Department Chair: Elizabeth Payne, (505) 828-3370
In the English department, we offer literature as a window on the world and a mirror for discovery and self-knowledge. Through thoughtful exploration of texts from many corners of culture, time, and human experience, our students learn to communicate and interact as they define themselves in relation to the world around them. Reading literature helps all of us develop empathy, shy away from reductive thinking, and embrace complexity. It also turns us into careful and patient listeners, learning to notice both what is said and what is not said. Through metaphor, analogy, analysis, and argument, we come to richer understandings that enlarge us.
In this same spirit of discovery, writing offers our students the opportunity to realize and subsequently clarify what they know and believe. Our writing process emerges from the questions we encounter in literature and in life and emphasizes a willingness to engage in contemplation, invest in revision, and practice open-mindedness in the face of other viewpoints. Students experiment, revise, review, and refine until they can communicate their own perspectives with clarity, style, and sincerity. The goal is not only to foster clear, compelling arguments in their written work but also to empower them to tell their own stories with courage and insight.