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Values and Diversity

The English Department sees its values as intrinsically linked with the promotion of diversity. The study of English, especially in advanced courses, is multidisciplinary and multicultural in nature, and the use of diverse perspectives is engrained in out teaching methods and curriculum. From a curricular point of view, the variety of upper-division courses and the number of disciplines that are applied in one way or another is evident. Our topics courses also show the diversity of teaching interests and approaches of our faculty.

Regarding classroom activities, group work is a feature present in most, if not all, departmental courses. Students work in pairs or small groups frequently, and their results are often shared by the whole class. This method facilitates language learning, and also makes it easier for students to express their individual ideas in a less intimidating environment. Some other activities are designed precisely to make students understand different perspectives and points of view.

Additionally, the department offers study abroad trips for students that definitely teach them about different perspectives, and this experience—along with the classroom experience—contribute to the understanding of diversity of points of view by the students.

Further, the Department of English provides courses and programs that contribute to other programs across campus in a number of ways, including:

  • Offering courses that fulfill a number of system-wide and institutional goals
  • Supporting other academic majors and programs on campus, such as Journalism and Mass Communication, Communications Studies & Theater, American Indian Studies, Global Studies, and Women’s Studies
  • Providing co-curricular activities that are available to all students, such as Oakwood Literary Magazine and the Great Plains Writers Conference
  • Working collaboratively with other programs and departments to offer service-learning opportunities
  • Providing culturally enriching opportunities through lectures and conferences such as the Harding Distinguished Lecture Series and the Consider the Century Conference
  • Providing courses that are included in the Honors College curriculum.


There are seven Board of Regents System General Education Requirements (SGR) and two unique SDSU Institutional Graduation Requirements (IGR). Departmental courses ENGL 101 and ENGL 201 as well as 277 (Technical Communications for Engineers) and 283 (Creative Writing I) fulfill the System General Education Goal 1, Written Communication as well as Goal 7, Information Literacy, both of which are defined as follows:

Goal #1: “Students will write effectively and responsibly and will understand and interpret the written expression of others.”

  • Student Learning Outcomes: “As a result of taking courses meeting this goal, students will:
  • Write using standard American English, including correct punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure [assessment based upon your performance on various exercises and responses and on the major essays]
  • Write logically [assessment based upon your performance on the major essays]
  • Write persuasively, using a variety of rhetorical strategies (e.g., exposition, argumentation, description) [assessment based upon your performance on the major essays]
  • Incorporate formal research and documentation into their writing, including research obtained through modern, technology-based research tools [assessment based upon your completion of the research component of the major essays and various documentation exercises].”


Goal #7: “Students will recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, organize, critically evaluate, and effectively use information from a variety of sources with intellectual integrity.”

Student Learning Outcomes: “Students will:

  • Determine the extent of information needed [assessment based upon your ability to provide sufficient evidence to support your claims in the major essays]
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently [assessment based upon your ability to find relevant sources and incorporate them into the major essays]
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically [assessment based upon your ability in class discussion and in the major essays to challenge and/or corroborate the validity of other writers’ claims]
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose [assessment based upon your ability in the major essays to gather sources, incorporate them appropriately into your essays, and thereby persuade readers that your arguments are plausible and cogent.]
  • Use information in an ethical and legal manner [assessment based upon your ability to fairly and accurately represent others’ ideas through quotation, paraphrase, and summary—and to do so, in the case of paraphrase and summary, in your own words].”


In addition, thirteen of our classes meet SGR Goal #4, and eleven of our courses meet the requirements for IGR Goal #2, both of which are defined as follows:

System Goal #4: This course satisfies System Goal #4. The South Dakota State University Undergraduate Programs Bulletin 2009-2010 states that: “Students will understand the diversity and complexity of the human experience through study of the arts and humanities.”

