Welcome to the English Department

Whether your time with us involves the study of literature, creative writing, rhetoric, or the history of this now global language, our program is designed above all to help you develop the practical skills, critical consciousness, and creative insight with which to meet the pressing collective and individual challenges of our age—challenges that demand the kind of outside-the-box and qualitative thinking developed in the discipline of English Studies. Our graduates abundantly realize this goal; they go on to pursue graduate programs and careers in teaching, publishing, business, law, library and archival work, digital gaming, human resources, the non-profit sector, archaeology, and much more.

We’re convinced there’s never been a better time to study English, especially here at Puget Sound. Our department brings together the traditional values of the liberal arts education with some of the most exciting new developments in literary, cultural, and new media studies. Course offerings provide you the opportunity to become an informed and innovative reader of a variety of print, visual, and digital texts—from Chaucerian poetry to graphic novels, from Shakespearean drama to Bollywood film, or from Black Hawk to Snapchat. Workshops in creative writing allow you to hone your craft in a variety of genres, while courses in rhetoric, language, and literacy studies ask you to consider the history and workings of non-literary texts, or to explore the politics inherent to language usage and different forms of literacy—past, present, and future. We emphasize the interconnectedness of English Studies, not only with respect to the incorporation of craft and analysis in many of our courses, but also by paying attention to the ways our discipline influences and is influenced by an array of fields: Our faculty very often serve in a number of other campus programs that greatly enhance our offerings in English, such as African American Studies, Asian Studies, Environmental Policy and Decision Making, Gender and Queer Studies, Honors, Humanities, and Theatre Arts.

We recognize that your education occurs outside the classroom as well, and so our department offers a number of experiential learning opportunities. Students in our writing internship seminar, for example, contribute to, and gain experience in the working world of local businesses. Our creative writing faculty host student readings and present their own work in the community. We also invite students to participate in the editorial and design processes of our award-winning literary and arts journal, Crosscurrents, which features outstanding student creative work every semester, while our student-centered Campus Book Club provides an opportunity for our majors to engage and lead discussions for members who join from a number of disciplines. Our annual end-of-year celebration, Wordstock, features awards for creative writing, essays, and student citizenship, as well as a selection of presentations by students enrolled in our Senior Experience Seminars. The English department also sponsors visiting artists, writers, and other professionals who offer specialized seminars and workshops for our students. Recent visitors include the science fiction writer Ted Chiang; Barcelona-based artist Ricardo Cavolo; the performance poet and activist Jared Paul; Hollywood screenwriter Matthew Aldrich; memoirist Elissa Washuta; and Patrick Linder, who translated an English degree into a successful business career.

To get a feel for who we are and what we do, check out the links on this page to our Alumni News, our detailed Fall and/or Spring Course Descriptions, our Upcoming Events, a list of our Faculty and their areas of expertise, and our Facebook page: facebook.com/englishatpugetsound. We encourage you to visit our campus, meet with our faculty, and find out more about us. We’re on the third floor of Wyatt Hall, and we look forward to seeing you there!

John Wesley, Chair