Gender and Women’s Studies
It’s been in the news lately—companies love English majors and employers want to hire them. Why? English majors know how to read and think critically from years of textual analysis in class discussions. Furthermore, English majors have honed the craft of essay writing to an art form. Critical thinking and clear, effective written communication are essential to employers—and English majors excel in those areas.
Points of Distinction
The English major at Blackburn is unique in the variety of courses we offer: traditional historical surveys to specialized topics such as Gender in Literature, African American Literature, and Literature and the Natural World, to name a few.
Some literature classes will be small (6-12 students) and some will be big (20-25 students), which allows English majors to intellectually engage with a variety of their peers—other English majors and students from across campus—in discussion-based courses. Literature classes are often small group discussions in which the professor and students sit in a circle and converse about their ideas and reactions to what they read.
Why this Major?
English is the cornerstone of the liberal arts education because literature is also the study of history, culture, gender, class, race and nation as they work together to form human identity.
Students who love to read and who think stories are a window into history and human culture should think about becoming an English major. Majors will carefully analyze written works, understand their historical and cultural contexts, and converse with classmates and professors about their close readings in discussion-based courses.
Several of our classes and Work Program jobs allow English majors to gain hands-on experience in the field. For example, students in the Publication and Production class produce the college’s annual literary magazine, Vortex. English majors work closely with professors as writing assistants both in the first year writing classroom and in the college’s writing center, The Writer’s Block. Students also write, edit, and design for the college’s newspaper, The ‘Burnian.
Activities & Events
The annual Louise Allen Creative Writing Contest
The annual publication of the college’s literary magazine, Vortex
The annual Graham Symposium, a day of creative workshops aimed at local high school students
The annual First Year Writing Awards Happy Hour
Annual creative writing write-ins
Clubs & Organizations
The creative writing club, Lethologica
The Harry Potter club
Spectrum, the college’s LGBTQIA+ support and ally group
The Black Student Union
Work Program Opportunities
- Writing assistant for The Writer’s Block, the college’s writing center
- Writers and editors for The ‘Burnian, the college’s student newspaper
- English & Communications department assistant
- Writers for the Public Relations department
Hot Job Outlooks
- Graduate School / Professor
Former Student Marshall Shelby Rainford (‘18) works for a law firm in Chicago and will soon be going to graduate school
Ethan Klaffer (‘17) was recently honored as Outstanding Beginning Teacher from the Illinois Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
Katie Payne (‘17) puts her writing skills to use at a law firm in St. Louis
Katie Szerletich (‘14) began her career in instructional design in Chicago and now works for the University of Illinois, Springfield
Our faculty stay current in their fields by attending and presenting at professional conferences and publishing in their areas of specialty:
Dr. Karen Dillon, Chair of English & Communications, recently published the book The Spectacle of Twins in American Literature and Popular Culture
Dr. Ren Draya, Professor of English and Creative Writing, recently presented the talk “Music in Shakespeare’s The Tempest” to the Greater New York City chapter of the American Musicological Society
Dr. Naomi Crummey, Professor of English and Creative Writing, recently published the article “Portrait of My Aging Female Body” in the Canadian literary magazine Grain