Note from the Chair
Greetings from the Department of English at Texas Tech University
Dr. Brian Still, Chair and Professor
Dr. Brian Still, Chair and Professor
We're reaching out to all of you again in this second and final Alumni Newsletter of the 2017-2018 academic year. TTU English has accomplished quite a lot since the first Newsletter we sent in October. Faculty have garnered impressive awards for their excellence in teaching, research, and service, and students also have been recognized for their great work. Please take the opportunity to read through this Newsletter and find out more.
There is so much to be proud of as Chair of the Department of English. Let me touch on just a few things.
- We developed a new campaign called One Home to spread the word about the many opportunities available to students in English. A team of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students, along with staff, pitched in to work on this effort. You can see the video here that expresses perfectly, through the words of our students, how we are re-envisioning English as a diverse environment that encourages diverse thinking, writing, and communicating.
- We revamped our First Year Writing (FYW) program, with the final touches set to be added through this summer. Already we are getting positive reviews from students taking our introductory writing courses. TTU English has always had a strong record of innovating in the teaching of writing. We don't see our efforts to remake FYW as a statement about our past, but rather an attempt in the present and looking toward the future of offering more opportunities for classroom teaching to our graduate students, and, at the same time, experimenting with different ways of constructing an effective introductory writing curriculum. FYW is the gateway course for all of our courses and is often the very first class any new student at TTU takes. I'm proud of the hard work of faculty, staff, and students to take on the challenge of innovating a new FYW that promises to be a successful next step forward.
- We didn't stop just with changes to FYW. This spring we introduced for the first time Bible as Literature as a class. We intend to keep on teaching it along with other new courses, such as Fantasy and Sci Fi and Heroes and Antiheroes, as we construct new ways to attract students to take English courses. Early reviews say that Bible as Literature has been a big hit.
- In fact, enrollment in English courses overall, because, in part, of innovative new offerings, and the excellent reputation of our faculty, increased 5% in 2017-2018.
- We started planning to put our BA in English and Technical Communication both online in 2019, giving opportunities to students residing anywhere to earn degrees from TTU.
- We will welcome more than 60 new graduate students to Texas Tech with the beginning of the Fall semester in August.
Speaking of graduate students, and online, our MA in English was voted the best online MA program in the country. Great faculty, great courses, great affordability, among other factors, were cited as the main reasons for this amazing honor.
There's likely more that I didn't highlight here, and that we don't cover in the rest of the Newsletter. Our students and our faculty are working all the time to do important work that furthers the humanities. Never before has it been so important to be good at thinking and writing, and what we do better than any other department is teach people how to think and write.
As I asked in my last message to you I also ask again here: will you reach out and tell us how you're doing? We are glad you chose English as your home at TTU, and with that legacy in mind, along with the obligation to be good for the sake of the students we now teach, we work every day, in different but equally important ways, to carry out the work of teaching thinking and writing to undergraduate and graduate students of English at TTU.
Until you hear from us again, we wish you the best.