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									                     ENGLISH PROGRAM REVIEW 2006

                                      OVERVIEW

The Humanities Department includes Communication, Developmental Reading and
Writing, English, and Spanish. The English program offers major and minor degrees,
and courses fulfilling the General Education requirements. There have been no changes
in our major or minor requirements since the last program review.

The English program continues to comprise a significant component of the General
Education curriculum. All students seeking a baccalaureate degree are required to take a
minimum of three English courses: Composition 101, Composition 102, and one lower-
division literature class.

In addition to providing courses for the General Education program and our majors and
minors, the English program plays a vital role in the Education Program, for education
majors in general and in particular for their Language Arts Endorsement areas. Since the
last program review, we have restructured the Language Arts curricula to better prepare
students who will be teachers of English at both the elementary and the secondary levels.
In particular, we have reduced the number of required lower-division credits, and
increased the number of required upper-division credits; this change will help our
students toward becoming better-prepared and better-qualified teachers of English.

The most significant changes to the English Program have occurred in Composition and
Rhetoric 101 and Composition and Rhetoric 102. We had grown increasingly concerned
that students who were passing these courses had minimal or even deficient skills in
writing. We were also concerned that too many students were receiving extensive help or
even out-right plagiarizing. In addition, we wished to do more to maintain consistency of
standards and goals across the multiple sections of Composition and Rhetoric 101 and
102. To deal with these issues, we have implemented final exams which are taken by all
students and scored by faculty who are not the students’ teachers. This testing program
has several functions:

       Students in all sections are held to the same standards;

       Students must demonstrate that they are ready to proceed to the next level;
       because of the controlled testing conditions, they have little opportunity to receive
       excessive help or to plagiarize;

       Designing and scoring the tests brings full-time English faculty and adjunct
       faculty together to discuss goals and standards;

       The collected essays (from almost 100% of the students who finish Composition
       and Rhetoric 101 and 102) are used for assessment of our composition program.




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Students receive copies of exam writing prompts at least one week in advance so that
they may think over the topic and prepare themselves to write on it, although they may
not bring notes to the test. The exams are administered during the last week of classes,
and scored at the end of that week. Students who fail the first testing may take another
test during the final exam period. Any student who fails both tests drops one grade in the
course; a C is the minimum grade for passing ENGL 101 and ENGL 102. This procedure
helps to prevent students from passing if they have not yet mastered the skills they need
to proceed to the next level.

Dr. Ritke-Jones would like to go on record as not endorsing the current system of using
final exams in Composition and Rhetoric 101 and 102.

Since the last program review, we have developed the Writing Center, which is available
for both students and members of the community. We are in the process of developing
and on-line writing center, in conjunction with Extended University, which is providing
the funding. The on-line writing center will be operating on a minimal basis this spring.

In addition, we have designed and offered online courses to accommodate students who
are unable to attend classes in Silver City or at the branch campuses. We offer two online
composition courses (ENGL 101 and ENGL 102) and one online literature course each
semester. Due to increasing demand, we are also increased our offering of online upper-
division classes.

This report was compiled and written by the English faculty members: Dr. Mary
Baumhover, Dr. Debbie Heller, Dr. Mary Leen, Dr. William Ritke-Jones, Dr. Bill Toth,
and Dr. Robert Welsh, with the assistance of Dr. Ed Hall, Humanities Chair. Our thanks
go to WNMU staff members who helped us assemble and interpret some of the
information and statistics presented here.




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              I. THE CENTRALITY OF THE ENGLISH PROGRAM

The English Program performs several primary university functions:

   It offers a four-year major that continues to attract a steady, if small, number of
   talented students (approximately 20 this year). This major offers an attractive
   alternative for students who want to enter the field of secondary education but desire
   more instruction in literature and writing and less instruction in secondary teaching
   methods and theory.

   It offers a minor whose numbers have recently increased, thanks to aggressive
   recruitment. Some students are eager to minor in a liberal arts area (to satisfy their
   intellectual or aesthetic interests) while majoring in something they believe to be
   more practical, such as business or graphic design.

