Degrees & Programs English
Stretch your faith and your reason by journeying into the challenging worlds and words of others.
Go beyond required composition and literature courses into a department rich in writing and globally conscious literary study. Join a Westmont professor and 24 classmates for a semester in England, where literature comes alive in context. Be transformed by close encounters with novels, poems, short stories, plays, and essays from around the world. Explore creative writing, film studies, journalism, gender studies, teacher preparation, and internships. Easily add a second major to broaden your education.
- ENG 6H, 60 or 90
- ENG 44, 47, 60 or 90
- ENG 46 or another elective to fulfill requirements 2, 3, or 5
- ENG 134, 160, 165 or 185
- (requirement 6)
- Single Author/Pair of Authors (requirement 4)
- Upper-division elective to fulfill 2, 3 or 5
- Upper-division elective to fulfill 2, 3 or 5
- Upper-division literature or writing elective
- Upper-Div Lit or Writing Elective Internship
- ENG 196 or 199
Whisks students off to live theater productions
Directs gender studies and hosts marathon readings of novels
Explores African literature and Nollywood (Nigerian film)
Studies the history of emotions and has taught medieval literature on three continents
Directs Writers’ Corner and coaches student writers
Critiques Christian clichés and crafts original poems, photos, and plays
Navigates nature as a poet, essayist, and fantasy novelist
Meet the Staff
English majors graduate with enhanced reading, writing, and thinking abilities, becoming more creatively critical and critically creative. A double major widens graduates’ opportunities in areas such as:
- Book, magazine, and online publishing
- Creative production in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and screenwriting
- Grant writing for non-profits
- Psychological counseling
- Teaching at all levels (college, secondary, or elementary)
- Teaching English overseas
Paul Willis published an article entitled “‘He Hath Builded the Mountains’: John Muir’s God of Glaciers” in the journal Christianity & Literature. He gave poetry readings in April at the Calvin College Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and at the UCSB Sedgwick Reserve in the Santa Ynez Valley. He published an essay, “My Date with Mary Oliver,” in Books & Culture and an essay, “Gumdrops” in Cresset. His poems appear in two recent anthologies: Between Midnight and Dawn: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide (Paraclete Press) and What Breathes Us: Santa Barbara Poet Laureates 2005-2015 (Gunpowder Press).
WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship will publish a collaborative project by Sarah Skripsky and Matthew Maler, a senior philosophy major and writing center tutor, “Placing Faith in the Writing Center: Civil Discourse and Transformation,” in a special issue on Religion in the Writing Center. Based on a comparative study of CCCU writing centers, including surveys and interviews, the article investigates how such writing centers support both orthodoxy and heterodoxy while cultivating virtue.
Cheri Larsen Hoeckley participated in a Summer Seminar offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities in Iowa City exploring Postsecular Studies and the Rise of the English Novel, 1719-1897. It examined the role that religion and secularization play in the rise of the novel, drawing on the insights of postsecular studies to help scholars read religion into rather than out of history. As part of the seminar, she revised and presented her work on George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch, monasticism, and singleness.
John Wilder, an accomplished screenwriter who has taught writing for years at Westmont, has published his first novel, Nobody Dies in Hollywood. A contemporary murder mystery set in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, Wilder’s story follows a private detective named Michael Drayton (named in honor of the seventeenth-century English poet).
Tamara Lang ’13
An author of creative nonfiction, Tamara moved to Jeju Island, South Korea, where she taught English while maintaining a travel blog at tamaralang.com and writing as a freelancer for The Jeju Weekly. She then blogged her way through Western Europe, living for a while at the Shakespeare and Company Bookshop in Paris as a resident writer. A lifelong lover of marine science and environmental education, she founded LA River Trek, a watershed education campaign that entails biking and hiking along the Los Angeles River and tributaries. Her next stop: South or Central America. Her memoir, “The Year of the Squid Boats,” awaits publication.
Ryan McDermott ’00
Rejected by MFA programs three times, Ryan used skills he learned launching Westmont’s literary magazine website to work as a furniture store webmaster. He followed his wife to West Virginia and taught junior high students and then to China to teach English literature and journalism. He pursued a Master of Theological Studies at Duke University Divinity School, studying medieval philosophy and theology. Accepted off the waitlist, he earned a doctorate in English at the University of Virginia. He teaches medieval and early modern literature at the University of Pittsburgh and has published journal articles and a book, “Tropologies: Ethics and Invention in England, c. 1350-1600” (University of Notre Dame Press, 2016).
Susan Emily Gallagher VanZanten ’78
A professor of English at Seattle Pacific University, Susan teaches American literature, African literature, writing, and narrative theory. She earned her doctorate at Emory University and later discovered an interest in African literature, writing one of the first American academic studies of South African novelist J.M. Coetzee (Harvard UP, 1989). She thinks and writes about the relationship of Christian faith, literary studies, and the scholarly life. She founded and directed the SPU Center for Scholarship and Faculty Development and wrote “Joining the Mission: A Guide for (Mainly) New College Faculty” (Eerdmans 2011). Other books include “Literature Through the Eyes of Faith (Harper, 1991); “Mending a Tattered Faith: Devotions with Emily Dickinson” (Cascade, 2010); and “Reading a Different Story: A Christian Scholar’s Journey from America to Africa” (Baker 2013).