The Spring Arbor University English Department is a community of learners distinguished by a lifelong involvement in the study and application of words, a study born from our love for literature, literary criticism, written communication and research. We are a department that models Christ-like values as we learn and interact with each other and our students, thus preparing those students to live and work in the public sphere.
The course of study in the English major emphasizes knowledge of literature, precise writing and rigorous analytical abilities. English majors can analyze and interpret; they can also make a lucid, critical response to any text. But even more importantly, the English major is rooted in the Christian liberal arts in order to bring faith to bear in critiquing the culture through analysis of all texts.
One of our fundamental assumptions at Spring Arbor University is that truth is relational; this assumption bears witness to the nature of relationships in literary texts. As we interpret relationships in literature, we are seeking the meaning of our own lives. How do we understand the relationships in our lives and how are they shaped by the fact that reality is fundamentally relational? How do we live out that understanding in the public sphere beyond the classroom? These are the questions that motivate our study.
Message from the Chair
As chair of the English department at Spring Arbor University, let me welcome you to our department website. Please browse the site for useful information about the department, its courses, professors and unique study opportunities. We hope you notice the value we place on creating a well-rounded academic and spiritual learning experience. Please discover links to information about the culture of Spring Arbor University as well.
If you are a prospective student, I hope you spend time on this site getting to know our department. Faculty members here are proud of the program we have created together. Literary analysis and critical thinking connect literature to life; classroom discussions promote a dynamic exchange of ideas. Students are encouraged to reflect on how spirituality impinges on life and literature, as we prepare students to both lead and serve in our postmodern culture. In short, our students receive a strong liberal arts education that fosters critical thinking, clear writing, and serious reflection on the human condition. To that end, we welcome inquisitive, creative and critical students to study in a relational and challenging learning environment. If this describes you, I hope you will apply for admission and become part of a vital, reflective group of students and professors.
Kimberly Moore-Jumonville, Ph.D.
Professor of English
For more information about the English Department,
contact Dr. Moore-Jumonville:
The English department offers an English major as well as a minor in either English or in Writing. Students majoring or minoring in English have the flexibility to choose courses that match their interests and vocations. For example, all English majors take a course that explores the history and development of the English language as well as a course that examines the literary forms of the Bible. They can choose among British and American literature courses and writing courses focused on different genres such as poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.
All English majors finish their studies by taking ENG 472 Advanced English Studies. This course considers vocations students may pursue with their major and requires students to produce a capstone writing project, the Senior Thesis. This task asks students to research a text in depth, to apply the interpretive and critical skills they have learned and to consider its meaning for themselves, for the academy and for the culture. Our hope is that such an extended study will not only build students’ confidence in their literary skills, but will also provide a sample of their work for graduate school and job applications. The English discipline at Spring Arbor University enables students to make meaning of the human condition through careful textual encounters.
To view a sample four-year plan, the course requirements, layout and course descriptions for the major and minors, and to learn more about the English program at Spring Arbor University, download the undergraduate catalog.
Notes for students certifying to teach:
The English education major and the English education minor presently meet certification requirements for both elementary and secondary education. However, students certifying in elementary (K-5) and receiving an endorsement for the major/minor(s) for grades 6, 7 and 8 are strongly recommended to pursue the language arts major or minor, which includes a significant number of English courses.
Campus Opportunities for English Students
On campus, there are a wide range of opportunities for students to get involved, apply what they’re learning in the classroom in a practical way and meet students who have similar passions. Here is a list of just some of the opportunities available that might interest English students:
The Oak Tree Review: This is SAU’s literary journal. It publishes the creative works of students, including poetry, fiction, non-fiction, scripts and reviews. Students also serve as editors and oversee the publication process. In the fall, The Oak Tree Review sponsors a poetry reading where students and faculty share their latest work, and each spring there is a journal release party where students read from the latest issue. For more information, see The Oak Tree Review Facebook page.
The Pulse: Spring Arbor students can practice their free speech and show off their writing, editing and graphic design skills by joining The Pulse, Spring Arbor University’s student-led news and opinion magazine, published bi-monthly.
The G.K. Chesterton Society: This reading group meets once a month to discuss Chesterton’s plays, poems, novels, essays and criticism. In good Chestertonian spirit, their meetings are full of laughter, appreciation, cheese and cookies. They welcome anyone who wants to follow Chesterton in thinking, living and loving with gusto and gratitude.
Writing Center: The Writing Center exists to help members of the Spring Arbor University community grow as writers. It offers space for students to learn in community by engaging in conversations about all aspects of writing and critical thinking. Many of the tutors who work here are English majors, and working with others’ writing is an excellent way to hone your own craft.
Undergraduate Research Symposium: Each spring, SAU hosts a symposium where students can present their research to their peers and professors. The symposium is run along the lines of an academic conference; there are concurrent sessions of three or four presenters with time for questions at the end of each panel. In addition, the top three essays receive a cash prize.
Oxford BestSemester Program: Some of our top majors choose to spend a semester studying in Oxford. This program allows students to walk in the footsteps of C. S. Lewis and the other Inklings while engaging in rigorous study with an Oxford tutor.
A degree in English prepares students specifically for vocations in education, journalism and writing. However, because the discipline is firmly rooted in the classics and in the liberal arts, it also prepares students for opportunities in more diverse fields that require a broad educational base, such as advertising, marketing, public relations and law. For more information, visit our career development section.
In recent years, 97 percent of our graduates have been employed or accepted into graduate school within nine months of receiving their degree. Contrary to popular belief, none of them have worked as baristas for a coffee shop (not that there’s anything wrong with that — we love good coffee!). Instead, our graduates have landed jobs as writers for newspapers or corporations, copy-editors, teachers and lab technicians, and several have gone on to pursue graduate degrees in English and library science.
Sample career paths for English majors:
• Pursue the varied aspects of word delivery: writing, journalism, publishing and broadcasting
• Get a masters degree in library science and work in a public or university library
• Work in public relations
• Teach in elementary and secondary education
• Attend graduate school to teach in higher education or English as a second language
• Pursue graduate work in philosophy and/or theology
• Complete a law degree
• Travel to follow a career in international relations or missions
• Engage in a text-related career in medicine, industry, or business