Why Major in English/CW? Here’s What the Data Says

When the University of Illinois started collecting data last year on what students plan to do after graduation, we didn’t know what to expect. More data is better than less data, but we weren’t sure how this particular data would reflect on our department and what we do. After all, we’ve all seen the memes, the knee-jerk reactions, the popular assumptions: people in “impractical” majors like English are unemployable, right?


Turns out this is what the data looks like:


How about that.

If you’re getting a BA in English or Creative Writing, you’re just about as likely to graduate with a job in hand as someone with a BA in Math/Statistics or Economics, and you’re more likely to be employed than someone with a BA in Political Science/Global Studies/Area Studies, Pychology, Astronomy/Physics, or Biology.

Obviously, these numbers aren’t the whole story. They probably over-represent students with post-graduation plans, as they are more likely to fill out surveys like this. They don’t differentiate between students who are going directly to high-paying corporate jobs and those who are planning to wait tables all summer while looking for more permanent professional work. They also don’t say anything about starting salaries or long-term goals.

What they do say, however, is what those of us teaching in these disciplines and talking to our alumni have known all along: majoring in English or Creative Writing can lead to a a job, same as any other major.


So Many Courses, Not Enough Memes….

all the coursesMay 1 was National Decision Day.  While English and Creative Writing majors currently enrolled at the U of I are wrapping up the semester, those joining the University of Illinois’s incoming Class of 2020 are starting to think about Fall courses in preparation for their summer registration visits.

Those already here are at an advantage for planning next semester: the Department’s second biannual Course Showcase at the end of March introduced them to some highlights from the fall course offerings. The Department of English offers a variety of opportunities to gain valuable skills transferable across a wide range of academic disciplines at the University and to future career paths after graduation.

Continue reading “So Many Courses, Not Enough Memes….”

Alumni Profile: Melissa Kuhl, Publicity Specialist, University of Illinois Extension

I recently spoke about careers in marketing with U of I alumna Melissa Kuhl, who msteine3200x286graduated in 2011 with a double major in English and Creative Writing. Here’s what she had to say about her professional life after graduating from U of I:

VO: What did you do after you graduated?

Melissa: When I graduated, I was working with the University of Illinois Press in their marketing department. I had an internship with them that began in August 2010, so I continued that internship throughout the rest of the summer of 2011. Then, in August 2011 I got a position in the marketing department in Human Kinetics in Champaign. I worked there until July 2015, when I started with University of Illinois Extension doing marketing for them in Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, and Vermillion Counties.

VO: Can you tell me a bit more about what your current job entails?

Melissa: It’s a lot of communicating with the local media and with the public to share information about our upcoming events and programs to try to get people to sign up and to raise general awareness about what we do. Continue reading “Alumni Profile: Melissa Kuhl, Publicity Specialist, University of Illinois Extension”