Department of English Masters of Arts in English Goals and Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes. I. Program Description

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1 Department of English Masters of Arts in English Goals and Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes The Department of English of the Catholic University of America offers the Master of Arts degree in English Language and Literature. The faculty specializes in literary history and aesthetics and has designed programs to reflect these emphases. The Department s trademark is an unapologetic emphasis on literature: teaching its history and searching its aesthetic depths. At the same time, the Department engages theoretical issues, both those now being debated and those that have exercised readers and critics since the Greeks. Educated at leading universities in this country and abroad, the faculty is prepared to offer work in all major historical periods of British and American literature. The Department has developed distinctive specialties in Medieval Literature, Drama, Irish Literature, and Literature and Religion, each reinforced by related offerings in other units of the University. With department approval, graduate students in the English Department may include courses from other Schools and Departments within the University as part of their programs. For example, besides courses in Old and Middle English, our students may avail themselves of Old Norse and the history of that language within the Department, as well as Medieval Latin, Old French, and Medieval Spanish in other language Departments. The Program in Medieval and Byzantine Studies further extends the range of choices to theology, philosophy, and history. The University is a member of the Folger Institute of Renaissance and 18th-Century Studies, and English Department students may register for seminars given at the Folger Shakespeare Library as part of this cooperative program. I. Program Description The Master of Arts in English and American Literature degree requires 30 hours of course work, including two research seminars, and a comprehensive examination. By petition to the department, students may choose to substitute a M.A. thesis for the research seminars. Students in the M.A. program must take required courses in Linguistics (ENG 625), Literary Theory (CLIT 531), Bibliography and Methods (ENG 721) and Modern Critical Movements (CLIT 702), each during the first semester of their graduate study in which the course is offered. Students must also demonstrate a reading knowledge of one foreign language and pass a written comprehensive examination after completing their course work to earn the degree. Students who receive two grades of C+ or below are subject to dismissal. A departmental Admissions Committee, composed of three faculty members, reviews student applications for admission. In addition to completing the standard application form, students must submit a statement of purpose, a writing sample, academic transcripts, GRE scores, and at least three letters or recommendation. The statement of purpose should address the student s goals and areas of interest, and the writing sample must involve critical analysis of literature or composition/linguistics. Each committee member reviews each student s file, and then the

2 committee meets to discuss individual recommendations and determine admission. Research and Teaching Assistantships are available at the M.A. on a limited basis. Students who successfully complete the M.A. in English Language and Literature are prepared to teach a broad range of American and British literature courses at the secondary school level and perform jobs that require advanced written and oral skills. Recent graduates have gone on to teach high school English, become professional editors, and work in public relations firms and for political groups. II. Goals for Student Learning Students who graduate with a Master of Arts in English will: 1. Demonstrate depth and breadth of advanced knowledge of the major historical periods in British and American literature; 2. Identify the aesthetic continuities and differences among the periods; 3. Demonstrate depth and breadth of advanced knowledge of the history of literary criticism; 4. Exhibit mastery of knowledge and skills in recent approaches to the study of literature. 5. Demonstrate reading knowledge of one foreign language sufficient to enable the student to conduct basic research in the language. 6. Demonstrate advanced written and oral skills. III. Student Assessment Outcome Measures 1. Students must complete courses in Linguistics (ENG 625), Literary Theory (CLIT 531), Bibliography and Methods (ENG 721) and Modern Critical Movements (CLIT 702) with a grade of B or above. 2. Students must successfully complete six courses in various literary periods with a grade of B or above. 3. Students must successfully complete two research seminars, which each include writing one article-length seminar paper that evidences original research, which engages relevant critical debates and advances an original thesis. 4. To fulfill the foreign language requirement, students must pass the appropriate Graduate Language Test (administered by the CUA Counseling Center). 5. After completing their coursework, students must pass a comprehensive examination that focuses on two areas: 1) literary theory and criticism and 2) literary history and aesthetics. Area exams are four hours in length and are given over a two day period once a semester. Students are evaluated on their ability to precisely distinguish between various theoretical and critical approaches to literature and to distinguish between various literary periods and the dominant aesthetic techniques associated with each period. Individual faculty members grade each exam and then consult as a group to determine the final grade. Superior exams demonstrate an advanced ability to make accurate and nuanced distinctions that are expressed in well organized and lucidly written essays. 6. Periodic faculty review of student progress in the program, including yearly reviews with the Director of Graduate Studies to track student progress. Student performances are monitored in terms of successful completion of required courses and in respect to the cohesion of and progress in their individual courses of study.

