The English Department at NDSU

The mission of the English Department at North Dakota State University is to cultivate understanding, knowledge, and appreciation of the English language, its speakers and writers, and its literatures and cultures, such that students and department members use the language creatively, critically, and effectively to participate ethically in civic and professional life.

Click to read our Fall 2020 edition of the Department Newsletter, Pen & Pixels!

RRGSC 2021: “Beyond Tradition: Multimodality in English Scholarship” with Keynote Amy Gore

Please click here for more information on the 18th Annual Red River Graduate Student Conference and for the Zoom link.  
April 22-23, 2021

The program for the 18th Annual Red River Graduate Student Conference is available.  Click here to view the schedule.

Summer 2021 DCE Professional Development Courses


Instructor: Dr. Verena Theile
Class format: DCE ONLINE (Zoom and Blackboard)
Class meets: a/synchronous with 1 weekly synchronous meeting (TBA) 

Register here:

Course Description: ENGL 2000 Comics and Culture will be taught in three distinct sections that connect with the others in theme and genre. Each section can be taken by itself or one can take two or three sections to create a sequence. In all three sections, our focus will lie with exploring issues of social justice and with finding ways to recognize, talk about, and teach about equity and diversity.

June 7 - 25, 2021
Section 1 “Growing up different”
: This section of ENGL 2000 Comics and Culture will focus on graphic memoirs. From Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home to Mira Jacob’s Good Talk, we will look at the challenges of growing up in America. We will explore issues of gender, race, ethnicity, and disability.

June 28 - July 16, 2021
Section 2 “Coming-of-age in pictures”
: This section of ENGL 2000 Comics and Culture will focus on YAL literature. All of us had to survive our teenage years and all of us have stories to tell about finding ourselves in this weird and beautifully diverse world. The graphic novel offers a new way of coming-of-age and of showing us how finding one’s identity is never easy and seldom straightforward.

July 19 - August 6, 2021
Section 3 “Superheroes of a different kind”
: This section of ENGL 2000 Comics and Culture will focus on becoming a hero by accident, birth, or life’s unique circumstances. Our heroes here are frequently not noble; they are not self-less; many are not admirable. What they have in common is that they tackle what life gave them, sometimes successfully but more often reluctantly.  


Instructor: Kelly Sassi
Class format: DCE ONLINE (Zoom and Blackboard)

Register here: 

Course Description: Grow your understanding of teaching Indigenous Young Adult Literature through engaging in reading, reflecting upon your reading, and discussing the works and how to teach them. Create your own teaching unit that attends to cross-cultural learning needs. 

ENGLISH 2000 Summer Institute: Engaged Virtual Writing for K-College Teachers

Instructor: Ben Melby
Class format: DCE ONLINE Synchronous (Zoom and Blackboard)
Class meets: May 14-15, June 14-17, and June 21-24

Register here:

Course Description: The Red River Valley Writing Project Summer Institute offers participants a place to read and discuss ideas about teaching writing and using writing to teach—plus time to write. Teachers also share best teaching practices through hands-on teaching demonstrations and explore the teaching of writing by writing. Readings cover best practices for remote/online learning, how to align K-12 teaching with writing for college, and resources from the National Writing Project’s C3WP (College, Career, Community Writing Program). For more information, click here

Participants will
- prepare and share teaching demonstrations suitable for engaged online/remote learning
- participate in book discussions of Create, Compose, Connect! and Writing Analytically
- share strategies for aligning college and pre-college writing instruction
- sharpen skills in teaching argument writing through practice with C3WP instructional lessons

Summer 2021 Graduate Seminars

English 790 Dissident Ontologies: Latina and Latin American Women’s Thought (June 21-25)


Instructor Dr. Pilar Melero, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
Class format: HyFlex Online
Class meets: MTWThF synchronous, 9am-4pm

Questions: Contact Dr. Adam Goldwyn, the Director of Graduate Studies

Course Description: The role of the Pensador in Latin America has traditionally been assigned to male intellectuals. In fact, the term itself is in the masculine form, “Pensador”, as opposed to “Pensadora” or “Pensadorx/Pensadore”. As Argentinian Pensadora Victoria Ocampo states in her essay “Women and her Expression”, Latin American women have been denied a voice throughout the history of el Pensar (“Thought”, with a capital “T”), which was reserved for los Pensadores, the founders of the Latin American Nation/Identity (using Angel Rama’s idea of The Lettered City). Yet, Latin American and U.S. Latina women have not only claimed their own voices for centuries, since Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1600s, New Spain) to current day Chicana/Latina writers such as Gloria Anzaldúa. Dissident Ontologies: Latina and Latin American Women’s Thought seeks to trace the cartography of Latin American and Latina women’s thought as a path to being from Sor Juana through Gloria Anzaldúa, engaging texts by Victoria Ocampo, Rosario Castellanos, and others.

