English Department Programs
"If I could choose one major for the people I hire, it would be English."
- Vice President, First Atlanta Corporation.
One of the most versatile degrees, a Bachelor of Arts in English prepares students for a variety of careers and opportunities like business, teaching, communications, publishing, public relations, and graduate school.
Southern Adventist University's English Department has a balanced curriculum of literature and writing classes that provide students with valuable communication and analytical skills for these and other careers.
The English Department offers a BA in English, a BA in English with Teaching Endorsement, and an English minor.
An English major paired with a smartly chosen minor can fine-tune your education and provide even greater opportunities. The English faculty have compiled suggestions for minors that complement an English major.
Meet the Firms
Every semester upper-division English majors are invited to Meet the Firms, an event in which representatives from local corporations come to talk with and recruit students. Those conversations often lead to internships–job training for academic credit–during which a student and an employer can explore possibilities for permanent employment.
What can you do with a degree in English?
Many people assume all you can do with an English major is teach. However, an English
major prepares students for a wide variety of careers. In fact, the multitude of career
paths can be surprising. To help you begin thinking about possible careers, English
Department alumni have shared what they are doing with their English degree.
Heather Janetzko (2008)
I am a literature teacher at Hong Kong Adventist College's English Secondary Section. I taught American Literature and three ESL classes, and I will be teaching all the literature classes and the corresponding study halls (for the students with ESL issues that get in the way of their regular lit and history classes).
My degrees from Southern have definitely helped me have a large enough basic knowledge for teaching high school literature. I'm well read when it comes to British lit, most western ancient literature, and American lit. However, I am required to teach some Asian literature, and so I will be doing some cramming when it comes to that. While I hated doing my education classes for my certification, those classes have definitely put me ahead of the game. I have felt quite a bit more knowledgeable than most first year teachers that I've encountered that haven't come from Southern's program. Also, with the extensive practice in many different types of schools for my education classes, I felt fairly confident as a first year teacher. My history minor has played a major role in enhancing the content of my lit classes. Another thing that has greatly improved my teaching was my experience as a writing tutor for two years at Southern. I am well aware that my education experience at Southern was exceptional.
My future plans include moving back to the states, paying off student loans, and saving up to go to graduate school. What I hope to do is get my masters and doctorate at Edingburgh University in Scotland in Medieval British Literature.
Grant Graves (2006)
I am an English teacher. That may sound boring, but not at Georgia Cumberland Academy. I try to make life fun. There are too many depressing things in the world, and English class doesn't have to be one of them. After spending my first year at GCA switching between the classroom and the boy's dorm as a dean, I finally found my niche teaching English full time. I get to teach sophomores, juniors and many of the seniors. It's great because I get to know my kids on a personal level. When I'm not grading papers or leading discussions on The Iliad, I'm always up for adventure. Recently another student and I were the first to wakeboard on the GCA duck pond. I have also gone on many school trips and have seen Spain, Italy, Scotland, Ireland, England, and New Jersey. I love my job. Southern was a big part of helping me become the teacher I am today. I say, "Let's have clean desks and pure hearts," every single day. I had amazing teachers at Southern who cared about me. I am a better person today because of them. Now I'm a teacher, and I want my kids to know that I care about them. Boring? Not hardly. For me the adventure has just begun.
Emily McArthur (2006)
I am in my third year of teaching at Locke High School in Los Angeles as part of the Teach for America program. I have had a very good experience in this inner-city school and am enjoying the students very much. I teach AP Literature and AVID (a college prep course) to seniors. I could have gotten a teaching job with a different degree (journalism or theatre, for example, but I feel MUCH more prepared with a strong background in English. My English teacher colleagues are always asking me lit-related questions! Next year, I am headed to a full-time Ph.D program at UC Riverside. I will still live in LA and spend a day or so a week helping out at Locke.
Heidi Tompkins (2005)
I am a part of the public relations team at Life Care Centers of America. Life Care owns more than 220 skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities across the country, and my job is overseeing press releases and Web stories, as well as writing for their publications. I write, edit, and coordinate larger projects, such as newsletters, and help with hosting duties during large meetings. In the office, I am the go-to person for hyphen usage and copy chopping. My degree in English helped land the internship that resulted in a full-time job. Between the English major and the journalism minor, I had a lot of good-quality writing samples to present. I never actually took a class in public relations, but the ability to write both creatively and technically got me where I am now. The best way to learn to write is to read good writing, and the second best way is to keep practicing. Working in the English department really set the stage—I have never relinquished my red pen, and, as a grammar-loving introvert, I love being able to wield it without having to teach. I plan to continue in my current position for years to come. I am doing what I always wanted to do (writing and editing) for a company I believe in. I feel very blessed in this respect.
Melissa Turner (2005)
I graduated with a BA in English and print journalism from Southern in 2005. That summer, I interned at Chattanooga Magazine, and that experience turned into a job as editorial assistant later that fall. One year later, I had the opportunity to take on the additional position of editor of EnviroLink Southeast, an environmental publication of Chattanooga Magazine, which I really enjoyed working on. In the spring of 2007, I had the opportunity to help create a brand new publication from scratch. I volunteered on this project for several months, until it turned into a new job. As founding editor of Chattanooga Teen Scene, I worked with community leaders and teens across the city to create a magazine that now has a distribution of 25,000 to middle and high school students across Hamilton County. This job has been a dream come true, and it expanded into a larger communications position last fall when I accepted the position of communications director for the City of Chattanooga Department of Education, Arts & Culture (EAC). In this new position, I am responsible for public relations and coordinating media, as well as marketing and promotions for new and current EAC initiatives and programs. I also assist in developing partnerships, special events, and fundraising campaigns, as well as serving as editor of three publications, including Chattanooga Teen Scene.
Education, Arts & Culture is a great department and it is an honor to be part of making a difference through EAC's vision of creativity and compassion for the city of Chattanooga, and to be working for an administration that envisions Chattanooga as a city of compassion.
My studies in English and print journalism were a great starting point for my career. It was an experience that challenged and grounded me spiritually and ethically. That is the exciting thing about graduating from a college like Southern—knowing that you are prepared to meet that daily continuing education.