English department offers variety of electives


Gabriela Krieger, Editor-in-Chief

There is value in engaging with works of literature from a variety of authors and genres, exploring new writing styles, and of course, fulfilling some graduation credits along the way. The English department hopes students will scan the unique and intriguing courses being offered this upcoming fall semester! Students might be surprised at what captures their intrigue. 

For instance, when thinking of great literature, thoughts of ghosts, haunted houses, and monsters– as fun to contemplate as they are– generally don’t spring to mind. Horror often isn’t recognized as a way to challenge paradigms in sexuality and gender, but that is where Oakton’s Women and Horror course proves unique. From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, students will want to read the books and study the traditions covered by this course. 

The promises and failures of the American dream is a topic that impacts every citizen of America, but is critically under-discussed. Oakton’ Introduction to Literature course will critique the reality of the promises of the “land of opportunity” through books, poetry, plays, and even songs, and will strive to answer the question: What happens when opportunity is not equally available to all? 

“My Intro to Literature class explores great works of literature that grapple with the promise of America as the land of opportunity and the damage that happens when that opportunity is not equally available to all,” said Oakton professor Michael Mauritzen. “With a smaller class size, you will join a close intellectual community focused on discussing short stories, novels, plays, and poetry to uncover their deeper meaning and historical significance.” 

Unusual in the sense that the student actively participates in choosing some text and methods of evaluation, Women and Literature is ideal for individuals who appreciate independence and autonomy within the classroom. By considering the diverse perspectives of Virginia Woolf, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Toni Morrison, Suzan-Lori Parks, Emily Dickinson, Gloria Anzaldua, Louise Erdrich, and more, students will explore how women have, according to professor Marian Staats, “challenged mainstream definitions of the ‘natural’ and consider writers who question our relations with other animals and the environment to play vital roles in our cultures, revising notions of gender, sexuality, friendship, and family as they creatively resist oppression and imagine possibilities for change.” 

Students interested in surveying the creative and critical works of African-American authors in a variety of fiction, non-fiction, poetic, and dramatic forms are recommended to enroll in Oakton’s Introduction to African-American Literature course. This class will study African-American literature throughout the centuries and will ruminate on their experiences in effort to gain intimate understandings of their lives, their losses, their struggles, and their triumphs. Through the works of Gwendolyn Brooks, Toni Morrison, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Margaret Walker, August Wilson, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, and Douglas Turner Ward, students explore the way writing is used as an act of resistance cultural preservation, historical documentation, and self-representation. 

With the help of the work of authors Celeste Ng, Ocean Vuong, Adrian Tomine, Jenny Han, and Cathy Park Hong, this course will read, explore, and discuss issues related to identity, politics, family, work, education, art, and migration since the late 19th century. To shine a light on the ways Asian American storytellers have represented a wide variety of Asian American experiences as well as challenges, questions, and possibilities, enroll in Introduction to Asian American Literature

As for students looking for a class focused more on the communications side of the hemisphere, journalism may  interest them, or is writing creatively the forte? Do students need a course to teach them how to write a job resume? Then Oakton offers more courses that will undoubtedly pique their interest. 

Introduction to Creative Writing will draw out a student’s capability to write, which lies dormant within everyone. For students looking to hone their voice, refine their ability to tell their own story, explore creative genres, and read works by a diverse array of contemporary writers, consider enrolling in this course! This class will allow writers– no matter how experienced– to share written work in weekly writing workshops, as well as foster a productive, creative, and safe intellectual environment. Enroll in to develop the ‘writer’s toolbox’ and unleash the writer within!

If the notion of enjoying reactions from a wide audience of people while earning credit sounds like a worthwhile investment, keep on reading. For students interested in legal issues, ethical issues, and current event topics, as well as learning how to produce stories for news, features, sports, and opinions sections of any media, Introduction to Journalism is designed especially for them. Unusual for an English course, this class will allow students to take photos around campus, post slideshows on stories for The OCCurrence website, express opinions on current event topics, and report on news events here. 

