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English is far more than just a language, it's a multitude of exciting genres waiting to be explored. An English major opens a world of creative problem-solving skills, analytical skills, and critical thinking one can apply to personal and professional life.

If you are fascinated by literature and language and seek a broad understanding of the human condition, you just may be destined to become an English major. Where you go from there is entirely up to you -- there are endless options for an English major.

Offering a solid foundation in literature and communication skills, the English major not only prepares you for further graduate or professional study or literary careers, but also offers you the opportunity to explore the traditions of British and American literature in depth. Certificates in creative writing and in professional writing and communication are available for those who envision careers as professional writers, as well as for those interested in bringing their love of language and writing to rewarding careers in business, industry, or public service.

Learn more about the English major by visiting the Literatures and Languages Department page.

So, you'd like to get published? The annual Straylight literary magazine features short fiction, poetry, and artwork from Parkside students and from writers and artists worldwide. The online version is called Villa and allows students to read a variety of works, conduct book reviews, and to interview well-known critically acclaimed authors. Podcasts add to the website's popularity, which garners 3,000 viewers per month. 

In addition to the major, the English Department offers certificates that provide alternatives to students who are interested in specific areas, but not necessarily seeking a degree. The professional writing certificate is great for those who want to enhance their writing for their career. The film studies certificate offered through the English and Humanities departments gives students an appreciation of the history of film across various genres and cultures, film study, and analysis.

Typical career opportunities for English majors include editors, reporters, teachers, business persons, lawyers, and writers – fiction and poetry, technical and business, and advertising.


The Literatures and Languages Office | (262) 595-2331

Faculty Highlights

  • Parkside English Faculty Josef Benson

    Josef Benson
    Assistant Professor

    Josef Benson offers courses in contemporary literature, African American literature, gender studies, poetry writing, fiction writing, and composition. He is the author of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye: A Cultural History (Rowman & Littlefield 2018) and Hypermasculinities in the Contemporary Novel: Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison, and James Baldwin (Rowman & Littlefield 2014). Additionally, Dr. Benson’s work has appeared in over twenty publications, including: Journal of Medical Humanities, Journal of Bisexuality, Southwestern American Literature, The Raymond Carver Review, Saw Palm, Moon City Review, The Adirondack Review, and Prick of the Spindle. Dr. Benson holds creative writing degrees from Missouri State University and the University of South Florida, as well as a Ph.D. in literature with a heavy emphasis in gender theory also from the University of South Florida, where he studied primarily with Susan Mooney, John Henry Fleming, and Jay Hopler. He is currently working on two books under contract, one for the University Press of Mississippi in collaboration with Dr. Doug Singsen entitled Whiteness In American Comics and Graphic novels (2019), and another for Rowman & Littlefield entitled Star Wars: The Triumph of Nerd Culture (2020).

  • Teresa Coronado, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor, English

    After trying out careers in newspapers (writer and photographer) and book publishing (sales and marketing), I decided to return to my first love: school. I earned my MA at Eastern New Mexico University, and continued my education by earning a PhD at the University of Oregon. I am currently finishing three articles and am working on a book project that examines James Fenimore Cooper through an ecocritical lens. In my spare time I can be found sailing on the waters of Lake Michigan or back in school working on my Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies.

  • Parkside English Faculty Mary Lenard

    Mary Lenard, Ph.D.
    Department Chair, English

    Mary Lenard grew up in Falls Church, Virginia, has a B.A. from the University of Virginia (1989) and a M.A. (1991) and Ph.D. (1996) from the University of Texas at Austin. She started at UW-Parkside in 1998, after having taught at Alma College in Michigan for two years. Her first book, Preaching Pity: Dickens, Gaskell, and Sentimentality in Victorian Culture, was published in 1999. She lives in Racine, has taught at UW-Parkside for almost twenty years, and is currently serving as the Chair of the English Department.

  • Parkside English Faculty Dana Oswald

    Dana Oswald
    Associate Professor

    Dana Oswald completed her Ph.D. in 2005 at The Ohio State University. She has published articles on monstrosity, gender, and sexuality in Old and Middle English literature, and on best teaching practices in the university literature and writing classrooms. Her book, Monsters, Gender and Sexuality in Medieval English Literature, was published in 2010

  • Tara Pedersen
    Associate Professor

    Tara E. Pedersen received her Ph.D. from The University of California at Davis. She teaches Shakespeare, literature surveys, courses in Early Modern literature, The Bible as Literature, Women and Literature, Literature of Science and Magic, and Composition. Her research focuses on knowledge production in early England, and her book, Mermaids and the Production of Knowledge in Early Modern England, was published by Ashgate Press in 2015.

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