English majors at Central gain a strong academic background that prepares them for careers in law, medicine, business, teaching, music, architecture, publishing, library science and many other fields. Many students choose to go on to graduate school, and the English faculty are prepared to assist with guidance and letters of recommendation.
The English department offers a flexible curriculum that is easily paired with other majors and prepares graduates thoroughly for professional life and advanced degrees in a wide array of disciplines. By studying language with respect and rigor, English majors cultivate two of the most essential habits of successful people: self-reflection and empathy for others.
Central English majors have recently attended graduate school at:
Students with internship experience have a proven track record in a professional environment, which often leads to employment after graduation. Central also offers distinctive internship experiences for English majors studying in Chicago, Washington, D.C., or London. Recent internships include:
English majors usually begin with the introductory course The Literary Imagination, with surveys in English and American literature, and with courses in genre and issue studies, such as Nature Writing and Environmental Literature, Literature by Women, African and Caribbean Literature, Illness and Health in Literature and Readings in Poetry. Students take two courses in advanced literary studies, one linguistics course and a course in advanced writing. English majors are encouraged to explore courses in history, philosophy or other disciplines, as well as competency in a modern foreign language. The major culminates with the senior seminar, a capstone experience which usually features a detailed look at the work of a single author.
Writing is also an essential part of the English program, and students choose from an array of courses in Short Story Writing, Poetry Writing, Personal Essay, Literary Journalism, Travel Writing and Writing for Nonprofit Organizations. The English major with an emphasis in writing is designed for students who want to couple literary and linguistic study with intensive work in creative or professional writing.
Learn more about English in the course catalog.
Valerie Billing, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of English, interest areas include: Shakespeare and other early modern literature, medieval literature, queer and gender studies, and disability studies
Joshua Dolezal, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Professor of English, interest areas include: American literature, creative nonfiction, medical humanities and sustainability
Michael Harris, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Professor of English, interest areas include: post-colonial literature from Africa and India; Irish literature and British literature
Kimberly Koza Harris, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Associate Professor of English, interest areas include: women writers and feminist criticism, African-American literature and peace studies
Keith Ratzlaff, B.A., M.F.A. Professor of English, interest areas include: poetry, the essay, travel literature and American literature
Mary Stark, B.S., M.A., Ph.D. John and Anna Poole Endowed Chair in the Humanities and Professor of English, interest areas include: nature and environmental literature, literature for children and young adults and secondary education
We know the study of literature and creative writing produces agile professionals. Central College English graduates have thrived in fields as diverse as journalism, architecture, business management, education, law, medicine, public administration and library science. Our English majors cultivate essential skills of successful people: self-reflection and empathy for others.
Our English faculty guarantee personal and thoughtful mentorship of student writing. When students declare an English major, we request a portfolio of at least three papers demonstrating critical reading and mastery of style. Majors submit a second portfolio in their senior year to be approved for graduation. English faculty meet to discuss portfolios and return detailed feedback to each student on strengths and areas for improvement in his or her writing.
The combination of individual attention from professors and the collective opinion of the English department helps our majors understand their writing process and grow more reflective about ways they may continue to improve.
The English as a Second Language endorsement program is designed for those who would like to teach ESL in the Iowa public school system, K-12. Those seeking endorsement must take 26 semester hours of coursework in each of the following areas: teaching English as a second language (TESOL), second language acquisition, language in culture and the nature of language.
Those seeking endorsement must complete the ESL Practicum, which involves 45 contact hours with ESL in a combination of grades K-6 and 7-12 settings.
The English department offers a number of opportunities for students to serve, study and write outside of the classroom including, service learning through the Writing for Nonprofit Organizations course, internships with literary magazines, newspapers, state governmental offices and local and area hospitals and businesses, independent studies in various fields including poetry writing, literary criticism and travel writing and earning practicum credit while team-teaching lower-level courses.While abroad, English majors can study Shakespeare and contemporary theater through the yearly offerings of the Royal Shakespeare Company in London, Welsh heritage, language and literature in Wales or explore internships in Chicago in writing, editing, publishing and teaching.
Students are encouraged to study abroad with one of Central’s international programs to enhance their development as global citizens, or with partner programs in Chicago, Washington, D.C. or New York City. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.
While abroad, English majors can study Shakespeare and contemporary theater through the yearly offerings of the Royal Shakespeare Company in London, Welsh heritage, language and literature in Wales or explore internships in Chicago in writing, editing, publishing and teaching.
Central offers creative writing scholarships of up to $1,500 for students (English majors and non-majors) planning to continue creative writing at the college level.
The public is invited to join Central College faculty presenters to explore questions about community and other topics throughout the academic year.
Keith Ratzlaff, professor of English at Central College, is scheduled to do an exclusive reading from his forthcoming collection of poems Thursday, April 12.
Jessica Abel presents “Out on the Wire: Storytelling in Radio, Cartoon and Narrative” Thursday, Oct. 19.