As for minds that love to brainstorm and explore new ideas, Introduction to Mass Communications is offered.  In this class, no topic is off-topic. Instructor Janet Levin states that unlike most English classes, this producer-based and consumer-based course allows students to produce stories in a variety of formats, including written pieces, photo slideshows, videos, and even social media posts.

Writing in a professional working environment can be daunting; luckily, Introduction to Business and Technical Writing will prepare students to the highest degree, whether they are looking for their first job or are already well-established in their position. This class will help students prepare a resume/cover letter to apply for a position, cover how to write letters, memos, reports, and instructions once they’re hired, and teach the basics for how to write for any purpose and audience as well as hone the ability to work with a team. “Introduction to Business and Technical Writing will prepare you for the writing you will create in a professional working environment,” said Mauritzen. This course will leave future employees with a robust portfolio of skills that will better prepare them for any profession.

These exciting courses will be held in in-person, hybrid, and asynchronous online formats. 

The specific what, where, and when of the described classes are listed below: 


EGL 115-GY1: Introduction to Fiction (CRN: 32038)

Women and Horror

Instructor: Prof. Ji-Hyae Park, [email protected]

Hybrid (Part online; part on campus): Meets in person on Mondays 9:30-10:45 am

Fulfills these requirements: Humanities, WGSS (Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies), Great Books, English Pre-Major


EGL 129-OG1: Introduction to Literature (CRN: 31356)

The Promise and Failure of the American Dream

Instructor: Prof. Michael Mauritzen, [email protected]

In person: Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30-10:45 am, Des Plaines

Requirements: Great Books, Humanities, English Pre-Major


EGL133.GC1: Women and Literature (CRN: 32039)

Instructor: Prof. Marian Staats, [email protected]

Online anytime: Asynchronous

Fulfills these requirements: Humanities, U.S. Diversity Studies, WGSS (Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies), Environmental Studies, Peace and Social Justice Studies, Great Books, English Pre-Major


EGL 134-0G1: Introduction to African American Literature (CRN: 32035)

Instructor: Prof. Tina Fakhrid-Deen, [email protected]

In person: Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30-1:45 pm, Skokie

Fulfills these requirements: Humanities, U.S. Diversity Studies, Great Books, English Pre-Major

(Instructor Consent Required)


EGL 137-GY1: Introduction to Asian American Literature (CRN: 32175)

Instructor: Prof. Ji-Hyae Park, [email protected]

Hybrid (Part online; part on campus): Meets in person on Mondays 9:30-10:45 am, Skokie

Fulfills these requirements: Humanities, U.S. Diversity Studies, Great Books, English Pre-Major


EGL 111-OC1: Introduction to Business and Technical Writing (CRN: 31070)

Instructor: Prof. Michael Mauritzen, [email protected]

Online anytime: Asynchronous

Fulfills these requirements: Technical Communication Certificate


EGL 201-001: Introduction to Creative Writing (CRN: 30539)

Instructor: Prof. Danielle Aquiline, [email protected]

In person: Mondays and Wednesdays 11-12:15 pm, Des Plaines

Prerequisite: EGL 101 or instructor consent


EGL 150-050: Introduction to Journalism (CRN: 31252)

Instructor: Prof. Janet Levin, [email protected]

In person (Late Start: 9/20/2022): Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:30-6:10 pm, Des Plaines

And meets as an asynchronous online course

Fulfills these requirements: English credit (counts as a journalism credit when transferred

to other schools)


ENG 220-001: Introduction to Mass Communications (CRN: 32034)

Instructor: Prof. Janet Levin, [email protected]

In person (Late Start: 9/20/2022): Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00-3:40 pm, Des Plaines

Fulfills these requirements: English credit, Digital Video Content Creation Certificate, Digital Audio Content Creation Certificate