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Department of English

Department Chair: Dr. David Hadbawnik

Studying English literature and language has often been cited as one of the great noble endeavors undertaken: inspiring and fulfilling. As the historian Barbara Tuchman put it, great books are “engines of change (as the poet said), windows on the world and lighthouses erected in the sea of time. They are companions, teachers, [. . .] bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.” While Tuchman’s grand and overarching sentiment finds sympathy in the English Department, studying literature also has practical and immediate benefits, and the English Department is just as committed to the teaching of rigorous analysis, clear and successful communication, good writing, and cultural critique and understanding.

For students majoring or minoring in English, the program provides a sound foundation in the structure of the English language and its literary traditions; it also educates students in the exploration of the relationships of language and literature to the individual and society, and to history and politics. The program also provides a broad range of American, British, and world literature carefully selected by the faculty to include work by women and men of diverse backgrounds, and in a variety of literary forms and periods.

Thus, students’ command of written language, ability to analyze concepts, and broad understanding of human nature and social realities may give a competitive advantage in the pursuit of careers in a variety of fields, including education, media, business, and civil service or, with appropriate graduate work, in professions such as law and higher education.

In keeping with the American University of Kuwait’s liberal arts tradition, the English department provides students with the ability to use the English language effectively, think critically, and reach their full potential as creative individuals, engaged citizens, and lifelong learners. Through its emphasis on developing cultural awareness, rhetorical flexibility, information literacy, and appreciation for literary traditions, the department prepares students for the increasingly complex challenges of the 21st century.

The English Department at the American University of Kuwait aspires to be a leading English Department recognized locally, if not regionally, for it academic excellence and the accomplishments of its graduates.

The following Five Core Values are imperative to the success and well-being of the department:

  • Honesty: The English Department understands honesty to mean telling the truth. In an academic sense, honesty means representing original work and being transparent and accountable. This applies to all characteristics of the AUK community.

  • Freedom: The English Department envisions freedom as being allowed to make choices appropriate to the University's objectives as well as encouraging students and faculty the opportunity to express their views without fear of reprisal in a supportive environment.

  • Quality: The English Department values quality as a measurement of the effectiveness of any task, be it curricular or extra-curricular.

  • Integrity: The English Department supports a code of conduct that affirms the individual's right (faculty, staff, or student) to express her or himself morally, intelligently, and respectfully.

  • Diversity: The English Department embraces the idea that a healthy and respectful appreciation for that which is different and new is the cornerstone to any serious educational undertaking.

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