Message from the Chair | University of Portland

Message from the Chair

Welcome to the University of Portland's English Department. Our talented faculty offers a major in English and a minor in Writing with courses on literatures from around the globe as well as opportunities to improve your creative and professional writing.

Our students benefit from a wide range of extra-curricular programs:

  • Our Reading and Lectures series and the Schoenfeldt Distinguished Writers series bring talented poets, novelists, and essayists to campus.
  • Our annual Northwest Undergraduate Conference on Literature (NUCL) brings together students from across the region to share their undergraduate research and creative work.
  • Our student-edited magazine Writers is an in-house publication featuring students' creative writing, art, and photography.
  • Our chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the English National Honor Society, provides members with service, socializing, and networking opportunities.
  • Our Newsletter gives majors valuable writing and publishing experiences as managing and contributing editors.
  • Our department oversees UP's Integrated Writing Program, trains student writing assistants, and runs the Writing Center used by students in all fields of study for help with their writing. A good number of English majors serve as writing assistants.

The English Department provides a challenging and exciting academic experience for our students. We are passionate about teaching, developing personal relationships with students, and assisting students academically and personally throughout their college career and beyond. 

After a successful four years as an English major at UP, our students develop finely honed skills in analytical reading, varied forms of writing, and web and library-based research. Their study of literary texts past and present equips them with a broad-based awareness of history, human character, and social and religious traditions. Internships at Portland Monthly, Willamette Week, and The Oregonian, for instance, have helped majors gain hands-on experience in writing, editing, or publishing. This combination of skills and understanding enables them to recognize and handle our century's opportunities and problems. Many graduates have been accepted into competitive programs such as Fulbright (to teach in Germany and Austria), Teach for America, Peace Corps, JET, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, and Americorps/Vista. In the past decade, our graduates have pursued varied paths, including:

  • Graduate study, including law school, medical school, MBAs, library science, counseling, and Masters in education;
  • Business, including marketing, management, software development, and sales;
  • Healthcare, including nursing, psychology, and social work;
  • Writing, including journalism, editing, video games, screenwriting, and new media;
  • Education (teaching and administration).

So please explore our English department website: watch a video of a former student discussing her experience at UP or of a renowned poet reading on campus; click on a link to a copy of Writers magazine; examine our curriculum and its array of courses. See the many ways English majors at the University of Portland expand their horizons, enhance their skills, and enrich their spirits and so prepare themselves for interesting and productive lives.


Joshua Swidzinski
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of English