Our goal is for all students who graduate from our department to demonstrate the skills of reflective reading, critical thinking, effective speaking, compelling writing, and engaged citizenship.


Reflective readers:

  • Analyze literary and cultural texts through close reading
  • Gain broad knowledge of several fields of literature
  • Grasp formal elements of key literary genres
  • Learn to read comparatively to illuminate aesthetic, social, cultural contributions of texts

Critical thinkers:

  • Approach texts with a spirit of critical inquiry and flexibility
  • Formulate productive questions
  • Use textual evidence to support individual interpretations
  • Draw upon several different critical approaches to literature in English

Effective speakers:

  • Express opinions about the texts they read through discussion and written assignments
  • Listen respectfully to others’ opinions
  • Work in class—whether through active listening or discussion—to learn by synthesizing a range of texts, insights, and opinions

Compelling writers:

  • Express their ideas in clear, fluent, and lively prose
  • Organize their ideas effectively
  • Use textual evidence to illustrate and support their insights and arguments
  • Demonstrate the ability to write in different modes that are appropriate to particular contexts
  • Engage properly with relevant scholarship and creative work
  • Use research skills that include understanding of methods, technology, and conventions

Engaged world citizens:

  • Communicate respect and understanding for the literatures and cultures of diverse historical periods, geographical regions, and cultures
  • Explore ethical issues raised by literature
  • Reflect on the ways that literature addresses issues of social justice
  • Use reading, speaking, and writing skills to engage with the ethical concerns raised by literature in their daily and professional lives