   The major and minor interface importantly with the School of Education. Many
   students enrolled in upper division English courses, for instance, are education majors
   with a language arts emphasis. The School of Education cannot function without
   upper division English courses; upper division English courses exist partly to satisfy
   the needs of Education majors.

   The Rhetoric component (including developmental and Rhetoric/Composition
   courses) is a crucial part of the English program. We instruct not only our own majors
   and minors, but virtually every WNMU student. The Rhetoric component (as distinct
   from the literature component) is especially crucial to the university’s overall
   educational mission.




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            II. PROGRAM CURRICULUM AND STRUCTURE

A. Admission, retention, and graduation requirements:

   COMPASS testing is required for entry into ENGL 101.

   ENGL 101 and 102 are required General Education courses for all WNMU
   students, as well as any 200-level literature course.

   For students majoring in English, fifty-four credits of upper division courses are
   required (6 credits outside of ENGL), and at least 12 credits must come from
   Writing Intensive courses.

B. Program Structure

       1. Degree options and objectives: A Bachelor’s of Art in English has as its
          objectives the ability to communicate effectively in writing; an
          understanding of the structure and development of the English language; a
          sharpening of critical insights; a desire to promote understanding of our
          cultural heritage/s; a strong foundation in subject matter; and the
          conceptual skills needed to think critically and to confront fundamental
          questions.

       2. Descriptions of required courses:
             1. ENGL 201: Introduction to Literature – introduction to the basic
                 concepts and vocabulary of literary analysis for considerations of
                 poetry, fiction, and drama; emphasizes the writing of effective
                 critical essays.
             2. ENGL 296: American Literature I – Major American writers
                 before the Civil War.
             3. ENGL 297: American Literature II – Major American writers since
                 the Civil War.
             4. ENGL 298: English Literature I – A survey of English literature
                 from its beginnings through the eighteenth century.
             5. ENGL 299: English Literature II – A survey of English literature
                 from the beginning of the Romantic period to the present.
             6. ENGL 440: Shakespeare – Study of the major plays, including
                 representative tragedies, comedies, and histories, with emphasis on
                 language and theme.




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       3. Summary of course requirements:
             Course requirements are generally survey courses that cover genres
             and historical time periods and geographic locations, primarily
             focusing on Western Culture.

       4. Typical program of study:
             1. First year Fall: ENGL 101 (Gen Ed), ANTH 201 (Gen Ed), MATH
                 131 (Gen Ed), MVSC 100 (Gen Ed), PSY 102 (Gen Ed)
             2. First year Spring: ENGL 102, SPAN 201, COMM 110 (Gen Ed),
                 BIOL 101/103 (Gen Ed)
             3. Second year Fall: SPAN 202, ENGL 201, ENGL 296, GEOL 201
                 (Gen Ed), ENGL 200 (Gen Ed)
             4. Second year Spring: ENGL 297, ART 101 (Gen Ed), THR 136
                 (Gen Ed), ENGL 300, MVSC 104 (Gen Ed)
             5. Third year Fall: HIST 111 (Gen Ed), ENGL 298, ENGL 304,
                 CMPS 110 (Gen Ed) ENGL 465
             6. Third year Spring: ENG 299, ENGL 316, ENGL 451, ENGL 320,
                 HIST 310 (minor)
             7. Fourth year Fall: ENGL 400, ENGL 404, ENGL 320, HIST, 312
                 (minor), HIST 405 (minor)
             8. Fourth year Spring: ENGL 415, ENGL 438, HIST 421 (minor),
                 HIST 414 (minor)

       5. History of courses taught as program requirements:
             ENGL 201 Introduction to Literature is taught almost every semester.
             Currently it is usually taught both online and in the traditional
             classroom, at least one section of each. ENGL 296 and ENGL 298 are
             taught every fall semester, and ENGL 297 and ENGL 299 are taught
             every spring semester. Shakespeare is taught every two-to-three
             semesters.

C. Articulation:

   The two-hundred level English courses have been modified to articulate with
   those offered in schools around the state. Elective courses are evaluated for
   transfer credit (using syllabi from other colleges) by individual professors who are
   most proficient in a given area.