Student Learning Outcomes: As a result of taking courses meeting this goal, students will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the diversity of values, beliefs, and ideas embodied in the human experience
  • Identify and explain basic concepts of the selected disciplines within the arts and humanities.
  • In addition, as a result of taking courses meeting this goal, students will be able to do at least one of the following:
  • Identify and explain the contributions of other cultures from the perspective of the selected disciplines within the arts and humanities
  • Demonstrate creative and aesthetic understanding
  • Explain and interpret formal and stylistic elements of the literary or fine arts
  • Demonstrate foundational competency in reading, writing, and speaking a non-English language.”


IGR Goal #2 – Cultural Awareness and Social and Environmental Responsibility

Students will acquire knowledge about the world’s peoples – their cultures, arts, and environments – that prepares them for further study, deepens their understanding of the human condition, and strengthens their commitment to social and environmental responsibility.

Student Learning Outcomes: As a result of taking the course(s) meeting this goal, students will:

  • Articulate the ways in which different peoples express an understanding of the human condition and respond to environmental opportunities and constraints.
  • Describe how personal choices derive from and affect social, cultural, and environmental contexts.
  • Engage in aesthetic experience in order to understand artistic expression and to learn how meaning emerges from the cultural contexts of both artist and audience.
  • Explain the ethical consequences of decisions and actions concerning the environment to strengthen commitment to local, national, and global citizenship.


The following courses satisfy the university’s Advanced Writing Requirement: ENGL 379 (Technical Communications), 424 (Language Arts Methods), and 479 (Capstone Course and Writing in the Discipline).

SDSU also stipulates a Globalization Requirement for all students, mandating students select a course from an approved list of courses that explore globalization and how it affects the human community. The department offers four courses to fulfill this requirement: ENGL 211 (World Lit. I), 212 (World Lit. II), 221 (British Lit. I), and 222 (British Lit. II).

One course in the department, ENGL 248 Women in Literature, supports the Women’s Studies curriculum.

Courses offered with an Honors College designation include ENGL 101, 201, and 210 (Introduction to Literature). We are exploring the possibility of an Honors 379.

Diversity/Values Inventory

Department of English

Peace and Conflict Studies

Dr. Jason McEntee, Associate Professor and Department Head

Dr. Paul Baggett, Associate Professor of English

Other key collaborators:

Baggett, Barst, Bielfeldt, Brandt, Donovan, Keller, McEntee, Nagy, Smith, Stewart-Nuñez, and Taylor.

Other key collaborators:

Molly Enz, Global Studies; English; Jason McEntee, English; Mick Nagy,English; Christine Stewart-Nuñez, English.

Targets general student population as well as English majors.

Targets general student population, especially those in Global Studies.

Program Description

The Department of English, by virtue of its university mission, is a significant contributor to diversity enhancement at SDSU. Many—if not all—of our 200-level and above courses in literature, writing, film, linguistics, composition, and rhetoric contribute to promoting awareness of, and appreciation for, diverse cultures. These include: American Indian Literature of the Past and Present, Lit. of Diverse Cultures, Women’s Literature, World Literature, and many specialty and special-topics courses offered by our faculty, such as Transatlantic Literature, African American Literature, Australian Literature, and the Vietnam War in Lit. and Film, to name a few.

The department currently houses Peace and Conflict Studies, and has recently submitted an application for a new minor in American Studies (it, too, would be housed in English). This application has been tabled until we get approval to propose new programs/minors/etc. In addition, we have an exploratory committee putting together a minor in African American Studies (led by Paul Baggett).

The department also works closely with other departments and programs on campus, including American Indian Studies, Women’s Studies, Global Studies, and Modern Languages.

Program Description

The Peace and Conflict Studies minor ensures that graduates will be globally informed and prepared for a diverse world and supportive of their own culture and of other cultures by respecting their social amenities, rights, abilities, and racial, religious, and cultural attributes. The minor will be invaluable in ensuring that graduates have come to understand the overriding importance of what SDSU refers to as “the fellowship of many.”

Sharon Smith and Christine Stewart-Nuñez: Consistent high-levels of involvement in Women’s Studies.

Darla Bielfeldt: Teaches for the Success Academy (English prep. for American Indian college-bound high school seniors).