The English Department equips students with the ability to read and think critically and creatively, and to express themselves in lucid speech, writing, and design. We prepare students for meaningful and successful careers after McDaniel. To accomplish this, students:
• Read a broad variety of literatures in English in their historical, social, cultural, political, economic, and psychological contexts;
• Write within scholarly and creative genres;
• Analyze and evaluate oral, written and visual modes of expression through the use of literary and rhetorical theory;
• Produce print and digital texts designed for multiple audiences.
In addition to the major, the English Department offers dual majors in English/Political Science and English/Theatre Arts. Minor programs of study include English/Education, Journalism, Literature and Writing; minors in elementary and secondary education are also provided leading to teaching certification.
Hill Hall, 2nd floor
Dr. Robert Kachur
Hill Hall 218
Majors & Minors
The study of English enables graduates to succeed in advanced study in a variety of fields, and to pursue a broad range of career paths, including teaching at all levels, journalism, professional writing, business, library science, social work, government service, public relations and law.
Professor and department chair Robert Kachur
(Ph.D., University of Wisconsin), focuses on 18th-and 19th-century British literature, the Gothic tradition, horror fiction, early British novels, and post-modernism. His research collaborations with students have resulted in major professional presentations at national conferences.
Professor Mary Bendel-Simso
(Ph.D., Binghamton University—The State University of New York), serves as co-editor of the Westminster Detective Library, an online repository of short fiction dealing with detectives and detection published in the United States between 1841 and 1891. Her teaching interests include 19th and 20th-century American and Southern literature. She also advises the literary honor society.
Professor Rebecca Carpenter
(Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley), specializes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century British literature, post-colonial literature, and gender studies. Her newest course, Take a Walk on the Wilde Side,” explored sexuality in British literature from the late Victorian period until today.
Associate Professor Kate Dobson
(Ph.D., University of Maryland), is focused on rhetorical theory, memoir and autobiography studies, literary nonfiction, writing studies and creative writing pedagogy, graphic novels, narrative theory, and rhetoric and law, rhetoric and history, rhetoric style and identity. She also advises Contrast, the student literary magazine.
Director of the Writing Center and Lecturer Vanessa Flora-Nakoski
(M.A., University of Iowa), manages the day-to-day operations of the writing center and oversees McDaniel students who serve as peer tutors. She has been a teacher, writing coach, teaching assistant and tutor at Montgomery College, University of Maryland, University College, Howard Community College, Stevenson University, the University of Iowa and UMBC honors program.
Professor and Joan Develin Coley Chair of Creative Expression and the Arts Kathy Steele Mangan
(Ph.D., Ohio University), is the campus poet-in-residence and her interests include creative writing, American literature and women’s literature. She invites visits of creative writers and poets to share their experiences in the classroom.
Assistant Professor Paul Muhlhauser
(Ph.D., Washington State University), specializes in multimedia authoring, critical technology studies, and digital rhetoric. He teaches courses in digital creativity, new media writing, and multimedia authoring.
Senior Lecturer and Director of Writing Suzanne Nida
(M.L.A., McDaniel), works with all McDaniel faculty to integrate writing-in-the-discipline initiatives and supervises students in Writing Fellows internships. Her academic interests include composition, Women’s literature, southern literature, Appalachian literature and ghost fiction.
Professor and Director of the Nora Roberts Center for American Romance Pamela L. Regis
(Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University), teaches courses in early American literature, American poetry, Jane Austen, and the novel. Her scholarship focuses on the American romance novel. She serves as president of the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance, and directs the Nora Roberts Center for American Romance.
Senior Lecturer Bill Spence
(M.A., University of South Carolina), has particular interests in the dialects of English and issues of language and power. In 2011 he shared the college’s Zepp Teaching Enhancement Award with a colleague, allowing travel to Mexico to develop new models for international service learning.
Associate Professor Corey Wronski-Mayersak
(Ph.D., Cornell University), has interests in medieval literature, mysticism and devotional literature, dream visions, the history of autobiography, and medieval and Renaissance drama. She also has special interests and expertise in critical theory and its historical uses, and recently completed a session of the School of Criticism and Theory. Her classes often challenge students to engage with medieval literature and culture through creative projects, producing their own texts, plays, or visual materials modeled on medieval conventions.
