Dr. Karen Youmans
Professor of English
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The English Department is part of the Language and Literature Division in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
English majors and minors naturally enjoy reading, discussing, and writing about literature, choosing from medieval romances to contemporary fiction or poetry. They learn to see literature as expressing its time and culture—how people actually live, breathe, talk and believe. More than specific knowledge of literature, criticism, and culture, English majors and minors learn how to read, analyze, and evaluate the effectiveness of written discourse, how to research aspects of a subject and how to bring together disparate facts and ideas into coherent and structured writing.
My degree options:
What makes an OBU English degree special?
English and English Education build on the liberal arts common core courses, so you begin your study of English and American literature with a firm foundation in the Ancient Hebrew, Greek and Roman cultures and key works of Western Civilization from the Middle Ages to the Present. With that background, the courses in the major can specialize, after the basic surveys, in studies of genre, period, theme, or several authors. Alumni tell us that they are quite prepared for the graduate courses or teaching assignments they may encounter.
What are OBU grads doing with their English degrees?
Our graduates are teaching on both the college and secondary levels, working as lawyers, research specialists for corporate or governmental entities and librarians. Specific examples include writing policy for Fannie Mae, being named an outstanding teacher at Deer Creek High School, serving as an attorney and vice president of a financial services company, teaching Family Medicine at a branch of the University of Washington, continuing in graduate work in counseling at the University of Wisconsin.
What courses can I take?
English classes are “cool” if you like to read, to see how your language operates to create ideas and images that affect other readers. The classes offered include surveys of English and American literature, genre courses in fiction, poetry, drama, and film, advanced writing courses, including creative and technical writing, and upper-level courses in criticism, Shakespeare, and other major authors.
What do OBU English faculty specialize in?
Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Spenser, Victorian religious themes, film adaptation, writing poetry, late 19th and early 20th Century American fiction, psychological fiction, Latin American fiction, composition and rhetoric, and language acquisition.
Double major or minor; write an honors thesis; join Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society; participate or deliver papers at undergraduate conferences, partially supported by departmental funds; do independent study; contribute to and/or help lay out and edit Scriblerus, the OBU literary magazine.