This is the main page for the January 12, 2011 department charrette on revising the English major.
The term charrette is borrowed from the language of design and urban planning. Wikipedia defines it as "any collaborative session in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem."
The Policy Committee is charged with proposing a new design for the English major. General department input will be most helpful to the committee if it's organized around questions of design rather than around questions of general principle. That's not to say that questions of principle are out of place. Principles underlie design choices as theory underlies practice. But the committee would like to keep design in the foreground.
Our aim in the charrette will not be to draft a particular design for the English major but to identify questions, challenges, areas of agreement, and sites of difference that the Policy Committee should keep in mind as it does so.
Once the Policy Committee develops a design for a revised English major, that design will be subject to discussion, amendment, and approval by department members in a department meeting (or, if necessary, meetings).
How will the charrette work?
We'll convene promptly at 10:00 a.m. in Milne 105. We'll divide into four groups. We'll follow the agenda below:
- 10:00-10:30 - Individual groups discuss learning outcomes for the English major, taking notes in the wiki. (Before we can discuss the design of the major, we'll need some clarity on what the major should or could be designed to do.)
- 10:30-11:15 - General discussion based on shared notes.
- 11:15 - 11:30 - Break.
- 11:30 - 12:30 - Over sandwiches, individual groups discuss four design questions (one question per group), taking notes in the wiki.
- 12:30 - 12:45 - Break.
12:45 - 2:00 - General discussion based on shared notes.
How should you prepare?
- It would be helpful if you brought your laptop and power cord. Helpful, but not absolutely necessary: there will be an assigned note-taker for each group.
- It would be really helpful if you looked at the following recent perspectives on the undergraduate English major:
- Modern Language Association, Report to the Teagle Foundation on the Undergraduate Major in Language and Literature (2008)
- Sidonie Smith, "The English Major as Social Action" (Profession, 2010)
- Jennifer Summit, "Literary History and the Curriculum: How, What, and Why" (Profession, 2010)
- Lesley Wheeler, "On Capstones, Service Learning, and Poetry" (Profession, 2010)
- You might want to review the online discussion of the major that some folks engaged in last fall.
- You might want to look at the following undergraduate programs in English:
- If you'd like to suggest other undergraduate programs in English for people to look at, don't hesitate to leave your suggestion(s) in the form of a comment on this page.