department of english

The English Experience

The Department of English offers a variety of interesting classes that range from the traditional to the contemporary, like U.S. Latino/a Literature with Dr. Machado, Jewish American Literature with Dr. Furman, and American Literature: 20th Century Movements with Dr. Youngberg. There are also unique courses that focus on particular time periods or authors, such as 20th Century British Literature with Dr. Berlatsky, and a class on Toni Morrison with Dr. Dagbovie. The department's advisor is Shantelle Maxwell, who is always available to answer questions and keeps students informed of interesting new classes and events that focus on possible career options after graduation. In essence, the courses in the English department challenge students to become critical thinkers and better writers, which are important career skills. But most importantly, by introducing students to literature from different time periods and cultures, the entire faculty at Florida Atlantic University allows students to be aware of the different views and opinions they will experience in their lives.

Jonathan Hernandez
Alumni, Summer 2011

When I first transferred to FAU, I had no idea what I wanted to study. I was not interested in any of the material I was learning and I felt very detached and disconnected from learning and from school in general. It wasn't until my first writing class my sophomore year that I was reminded of my long-time love for literature and writing. Up to that point, I had never considered studying what I love! Once I began my English courses, I fell in love with what I was doing. I found myself talking a lot about school to my friends and family, and I became very motivated. That motivation inside the classroom also reflected my attitude outside of the classroom. I have made many friends in the Department of English and became more involved with campus-life.

FAU'S English classes are kept small, which has allowed the classroom to become an intimate setting of learning, discussing and critical thinking. In every class, my professor has known me on a first-name basis and I have gotten to know most of my peers. Now that I am about to graduate, I feel that my life has been extraordinarily enriched by this department. The English Major weaves art, language, history, philosophy, and critical thinking together to create a very well-rounded education. I have grown so much as a person with my major. After reading so many wonderful novels, I have become so in-tuned with the human condition. I have really come to understand the art of the "thesis" when writing a paper, which has reflected the way that I speak to people and the way that I express myself.

Most importantly, the way that I think and see the world has changed drastically for the better; the English Major takes critical thinking to a whole new level which has made me more independent and confident in my own opinions. Without question, the English Major has provided me with a well-rounded education that has allowed me to grow and harness my own perceptions of the world we live in today and showed me how I put those views into action as I try to find my place in the real world. I am eternally grateful for the knowledge and experiences I have been given at FAU from the Department of English.

Lauren Wiles
Alumni, Spring 2012

My love for reading and writing is all I brought with me when I first embarked on my college journey. Unsure of what I could study that would reflect these passions, the Department of English helped me to engage in my talents and eventually changed the way I perceive and understand the world around me. Whether engaging in texts that reflect the sentiments of newly freed American slaves or exploring the mystical underpinnings of Latin American authors, every piece of literature made compelling commentary to contemporary thought.

I also learned to function outside of typical academic structures and grow creatively. My English professors did more than challenge my skills of literary comprehension, they encouraged me to explore new ways of understanding history, communication, psychology, human interaction, culture, and current events. From learning about the exploratory genre of science fiction to breaking down the syntax of British Romantic poets, each course offers a focused and unique curriculum taught by instructors with unbridled enthusiasm for the subject at-hand.

Perhaps the most valuable asset I gained from my time at FAU is the confidence in knowing that my interest in literature would mature into something I could make a career out of. The curriculum often encouraged me to cultivate abstract concepts and apply them in practical ways. The skills I have gained through FAU’s English program have well prepared me to become a distinguished individual amongst my peers after graduation. I wholly appreciate the experiences that the Department of English at FAU has provided me.

Richard Sena
Alumni, Spring 2014

The English Department has an amazing Internship Program. When I first applied for the internship program, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew any placement would be an excellent opportunity to get hands on experience. With the help of our amazing advisor, Shantelle Maxwell, I was placed in an internship that truly impacted my career path. Last semester I had the chance to intern with L.A. Perkins Law Firm, and it was incredible. The idea of contributing to something greater than me made this internship meaningful and unforgettable.

Sabryna Raymond
Current Major 

My favorite aspect of the English Experience is the exposure to different points of view that broaden my own perspective of the world. Text observations by experienced professors and the fresh analytical skills of fellow classmates help train and teach me every day to look at the world in different ways. This open-mind training has shaped me into a better student and person. Ultimately, I believe these lessons will be crucial in preparing me for a successful professional life.

Catalina Pire-Schmidt
Alumni, Summer 2012

During my undergraduate career, I studied under many professors who were remarkably knowledgeable in regards to their fields of expertise and demonstrated a comprehensive textbook learnedness when it came to just about every topic on which they enlightened their students. Year after year, my admiration for the wisdom of the English department faculty kept growing. These professors were able to explain the topics that they touched upon in ways that could be grasped by all of their students, ways which walked them through their courses step-by-step and were conscientious of the fact that the individuals whom they were teaching were not as learned as they were, nor should they have been expected to display the same kind of eloquence given their comparative lack of experience. Though the amount of time and effort that I put into my studies was unquestionably an incredibly significant factor in regards to how well I ultimately performed in my college courses, I believe that how the lessons were taught was just as important.

The English Club played a significant role in helping many students to unwind after a hard day's work and provided an enjoyable forum within which fundraisers, the organization of study groups, special events, important books, and numerous other essentials were discussed. I had the privilege of having Ms. Shantelle Maxwell as my undergraduate advisor, and I can easily say beyond the shadow of a doubt that there are very few advisors in this world who come close to her in terms of the level at which she showed care for all of the students whom she advised. She never put on airs and always treated everyone around her as equals regardless of their positions. Such dedication and passion for a line of work are very hard to come by these days, and this helps her to stand out among her peers.

Cameron McCaffrey
Alumni, Spring 2014

The English Department is very hands-on with their students. I attended two other universities before transferring to FAU, and I couldn't be more proud of where I graduated from and the degree that I earned. I had an amazing experience with the English Department. As a student, I was able to start the department's first English Club. I also took part in the English Internship Program, and was hired by my internship agency prior to graduating. During my last semester, the department gave me the opportunity to watch President Obama speak on campus. The best part of being an English major was having Shantelle Maxwell as my mentor and advisor. She always went above and beyond for me and challenged me to grow. She’s very down-to-earth and has a real concern for students. All of these factors contributed to my unforgettable experience with FAU's English Department. Go Owls!

Nicole Wieder
Alumni, Fall 2012

 Last Modified 11/8/16