English Language & Literature

Faculty of Humanities




English Language & Literature

 Future Undergraduate Students

A Message from the Chair

To begin, let me introduce myself: my name is Dr. Neta Gordon, and I am the current Chair of the Department of English Language and Literature. I am delighted that you are considering application to one of our undergraduate programs and while I could describe details of what you might expect when you arrive, I’d like to relate a bit of my own undergraduate story first. I attended a relatively large Ontario university, one that I had heard about for years from parents and guidance counselors. No question, it was a great school, full of professors with remarkable research profiles and extremely capable students; the trouble was, I never talked to any of them. The culture of learning at the institution I attended did not encourage a sense of a scholarly community or (in my opinion) student empowerment.

Since arriving at Brock in 2002, I have been lucky enough to join, and now help foster, a culture of learning that is dynamic, constantly challenging, and enriching for both professor and student. The seminar system that distinguishes Brock, as well as the faculty’s enthusiasm for bringing their distinctive research projects into the classroom and supporting student initiatives, produces a powerful sense of identity in our majors and gives each student confidence in his or her own developing abilities. This is the school I wish I went to, as our students get to be part of something real: a vibrant community of scholars, both expert and novice, who continue to learn from one another.

Brock’s Department of English Language and Literature is, I think, extraordinary (and, in fact, our most recent external review stated that “Brock’s Department of English is probably among the very best of those in the country that do not have doctoral programs”). We have 19 full-time faculty members, three of whom will be teaching the first-year classes in September. Dr. Tim Conley, who researches primarily in the field of international modernism, but who also writes fiction and is the author of The Encyclopedia of Fictional and Fantastic Languages, will be teaching ENGL 1F91- English Literature: Tradition and Innovation (affectionately known as “The Greatest Hits of English Lit”). ENGL 1F97 – Literature of Trauma and Recovery, will be taught by Dr. Susan Spearey, whose research expertise is contemporary South African literature. Finally, I am happy to be teaching ENGL 1F95 – Literature in English: Forms, Themes and Approaches for the second year in a row. My own research area is contemporary Canadian fiction and drama about World War One. Students who are interested in our English and Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse Studies program, may also take WRIT 1P96 – Introduction to Writing, Rhetoric and Professional Discourse with Dr. Robert Alexander, whose research area is print news and literary journalism. I encourage every incoming major to sign up for a Smart Start program so that you can discuss with a student advisor which course or courses suit your own interests (see http://www.brocku.ca/registrar/smart-start for more information).

For every wonderful faculty member in our department there are many, many exceptional students. To remark on just a few: Oksana, a founding member of Brock’s Creative Writers Club, is graduating this year and has been accepted into an M.A. in Creative Writing at The University of New Brunswick; Tom, another member of the CWC, as well as the English Students Association, is currently pursuing his M.A. in English Literature here at Brock, focusing his research on the science fiction short story collection The Atrocity Exhibition by JG Ballard; Alison, who graduated last year from our English and Writing program, has worked as an intern with Quill & Quire Magazine and as a reporter for the Grimsby Lincoln News.

As you make your decision about university, please feel free to contact me at ngordon@brocku.ca with any questions you might have.

Best wishes,

Dr. Neta Gordon