Welcome to the blog for the Villanova English department! Visit often for updates on department events, guest speakers, faculty and student accomplishments, and reviews and musings from professors and undergraduates alike.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Wall Street Journal: Companies Scoop Up English Majors

The following appeared recently in the Wall Street Journal.

Hunting for Soft Skills, Companies Scoop Up English Majors
Employment and starting salaries rise sharply for humanities grads
Oct. 25, 2016 10:01 a.m. ET

Heads up, business majors: Employers are newly hot on the trail of hires with liberal arts and humanities degrees.

Class of 2015 graduates from those disciplines are employed at higher rates than their cohorts in the class of 2014, and starting salaries rose significantly, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ annual first-destination survey of recent graduates in the workforce.  Degree holders in area studies—majors like Latin American Studies and Gender Studies—logged the largest gains in full-time employment and pay, with average starting salaries rising 26% to $43,524 for the class of 2015, compared with the previous year’s graduates. Language studies posted the second-highest salary gains.

Though area studies majors comprise less than 1% of all graduates in the survey, the pay numbers show employers are seeking hires with communication skills and comfort in multicultural environments, said Edwin Koc, NACE’s director of research, public policy and legislative affairs.

Overall, pay for liberal arts graduates rose sharply for the class of 2015, moving closer to business graduates’ starting pay, according to Mr. Koc.

“I’ll be interested to see if it’s a one-year quirk or whether it continues to boom in that direction,” he said.

Those with degrees in English and in foreign languages also brought home bigger paychecks, with starting salaries rising 14.3% and 13.6%, respectively.

Behind the numbers is a growing desire among employers for hires with strong communication skills, said Mr. Koc. After complaining that new hires’ soft skills are not up to par, “employers may be reconsidering how they’re approaching recruiting college graduates, and may not be so focused on hiring a particular major,” he said.

Computer-science graduates posted the highest starting salaries in the survey, reporting an average of $69,214. They unseated petroleum engineering majors, who usually top starting-salary rankings but have dipped amid the energy-industry crisis.

Not all liberal arts majors are enjoying boom times. History majors’ starting pay rose 3.7% year-over-year, and visual and performing arts majors were the sole group of humanities students for whom employment declined, with 2.3% fewer graduates employed six months after graduation.

NACE collected employment and salary information from 279 U.S. colleges and universities and 244,000 bachelor’s degree graduates. Overall, more than 80% of 2015 bachelor’s degree holders were employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation, according to NACE.

Global Impact Series: Xiaolong Qiu

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Harry Potter Coffee Hour

Prof. Hicks with snitch and coffee!
English Majors and Harry Potter fans
Magic wands
Flying snitches

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Harry Potter-themed Coffee Break: Wed., Oct. 26

We'll be having a Harry Potter-themed Coffee Break in honor of Halloween this Wednesday, October 26th, at 4:00 p.m. in the English Department (SAC 402).  There will be coffee, Hogwarts-inspired treats, and a chance to win a department t-shirt.  Our Coffee Breaks are a great opportunity to hang out with other majors, graduate students, and English Department faculty members.  We hope to see you there!

An added bonus: this coffee break will also be a stop on the Harry Potter Scavenger Hunt that is happening this week through Falvey.  You can earn 15 Scavenger Hunt points by visiting the coffee break (see below)!  Click here for the full set of Scavenger Hunt rules.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Fall Reception Pictures

Senior English major Brenna Fallows (one of the speakers at the reception), Prof. Megan Quigley, Prof. Kamran Javadizadeh
Elizabeth Eby, Luke Bozich and Dyala Kasim at the Advisory Committee table
Prize winners!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Narrative: 30 Below Contest

The 30 Below Contest for young writers and artists between 18 and 30 years old is accepting submissions now through November 9 and is looking to publish and promote the best young authors it can find. Narrative regularly publishes masters such as Joyce Carol Oates, T. C. Boyle, and Alice Munro alongside young writers at the beginning of their careers.

