Redefining the Classroom

The study of English prepares you to communicate effectively, to understand the history and power of words, to think critically and creatively, and to recognize and balance several points of view. It provides you a better understanding of human nature, your community, and your place in the world. The writing and critical thinking skills developed in English coursework will make you competitive in many fields.

The department that once worked with the Unicorn Hunters to publish the Woods-Runner now provides editing and publishing opportunities for undergraduate English literature and creative writing students. Competitive internships are available for editors and readers in poetry and fiction through Border Crossing, the Creative Writing Program's teaching journal, which occasionally publishes the very best student work alongside that of emerging and established writers. Students may also work on the Creative Works Collective, an experimental zine written, edited, and published monthly by the English Club. Every year, the English Department holds the Osborn Poetry Contest and the Fiction Short Story Contest. Submissions are due in the spring, with the winners announced at the end of the year.

English Language and Literature

A major for those wishing to certify to teach English to middle or high schoolers. As an English Language and Literature--Secondary Education major, you can help run our annual children's book festival and take courses on YA Literature and visual texts such as graphic novels. You can learn how to publish your own future students' work in student journals by working as an editing intern in the department or lead a community writing workshop. You'll also get to practice your teaching skills in our 21st century learning environment.

"My time at LSSU prepared me well for my graduate studies and subsequent career in the field of English."

-- Joseph Haske, B.A., English,
’99, M.A., M.F.A., professor, novelist, poet, and contributing editor, American Book Review

Literature (including minor)

You’ll enjoy personal attention and thought-provoking classes in both American and English literature. New classes include a class on visual texts like graphic novels and a class on post-apocalyptic literature! You’ll be invited to join our active English Club and take advantage of faculty with expertise in everything from eco-criticism to graphic novels and children’s literature. Our majors have a high graduate school acceptance rate and have gone on to study at Northern Michigan University, Ohio State University, Bowling Green State University, Kansas State University, Warren Wilson College, and other schools. A number of students have presented undergraduate work at conferences. Past graduates have become college professors; one is a novelist and contributing editor to the American Book Review. Students may work on Snowdrifts, our undergraduate journal written, edited, and published annually by the English Club. Every year, the English Department holds the Stellanova Osborn Poetry Contest and the LSSU Short Story Contest. Submissions are due in the spring, with the winners announced at the end of the year.

Employers look for workers who can think critically, read carefully, and communicate effectively. Studying English can help set you apart from other job applicants, prepare you for graduate school, improve your craft as a writer, and prepare you to teach.

Set Yourself Apart

As a major or minor in Literature, you'll enjoy personal attention and thought-provoking classes in both American and English literature. You'll be invited to join our active English Club and take advantage of faculty with expertise in everything from eco-criticism to graphic novels and children's literature. Our majors have a high graduate school acceptance rate and have gone on to study at Northern Michigan University, Ohio State University, Bowling Green State University, Kansas State University, Warren Wilson College, and other schools. A number of students have presented undergraduate work at conferences. Past graduates have become college professors; one is a novelist and contributing editor to the American Book Review.

Employers look for workers who can think critically, read carefully, and communicate effectively. Studying English can help set you apart from other job applicants, prepare you for graduate school, improve your craft as a writer, and qualify you to teach.

"Lake State gave me the experience and the opportunity I was looking for. My courses and the work experience I received allowed me to accept a position as a graduate assistant at South Dakota State University. I've been working on my Master's in Education with a specialization in Student Affairs and Counseling. 

The class size at Lake State gave me the opportunity to learn and make connections with both the students and faculty. It provided a great student-to-teacher ratio that allowed for in-depth and provocative conversation, a key element in learning. The compassion of the professors shows as they have helped me with every aspect of my education and future planning."

-- Amy Chrispell ('08)

Creative Writing

Gives undergraduate students opportunities to get publishing experience before graduation. Unlike larger programs where your work may be lost in large workshop classes, our faculty are excited to work one-on-one with undergraduate students. To encourage innovation and experimentation as students develop their voices, all majors complete coursework in prose, poetry, and performance writing. A junior course lets students refine their voices and practice their craft in their preferred genre in a class where they will get feedback from students of multiple genres. Seniors take the Creative Writing Portfolio course, a capstone class in which students write a unified collection of publication-ready work in their preferred genre, working with the instructor of their choice on an independent study basis.

