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The final exam for Engl 170-01 Fall 2012 is a group project.

The assignment

Last year, The Lamron ran an opinion piece questioning the legitimacy of the English major. It contained the following paragraph:

In fact, the requirements for being an English major, in the general sense, are the same requirements for any other major. All people studying at this college are learning how to comprehend, apply and communicate the world around them. The only difference is that an anthropologist learns anthropology, a biochemist learns biology and chemistry, an economist learns economics and an English major learns … well that's the problem.

The content that an English major studies is merely the techniques and concepts of literature and to a lesser degree the ideas presented within literature.

Your collective assignment is to write a "They say/I say" essay responding to this claim. Your essay's "I say" statement should articulate what English majors actually study and do in a way that would be clear to an ordinary reader and convince that reader that what English majors study and do is important — and requires study in the first place.

Your essay should not make the case for why English is a useful major for getting a good job. That's an essay worth writing some other time, but the point of this essay, again, is to provide a clear account of what people who study English are actually doing, and why what they're doing matters.

You might consider working the idea of a "practice" into your answer somehow. The idea of "criticism" might also be relevant.

To produce the essay, you will work in teams with the following responsibilities:


DateTask completed
11/30Brainstorming, Quotation and reference selection. (May continue during subsequent phases.)
12/5Rough draft. (Drafting)
12/10Organized draft. (Continuity)
12/14 @ 2 p.m.Polished essay.


Your grade will calculated as follows:

  • 15% - overall result as measured against the qualities described in the rubric for essays.
  • 85% - personal contribution, determined by the following scale:
    • A - You rolled up your sleeves and really helped get the job done.
    • B - You genuinely contributed.
    • C - You showed up.
    • D - You phoned in.
    • E - You neither showed up nor phoned in.

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