Literature & Languages Student Opportunities

  • Explore the Possibilities

    As a student in the Literature & Languages program at Saint Francis University you will have plenty of opportunities in the classroom and beyond. Below are just a few of the opportunities waiting for you.

  • Open opportunities


    These opportunities are open to anyone, yet Literature & Language majors can find great career experience via these extra-curricular activities.

    • RED Radio - Student Radio Station
    • Troubadour - The Troubadour is a bi-weekly student publication of Saint Francis University.
    • ASL Club - The ASL Club is a vibrant student organization who enjoys working with the Deaf community to create awareness of Deaf Culture and American Sign Language! One of the first steps in breaking down walls of oppression or discrimination is to create awareness. Many people have few experiences with a person from the Deaf community and often view deafness as a disability. The Club, with support from the Deaf Community spreads awareness and allows people to realize that Deaf individuals are highly successful just like any hearing person.
    • SFC Literary Guild - Many of our majors are active members of the Literary Guild, which, in addition to hosting public readings and writing workshops, provides transportation and travel money for off-campus cultural events. Last year, for instance, members of the Literary Guild, accompanied by Dr. Kirk Weixel, attended a production of Rent in Pittsburgh.
    • Bell Tower - SFU yearbook
    • Environmental literature program
    • Peer-reviewed journal Legacy
  • Writing Contest


    Each year the School of Arts and Letters hosts the Gunard Berry Carlson Writing Contest to recognize undergraduate students’ outstanding writing and visual artwork. Writing categories include fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and essay writing; visual arts categories include photography, painting (oil or water), sculpture, and sketch. Entries are judged by an interdisciplinary faculty panel, and prizes are awarded as follows:

    Writing Entries

    • First Place: $350 and $350 Tuition Credit
    • Second Place: $200 and $200 Tuition Credit
    • Third Place: $150 and $150 Tuition Credit
    • Fourth Place: $100 and $100 Tuition Credit
    • Honorable Mentions: $25

    Visual Arts Entries

    • First Place: $100
    • Honorable Mentions: $25

    All winning entries and honorable mentions in both the writing and visual arts categories are published in Tapestries, a university-sponsored literary magazine, with the winning visual arts entry serving as the magazine’s cover image. Tapestries reflects the broad creative talents of the university’s burgeoning writers and artists. Any currently enrolled SFU undergraduate may submit writing or artwork for the Gunard Berry Carlson Writing Contest. For more information regarding contest guidelines and submission procedures, please e-mail Dr. Brennan Thomas at or call 471-1111.

  • Retreats

    Victoria Thompson and Teddy Roosevelt  Cast of Murder on Loretto Road  Danielle and Vicki at Murder on Loretto Road

    The Western PA Women Writers Bi-Annual Retreat

    The retreat is organized by English faculty Timothy Bintrim, Robin Cadwallader, Lauri Chose, Kelly Rhodes, and Kirk Weixel, and supported by the funding from the School of Arts & Letters, Provost’s Office, and English, Communication Arts & Foreign Languages Department.

    Our first retreat in 2008 featured authors Rebecca Harding Davis, Nellie Bly, Willa Cather, Margaret Deland, Jennifer Haigh, and Tawni O’Dell.

    The second, in 2010, featured Rachel Carson and Annie Dillard.

    The third literary retreat in 2012, “Murder on Loretto Road,” drew a capacity audience of 28 current students, parents, alumni, and other community members on June 8-9. The weekend was designed as a tribute to the Gaslight Mystery Series of Victoria Thompson, who, on Saturday, spoke about her writing career and the inspiration for the fourteen books in the series. On Friday, the weekend began with a Clue Walk insinuating that six felons transferred from New York had escaped from nearby Ebensburg Jail and headed toward Loretto with designs on millionaire Charles M. Schwab.  The highlight of the weekend was the tribute mystery written by English major Eric Horell (‘13) and alumnus Aaron Rovan (B.A. SFU ’09, M.A. Duquesne U ’12), performed by the audience at Friday night’s dinner theater. The play was set on June 8, 1897, in the hours before a midsummer gala for New York socialites hosted by Schwab at Immergrun. Unfortunately, one of Mr. Schwab’s guests was mistaken for his host—and murdered--on the train. A panicked Schwab challenged the players (in roles from Thompson’s series, many in period costume) to catch the murderer or go home without dinner. Only the playwrights knew the identity of the villain, and even they weren’t sure how the live drama would play out. At the end of two hours, NYC Police Commissioner Teddy Roosevelt (played by a fully costumed Dr. Gloria Kerr of St. Vincent College) fingered the villain and threatened him with her big stick. Victoria Thompson (who played a supporting role) was delighted by the play. Saturday’s program concluded with a tour of the 1889 A.W. Buck House, now headquarters of the Cambria County Historical Society.

  • Professional Development

    Honor Society

    Sigma Tau Delta

    Sigma Tau Delta was founded in 1924 at Dakota Wesleyan University to recognize English majors who have displayed superior scholarship in their literary studies. Saint Francis University established the Phi Chi Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta in 1988 and is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies.

    Writing Center

    A Humble and Generous Attitude Towards Learning: The university’s writing center, now housed in the English department, provides tutoring services to all undergraduate students, particularly those who feel anxious or uncertain about their writing abilities or are struggling to find their own voice.

    Involvement: English majors selected to tutor in the writing center are trained to guide the center’s clientele through various stages of the writing process; in doing so, tutors enhance not only their interpersonal communication skills but also their understanding of the writing process. This scholarship option is strongly recommended for students pursuing careers in education and professional writing. English majors collaborate with tutors from other disciplines in developing materials for our center’s website and quarterly newsletter, The Write Times.

    About the center: The Writing Center, located in Pasquerilla Library, provides one-to-one consultations and small-group workshops for students seeking assistance with their writing. The center’s peer tutoring staff is trained to work with students at any stage of the writing process on almost any type of assignment. Tutoring services and resources are free to all students enrolled at Saint Francis University.

    For more information regarding the center’s services, please e-mail Dr. Brennan Thomas, Writing Center Director, at or visit the writing center’s home page.

  • Interdepartmental Collaboration

    Although English and Communications recently split into two separate departments, we continue to forge a shared journalistic community for our students to learn, study, and socialize together. Here are some photos from this past year's Literature & Languages and Communication Joint Picnic!

    English and Communications Picnic

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