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English Major Goals and Learning Outcomes

Goal 1: By the time they graduate, English majors should be able to read texts carefully and analytically, with an understanding and appreciation of the complexity of their verbal, rhetorical, and/or literary characteristics.

  • summarize the contents of a text as a whole effectively
  • marshal evidence that supports a claim
  • explain how literary and rhetorical elements and devices contribute to the text's meaning and the reader's experience
  • analyze relevant passages in depth

Goal 2: By the time they graduate, English majors should be able to communicate/create in multiple modes (writing, speech, visual/multimedia) appropriately adapted to the purpose at hand, and with an awareness of the needs of the imagined audience.

  • articulate the audience and purpose of an artifact in the artifact and/or reflection
  • produce artifacts in multiple modes
  • produce artifacts for a variety of audiences and purposes
  • create artifacts that fulfill the needs and expectations of the intended audiences
  • cite the ideas of others in ways appropriate to the audience and purpose

Goal 3: By the time they graduate, English majors should be able to carry out independent research: conceiving of questions to pursue, identifying and accounting for other relevant voices, and appropriately registering one's engagements with those voices using the conventions of the discipline.

  • compose research questions that meet the demands of the assignment or problem to be addressed
  • discriminate between reliable and unreliable sources
  • cite sources ethically in a manner appropriate to the audience and genre
  • explain how/why evidence drawn from sources advances one's argument and addresses one's research question
  • respond (i.e., refute, accommodate, concede) to perspectives different from one's own
  • synthesize the perspectives offered by multiple sources
  • explain why one's conclusions are significant

Goal 4: By the time they graduate, English majors should be conversant with a broad range of texts (representing, e.g., different forms, different genres, different social and cultural perspectives, and different historical periods) in order to recognize something of the great variety of artistic and rhetorical expression comprehended by the field of English Studies.

  • identify the form and genre of a text
  • describe the characteristics of different literary movements (e.g., modernism, transcendentalism)
  • explain how one can tell that a particular text belongs to a particular movement
  • compare and contrast two texts representing different forms, genres, periods, or cultural perspectives

Goal 5: By the time they graduate, English majors should be able to recognize the ways that texts are situated in their cultural and historical settings-both shaped by and shaping the cultures and moments in which they were produced-in order to appreciate both the place of those texts in larger traditions and to appreciate the ways that the examination of those texts can open onto questions of broader historical and cultural import.

  • identify the historical and cultural context in which a text was produced
  • describe how a particular historical event, shift, or attitude is reflected in a text
  • offer evidence to demonstrate this connection
  • explain how a particular text influenced historical events or readers
  • compare and contrast texts produced in different cultures or at different historical moments
  • justify the importance of a particular text for understanding the period and culture in which it was produced
  • describe how a text reflects its author's identity (e.g., race, class, sexuality, gender)

Goal 6: By the time they graduate, English majors should understand the different kinds of questions that structure inquiry in English Studies and should be familiar with the kinds of critical approaches and theoretical frameworks that enable conversations in the discipline.

  • differentiate between various theoretical and methodological approaches, explaining them in one's own words
  • identify a relevant disciplinary concept and/or theory and apply it to specific details within a text being analyzed (whether another author's or one's own)
  • justify the application of a particular approach to a text being analyzed (whether another author's or one's own)