In addition to their work in the classroom, English department faculty publish books and articles on a great range of topics, from medieval literature in performance to web design, from Native American languages to writing pedagogy. Some do archival research on canonical authors while others produce volumes of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.
Department faculty are also in charge of publishing the Western Writers Series, critical pamphlets about authors and about classic books of the American West. The series has issued five new titles each year since it began publication in 1972. Subjects include Wallace Stegner, Willa Cather, Ken Kesey, Leslie Marmon Silko, Gary Snyder, Ann Zwinger, Joy Harjo, and more than 140 others.
To promote good writing across campus, the English faculty coordinate with faculty in other departments through the Writing in the Disciplines program. The Department also supervises the annual Boise State President’s Writing contest.
Students who major in English may join the English Majors Association and Sigma Tau Delta, a chapter of the English national honor society. They may participate in annual writing competitions, such as the Sigma Tau Delta Poetry Contest, or in the National Undergraduate Literature Conference. English majors also organize an annual fall trip to the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon.
Student internships offer university credit as well as workplace writing experience that may lead to employment. Recent internships include designing websites, creating new product information plans, creating and editing newsletters, interviewing and writing personal histories, and working in graphic design, book layout, and online documentation.
English majors are also involved as writing assistants, working in our Writing Center with Boise State students who need help with essays.
Students who prefer creative writing may become involved with cold-drill, a student-edited publication. The winner of many national prizes since it was founded in 1970, cold-drill publishes student poems, short stories, essays, plays, and art works. Work by student writers also appears in Poetry in Public Places, a series of award-winning, poster-sized poems. Ahsahta Press, staffed by creative writing faculty and graduate students, edits volumes by modern and contemporary poets and includes more than 100 titles in its series. The department’s latest publication, The Idaho Review, an annual literary journal, has received national acclaim. In short, English majors have many chances to help with the writing and editing of local, regional, and international journals and publications.
Students learn not only from regular English faculty but from visiting writers as well. In partnership with public agencies and businesses, the department has brought nationally acclaimed poets, novelists, and filmmakers to campus for public readings and classroom appearances. And every year an established or emerging creative writer joins us for a semester as a Distinguished Visiting Writer in Residence.
Other opportunities for students include participation in the university’s International Programs or Studies Abroad Program, both of which provide a chance to learn firsthand about our global society and writing traditions in other parts of the world.