Our department's mission is to cultivate educated citizens who
- READ WIDELY, delighting in texts that challenge them
- REASON CAREFULLY, sensitive to textual nuance and cultural contexts
- THINK CREATIVELY, aspiring to broaden their minds and express their souls
- WRITE BOLDLY, attentive to the needs of diverse audiences
- SERVE FAITHFULLY, rooted in the God-given power of language to inspire, inform, persuade and heal
Share your passion for story with readers and writers in grades 5–12. In addition to your English classes, you’ll take courses in an education department that is one of only 4 in Iowa to be NCATE accredited.
Our “loose canon” approach means you’ll read widely. Along with courses covering Chaucer and Twain, you can also take classes like Literature of the Developing World and Native American Literature.
Writing and rhetoric
Our interdisciplinary writing major requires you to add a second major or minor. Students have paired it with business, history, political science, public relations and religion. Creative writers can choose from courses in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, playwriting and screenwriting.
Writing and Rhetoric Minor
|ENG 235 - Introduction to Rhetorical Studies
(2 credits) This course functions primarily as an introduction to rhetoric and rhetorical analysis. It is designed to introduce students to the major and the minor in writing and rhetoric. Topics include the rhetoric of ancient Greece, definitions of rhetoric, past and present, rhetorical analysis of texts, and analysis of the rhetor's purpose, situation, genre and audience.
|ENG 297 - The Rhetoric of Persuasion
(4 credits) A study of the methods of persuasion: logical and emotional appeals and trustworthiness, ways of structuring arguments, and persuasive style. Students will learn to create and critique arguments on a variety of subjects. Prerequisites: sophomore class standing or permission of instructor.
|ENG 401 - History and Theory of Rhetoric
(4 credits) Designed to provide solid grounding in Greek and Roman rhetorical theory and practice including studies in pre-literate rhetoric and the theories of Aristotle and Plato, among others. Some attention is also given to the Christianizing of rhetorical theory during the Middle Ages. Finally, the course concludes with the examination of trends in contemporary rhetoric studies and topical applications. Prerequisite: junior class standing, ENG235 recommended.
|COM 185 - Media Writing
(4 credits) Students learn genres of writing for print and broadcast journalism and video, as well as for public relations and advertising. They learn these genres in relation to each other and in relation to their organizational contexts and audiences. Included are reporting, organizing and writing, as well as basic legal and ethical guidelines for reporters and writers in journalism and PR.
|COM 217 - Communication Practicum in Print Media
(1 credit) Practical experience working on the campus newspaper, the Beacon, or the college yearbook, the Cornerstone. Prerequisite: students must be accepted for membership on one of these publications before signing up for the practicum.
|COM 230 - Principles of Public Relations
(3 credits; alternate years, consult department) Introduction to the field of public relations. Its focus is on public relations theory and practice with an emphasis on emerging trends. This course is offered as an overview covering public relations history, theories, strategies and tactics.
|COM 340 - News Writing and Editing
(4 credits; alternate years, consult department) Principles of clear and forceful
journalistic writing. Includes fact gathering, story planning, lead and head
writing. Attention to editing for improved copy, headline writing, and selection
of photographs and art work. Prerequisite: COM185 or permission of instructor.
|COM 261 - Feature Writing
(2 credits; alternate years, consult department) Study of interviewing practices, research methods, organization, and interest-gathering techniques necessary for writing longer articles, profiles, columns and consumer affairs writing. Prerequisite: COM185 or permission of instructor.
|COM 263 - Layout and Design
(3 credits) Covers basic principles of design as they apply to a wide variety of publications. Emphasis on selecting type, art and graphics appropriate to subject matter, purpose and audience.
|COM 417 - Internship
(4 credits may apply toward the major) Experience in an approved internship.
|ENG 221 - Responding to Writing
(2 credits) This course will enable students to develop a theorized practice for responding to writing. Students will study methods of response, conferencing strategies, approaches to revision, English as a Second Language (ESL), interpersonal dynamics, and the ethics of text intervention. As a course requirement, students must satisfy a practicum commitment by working a minimum of one hour per week (for pay) in the Writing Center. Prerequisite: recommendation of a writing instructor.
|ENG 288 - Writing in the Professions
(2 credits) A study of professional writing. In a writing workshop setting, students will learn to adjust style, tone and content to accomplish a definite purpose with an identified audience. They will also learn strategies for creating texts that are clear, concise and accurate. The course is especially useful for those whose career goals require facility in written communication, such as those studying marketing, public relations, advertising, management or law. All students will choose a professional to be their mentor on a writing project related to the career they are interested in. Students will also build a small portfolio of professional writing that includes letters, a memo, a resume and a research report. Prerequisite: sophomore class standing.
