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“One way to be a neighbor is through reading. For Christians, reading literature is a way to explore, develop, and celebrate the world created by God and graciously given to us. This is a powerful and distinctive approach to reading. . . . For those of us who read, delight, and think about literature from within the Christian metanarrative, reading is one way to glorify God and love our neighbors.”

Susan VanZanten

Academic Programs

Students majoring in English may choose between two courses of study:

  • English,

  • English/Secondary Education.


Studies in English language and literature help students develop communication skills, analytical thinking, and creative imagination. All students at College of the Ozarks benefit from the English department's commitment to the personal and professional growth of its students. Because literature offers numerous representations of human behavior, the natural world, and the spiritual realm, our literature and language courses provide endless opportunities to discuss ideas, analyze causes, anticipate consequences, speculate possibilities, consider recommendations, test theories, and negotiate solutions. Consequently, we believe our English majors are better prepared for the challenges they will encounter in both their professional and personal lives.

English as a Major or Minor

The department offers courses leading to an English major and to minors in literature, rhetoric, and creative writing. The liberal arts curriculum prepares students for a variety of professions, including teaching, law, business management, and publishing. Students wishing to pursue graduate studies after leaving the College will have a strong foundation upon which to build.

Courses in American, British and Western Literature, composition and rhetoric, literary theory, and special topics provide this foundation. Also available are courses designed for prospective teachers: Methods of Teaching English, Multicultural and Adolescent Literature, and Writing Center Theory and Methodology. The program is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and by Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

It is possible for students with special needs and interests, working closely with a faculty member, to design individualized courses or plan interdisciplinary majors.


Dr. Charity Gibson
Assistant Professor of English

Dr. David Pedersen
Assistant Professor of Humanities

Mrs. Paige Ray
Assistant Professor of English

Mr. David Scrivner
Assistant Professor of English

Dr. Ethan Smilie
Associate Professor of Humanities

Ms. Michelle Weisman
Associate Professor of English

Dr. Cindy Williams
Director of Composition Sequence
Associate Professor of English

Departmental Activities and News

The English department sponsors an annual creative writing contest that is open to all C of O students. This competition includes categories in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and literary criticism.

To encourage professional awareness and growth, the department facilitates student participation in local and national conferences and competitions.

Career Opportunities

Graduate Studies

  • Literature,
  • Linguistics,
  • Rhetoric,
  • Law.


  • Middle,
  • Secondary,
  • College,
  • University.


  • Literary writing,
  • Freelance writing,
  • Technical writing,
  • Speech writing,
  • Reviewing.

The Media

  • Screen writing,
  • TV/film production,
  • Book editing,
  • Magazine editing,
  • Freelance editing,
  • Journalism.


  • Advertising,
  • Communications,
  • Business,
  • Civil service,
  • Government,
  • Social work.

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