Nicholas Goldberg: Where have all the English majors gone?
I’m Nicholas Goldberg, Professor of English at the University of Washington. And this is Where Have All The English Majors Gone?
I’m writing with a group of us from Pacific Lutheran University who are calling for a more serious investment in our English departments. That’s because they are not only vital for teaching our students, but also for getting them jobs and moving students into fields where English is at the center of the work.
I am a professor of English at the University of Washington in Seattle, and one of my students is a great example of why such investment is very important. In fact, he just won an award that is highly competitive for anyone in the U.S. government, for something he did in college. That means that I really know what we are talking about. But I’ve also served as a principal in a college, and I know that to keep a department on budget it must keep a good focus.
I’m an English department head, so my whole raison d’être here is that students should be able to take the writing classes and read serious literature that’s important to college students, be able to do writing practice for future careers, and be able to move out of the majors without having to choose an “easy” college program because they don’t want to do so much writing for a living.
That to me is critical. I want to hear from you: where are all the English majors going, and are you still reading Shakespeare? (Laughs.) I want to hear your stories: How are you doing? (Laughs.)
I want you to write to us your stories, and I want to hear what you have to say. And I want to hear from you whether you are staying in English or whether you’re taking courses in other majors. I want to know what you think. You can write