English Courses

The English Department serves all Fisher students,
from beginning through advanced, majors and non-majors.  Because most Fisher students satisfy their core requirement in literature with a combination of English courses,  we offer a wide variety of courses in writing and literature.  We also offer a wealth of specialized courses in literary eras, genres, and topics.  Our two-track major and minor enable students to focus on either writing or literature.  Most of our courses are writing-intensive, discussion-oriented, and designed to enhance students' ability to think critically.

Introductory courses / Literature / Writing / Honors / Sample Syllabi

Download the checklist for: English Major and Minor requirements / Ad-Ed English requirements

Writing Course Descriptions (ENGL)

Assumed pre-requisite for all of the following courses is ENGL101C or its Learning Community equivalent.

251 Introduction to Creative Nonfiction (3)
This course requires students to write extensively for a variety of purposes. Its goal is to help writers develop and strengthen a personal and public voice and broaden their range of writing techniques. It is designed for students who have already had some training in expository writing and who are competent in the conventions of written English. The course is structured to encourage active participation and collaborative learning. (See sample syllabus)

253 Introductory Creative Writing (3)
In this seminar-workshop, students write and respond to both fiction and poetry. The course involves extensive writing and detailed evaluation of individual students’ creative work.

255 Introduction to Professional Writing (3)
This course introduces the student to the basics of workplace writing, which include defining and establishing the context for the writing task, performing an audience analysis, using and developing effective modes and communication styles, and assessing the effectiveness of the communication. The course explores both traditional written communications as well as digital modes of communication and emphasizes editing, grammar, structure, tone, and the conventions of some specific types of workplace writing. It also begins the process of honing the student’s professional writing style.

259 Argument and Persuasion (3)
In this course, students learn to analyze and produce arguments. Particular emphasis is given to understanding the appropriate means of persuasion in various rhetorical contexts across disciplines.

266 Writing in Social Contexts (3)
Does developing reading and writing skills as a writer for the college newspaper differ from developing them in a prison writing group? How does your context--at home, work, school, and play¿shape your work with texts? This course introduces students to some of the most important issues underlying contemporary studies of literacy. Typically, the general public, as well as many teachers and researchers, assumes that to be ¿literate¿ an individual has attained a particular level of reading and writing competence. However, since the 1980s "new literacy" research has successfully challenged that view. Literacy¿the social practices surrounding texts¿and our understanding of it is thoroughly entangled in a complex web of cultural values, beliefs, and practices. The objective of this course is to examine these interconnections and, in doing so, become more purposeful, stronger readers and writers. Note: Beginning Fall 2011, this course replaces ENGL 258 in the English major and Writing minor. See Sample Syllabus

270C Peer Consulting in Writing (4)
This course trains students in consulting in writing and provides supervised tutoring experience in the College’s Writing Center. Simultaneously, it helps students improve their own writing, editing, and critical reading skills. Subjects covered include the theory and practice of collaborative learning, background in various approaches to teaching writing generally, and listening and questioning skills. An additional two hours per week in the Writing Center are required.

Restriction: Sophomore, Junior or Senior status.

271 Introduction to Legal Writing (3)
This course introduces students to reading and writing several of the different kinds of documents lawyers rely on and create. Students in this course will learn methods of reading and analysis that are crucial to work in the law. Individually and as groups, students will research, read, and analyze cases and write up their findings in the proper formats, primarily the Legal Memorandum and the Legal Brief. At the end of the semester, students will present their findings as if they were arguing a case before a trial judge. see sample syllabus

302 Writers as Close Readers (3)
Avid writers are likely also to be avid readers, studying the writer’s craft. This course emphasizes critical analysis centered on the writers’ use of point of view, a variety of narrative styles and inventions, and other writers’ tools to produce deliberate effects: the evolution of the storyteller’s art. Readings will include short fiction and novels—some older for historical perspective, most relatively recent.

Prerequisite: ENGL 200C.

Advanced Practices Writing Courses

The prerequisite for any of the Advanced Practices courses is ENGL200C. It is strongly recommended that students also have taken at least one of 251, 253, 258 or 259.

