Pursue your passions in literature, film, and creative writing as you join a vibrant community of writers and scholars in the Department of English.
Department of English
The Department of English is the center of literary life at Otterbein. Small, seminar-style classes immerse you in rich conversation about life’s biggest questions. The diverse curriculum might lead you to study film noir or flash fiction; Afrofuturism or the art of travel; graphic narrative or American gothic; neo-Victorian novels or nature poetry; 70s cinema or social justice; playwriting or podcasting. Whether you’re writing a poem, reading a novel, designing a lesson plan, or editing the latest issue of Otterbein’s 100-year-old literary journal Quiz & Quill, you will find voice and purpose in close collaboration with your classmates and professors.
Studying English at Otterbein means you’ll enjoy the best of both worlds. You can be a leader in the close-knit literary community right here on campus—perhaps by joining our literary honor society Sigma Tau Delta or our popular Film Club. Maybe you’ll write or edit for one of our campus publications (which include Quiz & Quill as well as the humanities journal Aegis and the feminist zine Kate). And you can venture beyond campus to explore the glitter and energy of literary Columbus. The English Department is home to some of the most dynamic and engaged faculty on campus. We are active scholars, writers, and campus leaders, known for investing in our students and building a rich co-curricular life of visiting writers and scholars, film screenings, student readings, open mics, alumni career panels, regional and international travel opportunities, and social hangouts.
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Programs of Study in English
B.F.A. in Creative Writing
The BFA in Creative Writing offers a more in-depth study of the craft and a more thorough preparation for professional work in the literary world. Working one-on-one with a faculty mentor on a yearlong senior writing project, you’ll be ready for graduate school or a career in writing, editing, or publishing.
The English BA Creative Writing concentration builds a foundation in multiple genres (poetry, fiction, essay, and playwriting) and provides support and depth as you specialize. In workshop-style classes, you’ll hone your craft, exchange drafts and ideas with a community of writers, and work closely with faculty mentors.
The English BA Literary Studies concentration immerses you in the rigors and pleasures of reading and the artful precision of interpretive writing. You’ll approach literature with passionate appreciation, historical understanding, and a deep engagement with questions related to culture, politics, and social justice.
The English Teacher Education program in Integrated Language Arts offers Ohio teacher licensure in four years. Our ILA students dive into the richness of the English major and explore questions of educational equity and justice. Our alumni teachers are innovators in pedagogy related to literature and social justice.
The English BA Film Studies concentration explores film as both an art form and a medium shaped by historical, cultural, and political forces. You’ll take courses in horror and noir, queer cinema and third cinema, classical Hollywood and the iconic American 1970s, scriptwriting, media studies, film theory, and more.
Student, Faculty, & Alumni Spotlights
Seth served as a film production intern on the set of Kenyon College film professor, screenwriter, and director Jon Sherman’s 2021 film, They/Them/Us. They/Them/Us was filmed and produced in Columbus. Seth spent summer 2020 working alongside a film crew and film student interns from Kenyon College, Columbus College of Art and Design, and The Ohio State University.
Seth Stobart ’22
English (Literary Studies concentration) and Philosophy Double Major, Minor in Film
Get a jump start on your publishing or writing career on the staff of Quiz & Quill. Combine that experience with our BFA degree for an intense immersion in the craft of Creative Writing.
Cultivate intellectual life in the humanities on the editorial staff of our journal Aegis. Shape rich conversations about art, culture, history, and justice for a 21st-century public.
Sarah Prindle Mabee graduated from Otterbein in 2007. Her English path led her to a graduate degree in Library Science. She now serves as Library Director at Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield, Missouri. In addition to supporting college student research, Sarah does scholarly work of her own. Her article, “Curiosity is a Luxury of the Financially Secure: The Affective Thresholds of Information Literacy,” published in Library Trends in Winter 2020, was named one of the Top 20 best instruction articles by the ALA (American Library Association) and featured in their newsletter (free download here!).
Sarah Prindle Mabee ’07
“Another feature of our English major that is really appealing to students is choice. You major in English at Otterbein, but you can choose a concentration in literary studies, in creative writing or in film studies. Or you can pursue our BFA in Creative Writing, which is a rare and exciting opportunity at a small college.”
Dr. Margaret Koehler
Professor & Chair, English Department
Small, seminar-style English classes immerse you in rich conversation about life’s biggest questions. Our diverse curriculum might lead you to study film noir or flash fiction; Afrofuturism or the art of travel; graphic narrative or American gothic; neo-Victorian novels or nature poetry; 70s cinema or social justice; playwriting or podcasting.
“When we write – and when we read – we learn to stand both inside and outside of ideology, which means that knowledge is not just power. Knowledge is also freedom.”
Dr. Suzanne Ashworth
Professor, specialist in Early American and LGBTQ Literatures
Department Features & Student Opportunities
Awards & Scholarships
Submit your portfolio for our BFA in Creative Writing. Apply for an English Department Talent Award. Fund a project with an English Department Travel Grant. Submit your work for our annual Quiz & Quill writing awards.
Take a Literary Locations class in London, Edinburgh, or Vietnam. See a play in Chicago or Cleveland. Take a field trip to Thurber House, Two Dollar Radio, or the Wexner Center right here in Columbus, Ohio.
Internships, Careers, & Grad. Study
Work with the Ohio Poetry Association, the Gateway Film Center, or Hondros Publishing. Connect with English alumni to talk career strategies. Prepare for library school, law school, an MFA, a Ph.D, or your next step.
Write, edit, or design for Quiz & Quill, our department’s 100-year-old literary journal. Submit critical work to Aegis, Otterbein’s humanities journal. Or collaborate DIY-style to produce Kate, Otterbein’s feminist zine.
Help build our vibrant “What’s Happening” calendar. Thrive on lectures, readings, open mics, workshops, and alumni panels. Chill at the Spring Idle. Head downtown for a play, museum, or spoken word performance.
News - July 31, 2023Otterbein University is using an innovative approach to grow enrollment and revenue by “crowd sourcing” ideas from its own community and investing in the best ideas with $1 million approved by the Board of Trustees. Under the Fast Track Innovation Fund initiative, seven projects proposed by Otterbein faculty and staff in May have been funded and are already being implemented on campus. “This investment in Otterbein’s future demonstrates our trustees’ commitment to allowing every member of our community to be heard…
News - February 20, 2023By Erica Bush ’25 Claudia Owusu ’19 recently returned to campus to showcase her short film, “Ampe: Leap into the Sky, Black Girl,” to the Otterbein community. The film screening, hosted by Otterbein’s Department of English and Race and Ethnic Studies Program, also included a talk-back session with “Ampe: Leap into the Sky, Black Girl” co-directors, Owusu and Ife Oluwamuyide. The short film goes back and forth between two sister cities: Columbus, Ohio, and Accra, Ghana. It focuses on two…
Acclaimed Playwright, Otterbein Professor Partners with Theater to Provide Hand-On Experiences to Students
News - June 15, 2022By Kailey Mishler ’24 Otterbein professor and playwright Jeremy Llorence is deepening his relationship with the Abbey Theater of Dublin (Ohio) with two events this summer — the production of his play, Voice of the Net, which premiered to acclaim, and the production of the work of three of his students. This unique partnership gives playwriting students real-world experience. Voice of the Net is a futuristic drama about a task force created to solve cyber-crimes, and follows their work to…
Towers Hall 228
1 South Grove St
Westerville, OH 43081
“We are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself.”