Department of English, Communication & Media Studies
Our department offers highly versatile majors and minors that prepare students for success in a wide range of workplaces in our rapidly changing world.
Our students build their writing, speaking, and media skills in an environment that encourages creativity and critical thinking. Majors and minors in the English, Communication and Media Studies department benefit from broad training, and students go on to specialize in an area of their choosing.
Some of our majors focuses on great storytelling and the growth of writers, editors, journalists and/or publishers. Other majors may focus on developing expertise in interactive media and games. For those students who dream of becoming a high school English teacher, the English Education Major offers the best path to this career. Students who are content creators, work with digital media, or want to pursue broadcasting, will find that we offer the flexible English & Communication Studies Major for this purpose. Some majors plan to pursue a career in front of the camera, while others are passionate about what happens behind the camera. We nurture individual talents and prepare you for the world of work.
Department Outcomes and Values
1. Effective Communication– All ECM majors get lots of practice in written and spoken communication. For example, one of our recent new courses, “Improving Conversation and Communication,” focuses on developing students’ conversational skills. In this course, you will learn by doing as you try techniques in how to talk to other people to achieve your communication goals.
2. Historical & Formal Contexts– Students learn about the history and development of the English language. They also consider how contexts, such as a particular period in history, affect the understanding of literary, expressive, or strategic communication. For example, a recent alumna completed her senior capstone project by blogging on the development of racial profiling in the U.S. She researched different U.S. time periods to raise awareness about the origins of racial profiling.
3. Diversity & Difference– Communities and identity help shape who we are. Students develop their awareness of how differences among people enrich our world through courses such as “African American Writers” and “Gender and Sexuality in Literature.”
4. Critical Methods– Students learn how professionals organize knowledge in ECM-related fields.
5. Creativity & Innovation– Our faculty members know that life skills such as problem-solving and leadership depend on creativity. Students develop their creativity and innovation skills by taking creative writing classes, writing for digital media, publishing works in newspapers and literary magazines, creating game narratives, and exploring new talents through project-based learning. Our students make use of the Global Communication Center to produce creative content. Hands-on practice is how you will learn in courses, skills like media production, podcasting, and digital videography.
As communicators and critical thinkers, our students learn how to command attention in any situation regardless of the audience. In addition to gaining discipline-specific knowledge, students develop core skills, such as the ability to work independently and collaborate with others successfully, engage others through their oral conversation skills, use project-based inquiry to find solutions to problems, and write effectively. All of these core skills are highly marketable in a variety of workplaces.
Majors and Minors
Awards, Honors, & Published Works
Our student-run publications have won numerous awards. You can browse the list of award-winning issues of the college newspaper, The Collegian , or head over to our creative magazine, The Lyre, which is edited by students and features poetry, stories, photography, and other art.
The ECM department annually awards a number of prizes including:
- The L.L. Smith Memorial Award
- The Mary Ginn Award
- The Olena Bunn Award
The department also runs a chapter of the international English honors society, Sigma Tau Delta. Students may be eligible to receive participation grants while working on The Collegian or The Lyre. Incoming students can email Dr. Johns about receiving the participation grant at firstname.lastname@example.org. ECM majors and minors may also apply for the competitive Global Communication Center Fellows program.