We hope all students in the department consider going on Wheaton-in-England during their time at Wheaton. It is an eight-week summer program offering eight to ten hours of English credit. Although the program varies somewhat from year to year, the basic program includes three elements: one to two weeks of classes on Wheaton's campus prior to embarking for England, seven to ten days in London, and three to four weeks at St. Anne's College, Oxford. The group also goes on numerous one-day field trips to various literary sites and on an extended northern excursion, which includes the Lake District. Usually the program includes an extended southern excursion as well, although it occasionally substitutes an extended visit to Ireland, Scotland, or Wales.
Each year the department invites noted scholars and writers in the field to give lectures or readings on campus. Such visits enrich the curriculum and provide models of how Christian scholars and writers have integrated their faith into their professional work. Recent visitors have included Kathleen Norris, Frederick Buechner, Walter Wangerin, John Leax, Judson Mitcham, Walford and Hazel Davies, Jeanne Murray Walker, Dana Gioa, and James Schaap, among others.
Majors in the department may take an internship, which provides an opportunity to integrate actual work experience with academic learning. Students do 40 hours of work for 1 hour of credit and typically take the internship for either 2 or 4 hours. Students may count up to 8 hours of internship credit toward the major, beyond the minimum requirements. Recent internships have been in the area of writing and publishing, though other options are available.
The Honors Program at Wheaton is an option in many departments for those who qualify. This program provides an opportunity for in-depth independent work, culminating in an honors paper, which is defended orally before a faculty committee. Students who complete this program successfully receive the designation of department honors on their transcript and on the printed graduation program.
The department encourages qualified majors to consider a semester abroad. Information from various programs is available in the department office. One highly recommended program is the Medieval and Renaissance Honors Program through Keble College,Oxford, sponsored by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Many majors have been accepted into the program and have recommended it with enthusiasm to others.
The College publishes a weekly newspaper, a yearbook, and a literary magazine. Editors for these publications are chosen from among the student body and receive stipends for their work. Many positions are open on all of these publications, and English majors have made strong contributions in the past. The literary magazine, Kodon, regularly welcomes submissions of original work in poetry, fiction, and art.
The English Department sponsors two on-campus writing contests during the year: the Lowell-Grabill Creative Writing Contest, which invites entries in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and the Jameson Essay Writing Contest, which invites entries which integrate faith and a particular discipline. There are cash awards for both of these contests.