English at PHC: a step forward for the Literature program

Posted by Marlowe Carroll on 3/10/23 12:19 PM

Literature to English

The Literature major at PHC is getting an update and a new name: English! While Dr. Cory Grewell, Professor of Literature, made it clear that the main goals of the major will remain the same, he is excited about the increased flexibility and visibility it will give the program.

“[An] English major allows a little more freedom in packaging your electives than the current Literature major,” Grewell said. “The Literature track offers a little bit less freedom than the current Literature major, but it’s pretty close to what we have. The Writing track is actually a somewhat significant departure.”

The English major will still be heavily focused on literature, but it will also give students the opportunity to explore different forms of media such as film and poetry in single-semester classes. Additionally, students in the major will have the option to choose one of two tracks: Literature or Writing. The basic English track will include a few new classes, but otherwise will be quite similar to the current literature major.

The Writing track includes more new classes. It is focused on students who want to teach writing or feel called to write professionally, especially fiction writers. “I also hope that with the expansion of the options we can also grow the major and include a lot of people that that are really driven to make kids [in high school] really understand the importance of language and literature in terms of shaping who they are,” Grewell said.

Learn more about Literature at PHC

The reason for the name change is mostly for visibility. Most majors that focus on the same issues are called English, so prospective students who want to write are looking for English majors. “For instance, if you're a high school senior and you want to go into English in the middle of Kansas, and you don't know Patrick Henry exists, but you're just searching Christian college, you're probably not going to search for literature programs because that's not the standard name of it,” Grewell said.

Grewell said he is excited about possibly expanding Westmarch to have a wider subscription off-campus and making it into something students can take for credit. Westmarch has been publishing stories, literary criticism, and poetry for a few years. Up to this point, students have been putting it out for fun and as a resume builder instead of for credit. “That's something that's exciting to look to,” Grewell said.

Overall, this is a step forward for the Literature major at PHC that will hopefully provide opportunities for growth in the near future. “I don't know that the change in the program is going to make waves in what's on campus right now,” Grewell said. “But I do think both in terms of classes offered and in terms of students we can recruit down the road, I think it's going to grow our ability to do that.”

This article originally appeared in PHC's journalism publication, the Herald.

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