Why Teach (Or Major) in English

jane austen bros

The internets keep throwing articles our way about the value of an English major. Check out Adam Gopnik’s “Why Teach English?” in The New Yorker online.

Writes Gopnik: “Even if we read books and talk about them for four years, and then do something else more obviously remunerative, it won’t be time wasted. We need the humanities not because they will produce shrewder entrepreneurs or kinder C.E.O.s but because, as that first professor said, they help us enjoy life more and endure it better. The reason we need the humanities is because we’re human. That’s enough.”

Edmundson’s “The Ideal English Major”


Here’s another interesting “Why English?” kind of essay, “The Ideal English Major,” from the Mark Edmundson in The Chronicle of Higher Ed.

Writes Edmundson: “The English major at her best isn’t used by language; she uses it. She bends it, inflects it with irony, and lets hyperbole bloom like a firework flower when the time’s right. She knows that language isn’t there merely to represent the world but to interpret it. Language lets her say how she feels.”

Food for thought, as we in Westminster put the wheels on another academic year.

Graphic above is from here.

Famous English Majors

steve martin reading

What do Jodie Foster, James Franco, Steven Spielberg, and Conan O’Brien have in common? Besides being famous? No, they’re not Whitworth grads (are they? I’m sure Laura, Vic, or Leonard would have mentioned this to me by now).

Answer (from the title of this blog post): They’re all English majors.

Check out Tyler Vendetti’s snappy article “Yes, I’m an English Major. No, I Will Not Be Working At McDonald’s.”

Writes Vendetti: “An English major with no internships or writing experience will receive just as much consideration in the real world as a science major with nothing to their name but a diploma and proof of occasional trips to the science building in college. Jobs don’t come from the title of your major. They come from the experience that you latch onto it. The major you choose is only useless if you let it be useless.”

Preach it.

Muppety photo is from here.

Better Food For A Better World (A Peek At Nicole’s Summer Reading & Old-Time Shameless Self-Promotion)

Better Food for a Better World

I’ll bet you’re wondering what Nicole’s been reading this summer. And has she written any book reviews lately that she’d like us to know about?

If you’re at all interested in marriage, hippies, the power of positive thinking, or ice cream, you may wish to peruse my take on Erin McGraw’s Better Food For A Better World (Slant, 2013). Now available at your local Rock & Sling blog!

EL Alum Updates: Michele Ward (’10)

michele ward

As a 2010 English (Writing Track) grad, I’ve participated in a writing residency (poetry and creative nonfiction) as part of my graduate program, continued to work as a freelance writing consultant (Writing Center jobs totally pay off!) and read at a Vagina Monologues event where other women and I shared pieces about our own bodies. I would certainly say that my English degree has accompanied me into my life post-college.

Currently, I work as a youth director at Wallingford Presbyterian Church in Seattle, Washington. I am a graduate student at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology in the divinity program. I intend to pursue ordination through the Presbyterian Church (USA) with the intention of becoming a Minister of the Word and Sacrament. My theology minor has come in particularly handy as I entered graduate school, but my English degree is the one that challenged me to think critically, engage my intuition with my mind and to argue well. Without those skills, I would not be an effective writer or serve my church community as well. The training I received did truly educate my mind and my heart. I am grateful for the professors who taught me how to write well, speak clearly and follow my passion for writing.

Michele Ward is an English alum (’10) who lives in Seattle, Washington and originally hails from Oakdale, California. Since graduation she has traveled to Thailand, Haiti and Scotland. She writes (intermittently) for two blogs: Foolish Hope and Talk to a Potato.