‘MTSU On the Record’ examines English majors’ valu...

‘MTSU On the Record’ examines English majors’ value in labor market

The chair of MTSU’s largest department explored some myths about students who major in his discipline in a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. Stephen Severn, English chair

Dr. Stephen Severn

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Stephen Severn, who leads the university’s Department of English, first aired Dec. 4 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and You can listen to their conversation above.

A study released this year by the Association of Departments of English found that numbers of English majors are at their lowest level in 30 years. Severn disputes the notion that majoring in English in college will result in a direct trip to the unemployment line.

“Survey after survey says that what employers are really looking for … is communication skill, particularly written communication skill,” Severn said. “They’re looking for a strong work ethic, which our majors have, and they’re looking for research and analytical abilities, which is what we really do.”

Severn took over the department in August. The Baltimore, Maryland, native brings a unique background to his academic life; he served for five years as an officer in the U.S. Navy Nuclear Power Program, including a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf aboard the U.S.S. Arkansas.

He earned his doctorate in English language and literature from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2004.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.