Letter from the Department Head

DorrieArmstrongDear Alumni, Friends, and Supporters of English:

As you will see in the pages that follow, the last few months have seen exciting developments in the Department of English at Purdue.

The department’s internationally-renowned Online Writing Lab (OWL) has seen traffic to the site increase almost 10 percent since this time last year, with over 410 million page views; it continues to be a vital and innovative resource for students not only at Purdue, but also around the world. A recent study of the Writing Lab shows a positive impact on the GPAs and graduation rates of students who take advantage of the tutoring services offered there.

We continue to support programs and foster relationships with various campus units and the community through a variety of initiatives. These include our inaugural “Big Read” program (Emily St. John Mandel’s (Station Eleven) that seeks to forge links between our department, the West Lafayette Public Library, Purdue Convocations, Information Technology at Purdue’s annual “Dawn or Doom” conference, and the Greater Lafayette community. We are delighted that Mandel will be the featured speaker at this year’s Literary Awards event (April 19, 2018).

The department is also one of the key participants in the new Cornerstone curriculum and has formed a collaboration with the Polytechnic Institute, and is engaged in many other cross-disciplinary initiatives, both within our own college and in the STEM disciplines. We have created several new courses and programs at the undergraduate level, including—among others— “Figures of Myth and Legend” and “English in a Global Context.” Our undergrads now have increased opportunities for learning about the practices of scholarly research, academic publishing, and professionalization after college; this is thanks to four new internships—at journals including Modern Fiction Studies, Sycamore Review, and Arthuriana—as well as in the PLaCE (Purdue Language and Cultural Exchange) program.

At the graduate level, we have launched a new program—Literature, Theory, and Culture—that is creating quite a buzz amongst potential applicants, and our current graduate students have won numerous fellowships. A dedicated lounge space has been updated and renovated for the graduate students in the department; for such a diverse group of students with such varied research interests—from Linguistics to Literature, Creative Writing, Rhetoric and Composition, Second Language Studies, Education, Professional Writing and beyond—this space provides an opportunity for increased interaction and collegiality.

The ICAP (Introductory Composition at Purdue) program was recently the recipient of effusive praise from an external review committee commissioned by Dean Reingold; the committee noted in particular our curriculum for English 106 (our introductory writing course) and our careful attention to the professional development of our graduate student instructors. Due to interest and demand, we are piloting a new online version of English 106 starting this semester, with a large-scale roll-out anticipated in 2018.

Let me close by saying that I am honored and humbled to have the chance to serve the department this year as Interim Head; it is a pleasure to work with so many stellar faculty fiercely dedicated to pedagogy, research, and serving the academic community. The broad depth and breadth of specializations, abilities, and interests of our faculty and students is part of what makes Purdue’s English Department such a remarkable place.

Spring 2018 Spotlight Courses

ENGL 202

ENGL 217

ENGL 229

See more of our Spring 2018 courses on our website here.

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