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English Department

Department Pride: English Department

February 13, 2017

Moravian College is proud to offer a total of 30 departments and nearly 50 majors. For a small, liberal arts private college, that’s pretty impressive! Every student who is fully immersed in their major feels a strong connection and bond to their own department. As an English major, I can say for a fact we are a very close-knit community. We all have our quirks, our differences, disagreements of course, but at the end of the day, we can all share a special kind of friendship knowing we are among others like ourselves. Who else can you text for moral support while procrastinating on your Hands-On Learning Assignment? Who else can you unleash your literary angst upon when your professor assigns “Frankenstein” after you’ve read it three times already? And of course, who else can you vent to but other English majors about the pains of being required to write a sonnet? The students involved in the English Department also know, however, that the professors are some of the most caring, compassionate, and intelligent members of the campus community. So what exactly makes the English Department unique? Well, let us, the English majors, introduce you to our community.

Meet Chris Hassay, Jon Fiore, Lydia Hoyle, Katelyn Snyder, and Dr. Joyce Hinnefeld, four students from various class years and the chair of the English Department herself. All members were asked the following questions and provide their opinions about the department.

Chris Hassay '17

1. What made you decide to declare as an English Major?

I decided to declare as an English major after some really formative conversations with the late Gordon Weil. He was an academic dean at the time and was my FYS advisor so he really served as a fantastic mentor and guide during my early years at Moravian. During a scheduled visit I expressed my interest in English and my reservations about declaring it as a major. I wasn't sure if it was for me and felt that I might be better served to do another major. He looked at me smiling and said, "Chris! I was an English minor!" from that moment on I was confident in my choice and it has been one of the most transformative decisions I have made.

2. What specifically do you love about Moravian’s English Department?

I love that within the English major there really is no ceiling to the quality of your learning. You get out what you put into an English class, and that kind of freedom and agency is liberating. Obviously I enjoy reading and writing (that comes with the territory) but moreso than that I really enjoy the diverse learning opportunities and the freedom to do with them what you please.

3. What about Moravian’s English Department is unique to you, compared to the other departments here?

It is by far one of the most welcoming environments not only on campus but anywhere I have experienced. So much of what we do is discursive and because of that we have such an open-minded and genuinely curious group which is refreshing.

4. How would you describe the students within the English major?

Similar to what I have said to 3. I think we are just a unique and interesting bunch!

5. What would you like other departments to know about the English Department?

The most valuable feature of the English department is the skill set that we foster. Everyone reads and writes, but we are really focused in on honing that skill and understanding the wide application of not only writing itself, but the general communication that informs the writing. This could be from discussion and presentation in class, from text, from lessons, or some other medium; that is irrelevant. What is significant is the way we as English majors are trained to look incisively at these messages and modes of communication and respond accordingly.

Lydia Hoyle '18

1. What made you decide to declare as an English Major?

Not only have I been limited to only excelling in writing, I also love it and what to prove major success with this degree. I think English majors get a bad image since "They can only be teachers," or "successful authors (which is rare)." Many people don't know that companies appreciate those with English backgrounds -- they can be put nearly anywhere. We are around the language daily -- how could anyone discredit its value in the work force?

2. What specifically do you love about Moravian’s English Department?

The networking. Everyone knows everyone, and the faculty are eager to watch you succeed. I've had faculty members go out of their way just to make sure I get a little extra recognition for the work I've done and to establish long-lasting relationships.

3. What about Moravian’s English Department is unique to you, compared to the other departments here?

We revel in creative expertise and focus on the deeper human passions, which many times are squelched or lost in the busyness of "go get 'em" attitude. Sometimes just soaking in the authenticity of poetry or the way a sentence sounds when spoken out loud can give an individual more insight into the way the world operates, rather than learning a calculus formula. As a result, our department encourages us to respond to that insight and make it a proactive decision to not only engage ourselves, but seek a better way of improving the operation.

4. How would you describe the students within the English major?

Devoted with .56 blood-coffee content. These people are hungry for insight, challenges, and bettering themselves and others. We are desperate to share and spread our creations -- whether it be short stories, journals, articles, poetry, or a professional article -- we love to give and receive.

5. What would you like other departments to know about the English Department?

We are a strong, powerful bunch of book nerds. Our brains are heavy with literature, and we see the world through kaleidoscope glasses.

Jonathan Fiore '18

1. What made you decide to declare as an English Major?

I decided to become an English major due to my love of literature and creating stories. I wanted to learn how to better improve my craft and give people the opportunity to be apart of the worlds that I create as observers.

