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About Us

  • Stop By

    Find us at Stevenson Hall 409

  • Contact Us

  • Mailing Address

    Department of English
    Illinois State University

    Campus Box 4240
    Normal, IL 61790-4240

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of English at Illinois State University, which emphasizes an English Studies model, is to:

  • Create a work environment that values all members as people and fosters positive morale and transparency where possible, acknowledges and honors the professionalism of all faculty, staff, and graduate assistants in our various roles, and recognizes the interdependence of our work through informal and formal discourse.

  • Promote innovative and dynamic pedagogical research, scholarship, and practice in the classroom and the curriculum.

  • Support through reassigned time and co-teaching opportunities interdisciplinary research and publication, while continuing to value the forms of research and publication that are appropriate to a particular field.

  • Continue to articulate and revise a multi-dimensional understanding of English Studies that responds to the changing needs of our students, the field, and the world.

  • Maintain our commitment to providing students with a learning environment and community that supports growth as individuals, professionals, and citizens.

  • Strengthen diversity in the composition of our faculty, students, and curricular and pedagogical approaches through individual, programmatic, and departmental action.

  • Secure the human resources, facilities and other resources required to support excellence in scholarship, teaching, and research.

Affiliated Groups

The English Department collaborates with affiliated units, organizations, and journals to provide services and opportunities to students, faculty, and community members at local, regional, and national levels.

A Note From the Chair

Dr. Katherine Ellison

Are you a parent whose child has expressed an interest in majoring in English, and you wonder what we do and whether that is a wise choice? Are you a high school student trying to figure out where to apply and whether majoring in English is a good fit for you? Are you a prospective graduate student wondering if our Master’s or PhD program can prepare you for the career you are dreaming of?

How I answer those questions depends upon my audience, but the strengths I can boast about are the same. We are a department committed to exploring the power of language, storytelling, and narrative. We are committed to diversity in the range of topics we pursue and the texts we read, to inclusion in the expert voices that we seek to help us and in the welcome spaces we provide for you to join those voices. We care deeply about equity in the educational experience that we promise you, in our small classes and through our own research of the wide range of fields we offer you. We train students to be ready for this world as it exists now and to adapt to the world of tomorrow, and they find employment in a range of amazing careers, from law to business ownership to editing and publishing, library science, government positions and politics, technology, and of course education, secondary and higher.

Here in Normal, Illinois, you can study Creative Writing, English Education, Publishing Studies, Rhetoric, Writing Studies, Technical Communication, Children’s Literature, Literary & Cultural Studies, Linguistics, and TESOL. We provide the widest range of options you will find in the state of Illinois and across the Midwest. You can specialize in one you love the most in a sequence, like the Technical Writings and Rhetorics sequence (click the Undergraduate link above for our other sequences), or you can work across these disciplines to be an English Studies major.

Why support your child in this choice? Why make this choice as a student trying to figure out your future? This is why: Never has our world, and our culture, needed experts in the civilized art of argumentation and persuasion like we do today. We are the original influencers. (Rhetoric) Never have we more needed citizens who can express their thoughts clearly, artfully, and informatively through writing. Writing is everything we do – texts, emails, blogs, reviews, newsfeeds, you name it. The genres and surfaces may change, but good writing is forever. (Composition and Writing Studies) Never have we needed citizens who can recognize fiction and its tropes and plots like we do today, especially as we now consider the impact of Artificial Intelligence on how we communicate and make art. (Literary & Cultural Studies)

Never before have we so needed experts who understand how the English language changes with each generation and as diverse cultures interact with it, learn it, and share it. (Linguistics and TESOL) Never before have we more needed creative writers – human creative writers -- who can capture the experiences we are now facing. (Creative Writing) Never have we so needed teachers. We need teachers with real training in the field, with compassion and expert knowledge, with stamina and clarity of purpose, with commitment to equity in education. (English Education) Never before have we more needed experts in Children’s Literature to help us appreciate the importance of finding ourselves – our unique, diverse selves -- in a narrative, as a child or young adult. (Children’s Literature) Never before have we so needed expert writers who can translate complex language and content for any audience across this globe. (Technical Writing) Never before has the world of publishing been more exciting, as writers publish online and still in print with small and large publishing houses. The business of publishing – and making writing public – is in constant change. (Publishing Studies) Never before have we more needed scholars who can and will speak back to book bannings and censorship. (All Of Us)

Join us and use your expertise in language and narrative to make a positive difference in this world!

Dr. Katherine Ellison
Department of English