3 IV. Use of Results to Improve Student Learning 1. The department s entire faculty meets on a monthly basis to discuss departmental matters, including student performance. These meetings primarily involve informal discussions preliminary to the semi-annual meeting described in #2 and #3. 2. The entire faculty meets each semester after the completion of comprehensive exam grading to evaluate the relationship between student performance and the structure of the program. Results on the comprehensive examinations are discussed in relation to course offerings and student advising, and are preliminary to the annual meeting described in #3. 3. At the end of each academic year the faculty meets to discuss student performance, course evaluations, and curriculum and plan potential changes to improve student learning outcomes. 4. Before the start of each academic year, each student meets with the Director of Graduate Studies to discuss that student s progress and his/her course of study for the upcoming academic year. Student performances are monitored in terms of timely and successful completion of required courses and in respect to the cohesion of and progress in their individual courses of study. Certificate in Rhetoric I. Program Description Graduate Teaching Assistants in the Department of English who wish to supplement their credentials in rhetorical studies may choose to earn the Certificate in Rhetoric. The Certificate requires satisfactory completion of twelve hours of coursework selected from among the following courses: Practical Approaches to Teaching Rhetoric and Composition (ENG 723/ENG700) [Required.], Classical History of Rhetoric: Greek to Medieval (ENG 635), Seminar in Rhetoric of Narrative (ENG 847), Seminar in Stylistics (ENG 741), Rhetoric of Advertising ENG 524) and Rhetoric of Propaganda (ENG 530). Students who choose to pursue the Certificate must consult the Director of Graduate Studies to plan their programs. Students who successfully complete the Certificate in Rhetoric in conjunction with their English graduate degree are prepared to teach rhetoric and writing at the college or high school level, to direct rhetoric and writing programs at these levels, and to become professional writers in a wide variety of settings including publications, public relations private and public consulting, government and political organizations, and business. II. Goals for Student Learning Students who earn the Certificate in Rhetoric during their graduate study in the Department of English will: 1. Demonstrate an understanding of the foundational principles of modern rhetorical practice. 2. Demonstrate general knowledge of the major precepts of Classical Rhetoric. 3. Demonstrate advanced skills in rhetorical writing. 4. Demonstrate advanced skills in rhetorical analysis of literary and non-literary works.

4 III. Student Assessment Outcome Measures 1.Students must complete with a grade of B or higher Practical Approaches to Teaching Rhetoric and Composition (ENG723/ENG700) plus three additional graduate courses selected from among the following:, Classical History of Rhetoric: Greek to Medieval (ENG 635), Seminar in Rhetoric of Narrative (ENG 847), Seminar in Stylistics (ENG 741), Rhetoric of Advertising ENG 524) and Rhetoric of Propaganda (ENG 530). Each of these courses requires research papers that demonstrate knowledge of rhetorical principles. ENG 723 also requires a writing portfolio and a written examination. 2. Knowledge of the precepts of classical rhetoric is assessed by either satisfactory performance in ENG 635 or by written examination. 2. Periodic faculty reviews of student progress in the Certificate program, including yearly reviews by the Director of Graduate Studies, are conducted to track student progress. 4. Classroom observations and other forms of ongoing assessment are conducted by the Director of Rhetoric and Writing to evaluate the level of mastery of rhetorical principals demonstrated by Teaching Assistants in their teaching activities. 5. The University administers formal course and teacher evaluations each semester for all teachers including Teaching Assistants who serve as teacher-of-record while pursuing the Certificate in Rhetoric. Results of these evaluations are reviewed by the administration, the department chair, and the director of rhetoric and writing, in addition to being published electronically. III. Use of Results to Improve Student Learning 1.At the conclusion of each academic year, students working on the Certificate of Rhetoric meet for collaborative hour-long conferences with the director of the Rhetoric and Writing Program to review the results of classroom observations and course evaluations and to discuss individual areas of strength and areas targeted for improvement. 1. At the beginning of each academic year, the director of the Rhetoric and Writing Program summarizes the collective results of the previous year s teaching and provides program-wide guidance for improvement to those pursuing the Certificate in Rhetoric.

