Emily Henderson
News Editor

Kim Tsuyuki
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Changes have come to some of the majors of Whittier College! Specifically to the English major, and the addition of the all-new Film major to the College’s curriculum. Students can consult their advisor if they have any specific questions pertaining to changes to their degree. 

The new Film major (different from the film emphasis approved last year) was announced on May 4, 2022 through an email to current Theatre students. It is a part of three different emphases embedded in the theater major curriculum: performance, design, or film. The announcement that went out to students exclaimed, “WE HAVE A NEW FILM MAJOR! Have advisees who want to become the next Tarantino, Del Toro, Gerwig, Spielberg, or Spike Lee?” The flyer concludes by asking to contact Professor of Theatre & Communication Arts Jennifer Holmes and Assistant Professor of Film Studies Patti McCarthy if you have any questions. Why did it take so long to create a Film major? Especially since students have expressed interest in one for years? Professors Holmes and McCarthy stated, “While the Whittier Scholars Program does exceedingly well with students who self-design their majors around film, for years the Whittier Scholars Program has suggested a film major. However, creating a standalone major was not possible until we had a tenure-track person dedicated to teaching film history/genres, theory and production.”  They are incredibly excited to help create a community of students who are interested in film and prepare them for entry level positions in the field. 

The Film major includes FILM/THEA 50 – Production Practicum, with one practicum class for each year in residency, FILM/THEA 110 – Introduction to Acting, OR THEA 101 Fundamentals of Public Speaking, FILM/THEA 170 – Fundamentals of Cinema, FILM/THEA 205 – Screenwriting, FILM/THEA 270 – Film Genre, FILM/THEA 285 – Documentary Cinema, FILM/THEA 315 – Directing, FILM/THEA 320 – Intro to Video Production, FILM/THEA 420 – Advanced Video Production, FILM/THEA 480 – Film Theory & Criticism, FILM/THEA 485 – Senior Seminar in Theatre & Film. Please note that this list is inconclusive at the moment and will change each semester depending on the classes available!

Both Holmes and McCarthy expressed their excitement, “This is an incredibly exciting time to introduce a new film major! Ideally located between Downtown LA and Downtown Disney, Whittier College is poised to become leaders in visual storytelling!  We can empower film student creativity and enrich student learning, expand on the film studies minor and emphasis, and enhance Whittier’s ability to create campus-wide film and digital media innovation.” [The Film major] helps establish Whittier College’s commitment to become media trend leaders in higher education, “We are excited to support a culture of outstanding film scholarship, foster student creativity, offer high-quality filmmaking experiences, promote student work, create exceptional media content, offer film internships, create networking opportunities with Hollywood talent, and drive current College film and digital media initiatives.

In the English major, changes were announced through a meeting to all English students (current freshman, sophomores, and juniors) on March 28, 2022 in Hoover 100. Professors like Jonathan Burton, dAvid pAddy, and others told students about the upcoming changes to the major. In a checklist put out by Professor Morris, it explains how there are new tracks for the major: Literature, Creative Writing, and Media Studies. The announcement states that upcoming seniors can finish the major with the old requirements; while also stating that upcoming sophomores and juniors are “encouraged to ‘declare’ an English major using one of the new tracks (even though they may be similar to the old ones). This will put the new requirements into effect for DegreeWorks and the like.” The Chair of the English Department Professor Jonathan Burton, in regards to the changes to the English Major and Minor, wrote how the changes “stem[ed] from sustained departmental discussions about representation and diversity within our curriculum and practices, reflecting the collective commitments of the department. Above all our goals are advancing student ambitions, heightening salience and fostering cohort experiences.”

