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  • Group of students with Danez Smith
  • Boy cutting paper on floor
  • Gannon cutting up paper
  • English
  • English
  • English
  • English
  • English
  • English
  • Professor Janet Schrunk Ericksen

Group of students with author Danez Smith (far left) and assistant professor Angela Hume (grey blazer)

Joseph Lauer cutting up and rearranging essays in associate professor Tisha Turk's "Understanding Writing."

Gannon Youakim cutting up and rearranging essays in associate professor Tisha Turk's "Understanding Writing."

Sigma Tau Delta members arrange a Briggs Library book display, 2016 (photo by Angie Stangl)

English alum and current editor of The Morris Sun Tribune Kim Ukura moderates a discussion at the annual Prairie Gate Literary Festival (2015)

UMM and UMTC students in Dublin during the Irish Texts and Contexts study abroad course, 2014 (photo by Julie Eckerle)

Associate Professor Janet Ericksen moderates a discussion with UMM English alumni.

English faculty at the end of the Commencement ceremony.

English faculty member and poet Athena Kildegaard speaks at the EcoStation Dedication (2015)

Janet Schrunk Ericksen working with literature students.

“Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost.” —Henry James

The English Discipline at Morris combines a faculty of dedicated and accomplished writers and scholars with a curriculum that offers both focus and variety. Aiming to provide the foundation for success after graduation in any field, faculty cultivate in students intellectual independence; clear, confident expression; broad perspectives—the prerequisites for distinction in literary pursuits, and, not surprisingly, attributes of a life engaged fully.

Morris Advantages

Classes are small, which promotes dialogue both more incisive and more comfortable than is possible in larger classes. The benefits are nuanced conversations among peers, time for investigations of unexpected discoveries, and a more profound understanding of subject matter.

English students choose from a wide variety of electives, more than half of the courses that make up their major, and often work with faculty to shape programs of study that focus in-depth on topics that interest them.

Students can choose electives to emphasize, for instance:

  • Multicultural literature
  • Medieval literature
  • Creative writing

Study abroad is strongly encouraged and can usually be quite easily included in the curriculum.

The English faculty’s own research interests yield a wide array of possibilities for students to pursue, and the faculty work closely with students to develop a course of study that responds to individual goals and aspirations.

Morris English students and faculty are among the most active on campus. There are ample opportunities for students, including:

  • Publishing in campus journals
  • Sharing work at readings
  • Participating in community outreach or other programs
  • Exploring contemporary and evolving subjects through cross-disciplinary offerings

Graduates of the English Discipline at Morris have entered diverse fields. What they share is an appreciation of how valuable the critical thinking and communication skills they mastered at Morris have proved in their careers.

Successful Outcomes

Morris English students have enjoyed uncommon success after graduation, entering the ranks of:

  • Journalists
  • Writers
  • Editors
  • Publishers
  • Lawyers
  • Teachers 
  • Other professions

Many have pursued advanced study in MFA and PhD programs at highly regarded institutions, such as Notre Dame, Ohio State University, Indiana University, and many others.