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Elaine Whitaker, Chair and Professor
Professors: Peter Carriere, Bruce Gentry, Martin Lammon, Mary Magoulick, David Muschell, Eustace Palmer, and Robert Viau.
Associate Professors: Beauty Bragg, Amy Burt, Jan Clark, Scott Dillard, Allen Gee, Karen Salyer McElmurray, Megan Melanšon, Laura Newbern, and Michael Riley.
Assistant Professors: Nancy Beasley, Alex Blazer, Craig Callender, Susan Cumings, Esther Lopez, Michael Nifong, Katie Simon, and Mark Vail.

Department Contact Information:
Georgia College & State University
English and Rhetoric
Campus Box 44
Milledgeville, GA 31061
English and Rhetoric Department Website
Chair, Elaine Whitaker,
Administrative Assistant, Melinda Martin,


All degree and minor programs in the Department of English and Rhetoric share a central, essential devotion to the core values of a liberal arts education: to help students cultivate their critical intelligence; develop their expressive skills in speaking, writing, and other forms of meaning-making; and advance their understanding of the ways language, writing, and argument function in historical and contemporary contexts. Though each program's emphasis is of course different, all are linked in crucial ways, sharing a belief in the fundamental value of various forms of literacy and the skillful, ethical use of language and persuasion to the good functioning of society. Moreover, each enacts a commitment to the fulfillment of the University's mission to help students develop inquisitive, analytical minds, a respect for human diversity and individuality, a sense of civic and global responsibility, and sound ethical principles.


The primary purpose of the major in English is to introduce students to their own literary and linguistic heritage, to acquaint them with representative works of major world writers, and, in the case of the Creative Writing concentration, to foster students' creative skills to enable them to participate as practitioners in that heritage. Such an introduction is made possible by offering them a wide range of courses in English and American literature, including survey, genre, and major-figure courses, as well as survey courses in world literature. Courses in creative and expository writing, the history and structure of the language, critical theory, and composition theory help students sharpen their critical awareness, encourage clarity of thought and expression, and stimulate and develop the creative imagination. In short, the degree in English develops critical thinkers and effective communicators, people whose skills are applicable in a wide range of careers.


The major in Rhetoric assumes that the hallmark of an educated person includes the ability to speak clearly, eloquently, ethically, and effectively in order to promote the three central values of our University's liberal arts credo: reason, respect, and responsibility. The Rhetoric program facilitates student excellence in oral communication competence by providing theoretical and practical instruction emphasizing the following abilities: understanding the role of their rhetorical choices and behaviors within a variety of personal and professional contexts, audiences, and cultures; critically examining the ethical implications of their own and others' rhetorical communication choice making; understanding the factors that affect the potential success or failure of their oral communication efforts; and learning how to craft rhetorically effective messages. The Rhetoric major is particularly suited for students who plan to pursue leadership positions or further academic study in the fields of law, religion, public affairs, government, business, or higher education. In short, the degree in Rhetoric allows students to develop a deep understanding of one of the cornerstones of the Liberal Arts curricula, the uses of communication.


Earning a college degree is a significant milestone in one's life and requires dedication to one's studies and tremendous effort to succeed. In order to enable you to achieve this goal, we have programs such as The Writing Center that help ensure student success. Student success is also addressed in the First-Year Academic Seminar (ENGL or RHET 0001), in which you are introduced to the faculty and students who make up the departmental community. You will join with other first-year students to get an overview of the subject matter covered in the major, explore career possibilities, and develop techniques for getting the most out of your college courses and activities. You will also learn about departmental and university expectations, policies, and resources. Because the college experience at GCSU is more intense than at many other schools, we have designed the curriculum to help you each step of the way. In addition, we are committed to offering the courses necessary to ensure that students who follow the program of study will graduate in four years. Toward that end, a typical four-year program of study has been developed, which serves as a guide each term for scheduling courses. Required courses are specified, then sequencing of courses is recommended. Students are advised to enroll in an average of 30 semester hours each year.


Majors in English and Rhetoric are becoming increasingly popular as students more clearly understand not only their intrinsic value as effective means of acquiring a liberal education but also their value as stepping stones to a number of professions. Effective use of the English language enhances the possibilities for success in whatever occupation one pursues. English and Rhetoric majors frequently become high-school and college teachers, but many other fields of employment are open to them. Many become librarians; personnel officers; public relations officers; newspaper, radio, and television writers or on-air personalities; employees of any number of governmental agencies; and managers of business firms. Broadly educated, these majors have the potential to succeed in numerous employment fields. Rhetoric and English backgrounds are regarded as especially effective training for careers in law, business, medicine, and the ministry; all of these professions require an understanding of humanity, which the study of literature provides, and an ability to communicate clearly, which the study of rhetoric provides. Furthermore, the English major prepares the student for careers in literary editing and publishing.

The major in Rhetoric helps students develop flexible and cross-functional skills, including leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, and analytical thinking, as well as enhanced oral and written communication skills. These skills and habits of mind enable students to succeed in a wide variety of professions including non-for-profit organizing, mediation, politics, and consulting. People who majored in similar programs hold positions as managers, ministers and/or spiritual leaders, labor representatives, directors of not-for-profit organizations, communication trainers, mediators, campaign directors, research specialists, program coordinators, teachers, lawyers, and politicians.


Students who wish to pursue teacher certification with a field in English through GCSU's Four-Plus-One program, which allows the student to receive both certification and the M.A.T. degree, should pursue a B.A. in English first. These students are encouraged to take ENGL 4112 Theories of Composition and Literature, ENGL 4115 History of the English Language, and ENGL 4116 Structure of Present-Day English. For more information, contact the College of Education.


Grade requirement of C or better in ENGL 1101. All students, regardless of their degree program, must earn the grade of C or better in ENGL 1101 in order to complete the requirements of the course.

Arts & Letters, The Corinthian, Flannery O'Connor Review, Lamda Pi Eta, The Literary Guild, The Peacock's Feet, and Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society. For more information on each of these student publications and organizations click here.


  1. Bachelor of Arts with a major in English, Creative Writing Concentration
  2. Bachelor of Arts with a major in English, Literature Concentration
  3. Bachelor of Arts with a major in Rhetoric
  4. Minor in English
  5. Minor in Rhetoric
Georgia College & State University • 231 W. Hancock St. • Milledgeville, GA 31061 • 1-800-342-0471 ; (478)445-5004 •