.R.R. Tolkien’s prose. The two authors simply write in drastically different ways. Finding that unique style and voice that an author uses to craft his or her words is another fundamental goal of advanced work in the Writing Program. Through exposure to a wide range of authors and the writing of different textual genres, students are encouraged to discover their own voices and make their writing stand out as uniquely their own. Though developing voice is obviously a crucial process of creative writing, students are also encouraged to see voice as an important part of any composition. The right voice could make all the difference in a persuasive speech, a job application, or a community grant. Advanced work leaves students with the knowledge that how something is said is as important (if not sometimes more important) than the content of their actual messages.