Open Letter 




Dear Students, Alumni, and Community Supporters:

First of all, we hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy in these uncertain times, and we will be reaching out in the coming weeks to keep our alumni and supporters updated and connected.

Second, we wanted to clarify some of the changes to the Department of English, Philosophy, & Modern Languages during the recent “program alignment” process at MSUB. There has been some misinformation circulating in the press and online, so just to reassure you: we’re going strong!

We are proud to continue to offer four long-standing, cornerstone programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences: 

  • B.A. in English  

  • B.A. in English Teaching Licensure

  • English Minor

  • Spanish Minor

These programs have not been cut or discontinued, and current students will continue their progress as usual. In fact, our department has been making curricular changes over the past two years to streamline these programs: to provide students more innovative offerings that prepare them for the complexities of the twenty-first century world across a variety of career paths. We are also developing exciting plans for the future of Philosophy and Modern Languages in our department. More details about the new curricula will be coming soon.

We have a bright future ahead, and we deeply appreciate the outpouring of support from our current students, alumni, and community members. We encourage you to get in touch with us via email ( to share your perspective, your story, and your connection to our department and to the humanities more generally. Our community needs to come together and share our experiences with the power of language, literature, writing, and philosophy, now more than ever. We’re here for you, so please be in touch and stay safe and healthy.


The Faculty in the Department of English, Philosophy, & Modern Languages


Welcome to the Department of English, Philosophy and Modern Languages 

Our Department houses three disciplines leading to a variety of majors and minors, and our faculty members are committed teacher-scholars in literature, linguistics, languages, writing, philosophy, and religious studies. The Department also houses MSUB's Writing Program, which serves all undergraduate students, and a graduate program Certificate in Teaching Creative and Expository Writing. 

The mission of the undergraduate English Program is to provide students with an understanding and appreciation of the development and aesthetic achievement of literatures in English – including the cultural, linguistic, and historical influences on English, American and world literatures – as well as preparation in the craft of creative writing: poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and other genres. In Philosophy and Religious Studies, the Department provides students with diverse ethical, philosophical, religious and cultural perspectives. In Modern Languages the Department’s mission is to provide students with critical skills in the use of the Spanish language and familiarity with the cultures and literatures of that language, both Peninsular and Latin American. The Department also offers French, German, and other languages. 

What are the Humanities? 

The term humanities, broadly defined, refers to the study of human cultures, languages, and systems of meaning and values. Students of the humanities explore the interrelated disciplines of philosophy, literature, religion, art, music, history and language. The MSUB Department of English, Philosophy & Modern Languages prepares students to engage in these disciplines with historical perspective and an appreciation for complexity, nuance, and difference.  We encourage our undergraduates to develop their own positions and arguments, to articulate them clearly and incisively, and to be leaders in a rapidly changing century.

Why Study the Humanities?


Why Study the Humanities?

 The Return of the Liberal Arts Major

Why "Worthless" Humanities Degrees May Set You Up For Life 

Unexpected Career Paths for Majors (from Carlton College)

On Humanities in the 21st century workplace

What Can I Do With an English Degree?

Stanford University: "Why the Humanities Matter"

"How Humanities Can Help Fix the World"

"Why Everyone Should Study the Liberal Arts, Even Future Doctors and Engineers"

"Why Med Schools Are Requiring Arts Classes"


Fall 2020 Courses

Click on an image to view as a slideshow.

Recent Faculty Publications

Magnificent Decay: Melville and Ecology

Click on an image to view as a slideshow.

Department News


Stop the World Cover

Faculty member Tami Haaland's writing is featured in the new anthology, Stop the World: Snapshots From a Pandemic, forthcoming from Thalia Press in August of 2020.

Thalia Press is pleased to announce the release of a topical, up-to-the-minute anthology of personal essays, short fiction, and poetry based on experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic in this unique year. Forty writers from around the world took time during this spring of lockdown, contagion, and uncertainty to explore and share their emotions and creative impulses for the record.


Deb SchafferRadio New Zealand











Last October, faculty member Deborah Schaffer appeared on the Radio New Zealand show Sunday Morning with Jim Mora about an article she published on the nature of language in Nigerian-fraud e-mails (“The Language of Scam Spams: Linguistic Features of ‘Nigerian Fraud’ E-mails.” ETC.: A Review of General Semantics 69.2 (April 2012): 157-79). 


Dispatches 2020

Faculty member Bernie Quetchenbach and English major Brie Barron recently published an online poetry anthology, Poetics for a More than Human World.



Event 2.20.20


Koryn Kelly


        Tom Nurmi                                                    

Tom Nurmi selected as 2019 Cox Fellow

Danell Jones has a new book -- An African in Imperial London: The Indomitable Life of A.B. C. Merriman-Labor -- out in September.

Use code ADISTA5 to save 30% when ordering from Oxford University Press!

An African in Imperial London

Danell Jones



Professors Regele and Berru-Davis led a trip to Peru in May!

MSUB students in Peru
MSUB students in Peru


book cover image of The Bunch Grass Hotel

Long-time faculty member Randall Gloege’s collection of poetry The Bunch Grass Motel is a finalist for the 2018 High Plains Book Award in Poetry

book cover image of Accidental Gravity
Faculty member Bernie Quetchenbach's collection of essays Accidental Gravity is an Honorable Mention for the Foreword Indies Book of the Year in Essays.

 Alumni Spotlight

Laura-Ashlee Twiford teaching at Stream Academy in Anchorage, AK
“I'm currently teaching middle school at Stream Academy, a brand new charter school in Alaska. It's the first year of the charter and my first year teaching, so I am quite tired as well (and not just with grading). I'm the only Language Arts teacher of 77 students with two sections of 6th grade, a section of 7th, and a section of 8th. Oh, and I also teach a social dance elective. Whew!

All things considered, I really do love middle school. It took me a while to calibrate, but they are really delightful.

I've decided that I really should do better with keeping in touch with everyone from the English Department. There's something about being a part of something so meaningful for such a short period of time that makes me sad and proud at the same time.”

- Laura-Ashlee Twiford, ‘16