English Department

We want students to engage within a diverse community and a rapidly changing world through creative and evidence-based problem solving, effective communication, and responsible action.

Our mission is to achieve these goals by providing you with critical thinking, reading, and writing skills.

Programs for All

We offer a variety of programs to prepare you for all sorts of careers. Earn your bachelor’s degree in:

  • Writing
  • Applied and Professional Writing
  • Literature
  • Applied Linguistics
  • Film Studies
  • Communication Arts & Literature (Teaching)
  • Teaching English as a Second Language

We also have 6 minor options that pair with many other majors, whether your degree is in the English department or not. 

Study Your Way

There’s nothing quite like learning in a classroom. We believe the in-person learning experience is valuable, which is why most of our classes are taught in person. 

You’ll get to know your peers and professors—and they’ll get to know you—through workshop-intensive courses, discussions, and hands-on opportunities. 

We also know that students need more flexibility, so we offer some undergraduate courses online, as well as our graduate certificate in Applied and Professional Writing.

Gains Inside & Outside the Classroom

Through seminars, internships, co-curriculars, and more, you’ll have:

  • an understanding of the historical developments in language, rhetoric, and literature
  • an awareness of language as well as the art and craft of creative and expository writing
  • an appreciation for applying a diversity of perspectives and multi-disciplinary approaches, along with collaborating with and serving the highest good of a community
English Department Goals

An important part of the assessment process is evaluating how well students can critically evaluate and explain their understanding of each of the goals, and how they have met them through their work. 

The English department values this process, as it has proven to be an effective way of reinforcing and assessing the critical thinking, reading, and writing skills that make up the department’s mission. 

  1. Reading Experience: Students will demonstrate the breadth of their reading experience, which includes both texts from different genres and texts representing a range of cultural and individual identities
  2. Writing Experience: Students will demonstrate that they have written in different modes for different audiences and purposes
  3. Language and Discourse: Students will demonstrate an understanding of language and discourse. Avenues to such knowledge include study in the history of the language, formal grammar, rhetoric, and linguistics.
  4. Theoretical Perspectives: Students will demonstrate that they understand the significant theoretical “lenses” in their field of study such as literary theory, pedagogical theory and approaches, and theories of language acquisition
  5. Historical or Cultural Context: Students will demonstrate an understanding of how texts are historically and culturally situated and how these texts are part of the scope, sequence and framework in their field of study
  6. Future Directions: Students will demonstrate an understanding of how their education contributes to their lives and careers outside the classroom. One aim of our program is to develop well-rounded graduates with interests not only in their fields of study, but also in the social and ethical issues of our changing world.

The current assessment process includes multiple steps.

The portfolio requirement is introduced to Literature & Language, Writing Option and CALT majors in ENG 290 and to ESLT and Applied Linguistics majors in ENG 350. The portfolio is further reinforced by academic advisors and course professors. The portfolios include an introductory critical self-assessment, course papers and other evidence of student accomplishment.

At the end of each semester, department members review all senior portfolios and score them using a rubric. Each portfolio is scored by two department members and a third member if the scores are inconsistent. Six of the ten items ask raters to score the portfolio against a department goal. The rater evaluates the ability of the student to articulate and demonstrate how the department goal has been acquired, especially in relation to the specific mission and requirements of the student’s particular major. The other four items represent additional relevant elements of the portfolio process (i.e. writing ability). Each item is followed by the cumulative score on a five-point Lykert scale (1.0 = poor, 2.0 = fair, 3.0 + adequate, 4.0 = convincing, 5.0 = superior).

The portfolio scores are accumulated each semester and then combined at the end of each year. The composite score for all sections of ENG 490 are entered yearly in the department-maintained database for portfolio scores.

At the end of each semester, class members are interviewed and an Exit Interview Report is generated by the external interviewer. It’s then added to the department’s repository of Exit Interview Reports.

The Assessment Committee is charged with reviewing the assessment data periodically and bringing suggestions for revision or reforms to the department. For complete information on the response process, contact the Department Chair.

Assessment efforts reveal demonstrable accomplishment of all the department’s goals. At the same time, evidence has pointed to areas for improvement. Based on evidence provided by departmental assessment data, the Department has periodically undertaken curricular reforms, pedagogical initiatives, and procedural revisions intended to address areas of concern.

The Department of English recognizes the following guidelines for assessment:

  • The purpose of the academic assessment program is to support and improve student learning.
  • The faculty will create assessment appropriate to their specific programs.
  • Student assessment will not be used as entrance or exit requirements from academic programs.
  • Quality assessment results are for the exclusive use of WSU.
  • Academic assessment data will not be used to make comparisons among faculty, departments or colleges.
  • Assessment data will not be used for faculty or staff evaluation and will not be used in making retention, tenure and promotion recommendations or decisions by supervisors or administrators. Individuals may choose to use assessment data compiled from their own classes or services for documentation purposes.
  • The faculty will receive assistance and financial support to implement their assessment programs.
  • Quality improvement is a continuing process.

The English Department maintains documents related to assessment which can be accessed via request to Candi McKeeth at cmckeeth@winona.edu.

The English Department has been collecting the following data since 1999:

  • Portfolio Scores: Portfolio scores are tabulated each year and maintained in a spreadsheet.
  • Exit Interview Reports: All the Exit Interview Reports, which are submitted at the end of each semester, are included in this document.
Contact the English Department 
Department of English
Minné 304

Office Hours

Monday–Friday: 8:30am-4pm

Summer hours may vary

Ann-Marie Dunbar
Department Chair, Professor


Email Ann-Marie Dunbar
Claudia Richard
Office Manager


Email Claudia Richard