The Department of English at Michigan State University champions teaching practices that acknowledge difference and advance equal access to education. Through the study of literature and film, our curriculum inspires discussions about race, ethnicity, gender, class, sex, sexuality, ability, and religion. Our teaching, scholarship, and service are explicitly committed to advancing equity and justice and questioning established power structures. We foster curiosity through the study of literature and film and through creative production. We endorse the principle of education for institutional change, aimed at ending exclusionary practices and creating a more equitable academic environment.

We teach critical thinking and creative problem solving—skills essential to democratic social engagement. We value research that informs public debate and empowers future scholars and artists to generate transformative methodologies. By going beyond conventional approaches to the arts and humanities, our faculty and students examine the political and social power of language and images, and analyze how cultural expression can serve to reproduce injustices. We also explore how pedagogy, literature, film, and art often expose and resist systemic inequalities.

Our professional service and community outreach are grounded in the principle of social awareness, and guided by honesty, transparency, integrity. We support efforts that urge the University to examine its institutional practices and values, and that address historical biases and ongoing discrimination. When appropriate we engage the broader community in conversations concerning cultural and political inequities. Our aim is to foster an educational experience that is wholly informed by upholding equity and justice.

The Equity and Justice Committee was established in 2019 to support the above mission.