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English and Philosophy

Student writing on the quad in the fall

Our department offers small classes and award-winning faculty.  English students focus on literature, professional writing, or creative writing, while Philosophy majors take traditional or pre-law tracks.  Our M.A., TESOL certificate, and Ph.D. in  English and the Teaching of English prepare graduate students for careers in higher education.

See what courses are offered in our Course Booklet (Spring 2019 offerings) or visit our program page.


Thursday, February 21st: Audubon Film and Discussion 7-9:30 pm in the Wood River Room of the PSUB. With increasing awareness of nature’s fragility, landscape designers in recent years have sought to bring more wildness to urban green spaces. Dutch landscape designer Piet Oudolf has been at the forefront of this new approach to gardening, creating such notable sites as the High Line greenway in New York City and Lurie Garden in Chicago. The film Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf considers the vision and achievement of Oudolf in the Netherlands and the U.S., providing many suggestions for other urban areas that wish to reconsider their approach to landscaping.

Following the hour-long screening of the film on Oudolf, the following panelists will discuss green space in Pocatello and how institutions and private individuals can plant in such a way to support birds and beneficial insects while still keeping in mind the human desire for beauty: —Jacob Berger, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Idaho State University —David Delehanty, Professor of Biological Sciences, Idaho State University —Alissa Salmore, Landscape Architect and Environmental Planner, Idaho Department of Transportation. The discussion will be moderated by Curt Whitaker, Professor of English at ISU; the event is co-sponsored by ISU's Department of English and Philosophy, the English Graduate Student Association, and Portneuf Valley Audubon. Admission is free.

Friday and Saturday, March 8-9th: Salmon River Suites of the PSUB. Intermountain Graduate Conference "Making Connections: Within, Between, and Beyond English and the Humanities". Sponsored by the English Graduate Student Association of Idaho State University. Please contact with questions.

Thursday, May 2nd: Black Rock & Sage Launch Party 5:30-7:00 pm in the Wood River Room of the PSUB. Come hear our rapid fire performances as we celebrate the publication of our 2019 issue.



Bethany Schultz Hurst, Associate Professor of English, had two poems appear in the latest issue of Ploughshares. In addition, the SUNY Open textbook, Naming the Unnameable: An Approach to Poetry for New Generations by Michelle Bonczek Evory, uses one of Bethany’s poems as an example text.

Dr. Elise Barker, Adjunct Instructor of English, contributed to the blog Little Women 150. LW150 was created by preiminent Alcott scholars, Anne Phillips and Greg Eiselein, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Little Women. Each scholar was assigned a chapter from the book and the blog has posted at the rate of one chapter per week. Contributors range from big name academics (Elaine Showalter!) to mega fans. Elise was invited to write in response to the chapter “Domestic Experiences.” Please check out the blog and Elise’s post at

Dr. Elise Barker, Adjunct Instructor of English, has had her essay, “Just Breathe: Zen and the Art of Hiking with Kids,” published in the January 2019 issue of Idaho Magazine. A photo of her children at the first Bench Lake in the Sawtooths was selected for the cover of that issue as well. Look for a copy with other recent department publications.

Dr. Jessica Winston, Professor of English, has been elected to a five-year term on the Executive Committee of the MLA's Sixteenth Century English Forum. MLA Forums represent areas of scholarly and professional interests for MLA members, and the Executive Committee plans programs or special projects relevant to the Forum's members.

Dr. Alan Johnson, Professor of English, served as Academic Advisor for the entry on noted Indian writer Mahasweta Devi in Short Story Criticism Vol. 264, ed. Catherine C. DiMercurio Gale, November 2018.

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