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Versatile and enriching, the English major is a vibrant part of the liberal arts at Siena Heights. The “straight English” major, as it is often called, is also the traditional English major. This is the choice of students who enjoy reading and who may anticipate a career in which a strong literary background — possibly teaching — will be important.

FAST FACT – The academic climax for English majors is their senior project presentation in which they showcase their literary knowledge and talent for faculty, friends and family. 

  • About the Program
  • Meet the Faculty
  • Career Opportunities
  • Clubs & Organizations

Learn more about the English program.

The English major at Siena Heights attracts students willing to be challenged by such literary giants as Shakespeare and Chaucer, Austin and Wordsworth, Faulkner and Browning, Dryden and Dickenson, as well as more contemporary voices.

Enriching the classroom work is a number of exciting options for English majors. They may wish to write for the school paper (Spectra) or the literary magazine (Eclipse), or even apply for an internship with the university marketing/communications office. Many English majors tutor in the Writing Lab. 

Periodically, English forums bring in guest speakers to lecture or read from their work. In addition, English majors who maintain a high GPA are also eligible for membership in Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society.

Annually, the English and Theater departments host a campus-wide birthday party for William Shakespeare, complete with games, prizes, “cakes and ale,” skits and recitations. You can do a dramatic reading of a favorite scene or sonnet, compete in the Bardic Thespian contest, or just sit back and be entertained!

Great literature is the textbook of human behavior, the diary of humanity. It has the power to delight, move, stimulate reflection, inform and broaden you. It opens you to, in Matthew Arnold’s words, “the best that has been thought and said.” It nourishes the mind, the heart and the emotions. Choosing to be an English major is making a matchless choice.

Meet the faculty members of the English program.

Barbee, Matthew

Barbee, Matthew

Associate Professor of English517-264-7611
Barst, Julie

Barst, Julie

Associate Professor of English517-264-7678
Barbee, Karin

Barbee, Karin

Associate Professor of English517-264-7698
Weinstein, Alexander R

Weinstein, Alexander R

Associate Professor of English517-264-7697
Schumacher-Schmidt, Dana

Schumacher-Schmidt, Dana

Assistant Professor of English517-264-7675

Learn about the career opportunities you can have with a degree English.

Students who don’t plan to teach often wonder what they will be doing once they complete a degree in English. Just a few of the possibilities are: 

  • Advertising copy writer
  • Announcer
  • Archivist
  • Author
  • Biographer
  • Bookstore manager
  • Court reporter
  • Editor
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Librarian
  • Linguist
  • Lobbyist
  • Proofreader
  • Public relations director
  • Publisher
  • Researcher
  • Reporter
  • Speech writer
  • Technical writer
  • Professional reviewer of books or dramas

Learn more about clubs and organizations associated with the English program.

Sigma Tau Delta is Siena Heights University’s English Honors Society and is open to English majors in Literature, Creative Writing and Communications. The club exists to prepare students for professional life and advanced study, while cultivating leadership skills and raising awareness of English studies on campus.

Spectra is Siena Heights University’s student newspaper. Written, designed, edited and managed by Siena students, the paper provides service Siena’s student body while giving newspaper staff valuable opportunities to develop the skills that can be used in a wide range of professional fields, from business to journalism, from graphic design to photography. To view the online version of Spectra, visit

Eclipse is Siena Heights University’s student-run literary and arts magazine.  Students write manuscripts, solicit submissions, raise funds, edit, design and publish Eclipse bi-annually. 

Meet Glen Taylor, Class of 1995

Glen Taylor

Major: English
What Glen is Doing: Co-Founder of Widening Advancements for Youth (WAY), an online education program aimed at at-risk teens earn their high school diploma

For Glen Taylor ’95, where there was a will, there is WAY.

The Siena Heights graduate and longtime educator co-founded Widening Advancements for Youth, a unique, innovative, Michigan-based organization aimed at helping at-risk teen-agers earn their high school diploma.

Using blended personalized learning model of online and face-to-face techniques, Taylor said WAY’s learning community is built on the interests of students age 15-19 who have been successful in traditional schools. WAY students earn credits with a project-based learning focus. 

“We are taking a totally different approach to learning,” said Taylor, a former elementary school teacher and principal before becoming the executive director of the non-profit organization. “When we created the system and created the process, it was all about the students. There were two factors: learning and putting the student at the center.”

Taylor said when he was a principal at Westwood Community Schools in Dearborn Heights, Mich., the high school dropout rate was about 40 percent. It wasn’t much different statewide. In 2009, Taylor and Beth Baker co-founded WAY, modeling the pilot program after the established program in the United Kingdom. 

Under the WAY model, students are able to learn 24 hours, 7 days a week. Each district collaborating with WAY provides the student with an iMac workstation, digital camera and Internet connection. Students are required to sign in daily to the online community, and must attend a learning lab twice a week at designated sites. Team leaders visit students at their homes  when necessary. Taylor said his program employs certified teachers part-time to act as mentors.

“It’s a great way for a traditional teacher working in the traditional setting to try something new,” Taylor said.

“Kids are going to school every day of the week, but it’s more flexible and all about their schedule,” Taylor said of the WAY program. “It really becomes a different process. We see massive gains with a lot of students.”

Taylor said he hopes his program’s success can provide a new “way” of looking at education in the U.S.

“Education just needs to change,” he said. “Where we see it going is a blended model. … There’s just a lot of opportunities, and we are looking to create opportunities to change education.”

Additional Info


  • Bachelor of Arts


  • Division of Humanities


Meet Siena

Faculty & Staff

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Matthew Barbee, PhD

Associate Professor of English; Chair of the English Department


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Hillary Day Harrington '10

English graduate; Lawyer
Contact Us at (800) 521-0009.
Siena Heights University Main Campus. 1247 E. Siena Heights Dr. Adrian, MI 49221.