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Chair's Message

Thanks for visiting the Department of English website.

 Our department is growing with the State of Texas and with Texas State. In the 2016-2017 academic year, more than 800 undergraduate and graduate students majored in English. Our faculty number more than 100, and each year we hire an additional 60 graduate students as assistants. English instructors teach students who fill more than 20,000 classroom seats.

The department offers a BA with an option for teacher certification and undergraduate emphases in creative writing, film, professional writing, and writing and rhetoric, and it offers undergraduate minors in writing, media studies, medieval and renaissance studies, and Southwestern studies. Our MFA in Creative Writing and MAs in Literature, Rhetoric and Composition, and Technical Communication are among the largest, most productive, and most respected in the nation. In recent years, 25% to 30% of master’s theses completed on our campus for May commencement have been written by English majors. Undergraduate and graduate internships offer guided experience in editing, technical writing, and related fields. The department’s Writing Center, located in the first level of Academic Services Building-North (ASBN), serves writers from across campus, filling approximately 8,000 tutorial appointments each year.

Graduates of our department are employed in many areas. They teach K-12 and in colleges and universities; they pursue graduate studies in English, law, business, and many other fields; and they work in publishing companies, businesses, and in communications areas of law firms, medical centers, high tech companies, scientific and medical organizations. Proficient in analysis, evaluation, and the production of discourse, our majors take on many jobs and do them extraordinarily well.

But numbers and facts don’t tell the whole story.

In our department, we discuss and critique great ideas; great works of literature; significant theories of beauty, reading, writing, meaning, and communication. We watch, analyze, and assess great performances of discourse and video. We observe the literary products of popular culture, since they help us understand dynamic literary, rhetorical, and aesthetic techniques and values.

We read writing by authors from Great Britain, Ireland, the Americas and Caribbean, Canada, Australia, India, and other English-speaking nations, as well as translated works from around the globe. We read and write about authors of European, Hispanic, African American, Native American, Southwestern American, African, and Asian culture and heritage. We study abroad in places like England, Ireland, Australia, Iceland, and Germany. Our department is diverse and inclusive, and we value, respect, and learn from the backgrounds and interests of our many students.

Thanks to the Therese Kayser Lindsey Endowment and the University Chair in Creative Writing, we hear some of the world’s greatest writers reading their own work and teaching writing workshops on our campus. Past readers and chair holders include, to name but a few, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Leslie Marmon Silko, Louise Erdrich, Margaret Atwood, W. S. Merwin, Sandra Cisneros, Ai, Maxine Hong Kingston, Denis Johnson, Li-Young Lee, Barry Hannah, Cristina García, Tim O’Brien, Marlon James, and Ada Límon.

Texas State faculty and students have access to the work of leading American writers. For two years beginning fall 2017, Karen Russell, author of the best-selling, acclaimed novel Swamplandia! and three other creative books as well as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur Genius, and Guggenheim Fellow, joins the department as the University Chair of Creative Writing. Ms. Russell will work alongside our nationally and internationally recognized faculty and affiliated faculty, including Professor of Creative Writing Tim O’Brien and Visiting Professor of Creative Writing Naomi Shihab Nye. Through the Wittliff Collections in Alkek Library, English majors have access to literary archives of major Southwest American and American writers, such as Cormac McCarthy and Sandra Cisneros. Thanks to the L. D. and Laverne Harrell Clark Endowment, we are able to offer one of the largest prizes for fiction in the country, with the inaugural Clark Prize winner named in 2017 after a rigorous competition: Jim Shepard, for The Book of Aron

In and out of classes faculty and students in the English department talk about language and its syntactical, rhetorical, and logical expression for varied audiences, and we study language as a foundation for thought, expression, and communication. We enjoy reading and hearing what others have written, and we too play with words to see what they can do.

We produce writing—lots of it. We write and revise in first-year composition, in literature courses, in courses about rhetoric and composition, in technical communication courses, in courses about film and media, and in courses that focus on creative writing. Senior professors and the most recently enrolled freshmen engage in a common effort to write clearly and proficiently. We write to express ideas and feelings; to understand the ideas or creative work of others; to help others learn; to help others write better; to edit what others have written; to communicate to diverse audiences; and to express complex bureaucratic, legal, medical, and scientific concepts clearly and accurately. We produce essays, documented papers, case studies, reports, short stories, poems, novels, memoirs, book reviews, journal articles, scholarly chapters, editions, textbooks, books of criticism, grants, memoranda, and much more.

Again, thanks for visiting this site. If you wish to learn more about our department or the English major, please explore this website and visit us in Flowers Hall.

Dr. Daniel Lochman


Daniel T. Lochman
Professor and Department Chair