English faculty say get lit with literature

Book

By ISABELLE LINK, Staff Reporter |

With fall and summer registration approaching, Amarillo College English faculty are urging students to choose a literature class. Professors say there is something for almost every interest available in these literature classes, including a new specialty course that focuses on theatre, such as Shakespearean plays. 

The core literature classes are British I/II, American, Non-Western, World Literature I and Creative Writing.

Dr. Mary Dodson, an English professor, has taught literature classes specializing in a wide variety of topics. “The last ones I did were a dystopian future and a semester of women writers,” Dodson said. “I have also focused on biblical literature. It is just what ever someone wants to pick up and do,” she said. 

Dodson said that studying literature also helps students learn history. “I think reading fiction is one of the most enjoyable ways to read history, and one of the best ways to paint the picture of why we think like we do as a culture, where we came from or how this progressed.” 

Katie Phelan, a biology major, said she enjoyed her class in American literature. “It related the stories to history and helped improve what I already knew, plus Dr. Dodson gives context and symbolism to better understand the story. She also encourages discussions and participation without judgement,” Phelan said.

Studying literature teaches valuable life skills according to Dr. Dan Ferguson, an English professor. 

“A study of literature is often about empathizing with characters in the stories. Empathy is what makes us human. It’s what you hope your doctor and nurse will have when you see them for a frightening illness. It’s about human connection. In the business world, you need to connect with your patrons,” he said.

Ferguson also said that literature classes offer a different kind of environment than some other classes. “Think of it as going to a movie with your friends and then going for coffee afterward to talk about the movie. We love this stuff, and our hope is always to share that joy with our students.”

For students seeking to fulfill specific degree requirements, literature classes satisfy several general education categories. “They should transfer anywhere as part of the student’s core,” Ferguson said.

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