Assistant Professor Paul Zajac
(Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University), specializes in 16th- and 17th-century British literature, William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, genre, literature and religion, and the history of emotions. His teaching interests include Shakespeare, Renaissance drama and poetry, and British literary history.
Emeriti and retired department members
Our English students have access to a myriad of resources, opportunities, and experiences.
Fred Garrigus Holloway Annual Lectureship
Western Maryland College
1935 - 1947
A lectureship in literature seems wholly appropriate as a partial recognition of Fred Garrigus Holloway. Underneath his widely acknowledged skills as a preacher, administrator and teacher, his love of music and of literature was reflected in everything he has touched. Indeed, his last regular appointment at Morris Harvey College was as Evan Professor of English, and his lectures there, centered upon Emily Dickinson and contemporary poetry, typically concerned themselves with ethical values and the magic of language.
A graduate in the Western Maryland College class of 1919, he went on to earn a divinity degree from Drew University, and was ordained by the Methodist Protestant church in 1921. Married to Winifred Jackson soon after, he served charges in Delaware, Virginia and Maryland before he was called to Westminster Theological Seminary in 1927 as Professor of Biblical Languages. There, his emergence as one of the church's most powerful preachers and as a promising young administrator led to the presidency of the Seminary, and, after a short time, to the presidency of the College itself. In a critical period of growth and change, his insistence on academic excellence and collegiality made a deep and lasting impression on the institution, and his brilliant sermons and poetry readings enlivened a difficult decade.
In 1947, he left "The Hill" to become President of Drew University, and in 1960 he was made Bishop of West Virginia in the United Methodist Church, retiring from that post in 1968. Over the years, he was an active participant in the Uniting Conference of Methodism in 1939, a member of the governing body of the National Council of Churches, the head of the Methodist Church Board of Hospitals and Homes, and a trustee of several colleges. Throughout it all, however, his chief delight has been the development and encouragement of the human spirit. Dr. Holloway died on June 1, 1988, in Wilmington, Delaware.
Literature, especially poetry, is an integral part of his intellectual curriculum. Hence, the college, though well aware of his leadership in church and in education, has elected to present these annual scholarly lectures as a lasting tribute to one of Fred Holloway's deepest commitments.
Past Holloway Lectures
2013 Carolyn Dinshaw
Professor, New York University
“It's Not Easy Being Green: Medieval Foliate Heads and Queer Worldmaking”
2012 Cynthia L. Selfe
Distinguished Humanities Professor in the Department of English, The Ohio State University
“Stories That Speak to/about Us: Power, Problematics, and Narratives in Digital Contexts”
2011 Eric Sundquist
Andrew W. Mellon Professor of English, Johns Hopkins University
2010 Wendy Moffat
Professor of English, Dickinson College
2009 LeRoy Lad Panek
Professor of English, McDaniel College
“McDaniel and His Hellish Crew” – Life Before Detectives
2008 Kevin McLaughlin
Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Brown University
“Wiped out: Matthew Arnold’s Resignation”
2007 Jeffrey Jerome Cohen
Professor and Chair of English, George Washington University
“The Weight of the Past: Dreaming the Prehistoric in the Middle Ages”
2006 Karla FC Holloway
Professor of English, Duke University
“BookMarks: Reading Race, Reading Sports, and Other Public Preoccupations”
2005 Dana Gioia
Poet and Critic, Chair, National Endowment for the Arts
2004 Andre Bernard
Vice President and Publisher, Adult Trade Division of Harcourt Inc.
2003 Dawn Trouard
Professor of Modern American Fiction, University of Contral Florida
2002 Michael Dirda
Writer and senior editor for The Washington Post Book World
2001 Steven Knapp
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, The Johns Hopkins University
2000 Jerome McGann
John Stewart Bryan University Professor, University of Virginia
1999 Deborah Brandt
Professor of English, University of Wisconsin-Madison Project head with the National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement (CELA)
1998 Peter Balakian
Professor of English, Colgate University
1997 Paul Fussell
Professor Emeritus of English,
University of Pennsylvania
1996 Jane Tompkins
Professor of English, Duke University
1995 Jackson R. Bryer
Professor of English, University of Maryland
1994 John Barth
Professor of English and Creative Writing Emeritus, The Johns Hopkins University
1993 Nancy A. Walker
Professor of English and Director of Women's Studies, Vanderbilt University
1992 Jonathan Yardley
Book Critic and Columnist, The Washington Post
1991 Myra Jehlen
Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania
1990 Daniel Hoffman
Poet in Residence, Director of the Writing Program, University of Pennsylvania
1989 Richard B. Sewell
Professor of English Emeritus, Yale University
1988 Louis D. Rubin Jr
University Distinguished Professor of English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
1987 S. Schoenbaum
Distinguished Professor of Renaissance Literature and Director, Center for Renaissance and Baroque Studies, University of Maryland, College Park
1986 M.H. Abrams - Inaugural
Professor of English Emeritus, Cornell University
The Ridington family has generously established an endowed annual lectureship at McDaniel College. Further contributions may be sent to the Development Office.
