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Department of English

Mission Statement

The English Department at Kansas State University is committed to enhancing the intellectual and cultural lives of its students, its faculty, and the citizens of the region. Through high quality instruction, research, and service, it works to sustain a deep level of critical and creative thinking about literature and the world and to encourage habits of mind that serve as the foundation for a variety of future careers for Kansas State students. 


English Department courses require that students read, write, and think analytically, thus strengthening the foundations of the educational experience for every college student. Department faculty teach students how to read a variety of texts literally, aesthetically, critically, and historically. They also teach students to write effectively and persuasively, with an awareness of audience and purpose. The English department works to achieve its goals by fostering substantial understanding of literatures in English from various genres and time periods and by teaching students to comprehend the relation between literature and culture as well as the structure and history of the English language itself.

The Kansas State English department offers an undergraduate degree in English with an emphasis in one of three areas: British and American literature, creative writing and literature, and English with a teaching concentration. It also offers a Masters degree with four tracks: 1) British and American literature, which allows students to emphasize any time period in either national literature; 2) creative writing and literature, which lets students concentrate on creative work in drama, fiction, nonfiction, and/or poetry; 3) cultural studies and literature, which concentrates on the theoretical bases for examining cultural texts and contexts; and 4) language, composition/rhetoric, and literature, which emphasizes coursework on language, composition, and rhetorical theory. Masters students typically serve as Graduate Teaching Assistants for expository writing courses.

The English department teaches approximately five hundred classes per year, the largest number in the university. The majority of classes address three primary student constituencies: English undergraduate majors, students in the M.A. program, and expository writing students. The department also teaches a wide array of service courses for introductory literature students, technical writing courses for engineers, humanities and children's literature courses for future teachers, and upper-level writing courses for selected majors across campus.. The department is committed to high quality instruction through active learning. It values diversity in its faculty, student body, and the content of its classes. 


The English department promotes research and creative work that furthers appreciation and understanding of language, culture and literature. The faculty's involvement in research is vital to maintaining the department's mission in the classroom, the university, and the culture at large. Discovering and disseminating such work is central to the department's mission. Its faculty pursue research and publish in a wide variety of areas, including the critical and historical examination of literary texts, rhetorical theory, critical theory and cultural studies, pedagogies in literature and composition, children's literature, linguistics, and media. Faculty also publish fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction. 


Through a variety of roles, the English department involves itself actively in service that benefits students, the department, the university, the profession and the region. In concert with its teaching mission, the department continuously reviews its curriculum for relevance and quality. Its commitment to students is exemplified through a recently-developed Graduate Certificate in Technical Communication, a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies, and participation in the Natural Resources and Environmental Studies program. The department also provides extra-curricular opportunities for students in the study abroad programs; English Honoraries; clubs, programs and journals aimed at undergraduates; and career counseling. Faculty members coordinate and host an annual literary festival and an annual cultural studies symposium. Both events reach large numbers of students, as well as the Kansas community, and both feature nationally and internationally prominent creative writers, scholars and students in an array of disciplines and activities.

The department is also actively involved in department and university governance through various committees, through membership on university advisory boards, and through faculty senate. English faculty also represent their profession on a national and international level: as conference participants, as journal and book reviewers, as officers and committee members on national boards, as leaders of state and national professional organizations and as editorial board members for the University Press of Kansas.