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Strategic Plan

Executive Summary

The English Department is located in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. A Department Head, reporting to the Dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, directs the faculty of the English Department and is responsible for the undergraduate and graduate programs. A Coordinator of Composition, responsible to the department head, directs the Composition program and directly supervises the graduate teaching assistants. A Graduate Advisor, responsible to the department head, advises all M.A. students and coordinates their plans of study.

The undergraduate program offers the Bachelor of Arts degree in English (option A) or English Education (option B) while it offers minors in English, Professional Writing, and Peace and Conflict Studies.

The graduate program in the department offers the degree of a Master of Arts (M.A.) in
English. The department works closely both with other departments in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and with the Graduate School.

The department offers a number of general education core courses, including Composition I and Composition II, and several humanities courses, including Literature of Diverse Cultures, Women in Literature, and Literature of the American West. In addition, the department also provides many service courses to students across the various colleges and departments of the university (such as Technical Communications). We provide courses in the Honors College curriculum, including Composition I and II and Introduction to Literature.

We work closely with other departments to ensure that students are aware of course opportunities both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students from other programs who are interested in education as a career goal often enroll in our Methods of Teaching English course. Graduate students in other graduate programs utilize our graduate courses, especially in the area of Linguistics and Creative Writing.

Since the last program review, the department has greatly expanded curricular offerings via Internet. Course offerings include: Basic Writing, Composition, Composition II, Introduction to Literature, Juvenile Literature, World Literature, Women in Literature, Topics in Literature, Technical Communications, and Creative Writing (graduate level).

We have expanded our course offerings at a number of attendance centers including USDSU (Sioux Falls), Capital University Center (Pierre), and Lake Area Vocational Institute (Watertown).

The department has been working on updating and improving the curriculum. Some courses include creative writing classes, professional writing classes, peace and conflict studies classes, capstone classes, and study abroad classes and/or other opportunities for credit (such as internships). Finally, the department has developed an impressive commitment to service-learning projects and implementation. Many courses in the department incorporate service-learning projects.

In terms of advising, all tenure-track faculty members have advising responsibilities at the undergraduate level, graduate level, or both. In addition, faculty members actively participate in advising workshops.

In terms of research, scholarship, and creative activity, the department has developed a diverse and expanded research agenda, based on the specialty and interests of faculty members. These activities range from literary criticism to composition and rhetoric studies to linguistics and to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL).  It is important to note the context of the scholarship and creative activity in the department given the extensive teaching and service roles of each faculty member. In 2010, the course load for tenure track faculty was decreased from a 4/4 to a 3/3 to allow for greater research productively. As a result, the research profile of the department is expanding.

The role of outreach, service and engagement is a critical role in our department. In addition to serving on college and university level committees, many of our faculty hold positions of leadership outside of the university in discipline-related organizations. Our department is also committed to provide community service. Specifically, several of our faculty judge local, regional, and state writing contests.

In addition, we assist with programs such as the Flandreau Indian School Success Academy, which brings high school Native American students to campus to explore possible collegiate majors and Upward Bound student programs. Our faculty routinely serve on and assist with community programs and workshops.

Degrees Offered:

  • BA English
  • BA English Education
  • English Minor
  • Professional Writing Minor
  • Peace and Conflict Studies Minor (inter-disciplinary)
  • MA English (by thesis or exam)


  • 120 total undergraduate English majors per year
  • 30-40 new majors per year
  • 16 Graduate Teaching Assistants and 35 graduate students overall
  • Male to Female Ratio: 50/50

Current Staffing:

  • Tenured and Tenure Track Faculty: 14
  • Open Tenure Track Faculty Lines (FTEs): 1
  • Instructors: 12
  • Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs): 16
  • Graduate Students (Includes GTAs): 35
  • Temporary Instructors: 6
  • Support Staff: 1
  • Technology Fellows: 1
  • Work Study: 1
  • Total (Active Staff): 51


Spotlight on our twelve tenure track faculty members (AY 2011-2012):