WILLIAM ROBBINS RIDINGTON (1908 - 1990)
After graduating from Mercersburg Academy in 1926, Bill earned degrees in Classics and Greek from Princeton (A.B. and A.M.) and the University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D.). He extended his education with study, mostly in archaeology at Middlebury College; the American School and Classical Studies in Athens; the Virgilian Society of America in Cumae, Italy; the University of Birmingham; and the Aegean Institute in Poros, Greece. He also earned a master's degree in vocational guidance and testing from Columbia University in 1953.
After a three-year instructorship at Dickenson Junior College (now Lycoming), he joined the Western Maryland faculty in 1938 and retired in 1973. During this distinguished career, he held membership in ten professional associations, often serving as an officer. He also made contributions to his field in such journals as Classical Weekly and Classical World and was widely recognized as an authority on the origins of ancient Greek athletics and games.
For twenty-six years Bill held the important position of Faculty Secretary. He was also a long-time guidance counselor and administrator of the College testing program; he was a frequent counselor of foreign students and director of a summer Latin Workshop from 1958 to 1965, which attracted students from around the nation. Bill was also instrumental in forming an active chapter of the American Association of University Professors on the Hill.
Bill was a founding father of the Westminster Cooperative Association and was an active participant in the successful drive during the early 1960s to integrate Carroll County public accommodations.
EDITH FARR RIDINGTON (1912 - 1991)
Edie graduated with "Honors in Course" from Mount Holyoke in 1933 with a major in Greek and a minor in archaeology. She earned her Phi Beta Kappa key in her junior year. In 1934 she was granted an A.M. in Greek from the University of Pennsylvania and completed two additional years of graduate study in the classics.
After her marriage to Bill, she joined him as a part-time instructor at Dickinson Junior College until their move to Westminster in 1938. Their four children, Robin, Candace, Jean, and Joy occupied most of her time over the next two decades. In 1957 Edie began her twenty-year career as an adjunct instructor with the classics and English departments, a position she also held at Hood in the mid-seventies. She was named Senior Lecturer in Classics Emerita by Western Maryland in 1988.
She played a major role in establishing a Phi Beta Kappa chapter on the Hill and became a charter member when the chapter was established in 1980. The Edith Farr Ridington Phi Beta Kappa Writing Award, given annually to a graduating senior who writes the best original research paper, was established in her honor in 1991.
Although a long-time adjunct instructor, Edie was certainly not a part-time member of the College community. A mainstay of the Freshman Colloquium program during the Sixties and early Seventies, she was also a dedicated participant in the legendary faculty lunchtime symposia over the years, and in 1981 a permanent faculty lounge in Memorial Hall was appropriately dedicated to the Ridingtons. Her active retirement years were dominated by her twin passions, reading 90 to 100 books and running hundreds of miles each year.
Past Ridington Lectures
Maria Mouratidis, Clinical Psychologist and Professor at the College of Notre Dame Maryland
“Invisible Wounds of War”
Lila Abu-Lughod, Anthropology and Gender Studies, Columbia University
"On the Politics of Representing Middle Eastern Women: An Anthropologist Speaks"
Lonnie G. Thompson, School of Earth Science, Ohio State University
"Understanding Climate Change"
Michael Nylan, History and East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkley
"Beliefs about Seeing: Optics and Theories about Misperception in Early China"
Dr. David Carrasco
An alum of the College, and currently the Neil L. Rudenstein Professor of the Study of Latin America at Harvard University with a Joint Appointment in the Harvard Divinity School and the Department of Anthropology.
