by Nabhanya Morarji
The English and writing department at UT might get defunded. This rumor has been making its way around campus for a while, possibly because of an email that was sent to students on Feb. 14 from the office of undergraduate research and inquiry.
“I’m writing today to ask you to consider taking an exam that we are using to evaluate the educational programs at UT,” wrote Eric Freundt, director of the office of undergraduate research and inquiry. “This is a test of college-level skills in reading, writing, critical thinking and mathematics designed to measure the academic skills developed through general education courses, rather than the subject knowledge specifically taught in those courses.”
This email caused some speculation among English and writing majors because it was believed that the result of the exam would determine whether or not the department would get defunded. However, these rumors were swiftly put to an end.
“None of these rumors are remotely true,” said David Reamer, associate professor and chair of the department of English and writing. “Students in all majors are being asked to take a test as part of the university’s required assessment of our Baccalaureate Experience curriculum. The department is currently hiring 3 more faculty, which is the opposite of being defunded.”
Reamer further addressed the rumor and stated that he told some students that the Book Arts Studio was being moved into storage while the Edison building is being demolished, which is possibly what initiated the rumor.
While the objective of the examination is to test the progress of students through general education courses, some students have argued that this might not be the best method.
“Hell no, this is not a way to measure my progression as a student, as I and other English majors aren’t wired for math or science,” said Courtney Flynn, senior English major. “We thrive in literature classes as those are our strong suits. Math and science classes are a waste of a class for me at least. I definitely do the bare minimum instead of giving 110% as I give to my literature classes as they mean more to me.”
However, despite the rumors and speculation, the English and writing department at UT seems to be thriving.
Evan Henderson, junior English major, stated that the department is doing well, and that professors like Erica Dawson have been recently published and others are in the midsts of completing books. Henderson also mentioned that students have been given the opportunity to participate in research with professors.
“The benefits of being an English major are the close knit relationships that students have with their professors,” said Henderson. “As an English major with a business minor, the English department makes a better effort to get to know their students. The best part is getting to learn about the power of stories and how they shape the world.”
Nabhanya Morarji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org