School of Liberal Arts
Chair: Professor Steven Scherwatzky
Professors Plasse and Vatalaro
Associate Professors Keohan, McWhorter
Assistant Professors Duffy-Comparone, Pottroff and Vogel
Students in the Merrimack English program learn that literature, film and other forms of storytelling have the capacity to influence social change, challenge dominant versions of history, rewrite cultural myths, shape concepts of identity, and represent aspects of lived experience that cannot be expressed fully by other means. They become knowledgeable about the ways in which culture shapes word, artist, reader, text and events, and they develop an understanding of the entire creative process, from the creation of imaginative writing to the interpretation of it by skilled, agile readers.
Our small course sizes promote close contact between students and professors and permit faculty to read carefully and respond thoughtfully to what students have written. We dedicate ourselves to fostering conversation about literature and writing in and out of the classroom; we quickly learn and remember our students’ names; we devote individual attention to those who seek it. We value all forms of writing, whether formal or informal, creative or academic, because we have found that writing triggers discovery, cultivates the formation of dialogue between readers and books, and closes the distance between readers.
English Department faculty recognize that, in addition to advancing students’ ability to read and write well about traditional literary texts, a good program in English will also provide opportunities for developing increased understanding of the scope of literary creativity, including the creation of imaginative writing, for cultivating the ability to interpret and examine the value of narratives in alternative media (digital, film, graphic), and for drawing attention to the often overlooked contributions made by other factors during the creative process, such as the influences of climate and location. To serve these purposes, we currently offer concentrations in creative writing and film.
Our mission dovetails firmly with the goals of the School of Liberal Arts by creating an intellectual platform that enables students to become well-informed and reflective critical thinkers, that provides them with opportunities to participate in the process of discovering and making knowledge and that incorporates hands-on, experiential, and collaborative learning experiences-including with faculty-into its program and courses. Majors and minors in English benefit from having freedom in the design of their programs, aided by their faculty advisors, and from participating in the many activities supported by the department, including those promoting interaction among faculty, students and alumni, and co-curricular internships that give students experience in event programming, writing, editing, publishing, and sharing original scholarship with others.
Note that English department policy does not allow for English majors to take English courses on a pass/fail basis. Given that it is not their primary area of study, English minors are allowed to take one English course pass/fail, which cannot count toward the minor. Please see the English department page on the Merrimack College website for a complete listing of departmental policies.
ProgramsBachelor of ArtsMinor