Department of English | University of Portland

Department of English

Guided by a faculty of scholars and writers, the English program engages the intellects and imaginations of English majors through a coherent overview of literatures in English. It leads them to read texts closely and think critically, to write with clarity and compose well-argued essays, to know how to conduct productive research in literary studies, to experience literature as a powerful way of knowing about cultures and the lived life, and to speak and write publicly about literature and life. The English program at the University of Portland also teaches critical reading of literary genres and analytical writing to all University students in the Core. In these ways, the English program helps to develop the whole person and serves the principles of a Catholic and a Holy Cross education.

English faculty group photo Fall 17

Jessie Hethcoat

Jessie Hethcoat - Class of 2012

"The skills that I developed while studying literature and psychology are transferable to medicine. Each encounter with a patient is a new story, and their complaint a new puzzle that must be solved. Just as physics and calculus taught me a way of solving complex problems, the study of literature taught me disciplined thinking and analysis. "

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Tyler Moss

Tyler Moss - Class of 2011

"The skills I developed as an English major had a far broader application than I could've ever imagined. In addition to improving the overall quality of my writing, I learned how to form clear and cogent arguments supported by strong evidence. Even more unexpected was the prowess I would gain in terms of the ability to conduct research—a proficiency that is highly valued in any number of career paths."

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Jen Vierck

Jen Vierck - Class of 2009

"I’ve always loved stories. I gobbled books, movies, and (of course) television. At the University of Portland I was introduced to a whole new world of stories, but more importantly I gained the tools to think critically about them. I learned to ask questions about what makes a story compelling, how to form them structurally, and what connects stories to us as human beings"

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Laura Eager

Laura Eager - Class of 2012

"The best part of my experience as an English major was my wonderful professors. They are smart, caring, funny, and engaging. Four years after graduation, I still keep in touch with some of them. One of the advantages of having attended a small university like UP is the ability to develop close relationships with faculty. I don't know if I would have developed such relationships at a larger university."

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Alex Dickinson

Alex Dickinson - Class of 2013

"UP made me into the writer and thinker that I am. Much of what I do on a daily basis is high-level conceptual thinking and strategy, which I'm so much better at because I practiced reading and analyzing work. But the other big part of my job is looking at writing under a magnifying glass. The patience acquired from taking my time with my own writing in school, scrutinizing every word, to meet the high standards set by my instructors, showed me what it takes to make the best piece of writing possible. And that's what's required of a professional writer."

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