The primary goal of the English Department at Urban is to develop our students’ appreciation for the joys and possibilities of literary expression. A central feature of our classes 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 a goal to develop not only the student’s competence – a facility with syntax and structure – but their voice as well. We want our students to leave Urban with a sense of themselves as thinkers and writers – thoughtful and reflective, not merely capable but eager in expressing both their critical and creative sensibilities in 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.