English department to add new concentration for students

By Azmeh Talha

Transcript reporter


English majors at Ohio Wesleyan University’s (OWU)  will be offtered two concentrations in the major, creating a clearer path to graduation.

The concentrations that will be offered are English for Educators and a Creative Writing Concentration.

Associate Professor of English, Nancy Comorau was one of the people that worked towards getting the concentrations approved.

“I thought, what if we just had a clear set of requirements that fit what’s needed for licensure, fit what’s needed for an English major and give students one path to graduation,” Comorau said.

Under the old system, students who wanted to be English teachers and finish with licensure had to take a number of literature courses, Comorau said. The names of the courses however, were unclear and were different from the way the English department talked about where the discipline of English is going.

One of the unclear categories in the department was “ethnic or women writers” Comorau said. Comorau questioned what ethnic really means and asked faculty in the education department.

Comorau met with Professor Campbell Scribner, a former associate professor in the education department to clarify what these terms mean.

“I asked somebody in education to meet with me and I said well does ethnic mean minorities within a majority of culture, African American, Latinx etc,” Comorau said. “Or does ethnic mean nonwhite.”  

Another confusing category in the English department world literature. Although it was called world literature, the category contained mainly work written by European authors.

Literature from Africa, South Asia and The Caribbean was not a part of any world literature courses. This led to Comorau questioning whether literature from this part of the world is considered to be world literature.

Mark Allison, associate professor and chair of the English department said getting the concentration approved was a collective effort of the department.

There was some ambiguity that students had to confront about which classes satisfied which requirements. This clarified what classes students should take to satisfy their requirements, making it more manageable for students, Allison said.  

“Nancy Comorau in particular deserves credit for really working, collaborating with the education faculty to create the new English for educators concentration,” Allison said.

New additional courses will be offered for the creative writing concentration such as fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry, Allison said. Courses offered will be both lower and upper level classes.

“We’ve effectively almost doubled the strength of our creative writing options,” Allison said.

The motion to create the creative writing resolution was approved on Feb. 18, 2019.

The statement of rationale to create this concentration mentioned the benefits of the concentration.

“… We believe a unique major will better serve and prepare our creative writers for professional careers that extend far beyond Ohio Wesleyan University.”

The statement also mentioned the concentration will “not only attract students but retain them once they matriculate.”

New courses that will be offered are ENG 200.3: Fiction I and ENG 315: Creative Nonfiction II.