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bookshelf of Parnassus issues

English Majors Primed for Competitive Job Market

  • By: Anna Molendorp
  • Published:
Covers of Relief Journal

In an economic climate that can result in frequent career changes, English is a versatile field of study. Taylor’s English Program invests in its students in many ways outside of the classroom, providing students with experiences that will carry them into their vocation. 

Taylor’s English graduates have become educators, lawyers, businesspeople, marketers, archivists, librarians, graduate students, editors, and writers in all disciplines. With highly transferable skills like critical thinking, analyzing information, and creativity, studying English can open countless doors. 

Literary Journals, Publishing Experience

Parnassus is a student-run literary journal that showcases poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, illustrations, and photographs from student submissions. The editorial team develops a theme for the edition, gathers submissions in October, edits the content, and publishes the finished product in the spring. Submissions are open to all students. 

“Students build skills that can be transferable to many areas in collecting the creative work of others because you do have to build trust in that space to collect submissions,” Department Chair & Associate Professor of English Dr. Carrie King said. “Students are building marketing skills and event planning skills, as well as all the editorial work.”

Junior English Education major EJ Crowe, this year’s editor, cherishes the collaboration within the staff of unique and opinionated individuals united by their love for literature. 

She leads the class with Dr. Aaron Householder as the class’s advisor and is proud of the record number of submissions they received from the student body. 

“In theory, that means we get to be more selective, which means that we’re only taking the best of the best, and the literary journal will be excellent.”

After a semester of editorial work with Parnassus, these students can take the second Literary Editing and Publishing course and work for a national journal, Relief

Unlike Parnassus, this journal is sold, not freely distributed, but students utilize the skills developed in Parnassus as they decipher what elements make for literature worthy of national publication. Students also receive mentorship from Relief’s editorial staff and collaborate with one another to develop their craft.

Present Research at Conferences

Taylor’s English Department hosts the Making Literature Conference, an undergraduate research conference held on campus. Students from all over the country take part in sharing their research in creative writing and literature.

“It's unique in that most conferences in English—undergraduate research conferences—are centered either on creative writing or literature,” King said. “They're not both, and ours marries the disciplines. We invite others in both areas and celebrate what they've been writing and developing. We then bring in authors and literature scholars, and we have great conversations around words and language.”

During these conferences, students can build connections and present themselves as true scholars in their fields. Due to Covid-19, this conference hasn’t been held for the past few years but plans for a 2025 Making Literature Conference are underway. 

Travel Abroad: Literary London

The Literary London J-term trip gives students of all majors, specifically English majors, a chance to study how literature has impacted the history of England and Scotland, and how history has impacted literature.

For the month of January, students tour places like Westminster Abbey, the National Gallery, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, and literary sites like Chawton, Jane Austen’s home.

Students were able to handle this old Bible at the Canterbury Cathedral Archives.

The three-week length of the trip means students can customize the trip to fit their areas of study. Senior English Creative Writing major Lydia Price took full advantage of this.

“It was a sort of pilgrimage,” Price said. “I saw Jane Austen’s desk. I saw Charles Dickens’ grave. It felt very confirming of my calling. I had so much delight in so many opportunities to walk in the footsteps of these great writers.”

For English Education majors, this experience could similarly be tailored toward learning about the rich history of England and Scotland is featured in literary classics they may teach in class.

“One of the great things that you just get to do as an educator is to collect stories and examples, you get to more accurately describe places where things happened,” Price said. “Obviously, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens were describing their home in their writing, and so being able to go on these high-quality tours is really informative as an educator to learn about people and the places in which literature took place.”

English students visit Chawton Cottage, the home of Jane Austen. 

Teaching and Coaching Experience

Part of Taylor’s Academic Enrichment Center, The Writing Center is free for all students, where they can get help in improving the quality of their written work. 

Student tutors employed at the Writing Center guide their peers through conceptualizing, outlining, writing, editing, and creating citations for their papers. This provides them with work experience that graduate students can take with them to graduate school and apply to work in similar roles. 

Students interested in teaching can also join the WORDshop! team, a group of students who work with Dr. Carie King, Director of WORDshop! to design and then teach a writing summer camp for area youth. This is an excellent opportunity to combine a student’s love for youth as well as the theory and pedagogy they have been studying to create a week of celebrating all things words.

Find Your Niche

Our English Program allows for students to delve into either English Education, Creative Writing, or English Literature. To explore each of these options in full, schedule a visit and speak with a professor today!