The Department of English offers students the opportunity to major or minor in either English or writing. Within our majors, students choose courses that fit with their areas of interest, often taking courses outside the department—including study abroad—to fulfill program requirements. Our commitment to flexibility in meeting every student’s needs distinguishes our programs.

In the words of one of our students: “You have options, which makes the program and classes you choose more individualized and more likely to be classes that you will truly enjoy, not classes you ‘have to take.’”

Teaching and learning take place beyond the classroom, too. Our courses incorporate international travel, service learning, and internships. Our students continually report very high satisfaction with their English and writing majors, the quality of the classroom experience, and advising, and experience immense advancement in their writing and critical thinking.

Our faculty are highly accomplished, award-winning professional writers, critics, film-makers, artists, and performers who encourage students to pursue their passions. Our professors, who hold terminal degrees in their fields, have won major awards for teaching, creative writing, scholarship, and professional engagement, including the highest number of Madelyn M. Levitt Teacher and Mentor of the Year Awards of any department in the University. They have been awarded Fulbright fellowships, the Luther W. Stalnaker lectureship, the Nelle and Ellis Levitt Distinguished Professorship, and the Arts and Sciences Teacher of the Year and Distinguished Engagement awards. Major university and scholarly presses and distinguished journals publish our books, essays, stories, and poems.

The department’s most recent external review reports numerous strengths in our faculty, courses, and over-all curriculum:

  • Excellent, innovative, and rigorous teaching.
  • Extraordinary care for students.
  • Innovation of curriculum, with plentiful opportunities for students to apply their learning beyond the classroom.
  • Connections between the department’s mission and the goals of the University.
  • Talented students with a strong commitment to their majors.

Faculty who are active, productive scholars while fully committed to their teaching and administrative responsibilities.


ArtSci News
October 20, 2016
The Comparison Project will present the third event in its 2016–2017 series on death and dying. A community interfaith dialogue on Oct. 27 will feature representatives of three different refugee religions in Des Moines.