English Department

Philosophy

The English Department believes in the necessity of effective communication skills in speaking, listening, writing, and reading, as well as a lifelong appreciation for literature. Our purpose is to provide a rigorous, values-based, college preparatory English program, emphasizing intellectual, social, and spiritual development of the student population. Through making connections between literature and life, we create an awareness of the dignity of life and encourage social responsibility, commitment to service, and dedication to improving the quality of life through peace and justice.

The Department creates an environment conducive to diverse learning opportunities for all of our students so they can develop the character, knowledge, and skills needed to succeed at the college level and beyond. By designing a demanding curriculum that prepares the student for the rigors of college, we prepare students to meet the challenges of society today and of the future.

Four credits of English are required for graduation, including English I, English II, English III, and English IV.

A Sampling of Classes Offered at SMCA

List of 5 items.

  • American Literature III: 2131

    Credit Earned: 0.5
    From Sea to Shining Sea:  Building a Civil Society
    From its birth, America has been characterized by a revolutionary spirit driven by the desire for freedom. However, this freedom has not always come “free” to those who call this land home. The course will examine the literature of those who found themselves at the margins of society and how they fought with both sword and pen to give voice to the voiceless. We will study the Puritans, who longed for religious freedom and whose theology of election led to Manifest Destiny; the American revolutionaries, who articulated the founding principles of this nation; the voices of the abolition movement, which revealed the atrocities and politics of slavery; and, finally, the suffragists, who dared to make a declaration of their own. Readings will include a balance of fiction, essays, primary documents, and political/editorial cartoons.

    
  • American Literature III: 2133

    Credit Earned: 0.5                                                  
    From Flappers to Rappers: Modern Urban Literature
    This course will focus on the cultural richness of urban literature. The overview will begin with the Realists of the late 19th century such as Whitman and continue with Harlem Renaissance writers such as Hughes, Toomer, and Hurston; authors Fitzgerald and Upton Sinclair and their glittering New York and grim Chicago; and Beat writers such as Jack London and their San Francisco, ending with the spoken word poetry movement in New York and Chicago. Readings will include a mix of novels, essays, and poetry.
  • British Literature IV: 2141

    Credit Earned: 0.5
    Heroes and Monsters: Beowulf to Gulliver
    We will explore the nature of heroes and the monsters they confront in early English literature from the Anglo Saxon period through the 18th century. From Beowulf, the mightiest man on earth, to the legendary King Arthur and his knights, and from Shakespeare’s tragic heroes to Jonathan Swift’s every man, Lemuel Gulliver, we will define the changing faces of heroes, focusing on the values they embody and the forces that seek to destroy them.
  • British Literature IV: 2143

    Credit Earned: 0.5
    Heroes, Monsters and Ordinary People: The Shifting Face of the Hero
    We will study the changing faces of heroes, monsters, and villains in English literature from the 19th century to modern times. The growth of an industrial English society, imperial expansion, World Wars, and the end of the empire create the need to redefine what is heroic and what is monstrous. We will study such works as Frankenstein, Pride and Prejudice, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist, A Passage to India, and 1984.
  • Creative Writing - 2161

    Credit Earned: 0.5
    The study of creative and imaginative writing allows high school students to earn one half to one credit while developing versatility as a writer. Creative and Imaginative Writing, a rigorous composition course, asks high school students to demonstrate their skills in such forms of writing as essays, short stories, poetry, and drama.  All students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the recursive nature of the writing process, effectively applying the conventions of usage and the mechanics of written English. The student's evaluation of his/her own writing as well as the writing of others ensures that students completing this course are able to analyze and discuss published and unpublished pieces of writing, develop and apply criteria for effective writing, and set their own goals as writers. For high school students whose first language is not English, the student’s native language serves as a foundation for English language acquisition and language learning.

    Prerequisite:  Juniors and Seniors Only

English Department Faculty

List of 6 members.

  • Mr. Will Cutrer 

    Interim Dean of Students
    Sewanee: University of the South - B.A.
    Sewanee: University of the South - M.A.
  • Victoria Davis  

    English Instructor
    Middlebury College - M.A.
    College of St. Joseph - Post B.A.
    St. Lawrence University - B.A.
    St. Lawrence University - B.A.
  • Paula Priour 

    English Instructor
    Cedarville College - B.A.
  • Ms. Payton Ritchey 

    Villanova University - M.A.
    Texas A&M University - B.A.
  • Mrs. Stephanie Stewart 

    English Instructor
    Texas State University - M.A.
    University of Dayton - B.A.
  • Dr. Penny Weibly 

    English Instructor
    The University of Texas at Austin - Ph.D.
    The University of Texas at Austin - M.A.
    University of California, Los Angeles - B.A.