D. Planning Process:

   Each semester the English faculty members meet numerous times to plan courses
   for upcoming semesters. As programs across the university change and English
   classes are required, we adjust our course offerings to meet these demands.




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AIMS

The English Department’s short-term aims include preparing ENGL 101 and ENGL 102
students for their academic careers in their chosen majors; refining final exams for ENGL
101 and ENGL 102 to better assess student preparedness; increasing the number of
English majors; providing current English majors with a well-rounded liberal arts
education; and promoting critical thinking and multicultural awareness. The English
Department’s long-term goals include strengthening our core curriculum, marketing our
program, and attracting new English majors. In the next five years we aim to standardize
(to some extent) ENGL 101 and ENGL 102 syllabi, offer more online courses, and
establish a strong Humanities website.

In the past five years, two English professors retired/resigned. Two new professors were
hired, with new areas of expertise, both of whom have experience with teaching online
courses. We are now offering more courses online and using more technology in the
classrooms.

In the next five years there may be no foreseeable changes in faculty, but there will be
more use of technology in our classrooms. There will also be more sharing of ideas
between faculty as result of their collective participation in WAC and Final Exams. We
foresee a push toward a graduate degree in English and/or a Women’s Studies Minor.

RATIONALE FOR COURSES AND PROGRAMS

Our program is designed to teach students to think and write; provide a strong liberal arts
education; promote careful analysis and interpretation of literature and thoughtful
reflection on the world around us; provide historical and comparative contexts for the
works of literature we study; provide practice with recognizing and responding to
diversity in art and culture; and develop critical thinking and argumentation skills.

CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT

Our curriculum develops in several ways. Faculty members are continually exploring
new scholarly (practical and theoretical) trends within their fields of interest. New faculty
members join our department and add their own fields of interest to our mix. New
program trends develop nationally and thus influence our outlook and choices. New
assessment processes are developed and implemented. Other programs on campus change
and include different English courses in their required core lists. Courses that consistently
do not make minimum enrollments or that are seldom or never offered are considered for
deletion from the catalog.

In the past five years our curriculum has changed somewhat. More technology is used in
many of our courses. More courses are offered online. More theory courses have been
designed and incorporated into the university catalog (ENGL 465/565 and ENGL
470/570). We have tried whenever possible to offer the courses most needed by




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Education and other programs, despite the problem this creates in our ability to meet the
needs of English majors.

In terms of Course Development, new courses are usually developed because of higher
education trends and expectations nationally, student interest, program demands, and
personal interest by individual faculty. Before adding, dropping or modifying courses, we
discuss and vote within the department, as well as work closely with the department
chair. Students also lobby for courses when their majors require them. We offer courses
and then monitor student enrollment for feasibility. Mary Baumhover keeps track of the
needs and demands of programs that depend upon our course offerings.

There is no master’s degree in English at WNMU, but students may include English as
one of the areas in the Interdisciplinary Masters Degree. However, adding a graduate
degree in English might strengthen the university’s Education program with a
concentration on content for our Education graduate students.

TEACHING METHODS

Within our department we respect and trust each other’s competence as teachers. We
each have different styles that are effective in their own ways. Most of us, however, use
discussion as the dominant mode of instruction. We attend conferences often to get new
ideas that may help us to improve our work in the classroom. We share our frustrations
and successes in department meetings, WAC gatherings, and Final Exam sessions.

CURRICULUM AND CORE COMPETENCIES

ENGL 101 and ENGL 102 usually focus on and evaluate contemporary problems/issues
and contemporary modes of expression. Literature and theory courses give students
practice with analysis and interpretation of significant primary texts. World Literature,
British Lit I/II, American Lit I/II, Native American Lit, and Women as Writers compare
art forms, modes of thought and expression, and processes across a range of historical
periods.




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                             III. PROGRAM RESOURCES


A. FINANCES (BUDGET)

Discounting salaries and benefits, the Department’s total budget for FY 2005-2006 is
$37, 829 (see breakdown below). This amount has not changed in the past six years.