Pilar Melero is a professor of Spanish and Latin American/Latinx literature at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She has published three books: Mythological Constructs of Mexican Femininity (New York, Palgrave/Macmillan, 2015), La casa de Esperanza: A History (NCLA/LA Casa de Esperanza, 2011), and From Mythic Rocks. Voces del Malpáis (LAGO Ediciones, Monterrey, Mexico, 2010). A fourth book, Discover Waukesha—a third-grade history book, is pending publication. 

ENGL 790 Reading the Graphic Novel: Comics & Culture (Jul 13-Aug 6, 2021)

Instructor: Dr. Verena Theile
Class format: HyFlex ONLINE
Class meets: a/synchronous @ T/Th 3-5:30pm

Course Description: “ENGL 790: Reading the Graphic Novel: Comics and Culture” will introduce you to the scholarly study of comic books and graphic novels, with a particular focus on the formal elements that differentiate comics from other visual and literary texts, such as prose fiction, non-fiction, and film. 

Together we will look at the history of the comic book and the graphic novel, and we will investigate the different ways in which meaning is made on the page. Testing the reader’s visual literacy, sequential art combines images and texts and asks us to see familiar things anew by directing and distracting our gaze and by providing information or withholding it. 

The books we will study this summer include memoirs and superhero stories, social commentaries and protest literature. They explore human rights and social justice issues, themes of identity formation and gender exploration. And they probe the potential of coming-of-age narratives, of “autobiofictionalographies,” and of the sometimes whimsical and often stark but always beautiful art of world-building and storytelling.

Fall 2021 English Course Offerings

All courses will take advantage of NDSU's new HyFlex model which allows in-class and/or remote attendance by students and professors. Courses may draw on a combination of synchronous and asynchronous content.

English 209: Introduction to Linguistics

Instructor: Dr. Bruce Maylath
Class format: In-person
Class meets: MWF 11:00-11:50am

Bulletin description: Entry-level knowledge for the scientific study of language, including such topics as phonetics, phonology, morphology, semantics, grammar, social and cultural dimensions, acquisition, variation and similarities among languages of the world, and related cultural history. Cross-listed with ANTH.

Course description: This entry-level course imparts knowledge for the scientific study of language, including such topics as phonetics, phonology, morphology, semantics, grammar, social and cultural dimensions, acquisition, variation and similarities among languages of the world, and related cultural history. It is designed to acquaint you with 1) the structure of the English language, 2) the history of its evolution, 3) the richness of its variations, 4) the nature of its relationships to other languages, 5) the processes by which humans acquire and use language as they listen, speak, read and write, 6) the methods for analyzing language, including phonology, syntax, and semantics, 7) contextual factors that influence linguistics behavior, including pragmatics and sociolinguistic principles.

English 220: Introduction to Literature

Instructor: Dr. Emily D. Wicktor
Class format: In-person
Class meets: TR 3:30-4:45

Bulletin Description:  Reading and discussion of representative examples of poetry, drama, and fiction, with emphasis on the use of common literary terminology. Classic and contemporary works. Focus on enjoyment and appreciation of verbal art. 

English 222: Introduction to Poetry

Instructor: Dr. Sean Burt
Class format: in-person
Class meets: MWF 10:00–10:50 am

Bulletin description: Examination of poetic forms including the uses of figurative language and the techniques of rhythm and meter, as well as imagery and structure. Includes traditional and contemporary lyrics

Course description: This course is an introduction to reading and listening to poems. Students will learn fundamentals of sound and form in English-language poetry, as well as English and non-English poetic forms such as the sonnet, villanelle, ghazal, sestina, and haiku. The class will also focus on poetry as the expression and creation of voice and image, and on how poems can address and transform big issues like the self, the body, religion, nature, and politics. We will do close reading, as well as attend to the contexts of poetry. Students will encounter a wide range of poems, including classic and contemporary English and American poetry, ancient poetry, international poetries in translation, spoken-word performance, music, even Instagram poets. We will do some small-scale creative writing activities, but this course is focused on understanding and responding to poetry, and is not primarily a course in creative writing. Among other writing tasks, students will edit and annotate an anthology of poems on a topic of their choosing. The course readings will include: Stephanie Burt’s Don’t Read Poetry: A Book about How to Read Poems, Patricia Smith’s Blood Dazzler, Lucille Clifton’s How To Carry Water: Selected Poems, and selected poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, among others.

