English Department

Welcome to the English Department at Bowling Green State University. One of the largest and most diverse departments on campus, the English Department offers degree paths and minors in Literature, Creative Writing, Rhetoric and Writing, and other areas. Students in English take classes with passionate and committed teachers who have dedicated themselves to the study of language and literature and the creation of original works of scholarship, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Our graduate programs complement our undergraduate programs and provide additional opportunities for professional development. There has never been a better time to develop the skills offered by the study of English. Critical thinking, creative expression, breadth of mind, an aptitude for understanding cultural differences, the capacity to perform research, and the ability to write with clarity and grace, are in demand from employers.

We hope you’ll join us and write here!

Pride flag

August 31, 2020

Dear Students,

As you likely have heard, over the weekend a member of the BGSU community posted hate speech in response to the peaceful protests in support of racial justice held in Washington, DC. I am writing to make clear to all in our English department community that harassment and anti-Black racism have absolutely no place on our campus: no place in our classrooms, hallways, sidewalks, digital spaces or anywhere else for that matter.

This staff person’s words were vile--horrifying and hate-filled. BGSU has a responsibility not only to educate our students but also to stand as an example for our campus community and the many populations within the surrounding communities. Especially when the local and national news is filled with violence towards Black citizens, each of us bears a special responsibility for the physical and psychological safety of our community in which all of its students, faculty, and employees can feel safe to learn, work, play, live, and thrive, an environment without fear of harassment, disrespect, violence, or harm.

As Chair of the Department of English, I believe strongly that we--all of us, but especially faculty and administrators--must devote ourselves to creating and maintaining a space in which all students feel safe and respected, able to focus on learning and pursuing their academic and life goals. We so often find it ‘easy’ to protest, march, carry signs, and lift our voices to the violence and systemic racism that envelops communities elsewhere in our nation.  But when that racism is local, when it is right here on our campus and affected our students, staff, and faculty, we need to act with even more vigor and passion and remain steadfast. I am committed to doing all that I can to ensure that racist behavior is condemned and have our Black students, staff, and faculty who have been made to feel marginalized--traumatized--at the center of my efforts.   

The faculty who are on campus are organizing a gathering outside the BTSU free speech area (between the Union and the BGSU sculpture) at noon today to condemn the recently discovered employee’s speech and to demand institutional change. We are working to develop a livestream of the event as well as so many faculty, students, and staff are not on campus this semester--perhaps via Facebook. If you are available and would like to stand with us, please do.

Know that we are better as a department and as a university because of our diversity. We need each of you, and it is our priority as faculty to ensure that each of you feels that you absolutely belong. 




English 2020 Graduates

English 2020 Graduates

The Department of English is thrilled to present the above tribute to our 2020 graduates! Please join us in congratulating each graduate as they celebrate their accomplishments.

A downloadable version of the slideshow is available as a PowerPoint.

Congratulations, Amanda and Elizabeth! 2020 College of Arts and Sciences Diversity Award

Amanda McGuire Rzicznek and Elizabeth Loo Zemanski Receive College of Arts and Sciences Diversity Award

Amanda McGuire Rzicznek and Elizabeth Loo Zemanski have received the 2020 College of Arts and Sciences Diversity Award. The award was first given in 2012, and is intended to honor faculty leadership of student projects and initiatives around diversity. The full list of awardees can be seen on the Awards & Recognitions page.

Please join the department in congratulating Amanda and Elizabeth!

News and Stories

Screenshots of the senior thesis videos

Senior Thesis Presentations, Spring 2020

Welcome to the virtual version of the Literature Program's Senior Thesis Presentations! On this page, you will find a video of Dr. Stephannie Gearhart's opening remarks, followed by videos of student presentations. At BGSU, all undergraduates are required to engage in experiential learning in their major field. Experiential learning, broadly conceived, is a range of experiential activities that occur in and outside of the formal classroom setting. These activities can include community-based learning, public policy projects, undergraduate research, education abroad, practicums, internships, co-ops and clinicals, related to students’ majors and/or coursework. To fulfill this requirement in Literature and to celebrate the work of our students, we ask our majors to conduct literary scholarship in the form of a thesis and to present their work to an audience. Today you will have a chance to listen to our students speak about their signature work in the videos here.

New Blog Posts

Featured Student Blogs

Be sure to check out the English Department Blog for featured posts by undergraduate students! Jonyia Byngi Gadson has written about "How to Remain Perceptive Amidst an Unprecedented Crisis," and Abby Maggi has written about "Gaining Empathy and Understanding." More posts will be available soon, so keep an eye on the blog!

International ResearchScape Journal Logo

Five Students Will Have Work Featured in International ResearchScape Journal

Five undergraduate English majors, Olive Bartholomew, Lauren Degener, Karmann Ludwig, Lena Nighswander, and Sarah Webb will have their work featured in volume seven of the International ResearchScape Journal (May 2020/June 2020).  

  • Olive Bartholomew, "Investigation of the 'Cultural Appropriation' of Yoga"
  • Lauren Degener, "“A Failure of Laïcité: Analyzing the Ongoing Discrimination of French-Muslims in the 21st Century"
  • Karmann Ludwig, "'I am Fascinated by What is Beautiful, Strong, Healthy': Leni Riefenstahl, Gender, and Absolved Guilt”
  • Lena Nighswander, "No Nazis in Valhalla: Understanding the Use (and Misuse) of Nordic Cultural Markers in Third Reich Era Germany”
  • Sarah Webb, "The Torture of Colonization and the Holocaust: Multidirectional Memory in The Nature of Blood"
Please join the department in congratulating these scholars!

Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the baccalaureate degree, students in English are expected to be able to:

  • Use writing effectively—including current modes and evolving techniques and technologies—to explore subject matter and to communicate;
  • Develop understanding of subject matter in relation to larger historical and/or cultural contexts, including multicultural contexts;
  • Make connections between theory and practice. Students apply theory to understand texts, solve problems, and teach effectively, and/or students generalize from experiences with texts, communication situations and teaching situations;
  • Develop skills of creative and/or critical thinking.

Accreditation and/or Program/Cluster Review
Bowling Green State University [BGSU] is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.  BGSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 01/01/1916. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation was received in 2012 - 2013. Questions should be directed to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

The English program went through Program/Cluster Review during the Academic Year 2016-17.

Professional Licensure (If applicable)
Bowling Green State University programs leading to licensure, certification and/or endorsement, whether delivered online, face-to-face or in a blended format, satisfy the academic requirements for those credentials set forth by the State of Ohio.

Requirements for licensure, certification and/or endorsement eligibility vary greatly from one profession to another and from state to state. The English program does not lead to professional licensure.

Gainful Employment (If applicable)     
Under the Higher Education Act Title IV disclosure requirements, an institution must provide current and prospective students with information about each of its programs that prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.

The English program is not a recognized occupation that requires a Gainful Employment disclosure.