Welcome to the Department of English
Students who study English and Creative Writing at Fresno State explore the power of language and literature around the world. Students in our five degree programs learn to write well in small, collaborative communities where students and instructors work together to analyze, apply, and construct meaning with a wide range of texts and for a variety of professional purposes.
Our Points of Pride
We serve all Fresno State students
Writing and critical thinking are foundational skills for all majors on campus. Our department’s First-Year Writing program and Writing Center offer innovative and collaborative instruction across the curriculum, employing our brightest graduate and undergraduate students as teachers and tutors in training.
We offer publishing and programming experience
• The Normal School, our nationally recognized literary magazine staffed by graduate students, continues to earn accolades and is ranked alongside the most respected publications in the country such as the New York Times Magazine, the Paris Review, and the Harvard Review.
• The Philip Levine Prize for Poetry, our nationally recognized book contest named in honor of our beloved late U.S. Poet Laureate and Professor Emeritus Philip Levine, accepted a record 945 entries in 2015, keeping its grad student staff deeply engaged.
• Our four student organizations actively produce multiple publications of their own, and they take the lead in planning and presenting the department’s dozens of scholarly and literary events, all open to the public.
We participate in local and national conferences
• Career development in all five of our degree programs is actively encouraged as our students present their scholarly and creative work at conferences.
• Our annual Young Writers’ Conference brings 300+ high school students and teachers from the community to campus, with our grad students leading writing workshops and producing a youth journal.
• Our Undergraduate Conference on Multi-ethnic Literatures of the Americas is planned by grad students who provide an annual platform for undergrads to present their research.
We help keep Fresno the "Capital of Poetry in the World"
As U.S. Poet Laureate emeritus Juan Felipe Herrera says, the Central Valley’s rich literary history serves as an inspiration to readers worldwide. Our department takes that storytelling legacy seriously as it continues to train new readers, writers, and teachers of literature.
Faculty Statements on DACA
Members of the Department of English faculty at Fresno State have made statements on the repeal of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The statements are below, and as PDFs sharing.
First Statement - 09/20/17
We, the undersigned English Faculty at Fresno State, condemn the decision by President Trump to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and stand with our students whose lives are severely affected by that decision. The program has provided a pathway for students, here and around the country, to study and earn college degrees, to work, to contribute to their communities, and to plan for the future. The end to the DACAprogram imperils all those goals, and we believe that it will have a serious toll on our students’ lives, minds, and bodies.
To all our students, we say: We stand in solidarity with undocumented students, Dreamers, and all students who are affected by the repeal of DACA.
We pledge our commitment to support and protect our students in any way possible. In addition to this statement of solidarity, the department is researching all the ways we can be in support of you and uphold the university administration’s promises to defend students. We are seeking information and training that will enable us to help protect your rights against raids, etc. We are also committed to finding and disseminating resources to you, and aiding in your understanding of the materials.
To our colleagues and to the administration:
We commend and fully support President Castro’s commitment to continue to allow California residents who are Dreamers to pay in-state tuition; to maintain the DREAM loan program for financial aid; to offer legal services to our undocumented students; and to support campus-based student service centers.
We call on administration of California State University and, specifically, of California State University, Fresno to:
--guarantee student privacy by refusing to release information regarding the Immigration status of our students;
--refuse to comply with immigration authorities regarding deportations or raids;
--refuse I.C.E. physical access to all land owned or controlled by the CSU;
--offer over-break housing for students who cannot return home due to fear of deportation;
--find existing resources and/or continue to pursue special funds segregated from federal
monies to support legal action on behalf of and guarantee in-state tuition for students
previously deemed DACA recipients, as well as continue operation of campus-based Dream Centers.
--To clarify what apparatus and protocols are in place to protect our students
-- Offer trainings to the campus community in the event of unauthorized access
To the administration, we ask the following questions and make a request:
--Does the university have a protocol for what will happen if government officials are on campus?
--How long will it take for our campus to mobilize to protect students?
--Are Fresno State Police trained and standing by to keep government officials from being on campus?
--If faculty participate in civil resistance and action, what is the university’s commitment to its faculty and staff?
-- We ask for the formation of a rapid response team comprised of faculty, staff, and administrators, with a centralized contact
As teachers of English literature, we strive to share with our students texts that encourage us all to enter unexplored or otherwise inaccessible worlds of experience. Literary, rhetorical, and creative writing teaches compassion, teaches empathy. Our country’s administration lacks compassion and empathy and has engaged in hateful rhetoric against immigrants, the undocumented, and Dreamers. This rhetoric and the resulting rescinding of DACA are a direct attack on many of our students’ ability to work, study, and take advantage of the opportunities our university has to offer. The goal of such rhetoric stands in direct opposition to our goals as English professors. The end of DACA diminishes the future of our students and dangerously destabilizes their lives.
J. Ashley Foster