As a major or minor in Literature – Creative Writing, you’ll enjoy small workshops with award-winning faculty who are excited to read your work. You can take engaging courses, meet famous writers, get credit for working on journals as part of publishing internships, submit your own writing for publication, enter writing contests, share your dream with other writers, and work with our award-winning faculty.

Take Creative Courses
Our first two classes in creative writing allow you to experiment and develop your voice as a writer. Our 300-level courses let you write prose, poetry, and plays or screenplays. Our 400-level workshops allow you to focus on a single genre in a class with students who are working in multiple genres, to encourage experimentation and innovation in your writing. As a senior, you’ll take the Creative Writing Portfolio course, a capstone class in which you write a unified collection of publication-ready work in your preferred genre, working with the instructor of your choice on an independent study basis.

Meet Famous Writers
You can meet and learn from highly acclaimed authors and poets who come to campus as part of our Visiting Writer Series. Past visiting writers have included Jaimy Gordon, the 2010 National Book Award winner for fiction, and Nikky Finney, the 2011 National Book Award winner for poetry.

Get Publishing Experience
Once you have completed English 221, you can apply for an internship in poetry or fiction with Border Crossing, the Creative Writing Program’s teaching journal, which occasionally publishes the very best student work alongside that of emerging and established professional writers from across America, Mexico, and Canada. Students may also work on Snowdrifts, a student journal, edited and published by the English Club.

Submit Your Own Writing
Recent students have had their work accepted and/or published while still undergraduates in Greatest Lakes Review, Penny Ante Feud, Greenblotter, Strong Verse, Snowdrifts, our student journal, and Border Crossing,our professional journal.

Enter Writing Contests
Every year, the English Department holds the Osborn Poetry Contest and the LSSU Short Story Contest. Submissions are due in the spring, with the winners announced at the end of the year. Winners are invited to read at our end-of-the-year reception, receive cash prizes, and are encouraged to publish the winning work in Snowdrifts

Share Your Dream
We take pride in getting to know our students and sharing their writing and publishing dreams. LSSU student Michael D. Nelson wrote the play “Four Mondays”to combine his two minor fields of study, creative writing and professional communication. He used the production as his senior project. LSSU Communication Prof. Gary Balfantz, Nelson’s advisor, helped him develop the idea of
writing the play, while LSSU Creative Writing Prof. Julie Barbour guided Nelson with his writing.

Get to Know our Award-Winning Faculty
Our professors have been published in prestigious literary journals and by well-respected book publishers, and are recipients of various awards and honors, but they always have time to spend one-on-one with students

Opportunity to Explore

Michael D. Nelson of St. John's, Mich. wrote the "Four Mondays" to combine his two minor fields of study, creative writing and professional communication, with his bachelor's degree in liberal studies. He is using the production as his senior project.

LSSU Communication Prof. Gary Balfantz, Nelson's advisor, helped him develop the idea of writing the play, while LSSU Creative Writing Prof. Julie Barbour guided Nelson with his writing.

Nelson said that writing a play has been a drastic change of pace, since he is accustomed to writing short stories, mostly.

"Coming up with the idea wasn't easy. It took a long trip home to figure it out," he said.
Being a fan of comedic productions, he decided to write a story that revolves around him and a few friends later in life.

"The majority of the play takes place in a diner where the four friends try to grasp the adulthood aspect of growing up while talking about the impossible nature of women, life and the universe," he added. "They spend their Monday mornings drinking coffee, swapping outrageous ideas, and bantering back and forth with their favorite waitress, who is usually less than happy to see them."

Degrees

Career Choices

A sound liberal arts education is a satisfactory and soughtafter preparation for many vocational and professional areas: communication, industry, government and teaching.

  • Editor - Develops original fiction and nonfiction for books, magazines and trade journals, newspapers, technical reports, company newsletters, radio and television broadcasts, movies and advertisements.
  • Technical Writer - Puts scientific and technical information into readily understandable language. Prepares operating and maintenance manuals, catalogs, parts lists, assembly instructions, sales promotion materials and project proposals. Plans and edits technical reports and oversees preparation of illustrations, photographs, diagrams and charts.
  • Public Relations Director - Handles media, community, consumer and government relations; political campaigns; interest-group representation; conflict mediation; or employee and investor relations.

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