The mission of the University of St. Thomas English Department is to foster empathy and imagination, critical insight, power of expression, and appreciation for the variety of human experience. We strive to create a community of readers and writers who value both tradition and innovation, and who understand literary art as a medium of moral reflection as well as aesthetic pleasure.
The English Department contributes most directly to the university mission through its emphasis on teaching critical thinking, reading, and writing, skills that are essential to educating “students to be morally responsible leaders who think critically, act wisely, and work skillfully to advance the common good.” The reading skills we teach enable students to acquire factual information, to develop increasingly sophisticated habits of inquiry, and to become open to imagining worlds and lives quite different from their own. The writing skills enable students to articulate their questions and ideas, to recognize and respond appropriately to different rhetorical situations, and to use writing as a tool for further learning. Together, these skills enable students to enhance their understanding of the essential role language has in thought, values, and self-development; to see the complexities of the world; to engage the world as responsible participants; and contribute to the common good regardless of the professional field they pursue.
The goals of the department are to help students develop maturity in thinking, reading, and writing; extend to all interested students, regardless of their major, the opportunity for the self-enrichment which a study of language and literature affords; and to provide students with a solid foundation for graduate study in English and other professional fields such as law and medicine, the teaching of English in secondary and middle schools, and all careers that emphasize analysis and communication.