B. FACILITIES AND CAPITAL EQUIPMENT

The English faculty is located in Bowden Hall. The first floor of Bowden Hall houses the
departmental office, the department secretary’s office, and office spaces for graduate
students and adjunct faculty. All English professors’ offices are located in Bowden Hall.
Students typically find these offices comfortable and professional. Each full-time
professor has a functioning computer and printer in his or her office. Depending on the
number of adjunct instructors, the English program also makes use of office space in the
basement of Bowden Hall.

The Department uses Light Hall classrooms for most of its courses in Communication,
English, and Spanish. There are ten classrooms in Light Hall that comfortably seat 20
students. Light Hall 202, however, is larger and can seat up to 40 students. Humanities
professors occasionally use one of the two conference rooms in Bowden Hall for small
upper-division and graduate classes. Each of these rooms comfortably seats 10 to 12
students.

Serious seating problems arise for all classes in Light Hall, other than those held in room
202, when enrollment is over 20 students. Rooms on the south and west sides of the
building are also subject to distracting street noises and car stereos blaring at top volume.
One would hope that the University would eventually impose a noise limit or declare a
noise-free zone around its classrooms. South-facing rooms also need new, better blinds
to block the intense rays of the sun. Also, there is no media-based classroom or wired
classroom in Light Hall. Another liability is the lack of telephones in Light Hall. If an



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emergency were to occur in that building, there would be no way to contact authorities
quickly.

The absence of a state-of-the-art language lab seriously compromises the efforts of the
Department’s two language professors. Such labs are central to the acquisition of a new
language. Presently, language students must use 20 small portable cassette recorders.
Also, space is “borrowed” from Miller library for two small tables for students to sit with
headphones.

Room 161 in Miller Library, next to the CETAL Lab, is a computer classroom. This
room has one “master” computer and 20 student computers. Currently one English
professor uses this room for her composition classes. In years past, this classroom was
also used as a language lab. Another English professor has his classes scheduled in other
buildings, including Phelps-Dodge and the Global Resource Center, in order to have
access to computers during class.

C. LIBRARY

Western New Mexico University in general and the Humanities Department in particular
are supported by Miller Library. The Library’s total holdings break down into the
following three major categories.

       Books: 140,245 titles.
       Periodicals: 950 subscriptions.
       Media: 10,301 titles.

Humanities-related holdings can be broken down into these categories.

       Books: 59,318 titles.
       Periodicals: 79 subscriptions.
       Media: 7,258 titles.

While yearly acquisitions regularly add to the total number of holdings, the resources
offered in Miller Library are still too limited. Due to our library’s relatively small size
and limited holdings, faculty make abundant use of the Interlibrary Loan Program.

D. OTHER ACADEMIC SUPPORT RESOURCES AND SERVICES

Peripherally, the Academic Support Center, in the Juan Chacon Building, also supports
students enrolled in Communication, English, and Spanish courses through its Tutoring
Center in room 220. The Academic Support Center also provides personal counseling to
students as well as academic advising to students who have not declared a major. The
Writing Center, housed in Miller Library, also provides support and tutoring for writing
in all classes.




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E. HUMAN RESOURCES

The Humanities Department consists of 12 full-time faculty members in four disciplines.

       Communication: Dr. Edward Hall

       Developmental Studies (and English): Professors Sandra Griffin, Sharman
       Russell, and Janet Wallet-Ortiz

       English: Drs. Mary Baumhover, Debbie Heller, William Ritke-Jones, Mary Leen,
              Bill Toth, and Robert Welsh

       Spanish: Professor Patricia Cano and Dr. Maria Trillo

Adjunct instructors used each semester in all department disciplines, but rarely in
summer sessions. The number of adjunct instructors varies from semester to semester but
typically the Department employs between three and seven adjuncts each semester.

In addition, the Department employs one full-time secretary, Ms. Helen Sandoval; two
work-study students, Luz Armendariz and Vanessa Sherman; and one temporary contract
student worker, Matthew Lara, in lieu of a Graduate Assistant.




