The primary goal of the English curriculum is to develop appreciation for the joys and possibilities of literary expression. A central feature of our courses is the close reading and discussion of literature – a form of critical inquiry that supports and honors diverse points of view and varieties of interpretation. Our other primary task is writing, with the goal to develop not only the student’s competence, but their voice as well. Students leave Urban with a sense of themselves as thinkers and writers, thoughtful and reflective, and capable in expressing both their critical and creative sensibilities through their writing.

Literature is also the province of culture, offering wonderfully wide-ranging and intimate means of exploring the human experience. Diversity and range are important to us, whether it's exploring the roots of human storytelling in Gilgamesh,or exploring American history and dialect in Their Eyes Were Watching God. In every case, we choose texts that warrant the sustained attention we give them, in classes designed to be rich, engaging and appropriately challenging.

Cathleen Sheehan
English Department Chair
415 626 2919 x233