Welcome to the Web site for UCA’s English department. Our department offers you the opportunity to obtain the highest quality education in language and literature in the state of Arkansas—a solid liberal arts education at a state university price. We also aim to foster among our students and within the larger central Arkansas community an appreciation of the importance for the citizens in a free society of reading, writing, the skills of critical thinking, and a knowledge of our creative and intellectual traditions.
We believe you will find our programs stimulating, challenging, and intellectually exciting. Recent evaluations have found our faculty’s professional credentials to be particularly impressive, superior to English faculties at any of our peer institutions. But these are faculty dedicated to teaching undergraduate students: Indeed, two of our current faculty are winners of the University’s Outstanding Teaching Award, and several others have won the Outstanding Faculty Member award for the College of Liberal Arts.
As an English major or minor, you will join a group whose average ACT score is three points higher than the average for UCA students, and six points higher than the national average. You will be in small classes—generally around 15 students and never more than 25 in your major classes. You will be able to study a sound and varied curriculum, grounded in canonical English and American literature, but offering specialized study in African/African American literature, Post-colonial literature, Native American literature, Asian and Asian American literature, Women in literature, and more.
Further, as with other Liberal Arts majors at UCA, you will have opportunities for study abroad, undergraduate research, internships, and service learning. You may be able to travel with a professor to the British Isles, to France or Italy, or to an Indian reservation in the American southwest. You may have the opportunity to join our local chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English Honors Society, or to present your research at our annual student conference in the spring semester.
Our department offers a straightforward Bachelor of Arts degree, or a Bachelor of Arts with Licensure for students interested in teaching secondary school. On the graduate level we offer a traditional Master of Arts degree, as well as a program for teachers focused on Diverse Literatures, with courses offered only at night and during the summers. Our graduates are trained for professional positions: the BA will give you a solid foundation for a wide range of careers by giving you experience in reading, thinking, and writing critically, and by providing you with the means of understanding and appreciating the literary expression of human ideas. Students leave our program with the critical-thinking and communication skills necessary to enter careers in teaching, in business, industry, journalism, and state or federal service. Or they go on to graduate or professional schools in English, law, journalism, business, or the ministry. With that in mind, you should also remember that recent studies have shown workers in today’s world change careers four times during their lives. A solid liberal arts background gives students the breadth of knowledge, perspective and the analytical skills for the lifelong learning necessary in such an environment.
So explore our Web site if you want to find out more about us and how our program may be the perfect one for you. If you are a high school student or a potential transfer student, call our Admissions Office to take a campus tour and come to visit with members of the department. If you are a current student, stop in at Irby 317 to talk about becoming an English major. Or send me an e-mail if I can answer any questions for you. If you really want an education instead of just putting in your time for four years, then a UCA English major may be just the thing for you.
Dr. Conrad Shumaker
Interim Chair, Department of English
(501) 450-5100 Shumaker@uca.edu