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              IV: PROGRAM PRODUCTIVITY AND EFFICIENCY

The English Program has relatively low productivity requirements.

We are vital to the General Education program because all baccalaureate students must
take Composition and Rhetoric 101, Composition and Rhetoric 102, and one lower-
division literature class. The School of Education depends upon us to provide most of the
classes for the Language Arts Endorsements, and to provide one additional English class
for all of their majors. Through the Writing Center and Writing-Across-the-Curriculum
Program, we give support for all programs that require writing.

We have relatively low marginal costs; most of our instruction-related expenses go
toward such purchases as copy cards, computers and general office supplies. However,
the rise in demand for online classes and computer-assisted learning has increased our
need for a Language Lab containing up-to-date equipment.




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          V. PROGRAM QUALITY (EFFECTIVENESS/ASSESSMENT)

The members of the English faculty continue to contribute to the effectiveness of the
English program and the University in general, and to stay abreast of , and contribute to
their individual areas of interest and expertise within the discipline.

Dr. Mary Baumhover, after establishing the WNMU Writing Across the Curriculum
Program, developed the Writing Center. She is currently working with Extended
University staff, adjunct faculty members, and Dr. William Ritke-Jones to establish an
on-line writing center. She is also conducting a pre/post study (with the cooperation and
support of other teachers) of Composition 101, which will provide significant information
about the overall strengths and weaknesses in our approach to Composition and Rhetoric
101, and will provide direction for revising our program. For several years, Dr.
Baumhover has trained members of the Assessment Committee to evaluate department
assessment reports.

Dr. Debbie Heller established an essay contest, which featured student work; it has since
been discontinued because of a lack of funding. She has been the recipient of several in-
house research grants and is currently working on a book length manuscript.

Dr. Mary Leen has published poems available to students via Miller Library’s data bases.
She has been the recipient of an in-house research grant, and has been awarded a
sabbatical for Fall, 2006. She has taught collaboratively with Professor Jack Ellis, and is
in the process of developing a Women’s Studies minor.

Dr. William Ritke-Jones has recently submitted an article to the Journal of Lifelong
Learning about the forces that foster and prevent social cohesion in adult online learning
groups. He has submitted a proposal on the subject to a distance education conference.
He currently has an in-house research grant to study online tutoring.

Dr. Bill Toth is in the process of developing a brochure to recruit English majors. He
recently presented a paper on the work of Sharman Apt Russell at the biennial conference
of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment at the University of
Oregon in Eugene. Prior to this, he presented a paper comparing the living authentically
themes in the works of Arthur Miller, Clint Eastwood, and Richard Bradford at the
Western Literature Association’s annual conference at Montana State University in
Bozeman. The year before Dr. Toth presented a paper examining the work of Edward
Beston and Edward Abbey at Boston University at the biennial conference of the
Association for the Study of Literature and Environment. A forthcoming book on Clint
Eastwood, edited by Professor Len Engle, will feature Dr. Toth’s essay on the film



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Bronco Billy. Two of Dr. Toth’s poems recently appeared in ASLE, a publication of
national scope devoted to environmental issues.

Dr. Robert Welsh worked with the Articulation Task Force in 2004-2005, which was
sponsored by NMCHE. He is working with the Advising Program, and serves as liaison
between the Humanities Department and Academic Advisement.

Professor Sharman Russell developed and teaches an online course in creative writing,
and online sections of composition courses, continues to publish books on a variety of
subjects, and assists on an as-needed-basis with the department’s composition courses.

Professor Janet Wallet-Ortiz continues to support the Title V program in a variety of
capacities, including teaching and coordinating Student Success Seminars, and also
assists with composition courses.

Professor Sandra Griffin is our current Faculty President, and has taught Student Success
Seminars.

The focus of English Assessment has been on Composition and Rhetoric 101 and 102.
Previous sections of this review have discussed our reasons for implementing the final
exams and our plans to modify the Composition 102 exam to give students more
opportunity for revision.

