Chair's Welcome

To pursue a degree in English at Auburn is to engage in the most vital and valued skills in the humanities and liberal arts traditions. Whether through creative or professional writing, through work in linguistics or literature, through the study of rhetoric or theory, students and faculty in English engage again and again in the skills of careful reading, skilled writing, and critical thinking.

The broad field of English Studies embraces a diversity of theories, practices, and subject matters, but our energetic, intellectually engaged community of students and faculty share in common a strong commitment to language itself, and to its capacity to shape the world.

Explore the Department of English website; email your questions to; or stop in for a visit at 9030 Haley Center.

Dr. Jeremy M. Downes
Professor and Department Chair

Mission Statement

wordle image In English Studies, we practice and foster the creative, intellectual work of reading and writing, vital and valued skills in the liberal arts tradition. We celebrate diversity of thought and method, imagination and adaptability, critical rigor and the free exchange of ideas as the core values of that tradition.

We are committed to the depth and excellence of student learning at every level, from first-year composition to the advanced research of our doctoral students. We engage their curiosity; we deepen their awareness of the intricacies of rhetoric, of culture, of history, and of the literary arts; we sharpen their skills. We encourage effective, elegant, and ethical strategies of communication.

We embrace diversity and excellence in faculty research and creative work. We share in common the commitment to intellectual inquiry and to its great impacts, whether directly measurable or not. Like our students, our accomplished faculty are diverse, talented, and driven to excel.

We share our expertise as teachers, as researchers, as writers, and as citizens. Through our growing outreach programs we develop as scholars and enrich the everyday lives of our students, our colleagues, and our communities.


Through a half-century of publishing, the Southern Humanities Review has led the Department's outreach mission, bringing fiction, poetry, criticism, and reviews to the people of Alabama and beyond. Joyce Carol Oates, W.H. Auden, Mario Vargas Llosa, Natasha Trethewey, and Patricia Foster are among the long list of distinguished contributors to SHR.

The Auburn Writers Conference brings local, regional, and national writers to Auburn for engaging and informative workshops, presentations, and a taste of Auburn spirit each October. It's increasingly the place to be for writers in the South. Focal points of past conferences have included Childhood, Myth & Memory, Travel & Voice, and Intersections of the Arts. This year's conference illuminates The Inspired South

A 2009 series of films on Elvis Presley (as performer, icon, and institution) at Auburn University's Jule Collins Smith Museum inaugurated our ongoing community series, FILM at JCSM, which fosters interdisciplinary learning and thought through the movies. Classic movies, film noir, and edgy documentaries—with the scholars who study them—bring out a diverse audience.

LUCIA (the Lab for Usability Communication Interaction, and Accessibility) is a resource co-directed with our colleagues in the School of Communication & Journalism, which brings faculty expertise to bear on the problems of human-computer interaction, media use, and group communication.

The English Department supports as well a cutting-edge clearinghouse for connecting student expertise to community needs through the Service Learning Opportunities in Technical Communication Database (or SLOT-C). Here, local, regional, and national non-profits can join forces with skilled student workers who can assist with all manner of writing, editing, and communication tasks.

Finally, for three years, English Department graduate students and faculty have been working with Poetry Out Loud and the Alabama State Council on the Arts to build relationships with regional high schools and help to develop the poetry and performance of high school students in East Alabama. (The fact that some of these students have gone on to compete on the state or national level, and even become English majors, is icing on the cake.)

Our Journals

logo of Southern Humanities ReviewSouthern Humanities Review has published fiction, poetry, and essays since 1967. The quarterly journal began as the official organ of the Southern Humanities Council, with which it remains affiliated. SHR is a proud sponsor of the annual Auburn Witness Poetry Prize.

SHR is indexed in the following sources:

  • Abstracts of English Studies
  • Abstracts of Popular Culture.
  • Academic Search Premier
  • Book Review Index
  • Bulletin of Research in the Humanities
  • Humanities International Complete Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature
  • Literary Criticism Register
  • MLA International Bibliography

Work published in SHR is considered for

  • The Art of the Essay
  • Best American Essays
  • Best American Poetry
  • Best American Short Stories
  • New Stories from the South
  • Prize Stories: O. Henry Awards
  • The Pushcart Prize.

For submission guidelines and the latest SHR news, visit