2. What specifically do you love about Moravian’s English Department?

The professors. All of them are very supportive for each of the students that they work with and I love how they help each of the students grow as individuals.

3. What about Moravian’s English Department is unique to you, compared to the other departments here?

I would have the say the variety that you can accomplish in the major and the variety of topics that you can discuss and write about. I had a class where I was able to write an analytical paper on a video game that I enjoyed and learn about the deeper world of video game analysis. Even having the option to even do something like that was an experience.

4. How would you describe the students within the English major?

All the students in the department are supportive to one another and very willing to help others better improve upon their writing. They are always happy to help a fellow English major in discussing their works and even help editing them when they are asked. The students even enjoy having their works read most of the time for feedback. It just shows how dedicated they are to continue to grow and develop as writers.

5. What would you like other departments to know about the English Department?

I would like the other departments know that the English Department isn't restrictive to ancient works that are usually synonymous to English studies like Shakespeare and Hemingway, but rather to a much larger scope of people covering a variety of different writing both archaic and digital. Being able to write about these different texts and on any variety of different topic just shows the versatility that the department is able to offer. I’m grateful to be able to work with all of these wonderful individuals and have made a plethora of new friends as well. I will always cherish the memories that I have made with the department.

Katelyn Snyder '19

1. What made you decide to declare as an English Major?

I have always loved English, and unlike many others, my family did not try to get me to go into a more secure field, but I was not always going to have an English career. I planned on being a Biologist, but I realized that I would prefer to love my career and have it less secure than to be stuck in a career I really did not like.

2. What specifically do you love about Moravian’s English Department?

I love the professors in the English Department as well as the curriculum. Everyone is willing to help with planning for your future or if you’re seeking advice. I love that the English Department hired two new professors with more contemporary-based expertise, but I also love that we still have professors whose expertise is in more “classical” literature.

3. What about Moravian’s English Department is unique to you, compared to the other departments here?

The English Department offers Writing Fellows positions for the FYWS courses, which allows those of us hoping to be an English professor as a career an opportunity to stand out and get experience in the classroom beyond simply being a student.

4. How would you describe the students within the English major?

Very quirky and friendly! We have a wide variety of students in the English major, especially since it is a very good major to pair up with another major.

5. What would you like other departments to know about the English Department?

The English Department is not just for English majors; we have many courses which can and do enhance other majors. Studying literature, for example, can give you unique insight into other cultures and societies both in the past and in the contemporary world.

Joyce Hinnefeld, Chair, Department of English

1. What initially drew you to Moravian College and its English Department?

Well, I’ve been here so long that it’s a little hard to remember! But honestly, I do recall being drawn to the student-centered temperament of the Moravian College English Department—the way members of the department so clearly valued students, and listened to them, and made themselves available to meet with them, advise their independent studies and honors projects, and more. And that student-centered focus is still a prized feature of our department.

2. What specifically do you love about Moravian’s English Department?

I love how it’s growing and evolving. I love that we now have the Writing Arts Certification available as a part of the English major. I love how deeply interdisciplinary our department has become, with faculty members contributing to programs in Africana Studies; Environmental Studies; Media Studies; Medieval Studies; Peace & Justice Studies; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Writing Arts; and more. I love our growing partnership with English alum David Zinczenko’s Galvanized, and the way this partnership has made classes in journalism and media possible for English majors, and other Moravian College students too. All of our English Dept. faculty are doing such devoted and important work in all of these areas—and showing students, every day, the incredible value of language and literature.

3. What about Moravian’s English Department is unique to you, compared to the other departments here?

Our bedrock concern with language and belief in the power of literature and writing.

4. How would you describe the students within the English major?

Hardworking, sincere, curious, open-minded, polite (sometimes almost TOO quiet and polite, in my opinion!).

5. What would you like other departments to know about the English Department?

Can’t really think of that much to add to what I’ve already said—except to say that everyone should like our Department of English Facebook Page

No matter what major you are, everybody can benefit from literature and language. They are the core of our society and the root of human communication. We as English majors do so much more than simply sit around and analyze books all day. We are a diverse group of people who study the world through a literary lens and in doing so, are able to analyze contemporary society from an objective perspective. Despite all of this, we are still your lovable bunch of book nerds who are more than happy to sit with you over a cup of coffee and talk about your favorite books.

Have a department in mind that you want to see featured? Leave a comment below or contact Nina Elias to cover your department yourself!