The English Department strongly supports the purposes of liberal education at a church-related college, as embodied in the Luther College mission. We seek to cultivate in students thoughtfulness and skill as readers, writers, and speakers, in a range of genres and media. We help students to develop intellectual depth and aesthetic sensibility, to improve their abilities as readers, writers, speakers, and thinkers, and to help them live thoughtful, useful, and ethical lives.
We empower students. We help all our students to become more perceptive, critical readers. We aim to educate writers who see composing as discovery, who can write and speak with clarity and power, and who can move diverse audiences. We expose students to sound research methods and interpretive methodologies that not only enhance literary understanding but inspire creative and analytical thinking.
We prepare students in the major. We work to graduate majors who broadly understand the scope and development of literary traditions (chiefly, but not exclusively, British, American, and Africana literature and film). We expect them to know more deeply some selected periods, authors, and genres. We work to prepare these graduates to appraise others’ arguments with discernment and appreciation. We work at developing their flexibility as writers. We seek to maintain strong programs to educate secondary teachers; prepare students for graduate studies in literature, rhetoric, or creative writing; and equip students for professional programs (such as law, ministry, library science, administration, and journalism), as well as other fields. Through career events and internships we help majors and minors explore how to apply their English studies to satisfying and meaningful vocations.
ENLARGING AND ENRICHING
We enlarge the worlds of all our students. Reading is world-expanding because it involves imaginative travel—into times, places, and states of mind not readily available by other means—which inspires an empathic identification with diverse individuals and identities, cultivating historical and cultural breadth. We believe that imagining the reality of other lives, hearing other voices (lyric, narrative, reportorial, and essayistic), and perceiving the shaping power of literary form encourage moral reflection and ethical behavior.
We enrich our students’ lives. We share our pleasures in reading. We cultivate appreciation of beauty and give students the tools to embed beauty in their own work. We celebrate imaginative thinking and provide a rich store of texts and tropes to deepen and empower that imagination.
We foster a learning community. Department members ground our teaching in current learning and model active scholarship and artistic creation, including supporting each other’s professional work. We regularly contribute to the college’s study abroad program. We support a local chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society. We sponsor regular social occasions, trips to cultural events, and public presentations by visiting authors. We actively help students place their work in publications and present scholarly and creative work at local and national conferences.
The Luther College English Department serves the college at large by regularly teaching the first-year interdisciplinary Paideia I course, the interdisciplinary Paideia II courses, and many other interdisciplinary courses in many different programs (e.g., Africana Studies, Women and Gender Studies, Environmental Studies, Theatre/Dance). The department offers introductory courses for first and second year students, writing courses for all students, and advanced courses which assume some preparation but seldom have prerequisites. We also offer a reading and writing course for academically-challenged students. The Department actively engages in college governance work and conversation. And the Department sponsors, plans, and hosts the triennial Lutheran Festival of Writing, which brings to the college many writers and readers from across the nation for readings and panel discussions.