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About the Department

Are you drawn to books? Do you hear music in words? You may be an English major. English courses are not, however, just for those who major in English. The skills acquired in our courses are core skills—reading, remembering what you read, and writing, about both what you’ve read and what you’ve experienced. Some benefits that come from taking English courses, like learning how to read and write better, are obvious. Other less obvious benefits, like cultivating empathy and developing a deeper understanding of human experience, are just as important in our personal and professional lives.

Poetry, American Literature, Practical Writing, Mythology, and Composition I are great fun—our instructors make sure of that. However, the courses our department offers also enrich the mind and spirit while preparing students for professional expectations. Employers value clear communication and analytical thinking and often hire and promote individuals who possess these skills. Our courses will give you an edge. You’ll also visit new worlds—in the pages of books, and in yourself.

Our department is dedicated to expanding literary opportunities for the college and community members in central Minnesota. We host first-class literary events such as the Verse Like Water poetry series featuring internationally known poets Li-Young Lee, Naomi Shihab Nye, Richard Blanco, Billy Collins, and others. In addition, students have an opportunity to submit their best poems, short stories, and essays to an annual writing contest, judged by professional writers from around the state.

Department Information

Department Description: The study of English means discovering the dynamic process of writing and the influential impact of literature on human thought. The English Department offers a variety of writing and literature courses that create opportunities for students to apply creative and analytical insight to various rhetorical situations. Faculty members guide writers and readers from the initial stages of discovery to the final steps of drafting cohesive, logical, and intelligent texts. A strong background in writing and literature assures that students possess skills necessary to succeed personally, academically, and professionally today and in the future.

Department Learning Outcomes:

Students will be able to:

  • Choose, develop, and support a thesis, producing a unified and coherent oral or written text that demonstrates awareness of purpose and audience and uses standard edited English.
  • Utilize research tools, use correct and appropriate documentation format, and properly cite credible sources.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the implications of cultural and historical contexts in literature.

Special Department Information: Students are strongly advised to take English 1410 in the first semester and English 1411 in the second semester, as instruction in expository and research writing will promote success in other classes.

Click here for a complete listing of English course offerings.

Career Titles: Advertising Copywriter, Computer Instructional Designer, Copy Editor or Editorial Assistant, Corporate Communications Specialist, Freelance Writer, Publications Researcher, Radio/Television Copywriter, Journalist, Technical Writer, Secondary School Teacher, Professor


jeffJeff Johnson
Jeff Johnson studied English, history and education at St. John’s University, and his M.A. in English is from St. Cloud State University. He has been teaching English in central Minnesota for nearly 30 years. At CLC, Jeff teaches courses in composition and literature, works as a College in the Schools Collaborator, and also works for the MnSCU Center for College Readiness. Jeff directs Verse Like Water—the visiting poet program of Central Lakes College, which is funded by grants from Five Wings Arts Council and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Charles Simic, Billy Collins, and Robert Hass are among recent poets hosted. Jeff is passionate about the teaching life, and he is also happy when he is in his rural peat bog with his wife and teenage sons. Email Jeff for more information

Matthew Fort
Matthew Fort earned an M.A. in English from St. Cloud State University and a B.A. in English from Saint John’s University, Collegeville. For the past decade he has taught the composition series and the American literature series at CLC. In his spare time he enjoys reading, writing, hunting, and fishing. Email Matthew for more information

Ryan Deblock
Ryan Deblock started teaching English at CLC in the fall of 2007. He’s received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Ryan and his family live in the Cuyuna Lakes Area. Ryan spends free time reading fantasy, science fiction, and mysteries. Email Ryan for more information

Leane Flynn
Leane Flynn earned an M.A. in English from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and a B.A. in English with a minor in music from the University of Minnesota, Morris. Her professional interests include creative nonfiction, college writing, and mothering studies. In addition to teaching, Leane enjoys spending quality time with family, running 5K races, reading, writing, playing music, volunteering, biking on the Cuyuna Lakes Trail, and gardening. Email Leane for more information

Brandy Hoffmann
Brandy Hoffmann taught in the Writing Studies Department at the University of Minnesota Duluth for nine years before joining the English department at CLC. She is dedicated to helping students overcome obstacles to writing effectively – fear, procrastination, writer’s block – and she asks her students to think of themselves as powerful contributors through their reading and writing practices. She likes old books, poetry, vinyl records, live music, community radio, children’s literature, lakes, and hanging out with her twin daughters and husband. She received an M.A. in English from UMD. Email Brandy for more information

Kate Porter
Kate Porter is an English Instructor who earned a B.A. in English education and an M.A. in English from the University of North Dakota. She enjoys teaching Composition I and II, Business and Technical Writing, American Literature, and courses geared toward English language learners. Her hobbies include drinking coffee, reading, working out, traveling, and spending time with her family. Email Kate for more information

Julie Austin
Julie Austin earned a B.S. in English and Secondary Education from Bemidji State University and a M.A. in English from Bemidji State University. Before beginning her teaching career at CLC in2006, Julie taught high school English for five years. In 2014, she was awarded a Quality Matters badge for online course design. When she is not teaching, Julie loves spending time with her husband and four children exploring the North Shore of Lake Superior as well as cooking, gardening, running, and writing. Email Julie for more information

Adam Marcotte
Adam Marcotte earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Ithaca College and a master’s degree in English Literature from the State University of New York. His first year teaching was in 1993 and he has been teaching primarily Composition I and Composition II at Central Lakes College since 2010. He specializes in making the academic writing process and research writing process plain, inspirational, and fun for all students. Additionally, Adam believes that education is the most powerful, transformative “boot-strapping” activity for individuals and communities, and values the role language arts in particular and education overall can play in personal capacity building. Email Adam for more information

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