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Language Arts Meet Technology Advances in English Department

  • Kathleen Jones White Writing Center, Ben Rafoth and Ben White

    IUP's English Department hosts internationally known doctoral programs, but undergraduates of all majors gain big benefits from the Writing Center, which recently was renamed for the late Kathleen Jones White '56, a former dean at IUP. Her husband, David, at right, recently established an endowment to benefit the Writing Center. At left is Dr. Ben Rafoth, director of the Writing Center. The Writing Center assists hundreds of students each year and is staffed by students who are pursuing English degrees.


    Alumni who have earned English degrees at IUP are doing the world's important work. An analysis of IUP Distinguished Alumni Award winners tells the tale.

    Of the English Department alumni who have received this prestigious award, three are college presidents.1 One has published numerous novels and has earned, among other accolades, a Drue Heinz Prize for Literature.2 Another has served as the managing editor of a major metropolitan newspaper.3 And, yet another leads a corporate consultancy and serves as a media source on topics related to business and management trends.4

    Their career paths varied, but what they have in common is a focus on language in public life, a hallmark of IUP's English degree programs.

    Currently, the department offers two Ph.D. programs-in Literature and Criticism and in Composition and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Both programs are highly regarded in the admissions marketplace.

    Upon completion in 2014, the new humanities building will become the department's home.

    Special Features
    To ensure its students have value-added experiences, the English Department hosts the Kathleen Jones White '56 Writing Center, which is staffed by English majors who tutor and mentor students of other majors, as well as several other centers and institutes. One of them, the Center for Digital Humanities and Culture, recently made headlines when a codirector was interviewed by BBC and other worldwide news organizations on his discovery of lost diaries of Dr. David Livingstone. Many students from the department have enjoyed an enriched experience through the department's exchange agreement with Oxford University in England.

    By the Numbers
    Currently Enrolled Students (approximate numbers):
    Literature and Criticism Ph.D.: 135
    Composition and TESOL Ph.D.: 122
    Master's Degree Programs (Generalist, Literature, Teaching, TESOL): 68
    Bachelor's Degree Programs (B.A. with tracks in Film Studies; Honors; Language Studies; Literary, Textual, and Cultural Studies; Pre-Law; and Writing. B.S. in English Education): 223

    Alumni of the Department:
    Doctoral Degrees: 891
    Master's Degrees: 1,174
    Bachelor's Degrees: 2,974

    Distinguished Alumni Award Winners from the Department of English
    Susan K. Breon
    Kathleen M. Kundar
    Gary A. Olson1
    Madelyn A. Ross3
    Elaine Walls Reed
    Nancy V. Keene4
    Randall G. Silvis2
    Judith M. Balmer
    Charlene M. Dukes1
    John J. Esposito
    Blase A. Elisco
    Jack Thomas1
    Agnes E. Vaghi
    Michael P. Lambert
    Helena M. Smith


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