Approximately 80% of our first-time students are required to take developmental writing.
In practical terms, this means that, despite the efforts of our skilled and dedicated
developmental writing teachers, many students come into Composition and Rhetoric 101
with significant writing problems. One or two semesters of remedial work often cannot
give them what they have missed throughout their academic careers. Likewise, one
semester each of Composition 101 and 102 are often not enough to prepare students for
the writing they will do in other classes. The final exams provide an indication of which
students would benefit from retaking Composition 101 or 102.

As noted previously, Dr. William Ritke-Jones does not support the final exam,
predominantly on the grounds that writing should be done collaboratively and emphasize
revision. However, the rest of the English faculty members are satisfied that by giving
the topic a week in advance and allowing students a week of class (or, in the second
testing, two hours), we have given them an opportunity to collaborate and, to a lesser
extent, to revise. The new structure for the Composition 102 exams, which gives
students two weeks in which to complete the exam, will give students ample time in
which to revise. If we can make the new system work logistically, we will probably give
the same two-week writing opportunity to Composition 101 students.

The university’s AQIP subcommittee that deals with writing has been actively collecting
information on writing in classes, and will submit a report this spring that offers
suggestions for improving student writing. Mary Baumhover has been an active member




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of the committee, and other English faculty members, including William Ritke-Jones and
Robert Welsh, have contributed to the meetings.

Dr. Yvonne Merrill gave a WAC workshop on February 17, 2006, which was attended by
Mary Baumhover, William Ritke-Jones, and Robert Welsh. Dr. Merrill conducted a
session with the AQIP group, attended by Mary Baumhover, followed by a meeting with
teachers of writing, including Mary Baumhover, William Ritke-Jones, and Robert Welsh.




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              SECTION VI: PROGRAM DEMAND/PROGRAM NEED

This section of the program review addresses the following issues: “student demand for
courses and programs offered by the English Department; employment needs and job
opportunities; societal need for the program.”

The courses offered by the English Department at WNMU are in constant in demand not
because of the number of English majors here but because of the nature of the courses we
offer. All students pursuing four-year degrees at WNMU are required to take two
freshman composition courses – “ENGL 101: Composition and Rhetoric I,” and “ENGL
102: Composition and Rhetoric II” – and at least one 200-level literature course (some
majors require two literature courses) in partial satisfaction of the general education
portion of their degree programs. In addition: a) many students with majors in various
teaching fields are required to take one or more upper-level English courses; b) many
degree programs require that students take one or more “writing intensive” courses.

Data provided by Eric Siegel show that students enrolled in ENGL 101, ENGL 102, 200-
level English courses (sophomore literature courses), and 300/400/500-level English
courses (combined) generated the following number of credit hours during the Fall 2004,
Spring 2005, Fall 2005, and Spring 2006 semesters (data are for all campuses combined):

Fall 2004

       ENGL 101: 885 credit hours
       ENGL 101 Honors: 45 credit hours
       ENGL 102: 426 credit hours
       200-level English courses: 405 credit hours
       300/400/500-level English courses (combined): 192 credit hours

Spring 2005

       ENGL 101: 735 credit hours
       ENGL 102: 696 credit hours
       ENGL 102 Honors: 24 credit hours
       200-level English courses: 387 credit hours
       300/400/500-level English courses (combined): 324 credit hours




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Fall 2005

       ENGL 101: 930 credit hours
       ENGL 101 Honors: 33 credit hours
       ENGL 102: 372 credit hours
       200-level English courses: 438 credit hours
       300/400/500-level English courses (combined): 258 credit hours

Spring 2006

       ENGL 101: 618 credit hours
       ENGL 101 Honors: 9 credit hours
       ENGL 102: 696 credit hours
       ENGL 102 Honors: 18 credit hours
       200-level English courses: 420 credit hours
       300/400/500-level English courses (combined): 234

TOTAL CREDIT HOURS GENERATED BY ALL ENGLISH COURSES, FALL 2004,
SPRING 2005, FALL 2005, SPRING 2006 COMBINED:

       ENGL 101: 3168 credit hours
       ENGL 101 Honors: 81 credit hours
       ENGL 102: 2190 credit hours
       ENGL 102 Honors: 42 credit hours
       200-level English courses: 1650 credit hours
       300/400/500-level English courses (combined): 1008

Thus, every semester the English Department is tasked with providing the largest number
of sections of “service courses” or “General Education courses” of any department within
the university. Meeting this demand is always a challenge, partly because of constraints
on our adjunct budget (since we depend heavily on adjunct instructors to help us provide
enough sections of these courses to satisfy demand) and partly because we are in great
need of at least one more full-time faculty member (especially if the constraints on the
adjunct budget are going to be further tightened). During the current semester (Spring
2006) we are offering 21 sections of ENGL 101 and ENGL 102 (combined) and 6
sections of sophomore literature courses.

Although we only have a small number of English majors at WNMU (approximately 20),
our program for English majors is important because our public schools are always in
need of competent English teachers, and most English majors at WNMU go on to teach
somewhere within New Mexico’s public school system. Thus, although the number of
English majors at WNMU is not large, every person who majors in English at WNMU
and goes on to teach in New Mexico’s public schools serves a vital need in the
community. It is very important that many of our K-12 teachers are “homegrown” – i.e.,
that they end up teaching in communities within their home state where they have already



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made or can easily make solid commitments to the school districts and the communities
they serve. It is also very important that many of our students who have lived all or most
of their lives in Silver City, Deming, Lordsburg, Truth or Consequences, etc. and who
wish to become K-12 English teachers have an opportunity to earn a four-year degree in
English at a university close to home, rather than being forced to attend NMSU or UNM
in order to get the education they seek.

The societal need for English courses, English programs and English teachers is self-
evident. Today we live in a semi-literate and in some respects an anti-literate culture. It
is the responsibility of teachers of English everywhere – and of the schools, colleges and
universities that employ them – to promote greater literacy among the population at large
and to provide students at all levels with teaching and learning experiences that will
advance their skills as thinkers, readers and writers. The ability to read and assimilate
challenging material, the ability to think and reason clearly, and the ability to express
oneself clearly both in speaking and in writing, are among the essential hallmarks of an
educated person; universities are in the business of producing educated people. Thus the
work we do and the courses we teach in the English Department serve a number of vital
needs: the need of individual students (regardless of their majors) to be able to use words
competently in a variety of rhetorical situations; the need of the university to produce
literate, articulate graduates who will speak well for the quality of the education they
received at WNMU; the need of society at large for more literate, more articulate men
and women who are fully prepared to carry out their responsibilities both as professionals
in their individual fields of endeavor and as citizens of the state of New Mexico.

No person working in the field of higher education should have to be convinced of the
need to produce literate college graduates and to improve the level of literacy among the
nation as a whole. Two well-known quotes from Thomas Jefferson state this need
succinctly and forcefully, and thus may serve as a conclusion to this section of the
English Department Program Review:

       “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone.
       The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render
       even them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree.”
                                                     -- Notes on the State of Virginia,
                                                     1782

       “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects
       what never was and never will be.”
                                                      -- Letter to C. Yancey, 1816




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                          VII. PROGRAM DUPLICATION

                                       SUMMARY

We are continuing to work on our lower-division composition component. This semester
we are conducting a study to compare pre- and post-scores in Composition and Rhetoric
101 so that we may assess our students’ progress as writers; the information we derive
from this study will help us to redesign our courses and our program to better meet the
needs of our students.

Beginning next fall, we will implement a new final-testing procedure for Composition
and Rhetoric 102. Light Hall 200 will be dedicated to Composition and Rhetoric 102
classes. During the last two weeks of the semester, that room will be monitored by
volunteer English faculty, and classes will not formally meet. Instead, students in
Composition 102 may come to the testing room at any time it is open during that two-
week period to work on their essays, which will be stored there if we can arrange the
facilities. Because their writing time is limited only by their schedules and the hours the
room is open, students will have plenty of time to revise and edit. This procedure will
provide a more accurate measure of students’ writing abilities because it will eliminate
the time constraints that handicap slower, deeper thinkers. It will also allow more time
for and encourage the practice of revision. Because of the number of hours this new
system will demand of faculty, there will only be one opportunity for students to take the
test.