355 Advanced Professional Writing (3)
This course explores principles and advanced practices of professional communications and emphasizes the design and development of professionally applicable communication projects and products. Students have the opportunity to work in collaboration with administrative areas of the college to help design actual documentation, such as web-based documents, workplace documents (including letters and reports), and technical documents, including procedures, instructions, and specifications for use. In addition, students develop a portfolio of documentation and technologically based communications. The principles of context, audience analysis, document design and development, and assessment are applied with professional rigor. Students are expected to bring advanced skills in grammar, structure, and tone to their work in this course.

356 Writing for a Living (3)
Advertising, copywriting, roving reporter, novelist, technical writer: the profession of writing involves many needs, skills, disciplines, and genres. This course provides not only a critical overview of those needs, disciplines, skills and genres, but it also helps the student become aware of her/his writing strengths and weaknesses. In addition, it helps the student focus on particular areas of interest in the profession of writing. Much in-class writing, editing, and critiquing of students’ own and others’ writing is required. A portfolio of writing that encompasses and showcases a student’s work and areas of interest completes the course.

358 Writing for Instructional Design (3)
The ability to write instructional documents (e.g., manuals and guides) that readers can understand and follow is one of the most useful skills a technical writer can have. It requires knowledge of learning theory as well as writing ability. Introduces students to the principles of instructional design, including theories of adult learning as well as practical applications of those theories for specific learning situations. In addition to the study of theory and history of adult education, students fine-tune their technical writing skills in audience, needs, and task analysis; objective and goal development; material design and/or selection and development; and assessment.

361 Writing for Websites (3)
The rules for writing for websites are very different from those of traditional media. In this course, students study the importance of website content and how to construct that content as a piece of an image-based whole. Concepts such as keywords, linking, ranking, hypertext and design are studied using analysis of a variety of websites. Students also learn to craft their writing using principles of usability, audience analysis, and purpose, as well as how to evaluate the performance results of websites.

364 Writing for Alternative Media (3)
This course presents the history and logic of mainstream media - including ownership patterns, legislative influences, theoretical strategies, and political effects - and considers the contrastive character of "alternative" media. Students research a particular alternative information source and write for it.

371 Creative Writing: Fiction (3)
A seminar-workshop in which the focus is detailed critical evaluation of individual students’ creative work in the short story and the novel. Requirements include three stories or chapters of a novel, short writing assignments, written critiques of fellow students’ work, and outside reading.

372 Creative Writing: Poetry (3)
A seminar-workshop in which the focus is detailed evaluation of individual students’ creative work in poetry. Assigned readings; individual conferences with instructor.

374 Creative Writing: Drama (3)
A seminar-workshop in which the focus is detailed critical evaluation of individual students’ creative work in drama: writing for the stage. Requirements include three one-act plays or substantial scenes from a longer work, written critiques of fellow students’ work, and outside reading.

376 Creative Writing: Non-fiction (3)
A seminar-workshop that focuses on the art and craft of creative nonfiction, with particular emphasis on structure, voice, character, and scene. Requirements include weekly reading and writing assignments, detailed critiques of peer work, and a semester project.

378 Special Topics in Advanced Writing (3)
This course offers close attention to and substantial practice in writing in particular genres writing prose fiction, poetry, drama, or creative non-fiction, whether defined by form (e.g. poetry sequences, science fiction, screenplays) or by designed audience (e.g. young adult fiction, chick lit). Students who have received credit for ENGL375 (Writing Young Adult Fiction), may not receive credit for this course unless the topic is different.

Theories, Contexts, Communities Writing Courses

The pre-requisite for any of the Theories, Contexts and Communities courses is ENGL200C. It is strongly recommended that students also have taken at least one of 251, 253, 258 or 259.

