Department of English

Dear Parents

October 18, 2017


Greetings from Auburn University’s Department of English!


            I want to reach out on behalf of our undergraduate programs to encourage you and your students to explore Auburn as you consider college choices. Over and over again our alumni demonstrate that a degree in English Studies does much more than prepare students for a first job—it prepares them for life. As a department, we celebrate our students’ bright economic futures—even in tech sectors—as well their adaptability. Employers very much want the “soft skills” we teach: insightful reading, effective writing, the ability to find and synthesize information, problem-solving, and teamwork. A recent study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, in particular, shows that during career-peak earning times liberal arts majors earn about 3% more than graduates in more focused vocational fields such as nursing and accounting. Alums who go on to professional fields earn even more, and the English major is particularly flexible and desirable for a number of fields. Auburn English majors have successfully built futures as museum curators, as advertising writers and executives, as administrators in higher education, as television and radio broadcasters, as screenwriters and directors, as authors, librarians, missionaries, journalists, as legal professionals, as politicians, as science and technical writers, as web designers, and as business executives.

            In addition to a strong record of employment at graduation, our students excel academically, thanks to our world-class faculty, our small, engaged classes, and the support of a major university.  (Auburn was recently ranked 6th in the nation for student engagement by the Wall Street Journal  and 1st in Alabama by Forbes!)  In past years, we have placed students in Harvard Law School, have sent abroad four Fulbright Scholars, and one of our seniors was chosen to represent our University in both the distinguished Rhodes Scholarship competitions.

            For students with interests in English studies, we offer three undergraduate tracks within the major (creative writing, literature, and professional and public writing), with all the resources of a top research university. Additionally, we encourage exceptional students entering as freshmen to apply for one of our Department's two scholarships. The William Robert Killingsworth, Sr. and Frances Smith Killingsworth Endowed Scholarship Award in the Department of English is a renewable award given to a student who is also a Spirit of Auburn recipient. The Reginald D. and Laurie H. Gilbert Endowed Scholarship is awarded to a Spirit of Auburn University Scholarship recipient who is enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts with a declared major in English.

I have enclosed several brochures for you to share with interested students. Additional copies are available at I invite you or your interested students to explore our website and to follow AuburnEnglish on Facebook.

I am very proud of recent accomplishments in Auburn’s College of Liberal Arts, and especially in the English Department. If you or your students have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Department of English at Auburn.  Our award-winning departmental advisor, Ms. Betsy Panhorst (at and Dr. Robin Sabino, our Director of Undergraduate Studies (at will be happy to hear from you.  Naturally, you’re also welcome to get in touch with me at the email address below.




Jeremy M. Downes

Professor & Chair

Department of English

9030 Haley Center

Auburn University

Auburn, AL 36849-5203

Office: 334-844-9079

Cell: 334-734-9026

CLA Awards on Thursday, April 18, to honor eight from English

Performance and Teaching Awards:
Mrs. Elizabeth Panhorst (Academic Advisor)
Ms. Jamie Kinsley (GTA)

Competitive Research Grant Winners:
Dr. Anya Riehl Bertolet (Associate Professor)
Dr. Emily Friedman (Assistant Professor)
Dr. Jo Mackiewicz (Associate Professor)
Dr. Michelle Sidler (Associate Professor)

University Award Winners
Dr. Chantel Acevedo (Associate Professor)

Staff A&P Award:
Dr. Wiebke Kuhn – Information Technology Manager & English Department Alumna)

Last Updated: January 29, 2018