The English Department has a dual aim: to teach students how to read literature appreciatively and expertly and to help them develop a mastery of written and oral expression. To accomplish the first aim, the department offers courses which require students to read widely–primarily in British and American literature–and courses which introduce students to literary theory and history. Together, both types of courses acquaint the student with the rich variety of literary works, their relationship to historical events and intellectual currents, and changing conceptions of literature. The department seeks to produce readers who can recognize literary excellence in ancient poetry or modern novels and who can discern the humanistic values intrinsic to these works. To accomplish the second aim–skillful writing–the department offers a wide range of courses from basic to advanced composition, journalism, and creative writing. Students are encouraged to develop clear, graceful, and effective prose.