The requirements for the English major will be altered to increase concentration on
upper-division classes. Currently, students can take up to 18 credit hours in the major in
lower-division classes. The new requirements, which will be presented to the Curriculum
and Instruction Committee for approval, will limit the number of lower-division credits to
12, in four specified classes (American Literature I and II, and English Literature I and
II). The remaining 24 credits of the major will be taken at the 300 and 400 level.

There will be no changes in the requirements for the English minor.

A Women’s Studies minor is in the planning process, and will be presented to the
Curriculum and Instruction Committee this spring.

A course proposal for Modern British Literature will also be presented to the Curriculum
and Instruction Committee this spring to fill in a gap in program offerings for majors.




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Beginning next fall, we will implement portfolio assessment of all senior English majors.
Three written works from each student will be collected and evaluated by English faculty.
This will help us assess our majors’ strengths and weaknesses and adjust our program to
meet student needs and improve the quality of our graduates.

A language lab, to be shared by Spanish and English, is in the process of development. Its
benefits to students in English classes cannot be determined until decisions have been
made about the equipment and programs that will be purchased. If possible, Composition
and Rhetoric 101 and 102 final exams will also be conducted in this lab, which will allow
students to produce their essays on computers.

                                RECOMMENDATIONS

We need a line item in the budget to continue and expand upon our assessment projects.
The funds used to conduct a study of Composition and Rhetoric 101 this semester were
literally donated: Extended University provided paper, and the AQIP Writing Task Force
provided a copy card. The English program is central to the General Education Program
and provides vital, mandated courses to all degree-bound students at the University (cf.
Section VI); in addition, English is a relatively inexpensive program, requiring very little
by way of resources. Thus it is frustrating that we have no assessment line in the budget
to conduct basic research into our strengths and weaknesses.

Because the Humanities Department budget has not increased since we have
implemented the final exams, the Department has struggled to be able to purchase the
paper, copy cards and blue books that are needed for the exam. We must have these
supplies to continue testing and to implement our assessment procedures; however, due
to increasing costs and an unchanged budget for the past six years, we may need to curtail
or eliminate the current system. The department chair has already told the
Developmental Studies faculty to hold off on their assessment plans until we receive the
assessment monies that were promised three years ago.

The demand is growing for more upper-division classes in English, as a result of
increases in the number of majors, in English course requirements from other programs,
in the number of additional upper-division credits required for graduation. This
increasing demand to offer more upper-division classes strains our already-thin resources.
The Humanities Department is a substantial contributor to the VPAA’s adjunct budget
overruns each semester because we do not have enough full-time faculty members to
teach all our classes, and also because we only have a limited pool of qualified adjunct
instructors in the Silver City area from which to draw. In addition, most of the adjunct
faculty members do not think it is worth their time to teach one or two classes for the
salary they can earn; in general, they make only $1650 for each section unless they teach
seven credits, at which point the salary increases and becomes more worthwhile.

Over the last four years, more than 40% of our lower-division composition courses have
been taught by adjunct faculty. We are dependent upon a small pool of dedicated,
experienced, excellent adjuncts who work diligently and cheerfully. Each semester, they



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must wait, sometimes literally until classes begin, to find out what they will teach or if
they will teach at all. Aside from the respect and consideration we owe to the adjunct
faculty, we have an obligation to provide our students with enthusiastic and experienced
teachers. Indeed, our adjunct faculty members play a significant role in the quality and
continuity of our DVS and composition programs. To this end, we ask that we be able to
offer nine-month, full-time contracts to two instructors. This will not change the amount
of money currently spent on adjuncts. It would, however, be a gesture of respect and
appreciation for the fine work accomplished by our adjunct faculty members, and help to
reduce turnover among our adjuncts. Having two regular, full-time instructors would
also help to strengthen the consistency and continuity of our freshman composition
course offerings; it would also allow these teachers more time to prepare for classes,
since they would know well in advance which courses they will teach every semester.




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