Message from the Chair

I am proud to serve as chair of a department with a long-held commitment to literature, professional and creative writing, linguistics, film and teacher training.

In recent years, we offered courses in subjects as varied as Arthurian Literature, Ideas and Ideals in World Literature, Blues and Jazz in Literature and Film, British Literature of Horror, 1799-1899, Modern Global LGBTQ+ Drama, Linguistic Discrimination, Writing Creative Nonfiction, James Baldwin and American Film, and the Literature of Social Justice. Our study abroad program in Oxford has also offered students a transformative academic experience for over 50 years.

Our professorial and instructional faculty's extensive research is matched by an award-winning record of teaching and mentoring. Our professorial faculty includes a Presidential Research, Scholarship and Artistry Professor, a Distinguished Teaching Professor, and a Distinguished Research Professor and NIU Board of Trustees Professor. Recent faculty publications include Betty Birner's Pragmatics: A Slim Guide (2021), Jeffrey Einboden' s Jefferson's Muslim Fugitives: The Lost Story of Enslaved Africans, their Arabic Letters, and an American President (2020), Joe Bonomo's No Place I Would Rather Be: Roger Angell and a Life in Baseball Writing (2019), Ryan Hibbett's Philip Larkin, Popular Culture, and the English Individual (2019) and Lara Crowley's Manuscript Matters: Reading John Donne's Poetry and Prose in Early Modern England (2018). Our department also publishes the journal Style, which is ranked among the best journals of literary criticism in the world.

Our First Year Composition Program has a long history of empowering student voices and helping them grow as academic writers and researchers. Every year, students present their research at the Showcase of Student Writing to an external audience including other students, teachers, deans and local community leaders.

Our undergraduate program consists of three tracks in literature, writing and teacher licensure. We also offer an English minor and a creative writing certificate as well as interdisciplinary minors in professional communication, linguistics and more. Many students build career skills via internships, research apprenticeships and publishing in our student-run Towers Literary Magazine and Stonehouse Academic Journal. Our undergraduate students develop successful careers as technical and professional writers and secondary and middle-school English teachers, while others go on to law or medical school or pursue advanced degrees in linguistics, literature and education.

Our department also has a thriving graduate program. The master's program prepares students for careers in secondary and college education, professional writing, and, for some, advancement to doctoral programs. The doctoral program prepares students for careers in college and university education. We also offer a graduate certificate in English Language Arts and organize the yearly graduate-organized Midwest Conference on Literature, Language and New Media. Due to our commitment to professionalization, our graduate alumni have secured jobs at universities, colleges and community colleges across the nation.

For more information about the successes of our undergraduate and graduate alums, visit our Careers in English page. To keep up with our achievements and to learn more about our students, friend NIU English Department on Facebook. To learn more about our commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and anti-racism, please visit that page. You can contribute to our English scholarships and awards funds.

If you'd like to know more about our programs: the undergraduate major (tracks in literature, writing and teacher licensure), our Certificate in Creative Writing, any of our M.A. concentrations or our Ph.D. program please contact us. We are happy to help.

Go Huskies!

Scott Balcerzak

Professor and Department Chair

Dr Scott Balcerzak