“Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost.”
Intellectual independence; clear, confident expression; broad perspectives—these are the qualities the English discipline at Morris cultivates in students, and they are prerequisites for distinction in literary pursuits. They provide the foundation for success after graduation in any field, and are, not surprisingly, attributes of a life engaged fully.
The English discipline combines a faculty of dedicated and accomplished writers and scholars with a curriculum that offers both focus and variety. Joan Didion described the artist Georgia O’Keefe as “clean of received wisdom and open to what she sees.” Clarity of vision and thought lead to excellence in writing and criticism, teaching and scholarship. The path is well marked, if challenging: read the best writing voraciously; listen keenly; think courageously.
Join the Conversation
Classes in the English Discipline are small, which promotes dialogue both more incisive and more comfortable than is possible in larger classes. The benefits are nuanced conversations among peers, time for investigations of unexpected discoveries, and a more profound understanding of subject matter.
Make It Your Own
English students choose from a wide variety of electives more than half of the courses that make up their major and often work with faculty to shape programs of study that focus in-depth on topics that interest them. Students can choose electives to emphasize, for instance, multicultural literature or medieval literature or creative writing. Study abroad is strongly encouraged and can usually be quite easily included in the curriculum. The English faculty’s own research interests yield a wide array of possibilities for students to pursue, and the faculty work closely with students to develop a course of study that responds to individual goals and aspirations.
Course of Action
Morris English students and faculty are among the most active on campus. There are ample opportunities for students to publish in campus journals, share their work at readings, participate in community outreach or other programs, and explore contemporary and evolving subjects through cross-disciplinary offerings.
English is also a powerful complement to other disciplines. In the practice of law, for instance, clear arguments demand clear writing. Persuasive prose will win cases, but will also win in the court of ideas which shapes our culture. Graduates of the English Discipline at Morris have entered diverse fields. What they share is an appreciation of how valuable the critical thinking and communication skills they mastered at Morris have proved in their careers.
On the Road
Morris English students have enjoyed uncommon success after graduation, entering the ranks of journalists, writers, editors, publishers, lawyers, teachers and other professions. Many have pursued advanced study in MFA and PhD programs at highly regarded institutions, such as Notre Dame, Ohio State University, Indiana University and many others.