352 Rhetorical Theory (3)
This course explores such aspects of classical rhetorical theory as invention, organization, style, adaptation to an audience, ethos, and image. Students identify these elements in examples of contemporary rhetoric ranging from speeches and rap songs to television, film, and print communications. Students learn to write and speak persuasively and to think critically about both contemporary and classical rhetoric. (See sample syllabus)

353 Rhetorical History and Traditions (3)
This course examines the rhetorical traditions of a given social group (ethnic, religious, political, etc.) in historical and cultural contexts. Speeches, sermons, letters, essays, music, art, and other rhetorical forms are studies as means of persuasion and self-representation in a political world of difference.

370 Women’s Autobiography (3)
Studies women’s writing in the genres of life writing, autobiography, and memoir and focuses primarily on contemporary female authors. Readings include the work of such writers as Maxine Hong Kingston, Audre Lorde, Natalie Kusz, Judith Kitchen, Naomi Shihab, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Lucy Grealy and others. This course examines evidence of a shared tradition among the women writers of our time, including common topics and shared perspectives. Students improve their critical and analytical skills through a variety of reading and writing assignments, including both critical and creative writing.

379 The Rhetoric of Social Movements (3)
This course introduces students to the history and rhetoric of a given social movement. Essays, speeches, literature, and propaganda associated with the movement are studies in historical, cultural, and democratic contexts. Students produce analytical papers and a research project.

380 Visual Rhetoric (3)
This course begins with the assumption that every image functions as an argument. Students learn to analyze the rhetoric inherent in visual culture, including photography, film, and art. Syllabus

381 The Rhetoric of Hate and Social Justice (3)
In this course, students learn how rhetorical histories of hate have formed the foundations of genocide, white supremacy, homophobia, and sexism. They analyze the historical, political, and economic contexts that have produced the rhetoric of hate in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

382 Digital Literacy (3)
In this course students study both the conceptual and practical aspects of digital literacy involving media such as websites, email, and synchronous modes including chats and VoIP devices. The study involves understanding the various rhetorical modes inherent in the media, how these modes are changing, and the effects of digital communications on society and culture. The course studies ancient rhetoricians such as Aristotle and Socrates, as well as modern day influencers including Foucault, Gee, Kahan, Berger & Luckmann, and Selfe.

Seminar for Writing Majors

425 Senior Writing Seminar (3)
A seminar-workshop in writing open only to senior English majors with a writing concentration and senior writing minors.

Special Courses

490 Internship (3)
Through the department’s internship program, eligible junior and senior majors may earn academic credit for supervised off-campus work in business and industry. No more than three credits earned in an internship will be counted toward the major. Permission of internship coordinator.

Restrictions : Junior and senior ENGL majors with a 3.00 GPA.

496 Independent Study (1-3)
In consultation with a given instructor, the student decides on a topic for consideration. A written proposal, approved by the instructor, is then submitted to the department chair for approval. The student’s independent study culminates in a paper of approximately 25-30 pages. Completion of the Independent Study/Tutorial Authorization form is required. See Policy on Independent Study.

Restrictions : Seniors with a cumulative grade point average of 3.00.

Honors Options in English

The English department offers a degree with Honors in English to qualified students who complete a substantial project in literary criticism or creative writing. Students must have at least a 3.50 GPA in English courses and a 3.30 GPA overall. Candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Receive an “A” on the honors thesis. The paper should display originality and sophistication of thought, as well as stylistic excellence.
  2. Successfully defend the thesis at an open colloquium. Although anyone from the academic community may attend the colloquium, the student meets primarily with a committee of readers, who will decide whether to award honors. The committee is composed of the project director, a second reader from the English department, and the chair of the department. The colloquium is usually held during the week of final exams.

498H, 499H Honors in English (3, 3)
A one- or two-semester sequence of independent study during the senior year, culminating in a thesis. Upon completion of the project, a student receives three or six hours of 400-level credit toward the major. The candidate should carefully select a member of the department to direct the project and work closely with him/her. The advisor evaluates the student’s performance and determines a final grade. No later than the end of the junior year, the student should consult with his/her director and submit a detailed description of the project to the chair of the department for approval. Completion of the Independent Study/Tutorial Authorization form is required. See Requirements for Honors in the Major.



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Last updated Tuesday, March 29, 2011. Web design and maintenance by Prof. Lisa Jadwin.