English program crosses the pond

MU study abroad program integrates location with plot.
Monday, February 19, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:31 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The MU English Department is preparing to launch a four-week study abroad program aimed at bringing classic English literature alive.

Dubbed “Locating Literary England,” it will be the only MU study abroad program specifically tailored to undergraduate English majors. The program intends to incorporate location into the study of predominantly classic English texts through a series of guest lectures, discussions and trips. Students will go to the Dickens Museum in London, the Bronte Home in Haworth, England, and other famed locations such as Westminster Abbey.

Participants in the program will be paired with students attending the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, England.

“We want to present English students with an immediate link to an English department abroad,” program director Nancy West said. “This way, students with the same major can have a personalized connection with individuals from their region of study.”

Karen Laird, a graduate student at MU, is accompanying West to assist in the program. Laird said her dissertation on Victorian literature will be heavily influenced by her teaching experience in England. Her participation was partially funded from a research incentive grant awarded by the Arts and Science Alumni Organization. West wrote the grant.

“We’ve already been able to produce a lot of interest,” Laird said. “I think it’s going to be a great trip and an excellent opportunity for undergraduate students to have an exceptional, personal experience with British text.”

West plans to make the summer program an annual event, with a new faculty member leading the program each year.

An application for the program is available on the MU study abroad Web site, The deadline for applicants is today. There are no restrictions on the number of accepted applicants, and an enrollment of more than 15 students lowers the individual program fee.

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