How fun it is to observe a fictional character contemplate life deeply and philosophically! Or watch the body language of two characters in conversation. How fun it is to have our brains hurt when we’re asking questions of our literature that, really, we often ask about ourselves. The study of language and literature is a glass on the world, a view of the human condition.  We can unlock truth we didn’t think we had the words for, enjoy the humor of a great fictional dialogue, watch a master speechwriter execute skills of persuasion, or just leave our own world for a while while we enter that of a novel, play or lyrical poem.  We read, discuss and write in English classes, honing our skills at essay writing. At the same time, we undertake a range of creative projects to enhance and deepen our thinking about literature, philosophy, politics, art and life.

Fast Facts about the Notre Dame English Department

  • Walking field trips to plays at City Lights, programming at the Hammer theater and other downtown stages
  • Field trips to ACT and other Bay Area theaters when plays coincide with our reading
  • Biennial theater trip to London and an annual trip to Ashland
  • Biennial educational trip to Italy and Greece
  • UC/CSU approved senior electives, taught in rotation
  • Research-based fiction and nonfiction projects
  • Real-world learning: Letters to the editors of local and national newspapers. Submission of Perspectives to KQED. Skype conversations with international activists  
  • Blogs and discussion forums for students to explore their public voice
  • Flipped teaching, conferencing with students for one-on-one learning
  • Experiential learning field trips
    • Freshmen to San Jose’s Japantown to study Japanese culture in conjunction with their summer reading
    • Juniors to Angel Island to study immigration and aspects of the American Dream