Deborah Uman, Chair

Melissa Bissonette, James Bowman, Stephen Brauer,* Lisa Cunningham, Sharon Delmendo, Sarah Freligh, M. J. Iuppa, Lisa Jadwin, Wendi Sierra, Jebaroha Singh, Arlette Miller Smith, Jill Swiencicki, Deborah Vanderbilt, William Waddell

*On leave, Spring 2014

Why Study English at Fisher?

English majors and minors find themselves well prepared for graduate school and careers in business, law, teaching, marketing, public service, non-governmental work, and many other areas.

The department supports experiential learning through internships, service learning, public presentation, independent study, and honors theses.

Courses provide students with practice in reading and writing a rich array of textual forms: fiction, poetry, plays, academic and personal essays, speeches, visual rhetoric, and new media.

English majors and minors develop expertise in critical reading and writing - the ability to engage meaningfully with diverse texts from a range of cultural traditions and historical periods.

The English Major

English majors choose from more than 60 courses in literature, creative writing, rhetoric, composition studies, and professional and technical writing. English majors choose one of two concentrations, literature or writing, but electives within the program invite students to explore both areas and develop a lifelong interest in reading, as well as a versatile set of writing skills. A number of English courses also meet several areas of the College Core.


The literature concentration focuses on producing critical thinkers and writers, using the study of English, American, and world literature to promote an understanding of how language shapes history and everyday life.

Literature majors develop their skill in:

  • Analysis: Explicating literary texts closely in order to interpret accurately;
  • Technique: Understanding formal elements such as diction and tone by considering such external influences as biography and culture in their readings of poetry, drama, and prose works;
  • Publication: Going public with written work in and out of class;
  • Traditions: Knowing major genres and essential texts; understanding the relationship between critical methods and literary theory; connecting literature to individual and social concerns;
  • Process: Understanding of and practice in writing processes.


The writing concentration focuses on producing versatile writers capable of responding to diverse environments and ever-changing landscapes for communication.

Writing majors develop their skill in:

  • Analysis: Ability to respond to texts with attention to their strategies, effects, and assumptions;
  • Technique: Development of the writer's craft in a range of genres with attention to purpose, audience, aesthetics, and materials;
  • Publication: Going public with written work in and out of class;
  • Traditions: Knowledge of rhetoric and its links to various cultural contexts, histories, and theories;
  • Process: Understanding of and practice in writing processes, in both cognitive and social dimensions