Slider New Critics Student Panel April 2018
English major in a classroom
Dr. Eileen Morgan-Zayachek at commencement
Dr. Daniel Payne teaches a class

Department Overview

English is one of the largest departments in the college, with 13 full-time professors offering more than 70 different courses in composition, creative writing, literature, linguistics, and theory. We have nearly 200 majors in English and several hundred Education majors with an English concentration. Courses in creative writing are taught by practicing, prize-winning poets and fiction writers, and courses in literature by published critics and scholars; five department members have received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and a number of faculty have received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Large enough to provide a full range of courses in English, the department is also small enough to provide extensive individual attention to its students through advisement, conferences, collaborative student groups, seminars, and small classes. We do not use teaching assistants as instructors in our courses; all instruction comes from fully qualified professionals. Class meetings range from once a week for two-and-a-half hours, to three times weekly for fifty minutes each, to individual conferences arranged to suit student schedules. Classes are offered both during the day and at night, both during the school year and summer.

Why Study English?

In addition to teaching, students with a major or minor can prepare for graduate school, the practice of law, business, publishing, administration, communications, and public service. The student who successfully majors in English acquires skills necessary for the scholarly, professional and business worlds, particularly the abilities to speak and write effectively; to conduct and report research; to organize and analyze data; and to pursue problems and communicate about them clearly, logically, and succinctly.

The communication skills and understanding of different international cultures that English majors develop prepare them to enter such fields as education, journalism, law, public service, medicine, business, and journalism. English majors bring to their work the flexibility, analytical skills, and confidence needed to be effective thinkers and problem-solvers.

SUNY Oneonta English majors become teachers, enter government service, and join such private sector areas as administration, advertising, customer service, editing, journalism, management, personnel, public relations, publishing, sales, and technology.

Spokony with Dr Morris and Faculty member at 30 under 30 awards night.

Congratulations to former SUNY Oneonta English major Sam Spokony for winning one of our university's first 30 Under 30 awards!   Sam started his career using his experience working for Oneonta’s student newspaper, The State Times, to write for publications like The Villager and The Quietus.  His journalism led him to a job as Communications Director for New York City Council member Margaret Chin and then to the communications firm Marathon Strategies, where he is now a Senior Vice President.   His work at Marathon has included supporting New York City taxi drivers, affordable housing for LGBTQ senior citizens, and tax laws that enable affordable housing.  When Sam graduated, he wrote “the skills and guidance I’ve received alongside my English degree have had a positive impact on just about everything I do, whether it’s in my work or in my daily life...I feel grateful — to my professors, for giving me the tools, but also to myself, for taking a chance on English and never looking back."

Click here to see youtube video of George Hovis  Interviewed by Alan Wier and reading from his novel The Skin Artist at Murray State University.

Click here to listen to Robert Bensen's interview with Trish Pearlman on the "Out of Bounds" radio show.

Listen now


English Department
322 Netzer Administration Building

Dr. Suzanne Black
Professor, Department Chair
Netzer 322
(607) 436-3035

Ruth Carr

Secretary 1
(607) 436-3446


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