Literature, creative writing or not-for-profit writing — these are some of the inspiring courses that you can take in the English department at Central College. Faculty encourage critical thinking and actively engage students in learning. The major offers a broad range of classes which prepare students well for graduate school and for challenging careers in creative or technical writing, ESL or literature. Graduates have gone on to become newspaper columnists, high school English teachers, freelance writers, lawyers, English professors, musicians, architects and specialty book editors.
- Walter Cannon, Ph.D., Professor of English
Areas of interest: early modern literature, especially Shakespeare, poetry, writing and literary theory and criticism
- Josh Dolezal, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English
Areas of interest: American literature, creative nonfiction, ecocriticism and medical humanities
- Kimberly Koza, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English
Areas of interest: women writers and feminist criticism, African-American literature and detective fiction
- Michael Harris, Ph.D., Professor of English
Areas of interest: post-colonial literature from Africa and India; Irish literature and British literature
- Arthur Johnson, M.S., Associate Professor of English
Areas of interest: fiction writing, American literature, the British novel and comedy for the stage
- David Purnell, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English
Areas of interest: linguistics, teaching English to speakers of other languages, Chinese culture and language
- Keith Ratzlaff, M.F.A., Professor of English
Areas of interest: poetry, the essay, travel literature and American literature
- Mary Stark, Ph.D., John and Anna Poole Endowed Chair in the Humanities and Professor of English
Areas of interest: nature and environmental literature, literature for children and young adults and secondary education
News about English
Where are they now?
John Miller, a professor of English, served Central College for 35 years. During his time at the college, he also served as the first Weller Chair from 1991-1994, was the director of the Central College Program in London, England from 1974-1975, and taught in Merida, Yucatan program five different times. Retired, he now lives in Louisville, Ken. with his wife Susan.
The Family that Reads Together
Associate Professor of English Josh Dolezal didn't intend to teach English, but Willa Cather’s novel, ‘My Ántonia,’ changed the course of his career.
Patsy Snead '13 wrote about her service-learning experience teaching ELL in Des Moines for the course Literary Journalism, taught by Josh Dolezal, associate professor of English.
Honors students present their year-long senior thesis—a culmination of their work at Central College.
- Online entertainment editor, The Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Iowa
- Graduate student in creative writing, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
- Law student, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
- Graduate student in library science, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
- Freelance journalist and copywriter, Monterey, Calif.
- High school English teacher, Guilderland High School, Guilderland, N.Y.
- Reimen Gardens, Ames, Iowa
- Library assistant, McGoogan Library of Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Neb.
- Editorial staff, The Creston News Advertiser, Creston, Iowa
- Pursuing Ph.D. in second language acquisition at the University of Wisconson-Madision, Wis.
- Continuing education at San Jose State, ESL
- Donor resource consultant, Southeast Iowa Blood Center
- Director for online marketing strategy for Dow Jones,
- Recently completed Ph.D. at the University of Washington, Seattle. Currently teaching at Stonehill College, Boston, Mass.
Looking for experience? An internship might be the answer. When it comes to future employment or entrance into graduate school, students with internship experience have a proven track record in a professional environment. In today's competitive job market, proven experience is a priceless commodity. Many students turn their internship into employment after graduation. Central offers a unique experience for English majors studying in Chicago, Washington, D.C., or abroad in London to gain valuable internship experience. Recent internships include:
- Des Moines office of U.S. Senator Charles Grassley
- Pella Regional Health Center
- Pella Opera House
- The Pella Chronicle
- North American Review
- Des Moines Mercy Medical Center
- Iowa Division of Latino Affairs
- In Touch magazine, London
- Pella Wildlife Company
- Teaching English as a second language, China
Learn more about internships at Central.
- British literature I, II and III
- American literature I and II
- Literature of India and the Pacific
- African and Caribbean literature
- Nature writing and environmental literature
- Literature by women
- African-American literature
- American ethnic literature
- Literature and medicine
- Literature of peace and social justice
- Literary perspectives of Latin America
- British novel
- American novel
- Irish literature
- Literary criticism
- World literature I
- Studies in 19th-century literature
- Studies in 20th-century literature
- The personal essay
- Short story writing
- Writing women’s lives
- Travel writing
- Writing for non-profit organizations
- Principles of linguistics
- History of the English language
- Advanced English grammar
- Teaching English as a second language
- Teaching writing
- Seminar in American literature
- Seminar in British literature
- Introduction to journalism
- Technical writing
- Practicum in technical writing
- Advanced poetry writing
- Creative writing
- Feature writing
Freshman and Sophomore years
- English survey courses (such as American literature, British novel, American novel, comedy, poetry, etc.)
- British literature I
- Core courses and/or electives
- English genre, period and issue studies courses
- Advanced writing course
- Core courses and/or electives (such as literature by women and literature of Africa and the Caribbean)
- Study abroad
Teaching major/minors should also take literature for young adults and teaching writing.
- Language study course
- Seminar course
- Core courses and/or electives
Get more details from the course catalog! (Note: this is a PDF file)
Central College is one of the most beautiful college campuses you'll find. A perfect mix of old and new, our buildings reflect our history and our future. Our state-of-the-art facilities include:
- Vermeer Science Center — $20-million renovation and addition completed fall 2003 earned Iowa’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating, a silver medal, from the U.S. Green Building Council.
- New apartment-style residence hall opened fall 2003, with new wing completed in 2005, earned Central’s second LEED rating, a gold medal.
- New Education and Psychology Building, opened fall 2009, featuring energy conservation and environmental responsibility.
- Weller Center for Business and International Studies.
- Central Market, Iowa’s most original dining hall with
unique European market place design.
- Geisler Library with 230,000 volumes and worldwide
- Café@Geisler offers espresso, coffee, snacks and
Department Web site
Central’s English department maintains its own website with even more information about majoring in English.
No matter what your interests are, Central has a student group or organization that you’ll want to join! Click here to learn how you can get involved with groups and organizations at Central. Student organizations include:
- The Ray (campus newspaper)
- The Knickerbocker (literary magazine)
- Writing Anthology
Students are encouraged to study abroad with Central College to enhance their development as global citizens. Academic opportunities and internship programs also are available in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.
Central offers creative writing scholarships of up to $2,000 for all students (English majors and non-majors) planning to continue creative writing at the college level. Read more about scholarship information!