  • They published a combined 5 journal articles, 14 book reviews, 1 play review, 1 poetry book, and 2 creative non-fiction essays (one award-winning).
  • They submitted for publication 7 journal articles, 2 book reviews, 3 books (two scholarly; one of poetry), and 6 creative non-fiction essays.
  • They attended 19 total regional and national conferences, with 17 presentations of original scholarship as well as 8 invited poetry readings.
  • Each serves on multiple departmental committees and almost everyone is directing at least one Master’s Degree thesis/exam.
  • They have 100 percent involvement in college and university committees, including: Honors Committee, Women's Studies, Schultz-Werth Award, Harding Lecture, Tyospae (formerly Native American Advisory), Campus Planning, Research Grants and Awards, Academic Assessment, Library, Faculty Senate (three members; Mike Keller will serve as Vice President next year), Graduate Council, Information Technology, and Faculty Handbook Task Force.
  • They have accomplished the following: Two received a $3,500 grant to visit Russia (June 1-13) to organize future study abroad trips for SDSU students to Udmurt State University in Izhevsk; one is teaching a study abroad course on the gothic in Ireland, July 11-22.  Two received Sewrey Lectureships.  Numerous instances of involvement in Diversity (both classroom and service), Global Studies, Honors College (both teaching and committee work), and Women’s Studies.  One faculty member serves as the Chess Club Advisor.  Numerous guest lectures for colleagues classes (both in and out of department).  One faculty member served as the Fall Theme Semester Coordinator: Turkey.  

Credits Generated:

During the 2010-2011 academic year—excluding summer—a total of 13,445 state-support and 3,903 self-support credit hours were generated by the Department of English. We are the second highest credit generating department in the college, behind only the Department of Chemistry, and this is true of both state support and all credit-generating classes.

A summary of Student Credit Hour Generation for FY 2010-11 via Internet includes:

  • Summer 2010 Undergraduate: 1,442
  • Fall 2010 Undergraduate: 573
  • Spring 2011 Undergraduate: 1,011
  • Total: 3,026

Our summer offerings have been entirely via internet for several years. Last summer, we offered 26 English classes: 032, 033, 101 (3 sections), 201 (12 sections), 210, 268, 277 (2 sections), and 379 (5 sections) for a total of 1,416 Undergraduate Student Credit Hours generated. This coming summer (2012), we will offer 27 sections, including our first offering of ENGL 283. We will continue to offer on-line summer classes as the demand sees fit. Because we have not had a raise in three-plus years, more faculty members are teaching on-line summer classes, leaving fewer options for our instructional staff, who have relied on these classes to support their income.

Goals and Challenges:

For the AY 2011-12 and beyond, the Department Head has identified the following as the English Department’s significant immediate goals and challenges:

  • Monitoring retirements of senior faculty and mentoring of new faculty and retaining their FTEs so as to fill the position(s) in a timely fashion
  • Ensuring that our curriculum remains cutting-edge
  • Exploring possible new minors in American Studies, African American Studies, and Film Studies
  • Exploring more possibilities for on-line instruction, especially during the fall and spring semesters
  • Revising and updating our graduate program to include Option B: Professional Paper, balancing required credits for Option C (Exam; 36) with Option A (Thesis; 30), and seeking ways to reduce the teaching load for GTAs
  • Continuing dialogue via Graduate Council (McEntee), Dean of A & S, Provost, and other key personnel in addressing the need for GTAs to receive a full tuition waiver (currently 2/3)
  • Completing a successful WC/ESL Coordinator hire
  • Completing one more Tenure Track Hire (Early Americanist/Digital Humanities)
  • Emphasizing and practicing diversity in curriculum as well as in recruiting/hiring faculty, instructors, and graduate students
  • Securing course release for untenured faculty and faculty involved in significant research projects
  • Upgrading of physical facilities and unmet computer needs (address the 100% rule for computer purchases)
  • Emphasizing the urgency of retaining Internet Incentive Funds to support research and travel
  • Monitoring enrollment pressures in General Education courses (staffing, scheduling, enrollment caps, and financial and physical resource issues)
  • Anticipating potential loss/reduction of Internet Incentive Funds to support research and travel as well as computer/technology needs
  • Monitoring the potential reorganization of the College
  • Securing a permanent endowment for Great Plains Writers’ Conference
  • Tracking of graduated English majors at both the undergraduate and graduate levels