Registration season at Salt Lake Community College has begun.
Registration for summer semester opened March 4, and with only three weeks until fall semester early registration on April 8, SLCC students are looking forward to their next semester of classes.
For some students, this is a stressful endeavor. It means making decisions, reviewing in-progress degrees, meeting with counselors and potentially, finally, picking a major.
SLCC offers more than 100 areas of study, which can become overwhelming when imagining all the possibilities.
SLCC student Jesse Thayer struggled to find his path when entering college but ultimately found it in the English department. Having declared his major in 2017, Thayer is on his last semester at SLCC and is preparing to transfer to Utah State University in the fall.
“When I was younger, I went through a phase where I wanted to be a published author,” he says. “I didn’t really see English as a profession, it didn’t seem like a real option.”
Thayer originally considered becoming an engineering major, but after taking Introduction to Novel Writing and Introduction to Fiction, he was sold. While he is fascinated by language and the intricacies of rhetoric, the professors at SLCC were what ultimately convinced him.
“The professors are extremely passionate, they [would] answer any questions, no matter how far reaching they were,” he says.
One professor struck a chord with Thayer: William Morris. The Intro to Novel Writing professor was pivotal in Thayer’s academic career.
“He is always willing to talk about things after class,” Thayer explains. “He sat down with me for two hours after class ended just to help me get ready for graduate school.”
Thayer claims majoring in English offers more to its students than grammar and syntax.
“It’s a very humanitarian degree and there’s a lot to gain if you’re willing to put in the effort,” he says.
The faculty in the English department emphasize this exact notion.
Kati Lewis and Anne Canavan are both assistant professors that teach a range of courses from linguistics to queer studies. They vouch for the versatility majoring in English brings to any student.
“A lot of students will ask me, ‘Why does this class matter?’” Lewis says. “I’ll point them to several studies that have shown writing literature and studying technical text creates empathy, which ultimately brings us together and creates community.”
Canavan builds off this sentiment with practicality.
“English is one of those majors that gets miscategorized,” Canavan explains. “Majors today are different, we emphasize that you need to communicate with others and understanding more about how we interact with each other.”
For Lewis and Canavan, teaching students how to write well and communicate their thoughts effectively is the best way to prepare them for the world outside of their classes.
“I want students to unpack their own humanity, then analyze the media they are consuming,” Lewis says.
Thayer, having taken roughly 15 English courses at SLCC, echoes these ideas.
“I don’t think there is a major out there that will make you feel more fulfilled, not just academically but as a human being,” he says.
Outside of instilling empathy, compassion and analytical thinking in its students, the English department offers a whole host of opportunities and tools.
“The Community Writing Center is for any discipline for writers who need help,” Lewis says. “We offer creative writing, fantasy, newswriting, resume workshops for anyone who wants help writing in the community.”
Lewis is the associate director of the Community Writing Center and hopes the resource sees more use. The center is open Monday through Friday, and appointments can be made online anytime.
Most students only interact with the English department for their general studies requirements, but even then, professors try to make it interesting. Most English courses at SLCC have no associated textbook; instead, the material is curated by each professor.
Lewis’ English 2010 course is infused with pop culture to help students recognize the media they are consuming, while Canavan’s linguistics course will “scratch an itch” for the scientific side of language.
This registration season doesn’t have to be stressful. The English department is here to help any students willing to learn about language and how to “improve the world around you,” as Lewis puts it.