"Labyrinth, City and Eagle's Nest: Ritual Ordeals in a Mexican Codex"
Dr. Judith E. Tucker
Professor of History and Director of Academic Programs in Arab Studies, Georgetown University
"Finding the Feminist Voice: Islamic Law and the Feminine in Theory and Practice"
Dr. Amal Amireh
Professor of Engish, George Mason
University, author and translator
"Contemporary Arab Women Writers in a Global Context: Achievements and Challenges"
Dr. Ruth Mazo Karras
Professor of History, University of
"Sexual Identity in Medieval Europe"
Educator and Novelist
"Rubicon: Emily Dickinson's Brother in Love"
Shawn R. Lyons
Educator and Mountaineer
"Confronting the Sublime: Hiking with Edmund Burke in the Mountains of Alaska"
Mary Beth Norton
Educator and Historian
"Sex, Religion, and Society in Early Maryland"
James C. Wright
Educator and Archaeologist
"Ritual Drinking and Feasting in Prehistoric and Historic Greece"
"As the World Shrinks... In Human Geography"
Madison Smartt Bell
Social Historian and Editor
"King and Malcom X: The Misuse of Legend"
Theo Lippman, Jr.
Editor, Columnist, and
"Presidential Elections: The Fine Art of Predictions"
Robin Ridington - Inaugural
Professor of Anthropology,
University of British Columbia
"Freedom and Authority: Teachings of the Hunters"
Berthold Christopher Bothe Memorial Lecture Series
The Bothe Lecture brings a distinguished poet to campus every spring. The Lecture was endowed by the family and friends of Chris Bothe (class of 1972 English major) to honor his memory.
Berthold Christopher Bothe (1950 - 1984)
1950 Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 17.
1968 Graduates from Rock Hall High School
- Student government - Student Democracy Representative
- athletics - soccer
- music - guitarist; helps form popular group, Rubberband
- clubs - Youth for Equal Suffrage
1968-72 Western Maryland College Years
- creative writing program
- Gold Bug, editor, entertainment section (4 years on staff)
- Contrast, writer and editor (1971) (3 years on staff)
- poem in National Anthology of College Poetry
- lacrosse (1 year)
- managed basketball (1 year)
- Carroll County Times (part-time)
- spring football (1 year)
- Delta Pi Alpha ("Preachers") (4 years)
1972-75 Layout department, Carroll County Times, Westminster
Printer, Opera House Printing Company, Westminster
Reporter, The Coastal Press, Ocean City (sports editor/photographer)
Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association Sports Feature Award (1973)
Marries Sue Sybert '73, returns for poetry reading on campus
1976-79 Kent County News
- Editorial awards for features, news story, spot news, photography, and
- sports photography
- Reporter, 1976
- News Editor; occasional Sports Editor 1977-79
1979-80 In St. Croix, Virgin Islands, working for a graphic arts company: Fawcett Corp. and Antilles Graphic Arts, Sunny Isle (pressman)
1980 Turns down associate editorship of the Kent County News and, in May, 1980, forms, as principal owner and general manager, Kent Printing Corp., Cross and Cannon Streets, Chestertown, with partners: John Spry and Stephen Haje, after buying Kent News printshop.
- for reproduction of photos in Celebration on the Chesapeake, a book of photos by Constance Larrabee, an Eastern Shore photographer
- for four-color labels for the Eastern Shore Tea Co.
- for a poster with a reproduction of a drawing by Ted Ramsey, a Shore artist
1980 Son Philip born
1982 Son Jeffrey born
Active with Kent Youth, Inc. Eastern Shore Litho Club-, and Printers Industries of Maryland; avid sailor and log canoer.
1984 Sunday, January 1, dies while driving near his home in Rock Hall.
McDaniel English majors are encouraged to put their communication skills to use in the community. The English department values student experience that compliments the traditional classroom and, along with the Center for Experience and Opportunity (hyperlink here), assists students with finding internships in jobs they want to explore and places where their growing knowledge and skillsets can make a difference.
