Why Have English Majors?

by Dr Davis on August 27, 2015

The New Yorker has an article entitled “Why Teach English?” that answers the question of why English majors exist. It’s an interesting read overall. But I found this section particularly intriguing.

No civilization we think worth studying, or whose relics we think worth visiting, existed without what amounts to an English department—texts that mattered, people who argued about them as if they mattered, and a sense of shame among the wealthy if they couldn’t talk about them, at least a little, too. It’s what we call civilization.

Even if we read books and talk about them for four years, and then do something else more obviously remunerative, it won’t be time wasted. We need the humanities not because they will produce shrewder entrepreneurs or kinder C.E.O.s but because, as that first professor said, they help us enjoy life more and endure it better. The reason we need the humanities is because we’re human. That’s enough.


Wildly Successful English Majors

by Dr Davis on August 26, 2015

Business Insider has a post on famous, successful people with English majors.

The list includes business tycoon Mitt Romney and a former governor of New York.

It also includes Sting, the former CEO of NBC, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Barbara Walters, and the seventh commissioner of Major League Baseball.

The most inspiring, to me anyway, is Steven Spielberg.

Thanks to my colleague Al for pointing out this.


English Major Jobs: Fun List

by Dr Davis on August 25, 2015

Sell Out Your Soul, the blog of a PhD in humanities who quit academia, has a post of 35 Awesome Jobs for English Majors. They are, in fact, awesome jobs and was last updated in 2015.

Jobs include:
Search Engine Marketing
Direct Response Copywriting
Public Relations
Corporate Blogger
Policy Analyst


English Degree = Opportunity

by Dr Davis on August 24, 2015

A Washington Post article from ten years ago shows that the question of what to do with an English major has been around for several years and that there are more varied answers than teach. Perhaps our students are sometimes focused on what they already know. They’ve been in school for 16 years, so of course they should teach.

The article introduces different people who graduated with English majors and have done other jobs.

Dinsmore sold his English degree and teaching experience to hiring managers as an advantage, not a hindrance. “Although I admitted that it was a different field, I described the ways in which my teaching skills would translate to that of computer support tech: patience, ability to put myself in the user’s shoes, comfortable speaking in front of crowds.”


Note for Linguistics

by Dr Davis on August 23, 2015

Folks’ names were set, in pronunciation, sometimes before standardized spelling. (Note: standardized spelling came several hundred years after the printing press.)

Thus, you can have Coldiron as a last name, pronounced as cauldron in modern English.


Best-Paying Jobs for English Majors

by Dr Davis on August 23, 2015

Monster.com, in the career advice section, has an article entitled “Best-Paying Jobs for English Majors.”

10) Technical Writer
Median Salary: $49,100

9) Marketing Communications Manager
Median Salary: $50,500

8) Managing Editor
Median Salary: $53,000

7) Marketing Director
Median Salary: $53,200

6) Human Resources Generalist
Median Salary: $54,000

5) Nonprofit Executive Director
Median Salary: $55,200

4) Web Developer
Median Salary: $58,500

3) Proposal Manager
Median Salary: $65,000

2) IT Project Manager
Median Salary: $67,000

1) Sales Account Manager
Median Salary: $67,300

One of my English majors in my business and professional writing class researched this topic for his long report and we’ve used the handout he constructed in our welcome packages for freshmen and transfer English majors ever since.


Results of Teaching Perspectives Inventory

by Dr Davis on August 22, 2015

My university encourages faculty development and I am presently enrolled in a Master Teacher course, for folks who want to be better teachers.

The homework before the next session involved taking the Teaching Perspectives Inventory.

After I took it, so I would have some idea what it meant, I went to the article “Development and Use of The Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI)” by Pratt, Collins, and Selinger.

My dominant mode is apprenticeship. I am not surprised by this, as that has been the metaphor I have used within my classrooms since at least the second year I was teaching, decades ago.

Effective teaching is a process of enculturating students into a set of social norms and ways of working.

