Course focuses on literature to impart critical thinking skills

Future English course to fulfill transfer requirement

By Jared Amdahl, Opinion Editor

A new English course is in the works and will be added to the 2015-16 course catalog offering more learning options to students.

The proposed course, English 2B, once approved by the state will fulfill the same critical thinking requirement provided by English 1C, but will instead focus on literature rather than the aspects of argumentation, English department Chairperson Jeffrey Michels said.

“I think it is incredibly valuable to take a literature course in college,” Dr. Michels said. “The problem is, a lot of these literature courses we have now are electives, and you have students that are computer science majors that may or may not take these classes.”

He said that there is practical value in a course like English 2B that will allow students to gain knowledge through literature rather than focusing on how to build an argument through social and philosophical text.

Chemistry major Kelly  Finnigan said, “Thank God they’re adding this class.  I’m not trying to learn law and philosophy in an English class. It is very frustrating. I don’t want to memorize (logical) fallacies.”

Biology major Sean Harris said, “As a biology major I’m not into arguing with people over law. I’d rather take the class that focuses on creativity, which it sounds like English 2B would be just that.”

Michels said the class was to be installed into the catalog this fall but has been delayed to spring 2016. It has already been approved by a the College Instruction Committee and the district Governing Board but must now be approved by the state, which can take anywhere from four to five months.

The class would provide options not only to students, but to the professors on campus who would possibly teach the class. English professor Michael Hassett is one of those cases.

“(English 1C) teaches argument with text that focuses primarily on a philosophical or sometimes sociological point of view. I’d like to possibly teach (English 2B) — it would give me a little bit more range,” Hassett said. “For instance, this semester I’ll be drawing from several texts, such as ‘Devil’s Highway’ or ‘The Things They Carried.’ So as for students, they may like (English 2B) a little more.”

One of Hassett’s students, music major Vince San Felipe, said, “I don’t really have too much interest in the things we read in class.” He said that having another option could possibly be a better idea.

Liberal Arts Division Dean Jason Berner said, “It will gives students more options. It will be for people that are more interested in literature.”