Gender Dynamics and Disruption in the 2016 Elections

Dr. Kelly Dittmar, Rutgers University, Camden
Wednesday, October 26 at 6pm
Connolly Cinema
Approved ACS Cultural Event
Co-sponsored by Gender and Women's Studies and Political Science

How have candidates – women and men alike – navigated the gendered terrain of politics in 2016, particularly at the presidential level? Have they disrupted gender expectations, or adhered to traditional rules of the game? And how have voters and media responded? Dr. Dittmar will discuss these questions in evaluating the ways in which gender has influenced candidate strategy and media coverage, as well as gender differences in voter preferences, priorities, and behavior in the 2016 presidential election. Included in this discussion will be recognition of the gender dynamics at play in Pennsylvania’s US Senate race, where a woman is competing to be the first woman senator from the commonwealth, and other down-ballot contests.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Poetry Reading: Wayne Miller & Henry Israeli

Staged Readings of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

The English Department (along with Falvey and the Theater Department) is co-sponsoring two staged readings (both twenty minutes longs) of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Monday, 10/24, and Monday, 10/31, in the library.  Everyone is invited to participate in the readings!

Rehearsals are as follows:
Today (10/17),  4-6pm
Garey 102A

This Thursday (10/20), 4-6pm
Garey 103

If anyone is interested but unavailable for rehearsals, please contact Chelsea Phillips at chelsea.phillips@villanova.edu.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Inaugural Conference of the Villanova Center for Irish Studies

Southern Teachers

A Southern Teachers representative is coming to Villanova University to interview students who would like to learn more about great teaching jobs at K-12 private/independent schools.

The interview day is Tuesday, November 01, 2016.  Students should submit resumes via Handshake;  the submission deadline is October 25.

Southern Teachers helps college graduates find great jobs in college-preparatory schools around the South.

The teaching environment in these private/independent schools can be wonderful because of their small class sizes, their college-bound students, and their close-knit communities.  At independent schools, quality isn’t just about test scores and college acceptances; it’s also the unique way that teachers maximize the potential of their students.

While successful progress through a teacher-education program is essential for some of these jobs (e.g., for elementary teachers), for many positions a teaching certificate is not required.  Math majors can be hired to teach math; Spanish majors can teach Spanish, etc.  Candidates do, however, need a strong academic record and the personal characteristics that will enable them to manage and motivate K-12 students.  To summarize:  Teacher certification is not required for most jobs.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Pictures from Pat Walsh's The Fluttering Pulses

Pat Walsh (English '16), author of The Fluttering Pulses, at the play's staged reading on Oct. 3
Pat's readers and audience

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Pictures from The Great Catsby

Students arriving for The Great Catsby!  Dr. Jean Lutes, right, organized the event.

Over 160 students attended the event, shattering all former attendance records!

English majors Luke Bozich, Dyala Kasim and Isaiah Morel were part of a live reading of Fitzgerald's novel.

Luke, English major Elizabeth Eby and Gatsby's "beautiful shirts."

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Staged reading of Pat Walsh's The Fluttering Pulses

Class of 2016 English major Pat Walsh will return to Villanova this Monday for a staged reading of his play The Fluttering Pulses.  Pat's play was the winner of this year's Sue Winge Playwriting Competition.

In the play, English major Ben Kenny launches a campaign to unban a controversial novel that ostensibly outlines how to mastermind a school shooting. Although Ben’s aunt, a teacher, was recently killed in such a tragedy, Ben argues that the book The Prophet Killer actually gives voice to the victims of these tragedies. As Ben's family begs him to stop his crusade, Ben tracks down the author, who has gone into hiding, and offers him a plan for literary redemption. The Fluttering Pulses weaves perspectives on gun violence, gun control, mass media, and family obligations into a powerful story that asks us to re-think the purpose and power of the written word.

Majors Fair 2016

The English poster, designed by Christie Leonard and Frances Kenney
Christie Leonard, Frances Kenney and Isaiah Morel talking with prospective majors

Dyala Kasim, Blaire Bernstein, Alex Forgione

Luke Bozich and Prof. Alan Drew at the Creative Writing / Writing & Rhetoric table

Susan Burns Retirement

Department administrator Susan Burns is retiring after twenty-nine years at Villanova;  twenty-three of those years have been with the English department.  A celebration was held in her honor on Friday, Sept. 30, her last day on the job.  In her retirement Susan is looking forward to taking care of her grandson, traveling with her husband and sleeping late.  We'll miss you, Susan.

Cindy Farrell, Heather Hicks, Susan Burns, Sharon Rose-Davis
Half-devoured cake!