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ERIC Number: EJ1097576
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0007-8034
What Can They Do with an English Major?: Showing Students the Breadth of the Discipline through the Introductory Course to the Discipline and Advising
Brown, Kevin
CEA Forum, v38 n2 Sum-Fall 2009
To say that English undergraduates struggle with their post-graduate identities is to understate the obvious. Almost every article or book that discusses career paths or the job market for graduates with a degree in English relates that students do not know what to do with an undergraduate degree, save for teaching or graduate studies in English. Most professors do not know what their graduates do after they leave their institution. Thus, they continue to teach, as if all of their students will pursue graduate work or teach. This ignorance leads to a curriculum and advising that does students a disservice. This article discusses the importance of examining where graduates actually work so that adjustments can be made in courses and interactions with students to better help them see all of their true possibilities. Those who argue that a major overhaul of the English curriculum is not necessary--that the major is already well designed for those who are interested in the broader range of this discipline--are correct. Reading and analyzing literature has been preparing students for a range of interests for decades, as previous survey information communicates. Thus, it is not necessary to revise English degrees to make them more practical; instead, the way English professors communicate their discipline to their students must be reshaped. There are two areas where professors can give students this message in ways that do not disrupt English departments, but that will still serve students well: (1) the introductory course to the English major; and (2) advising. The discipline of English is a solid preparation for a wide variety of jobs, as decades of English majors have shown us. However, students need to know what professors are preparing them for in all its permutations; otherwise, English professors have merely taught them literature and not how and why it can matter.
College English Association. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Tests/Questionnaires; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Tennessee
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A