English 251: British Literature I

Instructor: Dr. Verena Theile
Class format: In-person/HyFlex
Class meets: MoWeFr 2-2:50pm in ABEN 208

Bulletin Description: Survey of major works and writers in British literature from the Anglo-Saxon period through the 18th century. (ND:HUM)

Course Description: British Literature I will introduce you to a breadth of English literature in a relatively short period of time. As such we will be leaping through the centuries quite rapidly, studying representative cultural and literary materials from the Anglo-Saxon period to early modern England. To take full advantage of the technology the new HyFlex model provides, the course will draw on as many contemporary interpretations of these classic texts and materials as possible: TV shows, movies, podcasts, and graphic novels. Our multimodal approach will not only augment our learning experience, but also lead to a deeper appreciation of English literature and critical analyses of its afterlife, interpretations, and uses in modern culture.

English 261: American Literature I

Instructor: Dr. Amy Gore
Class format: In-person
Class meets: TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm

Bulletin description: Survey of major works and writers in American literature from the colonial period through the Civil War. Emphasis on the development of unique American values and literature.  Prereq: ENGL 120.

Course description: How did the beginnings of widespread international travel impact writing? How did new socio-political circumstances invent new genres in American literature? How did literature offer opportunities for the voices of marginalized peoples? Beginning with some of the first moments of transoceanic cultural contact and ending with the Civil War, our class will survey the literary texts produced within the shifting boundaries of the United States. While reading widely, we will consider the new technologies of print and their role in shaping many types of early American literary production, including newspapers, literary journals and magazines, broadsides, pamphlets, and the bound book. We will also gain first-hand experience with several different early American books and technologies. 

English 272: Literary Analysis

Instructor: Dr. Anastassiya Andrianova
Class format: In-person/HyFlex
Class meets: TuTh 9:30-10:45PM

Bulletin description: Introduction to traditional and contemporary literary and critical theory and to the fundamental skills required for the analysis of literary and other texts. Prereq: ENGL 120.

Course description: The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with a variety of theoretical lenses, theories, and methods of literary and cultural analysis, as represented in the work of selected literary theorists and cultural critics. Students will learn about major theoretical movements and orientations, such as structural­ism, deconstruction, Marxism, feminism, psychoanalysis, critical race studies, postcolonial studies, ecocriticism, and animal studies, as well as the ways in which these various discourses intersect. Students will also practice applying particular theoretical lenses and methods to analyses of literary texts.

English 275: Introduction to Writing Studies

Instructor: Dr. Mary McCall
Class format: In-person
Class meets: M/W/F 9:00-9:50am 

Bulletin description: A broad history of writing and rhetoric as well as an introduction to spheres of writing studies: creative, academic, professional/technical, and public writing. Prereq: ENGL 120.

Course description: In this section of English 275, we'll be working on both content and skill development within the subfield of writing studies, a specialization within the larger field of English. 

The course has been designed around a theoretical model called threshold concepts. Our textbook Naming What We Know Classroom Edition: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies provides some structure for the class, and in working through those threshold concepts—or key ideas, doorways into thinking like writing studies scholars—you’ll be delving more deeply into some of the scholarship by compositionists, creative writers, and other writing specialists who have built the foundation of knowledge for the field.

English 323: Screenwriting
Instructor: Brady Bergeson
Class format: In-person
Class meets: Tuesday & Thursday, 9:30-10:45 a.m.

Bulletin description: Creative Writing with a focus on one literary genre (for this class, screenwriting). May be repeated in other genres for credit.

Course description: In this class you will go through the process of creating and developing the story for a feature-length film and writing the first act of the screenplay. This process, and learning to write in screenplay style, will help you deepen your understanding of storytelling in general and make your writing in all genres more active. We will focus on the elements of STORY and the difference in writing a story to be read versus a story to be performed and interpreted on screen. We’ll study the elements of screenplays and the structure of telling a story in film, with an emphasis on character and plot.

Through reading a number of scripts and writing your own, some of the elements of dramatic storytelling you will come to understand (in your work and the work of others) includes: characterization, dialogue, visual storytelling, description, conflict, plot and structure. 

English 333: Science Fiction and Fantasy

Instructor: Dr. Verena Theile
Class format: In-person/HyFlex
Class meets: MoWeFr 11-11:50 pm in ABEN 208

Bulletin Description: Study of social and psychological implications of fantasy literature and works of fiction concerned with the impact of science and technology on the human imagination.

