Mississippi University for Women will offer new concentrations and unveil an overhauled requirement for students who are majoring in English starting August 2021.
Dr. Kendall Dunkelberg, professor of English, chair of the Department of Languages, Literature, & Philosophy and director of the MFA in Creative Writing, said The W has been working on modifying the curriculum for the English program for the past two years. He said the goal was to make the major more attractive to prospective students.
“We wanted to name a literature concentration and to emphasize the fact that we are adding more diverse course offerings by also offering an African American literature concentration,” Dunkelberg said. “We also wanted to create a professional writing concentration alongside the existing creative writing concentration, since many of our students go on to work in writing-related fields as technical writers, web content developers, etc.”
The Department of Languages, Literature, & Philosophy will add courses in professional writing and digital writing. Dunkelberg believes these offerings will be popular for English majors and non-majors who want to improve their academic and professional writing skills or who want to explore writing with digital formats. He said the department also is looking forward to adding more courses for the African American literature concentration.
Dunkelberg said the changes will give students a greater selection of courses. Rather than requiring a specific class, he said students will choose from a longer list of classes, which also will help the department in scheduling. Dunkelberg said students also will be able to choose any two literature survey classes instead of a complete survey sequence.
“These changes make the major easier to navigate and complete in four years, and they allow students to tailor their degree while still getting a solid foundation,” he said.
Dunkelberg said all of the professors in the Department of Languages, Literature, & Philosophy will be involved in teaching the new concentrations. He said Dr. Shahara’Tova Dente has developed courses in African American literature and Dr. Allene Nichols, who is coordinator of the English Teacher Education program, is taking on applied linguistics and young adult literature.
Dunkelberg said the department’s commitment to keeping its course offerings current and relevant allowed the curriculum changes to happen. He said the department will be to continue that work by evaluating how its existing course titles and course descriptions fit within the new framework.
All English classes are available to any W student if they have the prerequisite, which for many courses is EN 102 or a literature survey or other 200-level English class. Some of the new courses, like Popular Culture, LGBTQ+ Literature or Graphic Novel, are offered as 200-level classes to encourage students from other disciplines to take them as an elective.
Dunkelberg said the department also will begin offering courses specific to each concentration next semester. He said there should be enough overlap of the core English requirements and electives so students always will be able to find classes that count toward their degree.
“We feel the new concentrations add clarity to the English major and better communicate the range of subjects and the kinds of skills our major offers,” Dunkelberg said.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2021
Contact: Adam Minichino