|ENG 290 - The Art of the Essay
(2 credits) A study of some of the best contemporary American non-fiction writing on such subjects as politics, the arts, religion, natural science and medicine. Students write on similar topics and develop their own style by emulating such models. Prerequisites: sophomore class standing or permission of instructor.
|ENG 292 - Introduction to Narrative and Verse
Students will be introduced to the foundations of reading and writing narrative
and verse (fiction and poetry) and will, through an exploration of a wide range
of styles, come to understand both the historical aspects of each genre (i.e.
how the art's been practiced and done before) and how those genres are
currently practiced (i.e. what's poetry and fiction look like today?). Students
will learn to read work closely and actively, as writers, and will learn how to
be in communication (both written and oral) with text. (4 credits)
|ENG 345 - Linguistic Perspectives on English
(4 credits, consult department) Where did our language come from? How did English get the biggest vocabulary of any modern language? How are the words joust, yoke, and yoga related? Why is English spelling so irregular? Are there bad words? This course traces the 1500 year development of our language, from the Germanic tongue of Beowulf to the Frenchified language of Chaucer, to the many varieties of modern English spoken around the world.
|ENG 350 - Reading and Writing Short Fiction
Students will explore the nature and design of fiction by studying and
analyzing a range of short fictional genres, learning to read fiction the way
its writers read it, and participating in a fiction writing workshop. Attention
will be given to purposes of language, to relationships between reading and
writing, and to narrative as a mode of thinking and an expression of culture.
Prerequisite: ENG292 or permission of instructor. (4 credits, alternate years,
|ENG 351 - Reading and Writing Creative Nonfiction
Students will explore the broad and flexible genre of creative nonfiction, from
the works of Montaigne, originator of the modern essay, to the lyric essay and
works that stretch and blur the line of nonfiction. Attention will be given to
the use of language, sentence structure, metaphor and scene, pushing narrative
beyond surface description to deeper meaning. Prerequisite: ENG290 or
permission of instructor. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
|ENG 352 - Reading and Writing Poetry
Students will actively explore the nature and design of poetry by studying a
range of poetic genres and styles, learning to read poetry as writers do, and
writing poetry in a writing workshop. Attention will be given to the purposes
of language, to relationships between reading and writing, and to poetry as a
mode of thinking and an expression of culture. Prerequisite: ENG292 or
permission of instructor. (4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
|ENG 380 - Special Topics in Writing
(2-4 credits) Specific subject matter of this course will vary from semester to semester, but will always focus on an issue in composition studies or a genre of writing. Courses will include both readings and student writing within the genre and will be designed to welcome both majors and non-majors. Prerequisite: ENG290 or ENG292 or permission of the instructor.
|ENG 387 - Special Topics in Rhetoric
(2-4 credits, non-yearly, consult department) Specific subject matter of this course will vary from semester to semester, but will always focus on an issue in rhetorical studies or a genre of writing. Courses with writing as their emphasis will include both readings and student writing within the genre.
|ENG 420 - Advanced Writing Project
(4 credits; alternate years, consult department) The heart of the course is an advanced project in artistic, journalistic, or scholarly writing. Students also assemble a portfolio of their best writing and related work, plan writing or study beyond college, and read to gather perspectives on their vocation. Prerequisite: ENG292 and one of the following: ENG350, 351 or 352.
|PHI 200 - Introduction to Ethics
(4 credits, alternate years, consult department) (IGE option under Belief and Reason) An investigation of some of the main philosophical questions about ethics, such as the following: Does morality depend on religion? Is morality relative to culture? Why should I be moral? How do we go about answering moral questions? Is there a "theory" of morality? If so, what does that theory look like?
|THE 206 - Playwriting: The One-Act
A workshop approach to the study of dramatic structure culminating in the
writing of a one-act play. Prerequisite: THE113. (2 credits, alternate years,
|THE 407 - Playwriting: The Full-Length
(4 credits, alternate years, consult department) This continuation of the study of playwriting focuses on the challenges of the long form. The course includes the processes of writing according to classic structural principles, rewriting, formatting and submitting plays for publication. Prerequisite: THE206 or permission of instructor.
|Total credits required: 22
Note: Internships range from 2-12 credits. The maximum credits applied to the major is noted under the 417 course designation.