5 Department of English Doctor of Philosophy in English Goals and Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes The Department of English of The Catholic University of America offers the Doctor of Philosophy in English Language and Literature. The faculty specializes in literary history and aesthetics and has designed programs to reflect these emphases. Its trademark is an unapologetic emphasis on literature itself: teaching its history and searching its aesthetic depths. At the same time, the Department engages theoretical issues, both those now being debated and those that have exercised readers and critics since the Greeks. Educated at leading universities in this country and abroad, the faculty is prepared to offer work in all major historical periods of British and American literature. The Department has developed distinctive specialties in Medieval Literature, Drama, Irish Literature, and Literature and Religion, each reinforced by related offerings in other units of the University. With department approval, graduate students in the English Department may include courses from other Schools and Departments within the University as part of their programs. For example, besides courses in Old and Middle English, our students may avail themselves of Old Norse and the history of that language within the Department, as well as Medieval Latin, Old French, and Medieval Spanish in other language Departments. The Program in Medieval and Byzantine Studies further extends the range of choices to theology, philosophy, and history. The University is a member of the Folger Institute of Renaissance and 18th-Century Studies, and English Department students may register for seminars given at the Folger Shakespeare Library as part of this cooperative program. I. Program Description The Ph.D. degree requires 54 semester hours of coursework, following the baccalaureate, of which a maximum of 24 hours may after evaluation transfer from other institutions, usually from an M.A. program. Students in the program must take a minimum of 24 hours of course work beyond the M.A., including two additional research seminars in addition to the research seminars required for the M.A. Courses in Linguistics (ENG 625), Literary Theory (CLIT 531), Bibliography and Methods (ENG 721) and Modern Critical Movements (CLIT 702)), are required during the first semester of graduate study in which the course is offered, unless the courses have already been completed as part of the M.A. In addition, two pedagogical courses, Literary Theory and Composition (ENG 720) and Approaches to Teaching Rhetoric and Composition (ENG 723) required for students who serve as Teaching Assistants. Students who receive two grades of C+ or below are subject to dismissal from the program. After having certified a reading knowledge of two foreign languages, the Ph.D. student takes a three-part comprehensive exam on the general history of English and American literature; literary theory and the history of criticism, and an individualized topic related to the field in which the student will write his/her dissertation. The dissertation, a substantial piece of original research, and its oral defense are the capstones of the doctoral program.

6 Students admitted to the Ph.D. program usually hold an M.A. or another advanced degree. A departmental Admissions Committee, composed of three faculty members, reviews student applications for admission. In addition to completing the standard application form, students must submit a statement of purpose, a writing sample, academic transcripts, GRE scores, and at least three letters or recommendation. The statement of purpose should address the student s goals and areas of interest and the writing sample must involve critical analysis of literature or composition/linguistics. Each committee member reviews each student s file, and then the committee meets to discuss individual recommendations and determine admission. Research and Teaching Assistantships are available at the Ph.D. level on a competitive basis. Students in the doctoral program typically serve as Teaching Assistants, which gives them valuable teaching experience. T.A.s often teach Rhetoric and Composition (ENG 101), Composition and Literature (ENG 102), and other introductory courses. The Director of the Writing Program and other members of the English Department faculty supervise the T.A.s. The director also holds regular meetings and conducts workshops, which T.A.s must attend. The faculty encourages Ph.D. students to present their research at academic conferences and submit their work for publication in scholarly journals. They are eligible to apply for departmental funds for travel to conferences and work with their major professors to develop essays for publication. Ph.D. students also have the opportunity to further their professional development by serving on a range of departmental and university committees, including the Academic Senate and the Graduate Student Association. Graduates of the Ph.D. program are prepared to teach American and British literature at the university level and conduct research in their fields of specialization. While the great majority of our students who earn the Ph.D. go into academic careers, some have gone on to work in other professions that require advanced language skills. For example, recent graduates have taken positions as editors for publishing houses and as researchers or administrators for institutions, such as the National Endowment of the Humanities. II. Goals for Student Learning Students who graduate with a Doctorate of Philosophy in English will: 1. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge and understanding of the major historical periods in British and American literature; 2. Identify in detail and understand the aesthetic continuities and differences among the periods; 3. Exhibit detailed knowledge and understanding of the history of literary criticism; 4. Demonstrate advanced knowledge and skill in the recent approaches to the study of literature; 5. Demonstrate reading knowledge of two foreign languages sufficient to use primary and secondary literature in the foreign language correctly and with relative ease. 6. Evidence knowledge and skill at conducting scholarly research in their specific areas of specialization, and 7. Demonstrate their preparation to teach literature and writing at the university level. III. Student Assessment Outcome Measures

