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Through sustained practice in reading, writing, and discussion, our students develop critical literacy for a digital age. Our programs foster enduring habits of mind such as intellectual curiosity, thoughtful analysis, a playful imagination, an openness to change and uncertainty, and a passion for literature in its myriad forms. 

Our courses and programs advance the Department’s mission by fostering a number of distinct but related student learning outcomes.

Through small class sizes, intense one-on-one collaboration with expert faculty, writing and editing for the Periphery literary magazine and the Drake Community Press, international study seminars, and internship and professionalization opportunities, our students learn to think critically about culture in the myriad ways it manifests itself—in fiction, poetry, film, drama, new media, public discourse, and advertising. With second majors in such fields as journalism, education, the social sciences, graphic design, theatre, environmental science, and biochemistry and molecular biology, most of our students complement their lifelong interest in writing and literature with preparation in specific professional programs.

Students meet and work with high-profile writers visiting as part of our Susan Glaspell Writers and Critics Series. Recent guests have included Alison Bechdel, Ana Menendez, George Saunders, and Leslie Jamison.

Our alumni put their skills as analytical readers and effective writers to use in a variety of professional fields: advertising, communications strategy, law, public-policy consultancy, performance, art-making, design, education, and, of course, writing and editing for the page, stage, and screens. Many pursue graduate degrees in creative writing, gender studies, film studies, and literature. They are highly sought-after candidates for positions in small start-ups and international firms alike, in the public and private sector, in high schools and universities. While some of our graduates make their homes nearby, others build meaningful and rewarding lives all over the country and the globe.


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