English Department Spotlight: Crossing t’s and dotting i’s

Located in the Stone Center building is one of the many gems of Jacksonville State University—the English Department.

Dr. Robert Felgar is the Department Head and believes that the department provides students with excellent instruction.

“We stand out because we put so much emphasis on skills that are crucial to students’ futures: thinking, writing, speaking, listening, and reading,” said Dr. Felgar.

The English Department offers students a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree and a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree along with a Minor in English. The department also offers courses for students seeking teaching certification in English or the Language Arts teaching field.

“The Department offers a variety of special topics courses, ranging from film noir to the graphic novel to The Bible as literature. Broadly speaking, we want JSU graduates to emerge as the best thinkers and communicators possible,” said Dr. William Hug, Professor of English and Director of Writing.

Students who major in English can propel their career into a variety of directions. The department offers an internship for majors to allow them to see what kinds of professional opportunities are available.

“One graduate recently spent two years in Thailand teaching middle-school girls English. Still another graduate focused on public relations and now works for a local Chamber of Commerce,” said Dr. Teresa Reed, Professor of English.

Although students are often reading works that are centuries old, Dr. Andrea Porter insists that the subject matter still significantly interests them.

“Even though the world around us changes, what it means to be human does not. In a time when we’d rather text than talk, scroll an Instagram feed than take a stroll with a friend, our subject matter is more relevant than ever,” said Dr. Porter, Associate Professor of English.

The English Department provides students with the opportunity for financial aid through two different scholarships. The Calvert Scholarship provides the accepted junior or senior student with full-tuition. Freshmen students may apply for Writing Scholarships that provide full tuition for one year.

The English Department is also involved in a variety of community service projects. The “Imagining the Holocaust” Writing Competition is held each year to help teach Holocaust history to middle school and high school students in the state of Alabama.

The annual JSU Writers Bowl allows high school sophomores, juniors and seniors to create teams and compete in the areas of poetry and prose.

Students familiar with the Southern experience may enter their original work into the Southern Playwrights Competition. The first-prize winner receives $1,000, as well as a production by the Jacksonville State University Department of Drama.

Students struggling in their writing classes may stop by the English Department Writing Clinic located in Room 230 in Stone Center. Students do not need to make an appointment, and the tutoring is free.

Students who love reading literature and writing will enjoy the assortment of classes the department provides. The department is full of instructors who are passionate about their subject matter and their students.

Adam Higgins
Staff Writer

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