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Dr. Anthony (Todd) Carlisle (chair) | Dr. M.G. Aune | Dr. Sarah Downey | Dr. Christina L. Fisanick | Dr. Debbie Goh | Dr. Brent House | Dr. Karen McCullough | James T. McVey | Dr. Keat Murray | Dr. Pratul Pathak | Dr. Kimberly Vanderlaan

Department Mission

The English department at California University of Pennsylvania is committed to the creation, interpretation and dissemination of written language across all media and genres. Our students pursue a rigorous course of classes, acquiring, practicing and refining their ability to read, write and understand texts. In so doing, they become literate, self-aware citizens of a globalized culture -- well-prepared for a variety of careers. Our faculty teach a rich array of subjects, including innovative courses in literature, creative writing, journalism, linguistics, literacy and composition. As a result, our English department prepares students who:

  1. Develop critical and creative practices in English Studies;
  2. Engage actively with a larger community through language arts; and
  3. Compete and perform at a professional level in the workplace and graduate studies.


English is a comprehensive discipline. Its scope encompasses a study of the evolution of the language itself, the various types of writing, the literature in English (poetry, drama, fiction and essay, regardless of national origin), and the comparative study of literature. As a course of study, English enables people to express themselves clearly and to read their ideas and those of others in an appreciative and critical manner. The ideas expressed are boundless, the content emotive as well as rational.

Language competency is essential to the exchange of ideas, the successful completion of coursework and meaningful employment. To ensure that students will develop their language skills and will have the means to meet these expectations, the University requires that all entering students take the English placement examination for placement into ENG 100 English Language Skills, ENG 101 Composition I or ENG 102 Composition II. All students are encouraged to take the two composition courses during their first semesters.


The English major has several concentrations:

  • Creative Writing
  • Journalism
  • Literature 

For those who want to teach English or an allied area, secondary school certification in English and certification in communication (speech communication and theater) are offered in cooperation with the College of Education and Human Services. A well-developed internship system supports classroom studies in the writing programs.

Honor Societies

Sigma Tau Delta is the national English honor society. The California University of Pennsylvania chapter, Delta Theta, was chartered in 1959 and is the oldest chapter in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education.

The Society of Professional Journalists

The California University chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists helps prepare students for careers in the media, offering professional and social ties.

Scholarships and Awards

The English department also awards regularly the following: the English Faculty Award; the Minor Major Award/the EAPSU Outstanding English Major Award; the Literary Criticism Award; the Eleanore C. Hibbs Secondary English Education Award; and the Eleanore C. Hibbs Freshman Writing Award. Contact the English department for details.


Besides preparing students for graduate work in English and American literature, English education, linguistics, library studies, law, creative writing, journalism, mass communication and a number of other fields, the English program offers career opportunities in such positions as secondary school teacher, newspaper reporter and editor, magazine writer and editor, online reporter and editor, creative writer, public information officer, technical writer, proofreader, radio and TV reporter and editor, and publishing company writer and editor.