Concentration in Literary Studies

Assessment for Concentration in Literary Studies

In class discussions and their assessment portfolios, students who are completing a major in English with a concentration in literary studies will demonstrate that they are

persuasive expository writers
Papers which meet this goal will show the student writer's awareness of
      •    purpose in writing,
      •    audience,
      •    role,
      •    tone,
      •    and use of supporting details.
familiar with the literary traditions of Britain, Europe, or the U.S.
Papers which meet this goal will show the student writer's knowledge of
      •    a literary school, movement, period, genre, or major author,
      •    and the debate over the literary canon.
skillful interpreters of literature
Papers which meet this goal will show the student writer's ability to
      •    read literature closely and discuss narration, literary devices, or poetics,
      •    use evidence from the history of literature,
      •    and situate literature in its socio-historical context.
effective synthesizers of ideas
Papers which meet this goal will show that the student writer can
•    compare and contrast themes across works of literature,
•    apply a theory of literature (e.g., feminism, psychoanalysis, historicism) to texts,
•    and use research to enter scholarly dialogue.

    The first document in each English major's portfolio will be a lengthy essay (typically15-20 pages) that lists what is in the portfolio, names the course for which each item was produced, and explains the relevance of individual items to specific departmental goals. These materials may be written papers and, less frequently, essay exams. For example, a paper written for ENG 108 College Writing would be expected to show a mastery of purpose, audience, role, tone, and supporting details—the sub-goals of the "persuasive expository writer" criterion. Similarly, a paper for an upper-division course might demonstrate your knowledge of "the literary traditions of Britain, Europe, and the U.S" as well as your ability to interpret literature. Papers produced for upper-division courses in other departments may be applied to these general criteria as well, so long as you provide a specific context for their inclusion. As a whole, the introductory essay will be a reasoned argument that treats the portfolio's materials as evidence of your development as a student.
    Students will develop their portfolios during their senior year by enrolling in ENG 400 Assessment Portfolio, a one-half credit course required for graduation. Questions about portfolios should be directed to Professor Larry Shillock.



How did your English major prepare you for life after Wilson?


I came to Wilson as an Equine Facilitated Therapeutics major and decided, at the end of my freshman year, to add a major in English with a concentration in Literary Studies. Double-majoring in two fields with almost nothing in common and juggling an increasing number of extra-curricular activities was a challenge, but I wanted to take advantage of all the opportunities offered me during my time at Wilson. While peer-teaching the first year seminar class, working as a writing tutor, editing The Billboard, and compiling The Bottom Shelf Review, I discovered that remaining in an atmosphere where I could continue to learn and share my knowledge with others was important to me, so I applied to graduate school for English. Without Wilson’s leadership opportunities and engaging academic programs, I doubt I would have come to that decision.

–Jess Domanico, BA ‘11


The courses I took in the English and Communications Department of Wilson College prepared me for my career in teaching in several ways. My English classes familiarized me with classical works of Western literature. They also gave me an idea of the time periods and cultures that produced these works, which helps me to explain the cultural context of these and other pieces to my students. Writing assignments taught me to think and write clearly, two skills that are indispensable to a teacher. Class discussions not only delved deep into themes and characterization, which I will be teaching to my own students, but gave me a chance to practice thinking on my feet and presenting ideas in a comprehensible and concise fashion. 

-Ashley Barner, BA ‘08

Contact Information

Dr. Michael G. Cornelius
Department Chair
717-264-4141  ext. 3308