7 7. Students must complete courses in Linguistics (ENG 625), Literary Theory (CLIT 531), Bibliography and Methods (ENG 721) and Modern Critical Movements (CLIT 702) and two pedagogical courses with a grade of B or above. 8. Students must successfully complete ten courses in various literary periods with a grade of B or above. 9. Students must demonstrate, particularly in the research seminars, the ability to conduct, write and present original research which engages relevant critical debates and advances an original thesis. Demonstration of these abilities typically takes the form of an article length research paper and an oral presentation to the seminar based on the paper. 10. To fulfill the foreign language requirement, students must pass the appropriate Graduate Language Test (administered by the CUA Counseling Center). 11. In addition the pedagogical courses, the Director of the Writing Program sits in on courses taught by TAs. The Director then meets with TAs individually, and uses insights from the visit and online student evaluations to assess the TAs classroom performance and devise a plan for improvement, if needed. 12. Colloquy. Before the student takes the doctoral comprehensive examination, s/he must engage in an advisory colloquy with a departmental committee. Committee members question the student on his/her knowledge of general literary history, literary theory, and the specialty field. The committee discusses the student s performance, and each member of the committee meets with the student individually to plan a course of study for the doctoral comprehensive examination. Committee members are determined by the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the faculty and the student. The Colloquy is designed for advisory purposes and is not graded. 13. Comprehensive examination. Students complete a three-part comprehensive exam on the general history of English and American literature; literary theory and the history of criticism, and an individualized topic related to the field in which the student will write his/her dissertation. A faculty committee prepares and grades each section of the exam. Area exams are four hours in length and are given over a three day period once a semester. Students are evaluated on their ability to precisely distinguish between various theoretical and critical approaches to literature and to distinguish between various literary periods and the dominant aesthetic techniques associated with each period. Students must demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the works, criticism, and cultural history associated with the special field. Individual faculty members grade each exam and then consult as a group to determine the final grade. Superior exams demonstrate an advanced ability to make accurate and nuanced distinctions that are expressed in well organized and lucidly written essays. 14. Admission to Candidacy. The department s entire faculty meets to discuss admission to candidacy after the grading of the graduate comprehensive. Criteria for admission are the quality of the comprehensive exam and performance in course work with particular attention to the quality of the written work in the graduate seminars. 15. Presenting a proposal for conducting original research for the dissertation. The department s faculty evaluates and approves the dissertation proposal, subject to approval by the Chair, the Dean, and the Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies. Before submitting the proposal, student consult with faculty members in the student s particular field, and are advised on how to shape the proposal. The student then submits the proposal to the entire faculty for approval. Proposals are evaluated on the basis of the originality and quality of the research,

8 and they plausibility of the work being completed within five years or less. 16. Dissertation Approval. Dissertators are encouraged to meet with the Director and other members of the dissertation committee as they submit drafts of chapters. Candidates must complete an acceptable dissertation within 5 years of candidacy, including revisions suggested by committee. After the dissertation director and the readers have agreed that the manuscript is ready for submission to oral defense, their signatures denote its approval from dissertation committee members. 17. Dissertation Defense. The Ph.D. candidate must successfully pass an oral defense of the dissertation, which members of the dissertation committee conduct along with two faculty members from outside the English Department: An Ordinary Professor from an outside department serves as Chair and an Ordinary or Associate Professor from an outside department serves as Secretary. Criteria for evaluating the oral defense include the candidate s ability to present the topic, methodology and results with a clearly focused, convincing delivery in the appropriate scholarly discourse; his/her content knowledge of the field; analytical ability; awareness of the intellectual context of study, and the application of its results, as well as his/her ability to handle difficult questions and criticism. Possible defense scores are No Pass, Pass and in exceptional cases Pass with Distinction. (Pass with Distinction indicates the committee, the Chair and the Secretary agree that the defense and the written dissertation far exceeded the usual standards for a successful defense.) 18. Deposit of Dissertation. 19. Periodic Faculty Review of student progress in the program, including yearly reviews with the Director of Graduate Studies to track student progress. Student performances are monitored in terms of successful completion of required courses and in respect to the cohesion of and progress in their individual courses of study. IV. Use of Results to Improve Student Learning 1. The department s entire faculty meets on a monthly basis to discuss departmental matters, including student performance. These meetings primarily involve informal discussions preliminary to the semi-annual meeting described in #2 and #3. 2. The entire faculty meets each semester after the completion of comprehensive exam grading to evaluate the relationship between student performance and the structure of the program. Results on the comprehensive examinations are discussed in relation to course offerings and student advising, and are preliminary to the annual meeting described in #3. 3. At the end of each academic year the faculty meets to discuss student performance, course evaluations, and curriculum and plan potential changes to improve student learning outcomes. 4. Before the start of each academic year, each student meets with the Director of Graduate Studies to discuss that student s progress and his/her course of study for the upcoming academic year. Student performances are monitored in terms of timely and successful completion of required courses and in respect to the cohesion of and progress in their individual courses of study. In addition, before each student takes the doctoral comprehensive examination, s/he must engage in an advisory colloquy with a departmental committee. Committee members question the student on his/her knowledge of general literary history, literary theory, and the specialty field. Afterward, each member of the committee meets with the student individually to plan a course of study for the doctoral

9 comprehensive examination, using the colloquy results. Both these processes are part of the department s plan to improve student outcomes.

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