English Department Records

The Emmanuel College English Department was created by 1920 to increase awareness and appreciation of the written and spoken word and develop an enjoyment for literature. It served as a requirement, along with Latin, ModernLanguages, Philosophy and History, for the attainment of an undergraduate degree. By 1927 nuns were named as members of the teaching staff in the English Department and they included Sister Julie, SND and Sr. CatherineEnglish Department Annual Report, 1975-1976 Dorothea, SND. Other instructors in the English Department included: Beatrice Mahoney, Mildred Hanon, Sister Mary Mercedes, SND and Sister Berchmans Louise Currie, SND. In the 1930s two events of significance occurred, first, in 1935, the Department required students to meet a minimum threshold to be granted a major in English. Then in 1939, the Department created a minor that was designed to complement and enhance a major field of study.

In the 1948, Sr.  Berchmans Louise, SND, in order to provide structure and guide the content that existed in the student newspaper, appointed seven (7) seniors as editors of the new student newspaper the Focus; that was designed to inform students of College and extracurricular activities. As the English Department entered the 1950s its faculty provided teaching support to the graduation requirement known as Western Culture. The purpose ofthis requirement, approved by the College in 1951, was designed to educate students on Judeo-Christian thought from the Roman Empire to contemporary society. By the 1960s, the English Department had among the greatest number of students as majors and reached the entire academic community with its courses and its intellectual social gatherings. Whether it is a speaker, or an honors thesis presentation, or a discussion on Cinema, the Department was known for its coffee and conversation. By this time the Department offered courses in such areas as world literature, Chaucer, Victorian writers, satire, short stories, poetry, literary criticism and American fiction.

In the 1970s and 1980s the foundations of the modern day English Department were evolving through the development of the Writing Center and teacher licensure. By 1977, at the suggestion of Mary G. Mason and Sr. Janet Eisner, SND and the endorsed of College administrators, the Department developed a Writing Center. Its aim was to use small group instruction for remedial grammar and provide additional compositional writing and was primarily directed to the freshman class. By 1982, the Department allowed for a concentration in a literary program and a communication that to develop an understanding of the nature and process of verbal and non-verbal communication in the context of a Liberal Arts education. The goal of the concentration was allow students to prepare for careers in public relations, publishing and advertising.  

It was also, by this point, that the English Department had created an educational program for teachers of the English Language. It was designed to train teachers, using analysis and research, how to use understand the historic period, author, genre and technique of the literature.  This track would lead to a certificate as an English teacher. By 1994, this program had received recognition from the College’s Education Department and the Interstate Certification Compact. In 1993, the First Year Student Composition program began under the direction of Lisa M.  Stepanski and was aimed to improve the writing abilities of new students.

Since 2003, the Department now has offered a program in writing and literature program. This program was designed to prepare students to pursue a graduate degree in fine arts or for a career in publishing by blending literature and intensive writing. In 2011, the English Department became responsible for implanting the degree requirement known as First Year Writing that was designed to replace the First Year Student Composition Program by teaching students writing and research skills. In addition to providing academic support and guidance to students majoring and minoring in English, the faculty of the Department are also involved in advising students who have created their own individualized majors.

Department Chairs:

Department Chairs

Dates of Service



Sister Julie, SND


Sr. Catherine Dorothea Fox, SND


Sister Berchmans Louise Currie, SND

1935-1958 (?)

Sister Marie of the Trinity Barry, SND

1958-1960 (?)

Sister Anne Barbara Gill, SND


Sister Anne Cyril Delaney, SND


Sister Anne Barbara Gill, SND


Mary G. Mason


Sister Janet Eisner, SND


Jerry M. Bernhard


Mary G. Mason


Mary McCay


Steven F. Bloom


Lisa M. Stepanski


Kelly McGuire


Matthew Elliott


David Palumbo


Matthew Elliott


The English Department Records at Emmanuel College includes annual reports, curriculum reports and comprehensive examinations and departmental assessments. There are also historical documents describing certain aspects of the literary society at the College and the history of the student newspaper. Miscellaneous documents are also included in the collection.