The study of literature is an extended, varied, continuous conversation among students, faculty, writers and their texts. It is concerned not only with how you read and write, but also how you feel and think.

The study of literature requires the involvement of the whole person, engages you in highly personal ways and asks you to respond fully and honestly to the most complex and complete human experiences. Students’ critical understanding of the discipline helps them to express their own ideas and respond to those of others, and to help them to formulate and engage in critical argument.

Latest News

Jessie Lillis in on-stage sword fight

Jessie Lillis ’13 parlays college interests into founding of a theatre company

Seeds of interest sown at Ripon College have culminated in the inaugural 2021 Mackinac Island Shakespeare Festival in Michigan, running through Aug. 29. Jessie Lillis […]

Meg Gannon Portrait

Megan Gannon honored with Faculty/Staff Mentor Award

At this spring’s Awards Convocation, Associate Professor of English Megan Gannon received the Faculty/Staff Mentor Award. Sara VanSteenbergen, director of student activities and orientation, says […]

clocktower

Bren Davis ’22 honored in ACM short story contest

Bren Davis ’22 of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, received an honorable mention in the 2021 ACM Nick Adams Short Story Contest. Held annually since 1973, the contest […]

Faculty

Meg Gannon Portrait

Gannon, Megan

Associate Professor of English

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Ann Pleiss Morris

Pleiss Morris, Ann

Associate Professor of English

[email protected]

Mary Unger

Unger, Mary

Associate Professor of English and Chair of the English Department, Coordinator of the Women's and Gender Studies Program

[email protected]

Robin Woods

Woods, Robin

Professor of English

[email protected]

Advising

Ripon College faculty and professional staff are dedicated to helping you reach your goals, whatever they may be and however often they may change along the way. It’s part of our value statement to you.

As a student at Ripon, you will be assigned a faculty adviser based on your area(s) of interest. You will meet with your faculty adviser throughout your time as a student to discuss your current aspirations, plan your course schedule and plot a future trajectory. We also work collaboratively with Ripon College Career and Professional Development to help match your interests and skills to concrete goals and construct a plan for professional success offering personalized career counseling, off-campus learning opportunities and an online job board with potential to connect with local, national and international employers. Our collaboration with Student Support Services provides tutoring and additional academic and skill development, as well as tools to help with note-taking, exam preparation, goal-setting and time management. Likewise, Mentors in the Franzen Center provide in-depth, one-on-one or group mentoring for students about class projects and college-level writing, and can share problem-solving strategies to overcome academic obstacles.

Advising at Ripon

Off-Campus Study

Studying off-campus, whether internationally or domestically in the United States, is an experience bound to change your view of the world. In general, full-time students in good academic standing are eligible to apply for admission to off-campus programs.

Learn more about Off-Campus Study

Requirements

Requirements for a major in English: Thirty-six credits including: ENG 101, 246, 251, 330, 440, 530. One course outside the English department, if approved by the chair, may substitute for up to four credit hours of electives. Off-campus programs such as the Newberry Library provide significant opportunities for work relevant to the English major. Grades earned in all English courses are counted in computing departmental honors.

Requirements for a minor in English: Twenty credits including: ENG 101, 246, 251, 330.

Requirements for a teaching major in English: Thirty-six credits including: ENG 101, 246, 251, 330, 360, 530; one of the following: ENG 211, 310, 311, 312; a course that includes a representative sample of world literature, including western and non-western texts (students should consult with their English advisor in selecting this course).

The following courses are required for teacher licensure but do not count toward the major: CORE 110, ENG 402, and one of the following: CMM 215 or THE 248.

Note: Students completing licensure programs in Early Childhood/Middle Childhood (Ages 0-11; Birth - Grade 5) or Middle Childhood/Early Adolescence (Ages 6-12/13; Grades 1-8) are exempt from ENG 402.

Career Tracks

The English major at Ripon prepares students for successful careers in law, journalism, theatre and teaching at every level. Many graduates go directly into careers in public relations, politics, industry, medical and health professions, library science, and publishing and writing.

Recent graduates are working as educators at all levels, communications associates and specialists, editors, content writers, executive assistants, reference librarians and senior coaches.

Unique Opportunities

  • Our courses offer a wide selection of elective and experiential learning opportunities including archival research on African American writers, visual poetry projects, video game narrative studies, and field trips to American Players Theater, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and special collections libraries.
  • The creative writing journal Parallax offers writers, artists, and editors publishing experience.
  • English students have presented at national conferences such as the Blackfriars Shakespeare Conference at the American Shakespeare Center and the Sigma Tau Delta and the Sigma Tau Delta International Convention.
  • The In-Focus course Potter to Potter: The Landscapes and Streets of Modern British Fantasy Literature allows students to travel to the British Isles and experiences its landscapes, art and architecture, and the culture and their influence on British literature.
  • Through the Department of Educational Studies, certification in English is available in Early Adolescence/Adolescence (grades 6-12).
  • The ACM Newberry Library program in Chicago allows students to tap into the millions of books in the collection of this leading center of research.

Alumni Profiles

Michael Timm ’04 was a double major in English and anthropology. He was heavily involved in the College Days newspaper, first as a writer and then as its editor. Under his leadership, the paper won numerous awards for excellence, but, Timm says, “The greatest reward was the camaraderie forged deadline after deadline.” Between his sophomore and junior years, he traveled to Peru, where he worked with an archaeological field team from UCLA surveying the Lake Titicaca basin.

As a free-lance writer in Milwaukee, Timm has written a book about the history of the Robertson-Ryan Insurance Agency; now he’s writing a book about the history of the Coakley Brothers moving company. He edits an independent newspaper, Bay View Compass. During the summer of 2009, he studied creative writing at the University of Oxford in England. He has written and directed two interactive murder mystery plays, with a third soon to be performed at Milwaukee’s Alchemist Theatre. The next stage in Timm’s multifaceted career path will be pursuing a master’s degree with an emphasis in environmental journalism at UW-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences.

Kristen McCullough ’04, who double majored in English and communication, considers literature to be the most revealing study of life, people and history. She says, “Working with the English faculty at Ripon, I dabbled in creative writing, brought prose to life on film, coauthored an independent study course in Native American literature with Professor Kate Sontag and, most importantly, explored the workings of my own mind.” Outside of class, she was on the editorial board of College Days, and she presented original research at three national conferences, including a paper on the effect Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club had on her audiences.

After Ripon, Kristen spent five years in nonprofit management consulting, helping mission-driven organizations craft compelling messages about the value they bring to constituents and to the world. Finding herself drawn to the individuals she met along the way, she returned to school and pursued a master’s degree in clinical social work, emphasizing the psychological, economic and political forces at play in the lives of individuals. “I am now a therapist in child welfare,” she says, “I work alongside vulnerable children, parents and families to uncover and re-author the story of their lives and the lives of their communities.”