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Department of English

We believe. Do you?

We believe in the power of literature, language, and creative expression. We believe that imagination and interpretation can awaken us. We believe that reading and writing are transformative -- even revolutionary -- acts. And we live in the voices, the stories, the words.

Our mission:
In English Studies, you will explore the transformative power of the written word. You will come into voice as thinkers, readers, and writers. You will engage literature as a form of personal, creative, and cultural expression. You will encounter texts that explore gripping human realities and raise enduring social questions. And you will practice writing as a critical and artistic endeavor.

Majors and Minors

We offer majors in Creative Writing, Literary Studies, and Teacher Education (ILA). We also offer minors in Creative Writing Literary Studies and Film Studies (interdisciplinary). Learn more.

Senior Writing Projects

The senior writing project is the culmination of your journey through the major. As your senior year unfolds, you will dive into work that stimulates, challenges, and inspires you. Our senior writers produce:

  • Original fictions, plays, poetry, screenplays, and personal essays
  • Digital essays
  • Interpretive essays and essay collections
  • Biographical and cultural studies
  • Film and literature studies
  • Readers’ guides, websites, and zines


ENGL 1192 - Special Topics in Expository Writing
Hours: 1-4
Emphasizes the practice of expository writing on a specific topic or theme (e.g. “Writing War,” “Writing Gender,” etc.). May have experiential, service-learning, or out-of-class components.

ENGL 1193 - Special Topics in Professional Writing
Hours: 1-4
Emphasizes the practice of writing in professional, Internet, and other contexts (e.g. “Writing for Non-Profits,” “Blogging,” “Investigative Writing,” “Writing on the Job,” “Writing Public Policy,” etc.). May have experiential, service-learning, or out-of-class components.vice-learning, or out-of-class components.

ENGL 3375 - Teaching Creative Writing in the Community
Hours: 4
Empowers students to lead weekly workshops in creative writing for groups of children or teens at elementary schools, residential homes, or other community sites. Students meet weekly with the instructor to plan the workshops and reflect on their learning and experience.

Student Organizations

There are many ways to get involved as an English major. We encourage you to join one of our student organizations.


Our students often take advantage of internship opportunities at Otterbein, local businesses, and organizations. English majors have interned at:

  • Prentice-Hall
  • McGraw Hill Publishers
  • Hondros Publishing
  • Religion Newswriters
  • America Votes
  • Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association
  • Advertising firms, realtors, small magazines, radio stations, non-profit organizations, children's book publishers, libraries, law firms, and state and local government agencies.

Students can earn up to 12 hours of academic credit for internships, and an internship can fulfill your Senior Year Experience requirement. Contact the Chair or your advisor for more info.

/ Department of English

Shannon Lakanen
Department Chair
Towers Hall 228

p / 614.823.1211
e / slakanen@otterbein.edu 

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