by Heidie Raine, Student Public Relations Writer
It’s the age-old question posed to students who pursue an English degree: “What are you planning to do after college?” And for those students, one new class at Cedarville University is helping to answer that question.
This past spring, Cedarville’s Bachelor of Arts in English program added the course “Career Development for the English Major” to its core graduation requirements. This two-credit class, taught by Dr. Kevin Heath, professor of English, focused on fine-tuning the mechanics of resume-building and interviewing, developing a theology of vocation, and honing the entrepreneurial skill sets from within the major.
“I wanted this class to serve a practical function, hitting the nuts and bolts of the professional world, but I also wanted us to explore why God has designed work for us and the implications of the specific gifts he’s given us as writers and thinkers and scholars,” Heath said.
One of the key components of the Career Development course is a semester-long entrepreneurial project. Students are free to pursue nearly any interest.
“Students have the freedom to do what they do best as English majors, and that’s to come up with an idea, express it, execute it, and go,” Heath shared. “Then someday when an interviewer asks them, ‘What did you do as an English major?’ they can tell about the time during their undergraduate years when they managed an outreach project for the university’s custodial staff or oversaw a departmental mentorship program or something of the sort.”
The course also looks to embolden students to greater confidence in their studies.
“There’s a quiet apologetics emphasis in the course in that we want our students to be able to articulate what the English major does to prepare them for their futures,” Heath said.
Each Wednesday class begins with a brief presentation on Cedarville English alumni and their current professional roles. Those discussed illustrate the broad and inspiring range of careers possible for an English major.
As they continue in the first-ever section of the class, Heath is incredibly pleased with its function and format thus far. He enjoys reminding his students that in an age that values vocational programs, the humanities are incredibly valuable.
“I’m grateful that God has made some of us to be mechanics, engineers, and nurses, but different gifts have different roles in his plan,” Heath added. “He also made a lot of us to be the people who use the machine gracefully, study the machine, and comment critically on the machine.”
His love for the course is rooted in a deep respect for the significant intertwining of art and faith.
“The calling on humanities majors is profound in Christianity; we are gatekeepers of culture,” Heath said. “If we’re not the ones writing the novels or making the art, someone else is doing it, and my career has been spent trying to send people out who will have integrity as writers and artists and scholars while also being deeply committed to following Jesus — creators who will see the connections between those tasks.”
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,550 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Bachelor of Arts in English program, strong graduation, and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu.