Novel English Majors

It was all about having an English degree and what to do with an English degree . . . I found it so inspiring and useful… . I wish that all humanities majors could take that class!

Anna Krolikowski

In Fall 2015, Helene Meyers decided to offer a course that was part traditional literary criticism, part career coaching, so that her beloved students could learn to market themselves and their degrees with integrity. She wrote about this successful experiment for the Chronicle of Higher Education:

She continued teaching this course that garnered national attention as more and more educators realized that they had a responsibility to prepare students for their post-college lives and that such preparation was part of the argument for a humanistic/liberal arts education.

Novel English Majors in the News

Report from the National Humanities Alliance

“They [students] also learn how to tolerate the ambiguity of post-grad life better because they’ve heard how others have navigated that and grown through it.” As a result, students appreciate how their humanities education prepares them to make the numerous career shifts the 21st century economy will likely require, gaining strength and skills through each adaptive transition. 

Humanities Education and Career Preparation: Not Either/Or but Both/And

During a course entitled Novel English Majors, Meyers introduced her students to a wide variety of careers in which well-read students of the human condition could thrive.

George Anders, You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a “Useless” Liberal Arts Education

In a recent essay in The Chronicle, “Feeding English Majors in the 21st Century,” Helene Meyers describes an ingenious course she designed and taught at Southwestern University that does just that. In the course, “Novel English Majors,” students combine literary reading and job shadowing — an approach that would benefit any humanities program. Internships and other curricular aspects could also be designed or redesigned to underscore the relationship between the discipline and work.

Paul Corrigan, “Jobs Will Save the Humanities

The course has been so popular that Katie Rouse ’18 and
others who’ve taken it mention having friends in other majors
who have envied them for the opportunity. “It’s kind of the
crown jewel at helping translate your skills by developing a
holistic view of them, career-wise,” says Rouse.

Shifting Narratives