English department discusses fluctuating degree completion

TROY, Ala. (TROJANVISION) — As students plan for classes for the upcoming summer and fall semesters, some English classes will not be available.

TROY’s English Department hosted a conversation seminar to discuss the layout of English-related courses, changes being made, as well as what can be expected from organizations in the English department.

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Opinions were shared, while solutions were suggested.

“English has changed a lot in the last 10 to 20 years,” said Professor and Chair of English Department Kirk Curnutt. “It has become more oriented towards popular culture and the way the classics live in popular culture has a lot to do with it.”

According to the James G. Martin Center For Academic Renewal, English bachelor’s degree completion declined from about 7.6 percent of all degrees in 1971 to about 2.8 percent in 2021. This change has been seen nationwide.

“That breeds demand. I think that’s what the English major prizes itself most on is creating a unique set of skills to be able to generate ideas and carry yourself well while writing well with these unique ideas,” said President of Creative Writing Guild Eva Reese. “While AI can write for like grants and things like that, it’s not necessarily always going to be perfect. There’s always going to be people there needed to check on what’s happening and be in charge of the ship.”

Although interest in the major may have declined, Reese says the creativity of crafting pieces of literature has not.

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“It’s not just reading and then writing papers, there’s discussion, picking themes and relating it to our real lives in the real world. There’s a lot more to offer that people just don’t recognize yet.”

TROY’s English department has been approved to have a master’s degree called arts management. That degree is expected to become available in 2025.