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

Sadie Wuertz

Sadie Wuertz - Class of 2022

"My English major granted me tons of opportunities — working as an intern, writing and editing for The Beacon, becoming a Writing Assistant, and more — but working as an editor on Writers literary magazine was by far my favorite thing. Envisioning each issue, choosing a theme, marketing the magazine, reading submissions, editing, formatting… I loved all of it, and I was proud of the work we produced. More than anything, being an English major made me a quick and flexible learner — someone who isn’t afraid to say “yes” to any opportunity. "

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Caroline Holyoak

Caroline Holyoak - Class of 2019

"Thanks to the dedication of the department’s excellent professors, throughout my coursework I learned invaluable analytical and writing skills that helped prepare me for the intensive work of graduate school. This rich preparation at UP led to my current work as a PhD student in Comparative Literature, and I am so grateful to have spent four years in such a rigorous, supportive, and student-centered environment."

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Emily Nelson

Emily Nelson - Class of 2019

"Not only did my time in the English department make me a better and more confident writer and communicator, but it helped me to understand what makes excellent literature and the myriad ways that a good story can be told. Having the opportunity to serve as an editor for Writers magazine at UP got me interested in the technical aspects of writing and connected me to the world of publishing and the opportunity to publish the writing of my fellow students as a freelancer and editor."

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Kyle Sparrman

Kyle Sparrman - Class of 2019

"Every professor I had encouraged creative freedom, and they consistently pushed each student to get out of their comfort zones, both with their thought process and their writing. The courses offered were so different from each other and often tackled a wide range of topics, yet each course was engaging; I had never felt so fulfilled as a learner or lover of literature as I did at UP. I am currently working as an editor, but I know that even if I were to switch careers, my education would have prepared me for whatever I wanted to accomplish."

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Laura Misch

Laura Misch - Class of 2018

"I work as a felony prosecutor, and I still use the skills that I honed during my time with the UP English Department every day. In a jury trial, I am tasked with telling (and selling) the story of a particular case to twelve strangers. I have to persuade them to view a set of facts in the same way that I do, and I do this through asking thoughtful questions and making convincing arguments, which are both things I learned to do as an undergrad at UP."

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