Department of English
The Department of English is one of the oldest and largest Departments of the University of Zululand. It serves a great many students from different programmes, offering a popular major in the Dual Major BA as well as Honours, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in English literature and/or language. Research in literature, language and the teaching of English constitutes an important part of its function.
With two more posts to be filled in 2018, the Departmental staff at present comprises fifteen well-qualified academics, the majority of whom hold Doctoral degrees. Members of staff are active authors, researchers and winners of awards. The Department has a record of illustrious Alumni in various walks of life in South Africa and abroad.
The vision of the Department is to develop the study of English from the perspectives of our immediate situation in Zululand, through the broader contexts of Kwazulu-Natal and South Africa, to the global milieu in which English is spoken and written. Our study focuses on both language and literature and the connections between them; and it includes both a historical and a geographic dimension.
The broad goals of the Department envisage teaching and research that ground themselves in what is local and familiar but empower us and our students to understand and critically question what is distant and apparently or actually other.
The English Department does not see itself as isolated from its Faculty or University but as part of a collective endeavour to educate and develop. Our first-year modules should be tailored to fit the programmes that they serve; our senior undergraduate offerings should be adjusted to suit the range of students, including Education students, who take them; and our postgraduate degrees should allow collaboration and co-supervision with other Departments.
Research and community engagement should also, really or potentially, articulate with other endeavours undertaken at our institution and, more broadly, at other institutions and in society at large.
The mission of the Department of English is to engage in teaching, research and community service that are relevant to the needs and aspirations of those whom we serve and the academic world within which we operate. Our activities should conform at all times to high academic and ethical standards.
Of the students who pass through our Department, those who take only a pair of first-year modules should be equipped with an enhanced competence in spoken English as well as academic-level skills in reading and writing the language. These skills should be designed to fit the varied programmes in which the students are registered.
Those who enroll for our senior undergraduate modules should acquire a sophisticated understanding of the structure and uses of the language as well as critical literary insights and a broad knowledge of literature in English in historical and geographic context.
They should also develop a personal, fluent, correct and evidence-based style of using the language to express their understanding, insights and knowledge. These senior modules should stand future teachers, writers, editors and other language practitioners in good stead in their careers.
Building upon this sound base, students who embark with us on postgraduate study should find their special interests put into perspective by broad background knowledge, and should be empowered with thorough, systematic and ethical research skills.
The rigour of these students’ advanced studies should turn them into outstanding academics, leaders, thinkers and shapers of the next generation of our country and other countries.
While we serve the wider community of South Africa and Kwa-Zulu Natal through our teaching and learning activities, we also strive to uplift and empower members of the local communities in the three District Municipalities that the University serves, these being Zululand, uMkhanyakude and King Cetshwayo (formerly Uthungulu).