Recent internships include:
Carroll County Times — desk intern
Carroll County Times — reporter
Want2Grow Marketing — marketing and event planning
The Least of These Ministry/Mission — non-profit publicity in the Dominican Republic
McDaniel Free Press — digital media advisor
WBAL-TV Assignment Desk — write, produce, and plan feature stories
The Literacy Council — Tutors adults in reading, spelling, writing, and mathematics
Boys and Girls Club — website updates, press release, letter writing, grant research & writing, Facebook updates
Catastrophic Health Planners — Website updates, make PSA video, database entry, research
Carroll County Technology Council — Social media, podcasting. Research and write grants, event planning/golf tournament, community awareness projects.
Carroll Lutheran Village — Fundraising letters, local media outreach, website updating, golf tournament, newsletters, “Telling the story” promotional video”
Common Ground on the Hill — weekly email newsletters, annual catalog and program production, work on ad campaigns, write press releases, fundraising research and development, promotional video
An English degree from McDaniel College prepares students for employment in a variety of fields and provides them the tools to be successful in their jobs. Our graduates have gone on to law school and pursued academic study. They’ve also become novelists, journalists, teachers, social media marketers, scholars, and editors, just to name a few of the positions they’re qualified for after completing a degree.
We asked a few of our graduates about what they’re doing now and how their English degrees have helped them succeed. Take a look at what a few of our recent grads have had to say.
Sarah Bankard, ‘13. World Relief: Immigration legal services.
As the Capacity Building Specialist for World Relief's Immigration Legal Services Division, I work with our nonprofit network members across the country to strategize the launch of immigration legal service programs. I use the skills I learned as a writing center tutor to talk our clients through the government authorization process and provide ongoing verbal and written feedback in order to help them submit approval-worthy applications. I’m able to write professionally and communicate concisely with colleagues and clients because of the challenging coursework and engaged teaching that I received as an English major at McDaniel. It’s a privilege for me to work for World Relief as I play a small part in fulfilling our corporate mission to stand for the vulnerable by empowering families, churches, and communities here and around the world.
Jake Friedman, '11. Coordinator for the Virginia G Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University and Owner/Director of Four Chambers small press
A solid grounding in multicultural literary traditions gave me the context and background to enter into the world of contemporary literature as a peer and producer (rather than someone merely reading it. Now I handle all of the marketing, outreach and communications for a non-academic university center providing a broad array of literary programming--readings, classes, a conference, an online creative writing certificate program, fellowships for MFA students and faculty, and special projects and initiatives. I also plan events, am helping to develop the donor base, and provide program support to the rest of the staff.
Danielle Fatzinger, ‘16. Graduate student, Celtic Studies MLitt Program, University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK.
My degree has helped with my graduate program a lot so far. The classes I took and the people I worked with in undergrad helped teach me how to read in-depth, think critically, and evaluate multiple sources together. I'm glad I took a variety of classes, since it has allowed me to adapt relatively easily to the new environment.
Martin Camper, ’07. Assistant Professor of Writing at Loyola University Maryland
My English professors supported my love of language, which I didn't realize could lead to a legitimate career path until I started taking English courses. My professors taught me how to interpret texts thoughtfully and critically, and to support my interpretations with rigorous reasoning and evidence. This foundation has proved indispensable for me in my career, as my research is largely interpretive, I study textual interpretation, and I teach students how to rhetorically analyze language. The English professors at McDaniel also modeled for me inspiring, thought-provoking, and supportive teaching.
Charles Mullin, ‘13. Currently a 7th Grade ELA Teacher in Baltimore City Schools, but I am also a 2013 Alumni of Teach for America - Baltimore.
I try and do my best every day to close the achievement gap. Doing this takes a lot of time, effort, and trial and error, but I believe I am closer every day. My English degree gave me a deep understanding and knowledge of the English content. It also has taught me how to respond to failure and criticism through the high expectations that were placed onto me by my hardworking professors. Finally, it has also pushed me to be a more collaborative professional. We were often given opportunities in classes at McDaniel, to not only work together, but also to clash in opinion during academic discussions that were always engaging and rigorous.
Hanna Barker, ’13. Paralegal in Baltimore
I recently started working as a paralegal, and the reasons why I am efficiently learning how to do my job are the skills I learned as an English major, from textual analysis to time management. I've had to proofread major motions, analyze our opponents' arguments for flaws in the ways they use supporting documents, and synthesize large amounts of information from varied sources, such as deposition transcripts, medical records and scientific literature. My English coursework has prepared me to be adaptable; even if I don't know how to do something, I know how to figure it out.