Office: 278 Fenton Hall
(716) 673-3125
Bruce Simon, Chairperson
Email: english.department@fredonia.edu
Website: http://home.fredonia.edu/english

Office: 279 Fenton Hall
(716) 673-3125
Iclal Vanwesenbeeck, Associate Chairperson
Email: iclal.vanwesenbeeck@fredonia.edu

Mission Statement

Working collaboratively with faculty, Fredonia English students explore the power of language and image in the 21st century. They discover new perspectives and develop crucial skills: strong writing, thoughtful reading, and critical thinking. Whether they choose to focus on literature, creative writing, professional writing, or English education, students personalize their paths through the flexible major in consultation with department advisors. As a vibrant community of learners, we investigate how texts respond to and shape experience in and beyond the classroom.

About Fredonia English

The English Department at Fredonia values the importance of studying literature across cultures; fostering lifelong readers and writers; engaging multiple forms of textual literacy; practicing the arts of creative and critical writing; and championing the key role of the humanities in higher education. Our English programs blend contemporary literary studies with critical, professional, and creative writing, and give students numerous opportunities for hands-on learning through community partnerships and internships. We produce top-notch graduates who get hired by regional and national organizations or go on to graduate programs all over the country. Recent graduates of the department are employed by law and business firms, journals and publishers, news and arts organizations, and schools.

English and English Adolescence Education majors at Fredonia actively participate in local small-press and online writing internships; community service learning projects; literacy campaigns; creative collaborations and field experiences with area schools; public readings of literature to area children, seniors, and the broader community through open-mic events; collaborations with Visual Arts and School of Music students in pairing original writings with graphic design and musical accompaniment; host visiting writers and literary critics; and read a whole lot of terrific literature.

The B.A. in English combines required foundational courses with a wide range of options among skills- and content-based course categories in order to open pathways for every student to gain the most from the major and our faculty. Internships and other applied learning opportunities in English-related fields help our students turn those pathways into careers.

The B.A. in English Adolescence Education combines required foundational courses in pedagogy and literature and a plethora of field experiences in order to open pathways for all students to develop the ideas and practices that will make them effective in the classrooms of an increasingly complex and diverse society.

The Minor in English gives students maximum flexibility to explore the department’s range of offerings in American Studies, creative and persuasive writing, drama, English Education, film, linguistics, literary theory, popular culture, women’s and gender studies, and world literature.

The Minor in Writing and Rhetoric empowers students from an array of disciplines to write effective, persuasive prose for a variety of audiences, contexts, and purposes.

The Minor in Creative Writing offers talented fiction writers and poets a crucial opportunity to develop their voice and hone their craft through a series of increasingly rigorous workshop experiences taught by our award-winning writers.

The Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in Professional Writing is for individuals interested in becoming more expressive, powerful writers of nonfiction prose. Working professionals and advanced students in any field are encouraged to apply.

The department has two graduate programs:

  • The Master of Arts in English program prepares students to enter the professions through a rigorous program that spans the field of English studies.
  • The Master of Arts in English 7-12 program for professional certification to teach grades 7-12 is for students already holding initial certification. The program emphasizes the importance of learning how to learn rather than becoming only storehouses of information and giving potential and practicing teachers the opportunity to discover, refine, or change their own approaches to the teaching of language, literature, and literacy.

Awards and Scholarships

The department awards scholarships and prizes recognizing both financial need and superior achievement:

  • Best Paper by a First-Year Student Award
  • Best Paper by a Student Beyond the First Year Award
  • John and Eleanor Courts Memorial Scholarship
  • Albert A. Dunn Book Grant Award
  • Albert A. Dunn Memorial Scholarship
  • Laura D. Foster 1929 Graduates Fund Award
  • Crescence Ehmke Graham Scholarship
  • Terry Mosher Writing the Natural World Award
  • The Mac Nelson Scholarship
  • Henry F. Salerno Scholarship for a Graduating Senior
  • Dr. Robert and Joanne L. Schweik Scholarship
  • The Howard Herkimer and Hildegard Maytum Strong Scholarship
  • Mary Louise White Book Award for Incoming Freshman
  • Mary Louise White Creative Writing Award
  • Mary Louise White Fiction Award
  • Mary Louise White Poetry Award

Honor Society

Qualified undergraduate students may apply for membership in the international English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta. Candidates for undergraduate membership must have four semesters of college work, as well as a minimum of four college courses in the English Department at Fredonia beyond the usual requirement for English composition. They must also have a minimum of a 3.5 grade point average in English courses.

English Department Honors Program

Students enrolled in Honors in English write a thesis during the senior year on a topic related to literature, language, or English pedagogy. Students can be nominated by a faculty member or may nominate themselves; nominations must be accompanied by a brief recommendation from a faculty member. Nominations should be made to the department’s chairperson.

Students writing an English Honors Thesis should enroll in HONR 400. Students who choose to write the thesis in the fall semester should use the preceding summer for research. Students who choose to write the thesis in the spring semester should use the fall semester for research by taking ENGL 490 Independent Study. Before beginning work on the thesis, the student should identify a faculty member who will be willing to serve as the thesis director. The completed thesis should be read by the director and one other reader, who will typically be a member of the English Department but who may, if the topic so requires, be from another department.

Requirements for Transfer Credit

The English Department requires majors in English to complete a minimum of 21 credit hours of courses applied to the major at Fredonia. Thus, students transferring to Fredonia should normally expect no more than 21 credit hours earned elsewhere to apply to the major in English.


An assigned faculty advisor will aid each student majoring in English or English Adolescence Education in completing his or her portfolio or e-portfolio. Advisors also help both major and minor advisees in preparing course schedules, understanding requirements, making broad educational decisions, and solving academic problems. As a further aid, the department puts course descriptions on our website that feature additional details each semester that are not found in the University Catalog, such as required readings, papers, and exams. Please see http://www.home.fredonia.edu/english.