Francesca T. Royster


College/program: Department of English, LAS

How would you describe your students’ strengths?
Our students are curious, thoughtful, and often engaged with their environment. I am always impressed with the surprising ways that they are able to think about writing and literature in connection to their lives, families and the social problems of the world. They seem especially adept at making their knowledge relevant, and in bridging their studies to real world experiences and problems. They also bring a real respect for the artistic process, and often a yearning to be a part of a larger creative conversation.

Why would you encourage an undergraduate to major in English?
An undergraduate major in English is a great way to build your skills in critical thinking and self-expression. It is also a chance to study something deeply that you love, whether it’s Shakespearean literature or a beautifully written travel essay. An English Major offers a way of seeing shared struggles of a culture over time, and the turn to art and expression as a way to gain further clarity and to reach out to others to persuade and to commune.

What makes our department special?  In other words, what does DePaul’s English program offer students that they won’t get somewhere else?
Our program is distinctive in that our faculty approaches their teaching in a way that’s student centered, and in a way that challenges student to discover their own paths to the relevance of writing and literature. This department is alive and engaged with the world. Many of our faculty are active writers and scholars. Some also link the creative arts of literature and creative writing with activism.  Some bring a global as well as a local perspective to their writing and study of literature. Others are thinking and writing about the History of the Book, and changing ideas of what books and media are—‘new’ and ‘old’ media. Others are thinking deeply about contextual conflicts and disputes, bringing together religious and political contexts to better understand literature. Our program is also powerful in its offering for hands on experiences in connecting to Chicago publishing and activism through literature, in our Big Shoulders Books series, and in journals like Slag Glass City, as well as through our One Book One Chicago offerings and internships.