Good teachers are highly skilled at what they teach. Whether in classrooms or at work sites, they arerecognized for their expertise. Teachers must reveal the inner workings of skilled performance and must now translateit into accessible language and an ordered set of tasks. Learning tasks usually proceed from simple to complex,allowing for different points of observation and entry depending upon the learner’s capability. Good teachers knowwhat their learners can do on their own and what they can do with guidance and direction; namely, engaging learners’within their ‘zone of development’. As learners mature and become more competent, the teacher’s role changes, andover time, teachers offer less direction and give more responsibility as they progress from dependent learners toindependent workers.

My recessive mode is Social Reform, also not a surprise.

I think this was a useful tool for discussion.


English Majors’ Careers

by Dr Davis on August 22, 2015

Vox Education has an article updated on June 2, 2015 that discusses what folks of different liberal arts majors do with their degrees.

careers of English majors

I think a lot of folks who are English majors think those are the only possible careers.


CFP: Digital Games and Environmental Rhetoric

by Dr Davis on August 21, 2015

Ecoplay: Digital Games and Environmental Rhetoric
full name / name of organization:
TRACE Journal / Department of English / University of Florida
contact email:
[email protected]
The University of Florida’s TRACE journal publishes online peer-reviewed collections in ecology, posthumanism, and media studies. Providing an interdisciplinary forum for scholars, we focus on the ethical and material impact of technology. TRACE Innovation Initiative’s second call for papers, “Ecoplay: Digital Games and Environmental Rhetoric,” focuses on digital games and asks how play contributes to ecological thought.

Building on M. Jimmie Killingsworth and Jacqueline S. Palmer’s Ecospeak: Rhetoric and Environmental Politics in America as well as Sidney I. Dobrin and Sean Morey’s Ecosee: Image, Rhetoric, Nature, this issue proposes “Ecoplay” as a rhetorical framework for investigating the intersection of gameplay and ecocriticism. Both Ecospeak and Ecosee explore how rhetorical forms encourage support and sympathy for environmental movements. Specifically, Ecospeak identifies rhetorical patterns in writing about environmental politics and argues that discourse is a fundamental part of the environmental problem. Meanwhile, Ecosee claims that image-based media plays a powerful role in shaping arguments about ecology, environment, and nature. Examining play as a catalyst for environmental discourse, Ecoplay critically considers existing and potential rhetorics of digital ecologies and evaluates how games make arguments about nature.

Games often perpetuate problematic ideologies about human-nature-technology relationships by offering a platform for environmental consumption, resource management, colonization, cultivation, etc. At the same time, game designers and players can challenge entrenched ecological narratives or promote conservation efforts through digital worlds. TRACE’s “Ecoplay” issue seeks a comprehensive way of engaging the interplay between multiple forms of ecological rhetoric in digital games and ‘plays’ with how the multi-modality of games enables rhetorical forms to interact. Thus, contributions to this issue of TRACE should explore how digital games configure our understandings of ecologies and ecological issues through their design, play, and materiality.

Paper topics may include, but are not limited to, any of the following as they relate to digital games:

-Ethics and rhetorics of play, interface, or design
?-Representations of nature, ecology, or environment
?-Wildlife or resource management
?-Ecological conservation or preservation
?-“Green” games
?-E-waste and pollution
?-Built environments, construction, and destruction
?-Agriculture, gardening, and urbanization
-?Media ecologies

Completed articles will be peer-reviewed and should be between 3000-6000 words in length. Multimedia submissions are accepted and encouraged. If you are interested in contributing to the TRACE Innovation Initiative’s second issue, please send a 500 word abstract to [email protected] by Oct. 1, 2015.

From UPenn


Medical School Lures English Majors

by Dr Davis on August 21, 2015

NPR on May 27, 2015 has a story by Julie Rovner on a medical school revamping requirements to lure English majors.

Dr. David Muller is Mount Sinai’s dean for medical education. One wall of his cluttered office is a massive whiteboard covered with to-do tasks and memorable quotations. One quote reads: “Science is the foundation of an excellent medical education, but a well-rounded humanist is best suited to make the most of that education.”

At first it is about Mount Sinai’s own program. Eventually, however, they get to the relevant parts for non-Mount Sinai students:

The effort has worked so well, in fact, that Mount Sinai is expanding it, opening it to students in any major from any college or university. Eventually half the class will be admitted via a slightly reconfigured program, which has a new name: FlexMed.