In the fall 2016, Department Chair Joel Brouwer put together an ad hoc committee, or task force, to look into recruiting new English majors. This faculty group, including Lauren Cardon, John Estes, James McNaughton, Luke Niiler, Deborah Weiss, Duncan Yoon, and, in fall semester, Ray Wachter—has extended its purview to increasing minors as well as majors, and has come up with improvements and suggestions for current practice.
For instance, this semester, task force members have recommended creating a better sense of community among our undergraduates. They have also promoted the major to maximize the Department’s recruiting efforts. We are considering changes to undergraduate advising and adjustments to the physical space of Morgan Hall. New initiatives include the creation of recruitment flyers for the major and the four minors, as well as Departmental sponsorship of the Dystopian Book Club and the two new student organizations—the English Majors/Minors Association (EMMA) and the Undergraduate Writers Guild. With task force guidance, the Office of Undergraduate Studies is participating in more University recruiting events, such as Get on Board Day, the Undergraduate Majors Fair, and Bama Bound, and is making use of student and faculty volunteers. Members of the task force have been meeting with Deans of Students around the University to promote the major and the minors, as well as working with Admissions and the Office of Career Services. The task force has also instituted an internal system of recruitment with the assistance of instructors at the 100 and 200 levels. While the task force has no specific numerical goals, we hope to attract new students, new perspectives, and voices. We want to create a greater sense of camaraderie among current majors and minors.