The Literature Track includes the Literature Track with 36 units (about 12 classes); 18 units at 300- or 400-level (about six classes); Any 100-level class; ENGL 210 Critical Procedures; ENGL 313 Magazine and Journal Editing (or similar title); three classes in Major Genres (one class studying Poetry, one class studying Fiction, and one class studying Drama) one class in literature before 1900; one class in literature after 1900; ENGL 300 Junior Seminar; and ENGL 410 Senior Seminar. The Creative Track requires 36 units (about 12 classes); 18 units at 300- or 400-level (about six classes); Any 100-level class; ENGL 210 Critical Procedures; ENGL 313 Magazine and Journal Editing (or similar title); three Creative Writing Workshop classes (At least two different genres) (i.e., not all creative writing classes in just fiction, or just poetry, etc.); At least one 300-level creative writing class; one class in literature before 1900; one class in literature after 1900; and ENGL 410 Senior Seminar. And the new Media Studies Track requires 36 units (about 12 classes); 18 units at 300- or 400-level (about six classes); ENGL 103 Better Living through Media Literacy; ENGL 140 Intro to Media Studies; ENGL 210 Critical Procedures; ENGL 313 Magazine and Journal Editing (or similar title); two additional “Praxis” courses in media studies; one class in literature before 1900; one class in literature after 1900; and ENGL 410 Senior Seminar.

In a play-by-play checklist of each grade level, seniors next year and continuing seniors should “Finish out the major with the requirements that were in place before this year. (3 literary genres, 4 historical periods, Shakespeare, 1 “Language/Writing,” ENGL 220, ENGL 221, ENGL 410 Senior Seminar, Critical Procedures) (Creative Writing: 3 creative writing classes, 3 literary genres, ENGL 220, ENGL 221, ENGL 410 Senior Seminar, Critical Procedures)”. The announcement notes a difference next year that will affect all English students stating that the class of “Critical Procedures” is now an ENGL 210, instead of ENGL 410. Morris also states that room in these classes may be limited, but if a student needs a certain course, the Department will help find a way. 

Upon encouraging next year’s sophomores and juniors to sign up for one of the three new tracks, the announcement also states that “Next year’s Literature-Track Juniors should try to take ENGL 300 Junior Seminar in the Spring. Sophomores and Juniors should try to take ENGL 313 Editing and Publishing Emerging Media (if you haven’t already) in the Spring.”

Professor Burton goes on to state that “The “old” Literature and Creative Writing “tracks” through the English major stress historical coverage in British and American Literature, a priority originally believed suitable to the apprenticeship of students for graduate school in English. Key assumptions in this logic have been strongly interrogated by our discipline and more broadly across academic culture. Graduate schools in English no longer emphasize broad historical coverage, recognizing that this approach has privileged white, male voices, excluded marginalized authors and alienated students-of-color.” Burton continues on saying how the new changes now have a focus on “theory and praxis,”instead of “Euro-American literary history.” Burton states that “This is a profound change, moving us away from a canon-centered curriculum to an interpretation and application-centered curriculum. For Whittier students this is particularly important: English majors over the past three years have averaged 75% non-white. Moreover, fewer than 5% of our graduates pursue advanced degrees in English. Recent graduates have pursued diverse ambitions in fields including publishing, law, secondary education, marketing, public relations, library science, professional writing, social media management, customer service, counseling and podcast producing. The proposed revisions to the English major reflect the interests and needs of a more diverse set of students and support a broader range of professional ambitions.  They are designed to promote belonging, lateral learning and sequencing by increasing the number of cohort experiences for majors and scaffolding skills crucial to the guided research and formal presentation required in our capstone, Senior Seminar.”

If you have any more questions in regards to the new Film Major, you can contact Professor Patti McCarthy at pmccarth@whittier.edu, or Professor Jennifer Holmes at jholmes@whittier.edu. If you have any questions in regards to changes to the English major, you can contact Department of English Language and Literature Chair Jonathan Burton at jburton@whittier.edu

 

Featured Photo Courtesy of Sage Amdahl 

Authors

  • Emily Henderson

    Emily Henderson is the Assistant News Editor for the Quaker Campus. She is a second-year English Creative Writing major with a Film Studies minor. When trying to relax from work and school, she likes to read epic fantasy novels, watch cartoons, go to Disneyland, and drink unhealthy amounts of tea.

  • Kim Tsuyuki

    Kim Tsuyuki is a third-year English major with a minor in Film Studies. This is her first year working for the QC and is currently writing for the Arts & Entertainment section. When she isn’t working, she can be found playing video games, collecting stickers, and watching the same three movies (over and over, like chill out Kim). She’s kinda sad, but mostly hungry.

Emily Henderson is the Assistant News Editor for the Quaker Campus. She is a second-year English Creative Writing major with a Film Studies minor. When trying to relax from work and school, she likes to read epic fantasy novels, watch cartoons, go to Disneyland, and drink unhealthy amounts of tea.

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