Course Description: In ENGL 333, we will study “fiction that is concerned with the impact of science and technology on the human imagination.” We will do this by examining SF novels, short stories, TV shows, movies, audiobooks, podcasts, and graphic novels, and we will explore the history of SF literature and its various subgenres, i.e., alternate histories, post-apocalyptic visions, utopias and dystopias, galactic explorations, space operas, time travel, new wave SF, cyberpunk, hard SF, and YAL SF. Our emphasis will be thus not only be with the text and its content but also with its medium.

English 335: Multicultural Writers 

Instructor: Dr. Amy Gore
Class format: In-person
Class meets: TuTh 3:30-4:45pm

Bulletin description: Major literary figures within and outside the United States. Includes Asian, Mexican, and Canadian, as well as Native-American, Black, Asian-American, and Chicano writers.

Course description: Through a focus on the memoir, this course will read from a rich sampling of the nearly limitless multicultural American experiences. Questions we may consider include: What is the relationship between memory and political action? How does memory intersect with history and truth? While we will read from a range of multicultural experiences, we will also look specifically at North Dakota and Minnesota’s multicultural writers and gain first-hand experience with archival research.

English 467: English Studies Capstone Experience

Instructor: Dr. Anastassiya Andrianova
Class format: In-person/HyFlex
Class meets: TuTh 12:30-1:45PM

Bulletin description: Cumulative and integrative study for English majors of English language, literature, and composition. Prerequisite: ENGL 272 and senior standing.

Course description: English 467: English Studies Capstone Experience is a 3-credit course the sole purpose of which is to “cap” your education as an English major, in large part via the creation of your original, researched, and mentored Capstone project. The course will also help you look back on your undergraduate career and reflect on what you have learned, assess the skills your work as an English major has helped you develop, and more precisely envision how you will employ/enact the skills and knowledge you have developed (e.g., in your chosen work/career field, in graduate school, and/or in civic/community service).

English 449/649: Usability and User Experience 

Instructor: Dr. Mary McCall
Class format: In-person
Class meets: M 5:00-7:30pm

Bulletin description: This course teaches the core competencies for working in the English department UX lab. Additionally, it prepares students to collaborate with design teams to create better documentation, to create fuller user understandings of user inscription preferences, and to craft information strategies. This course teaches user inquiry methods, data collection, genre conventions, and rhetorical strategies for user advocacy. (Fall semester)

Course description: This course will form the basis for teaching the core competencies for working in the English department UX lab.

Ideally, you will adopt two goals for this course: 1. You will want to talk the talk of a usability/UX expert through brainstorming, collaboration, and questioning. 2. You will want to create UX strategy documents and conduct usability research that captures insight and strategies for improving documents and other products that involve writing, inscription, and other language practices.

Our first, and primary goal, will be to help you become well versed in both UX and usability design concepts.  This means reading our class texts, learning the vocabulary, and becoming conversant in the discourse as it evolves online (this is a fast-moving discipline). In order to both learn and become reflective about the culture of usability and UX experts, you will write UX strategy documentation and reflective responses about our course readings and weekly discussions. To demonstrate your “walk” you will be creating a final usability report along with several smaller projects.

English 435 Young Adult Literature in a Multicultural World

Instructor: Kelly Sassi
Class format: In-person
Class meets: MWF 10-10:50am

Bulletin description: Introduction to the field of Young Adult Literature (YAL) with an emphasis on multicultural novels.  Recommended for English Education majors, English majors seeking breadth in their reading, and students seeking diverse reading.  Prereq: ENGL 120. {Also offered for graduate credit - see ENGL 635.}

Course description: In this course, we will read, listen, and view some of the most current and award-winning Young Adult Literature (YAL) available through whole class and independent choice reading experiences. Along the way, we will think deeply about the power of stories in our lives and how they can influence classrooms and society at large. We will take a meta approach to pedagogical practices in this classroom with the goal that the future teachers among us will “demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of, and an ability to use, varied teaching applications for: works representing a broad historical and contemporary spectrum of United States, British, and world, including non-Western, literature; works from a variety of genres and cultures, works by female authors, and works by authors of color; numerous works specifically written for older children and young adults; and a range of works of literary theory and criticism and an understanding of their effect on reading and interpretive approaches.”

English 483/683: Topics in British Literature: Jane Austen

Instructor: Dr. Emily D. Wicktor
Class format: In-person
Class meets: R 5:00-7:30

Bulletin Description: Intensive study of a special theme, form, period, or group of writers central to the formation of British literature. May be repeated with change of topic.  Prereq for ENGL 483: ENGL 272.

Course Description: This seminar will focus on Jane Austen’s letters, juvenilia, and novels, but also on various “afterlives” of Austen’s work and other Austen-inspired content.  Students will critically investigate Austen’s work in the literary and cultural context of the British Regency era, but will also venture beyond this framework to critique the juggernaut of adaptation, influence, and afterlife of all things Austen.  From hardcore Janeite fan clubs to Jane Austen finger puppets to foxy novel/media properties like Bridgerton, we are never not recycling some Austen content somewhere in the cultural wallpaper of arts and entertainment.  This seminar allows students to enjoy and study the author’s highly influential work in a wide range of contexts, from Regency era origins to today.

English 754: Rhetorics of Science and Technology

Instructor: Daniel Kenzie
Class Format: In-person
Class meets: Tuesdays 5:00-7:30 pm

Bulletin description: The study and critique of the rhetorics of science and technology, informed by rhetorical theory and by the philosophy of and the social studies of science and technology. Prereq: Graduate standing or instructor approval.

Course description: Some of the most powerful discourses of our time—and most pressing issues facing society—are scientific, technical, or medical. These discourses have often relied on an idea of science as a strictly objective search for truth. Instead, a rhetorical perspective treats science as a discursive process for advancing, disputing, and mobilizing arguments about the world. The nature of science’s relationship with truth or reality has profound implications for society, as science’s ability to describe the word has been abused or undermined to promote agendas on issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic, eugenics, climate change, biotechnology, and many others. In this seminar, we will explore how scientists make arguments with each other, how specialists and nonspecialist publics interface, and how both of these activities are shaped by social and historical context. 

By the end of the term, you will:

  • Learn relevant rhetorical theories and apply them to discursive practices and spaces of science, technology, and medicine.
  • Understand the development of the rhetorics of science, technology, and medicine (RSTM) as a field and its relationship to related fields.
  • Identify recent trends in RSTM, such as turns toward “applied” or “engaged” rhetorics of science and the emergence of rhetoric of health and medicine as a distinct field of inquiry.
  • Develop tools for studying disciplinary writing, communication, and argument.
  • Identify roles for the humanities and social sciences in addressing scientific, technical, and medical issues in society.

We will mostly read articles, but books I am considering are Vaccine Rhetorics by Heidi Lawrence, Bodies in Flux: Scientific Methods for Negotiating Medical Uncertainty by Christa Teston, The Body Multiple: Ontology in Medical Practice by Annemarie Mol, and Pandora’s Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies by Bruno Latour.

English 764: Classroom Strategies for TA’s
Dr. Holly Hassel
Class Format: In-person

Bulletin Description: Introduction to current issues in composition pedagogy, research, and theory, focusing on how they inform teaching practices. Instruction on developing philosophy of and strategies for teaching through short position papers, literacy autobiography, and a sequence of assignments for ENGL 120.

English 321: Writing in the Technical Professions

Instructor: Julie Sandland
Class format: In-person
Class meets: MWF 9am; MWF 10am

Bulletin description: English 321 is a course designed to provide “intensive practice employing the conventions of professional genres to write about technical development and use for expert, business, and more general audiences.”

Course description: You will write in a variety of genres for different audiences and purposes.  The course is divided into three units: the job search, the technical documents, and marketing yourself.  You will complete a total of six projects:  four (the job package, the technical definition/description, the text into visual, and e-portfolio) will be completed individually; one (the reference card) will be completed with a partner; and one, the group design proposal, will be a collaborative project that involves a number of nested documents. In the technical documents unit, we will look at elements of effective technical writing for different audiences, as well as collaboration within a group and making a proposal for designing an engineering solution for a problem or need on NDSU’s campus.  In the marketing unit, we will look at the importance of articulating a mission, the role of ethics in engineering, and showcasing your projects. You will also take a midterm and final exam.  You will conference with me twice individually, and once with your group during the design project.

English 320: Business and Professional Communication

Instructor: Julie Sandland
Class format: In-person
Class meets: 1pm MWF; 2pm MWF

Bulletin Description: English 320-Business and Professional Communication is designed to provide “intensive practice employing the conventions of professional genres to write for business and professional contexts and audiences.”

Course Description: Students will write in a variety of genres for different purposes and audiences.  We will use an approach called scenario-based learning, in which you will imagine that you are writing for real-life situations in your industry.  You will complete a total of 8 projects and 2 exams.

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Mailing Address

English Department
NDSU - Dept. 2320
P.O. Box 6050
Fargo, ND  58108-6050

Physical Address
NDSU English Department
318 Minard Hall 
Fargo, ND  58102

Office Phone: 701-231-7143

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