History of the TWU Department of English, Speech and Foreign Languages

Group of girls sitting on a staircase in black and white photo.
English Club at the Texas State College for Women, 1941-42.

1901

Plans are underway for a Girls Industrial College of Texas, which is to provide the students with a literary education and a knowledge of "practical industries" (Bulletin No. 1, Feb. 20, 1903).

1903

The diploma plan called English-Science is created for the first term of The Girls Industrial College. Miss Lucy E. Fay is the chair.

1904

A newly created department named Elocution, Physical Culture and Vocal Music is established. Included in the department are classes in speech arts and literary interpretation.

1905

The school name is changed to the College of Industrial Arts.

1906

The Daedalian Quarterly begins publication first as the Chaparral Monthly and then as the Daedalian Monthly before assuming the name of the Daedalian
Quarterly in 1914.

1907

"All students are required to study English no matter what course is taken, for any knowledge without the power to express that knowledge correctly, both orally and in writing, is inadequate" (Bulletin No 18, June, 1907). Miss Beatrice Montgomery replaces Miss Fay, who has resigned.

1908

The name change of the course of study from "English-Science" to "Literary Course" more accurately reflects courses actually being taught. All non-literary
courses are renamed "rhetoric and composition" with different emphasis, i.e., grammar, exposition and argument, narration. Miss Etta M. Lacy is hired to take the place of Miss Montgomery.

1909

From 1909 to 1919, student enrollment increases from 258 to 1463.

1910

President William Bennett Bizzell is dismayed at the overcrowding. As many as fifty students are crowded into one English class.

1911

Course offerings reflect fewer composition courses in relation to literature for the first time. A new course in mythology is offered.

1912

A graduate of North Texas State Normal School, Miss M. Helen Higgins is hired as an assistant instructor in English language. The department now has two faculty members.

1913

The aim of the College of Industrial Arts is to "send out well-rounded young women. And it will never send them out until it sends out a girl who can write as
well as she can cook, who can interpret great minds as well as she can sew, and who can think and assimilate the ideals of others as well as she can furnish
as house" (Sixth Biennial Report of the Board of Regents, August 32, 1913-1914).

1914

This date marks the first year of degree work. Miss Lacy leaves the Department, and Miss Mary A. Shouse arrives to direct the department.

1915

The English faculty grows to five. In January, the Lass-O and a literary insert, the Daedalian Quarterly, are first published. In June, the College of Industrial Arts confers its first degree. One of the three graduates is an English major. During the 1915-16 school year, the name of the department changes from English Language and Literature to English.

1918

Composition offerings are limited to two freshman writing classes and one advanced writing class. The Department of Elocution is disbanded. Speech/oratory, debate and physical expression move to the newly created Department of Reading.

1919

Professor Lee Monroe Ellison, Director of the English program, replaces Miss Shouse, who has resigned. He remains in this position until 1947, having served
forty-seven years.

1920

The department grows to eleven faculty members. William Butler Yeats visits as a lecturer. The Language Department continues to offer classes in French,
German, Spanish and Latin.

1922

During the 1922-23 school year, the year Autrey Nell Wiley graduates from CIA, Robert Frost visits. He returns to TWU to speak in 1938. Bulletin No. 100 (April 1, 1922) consists of "Programs and Suggestions for Study for Women's Clubs by The Members of the English Department."

1924

Carl Sandburg makes his first of four visits to TWU. He returns to speak in 1932, 1937 and 1942.

1925

The Journalism Department is established and assumes responsibility of the Lass-O. Years later, the hyphen will be dropped from the title, thus diminishing the effect of the original pun.

1929

During 1929-30, CIA becomes the first woman's college in Texas to offer graduate courses leading to the master's degree.

1931

The college confers its first master of arts degrees in June. Three of the M.A. graduates are in English.

1934

The name of the college changes to Texas State College for Women.

1938

The abolition of student uniforms occurs this year. During 1938-39, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay visits the campus. She returns in 1945-46.

1939

This year begins fifty years of the Writers' Conference, one of the most prestigious events sponsored by the English Department.

1940

Enrollment figures for 1940-45 reveal a decline in traditional areas, including English.

1941

Sinclair Lewis comes to campus for a debate during 1941-42.

1946

The Beta Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the national English honor society for upper-class students, is established at TSCW.

1947

Autrey Nell Wiley, Ph.D., becomes chair of the English Department and serves in that capacity for twenty-four years.

1948

Omega Rho Alpha, the freshman English honor society, is established on campus and will later have chapters at other Texas colleges.

1949

The English Department offers summer workshops on Current Trends in English, the only workshop of its kind.

1957

The name change from the Texas State College for Women to Texas Woman's University reflects the university's emphasis on research and graduate work.

1959

Autrey Nell Wiley, Ph.D., becomes Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

1966

The University Honors Programs begins and includes English.

1968

The first graduate teaching assistants are admitted into the department.

1970

The coordinating board approves the department's application to implement a new graduate degree, the doctor of philosophy in English with a concentration
in rhetoric.

1971

Autrey Nell Wiley, Ph.D., retires forty-seven years after she began teaching at CIA in 1923 and twenty-four years after she became chair of the English Department. Lavon B. Fulwiler, Ph.D., becomes the new Chair.

1973

Gladys Rios, Ph.D., is the first to receive the new Ph.D. in English with a concentration in rhetoric.

1974

The First Annual Symposium in Rhetoric is held at TWU.

1975

The Writing Lab opens its doors for tutoring.

1978

The English Department and the Speech Department merge and become the
new English and Speech Department.

1980

Howard Nemerov, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and of the National Book Award, speaks at the Creative Writing Workshop. The Daedalian Quarterly and the
yearbook merge to create an annual magazine called Daedalian. The department offers courses in applied rhetoric in Dallas.

1982

The Department of Foreign Languages joins the Department of English and Speech to become the new Department of Language and Literature. Frank
Longoria, Ph.D., becomes chair.

1985

From 1985 to 1990, the enrollment in English courses grows 44.3 percent. The interdisciplinary workshop "Texas Women: The Myth, the Reality" is coordinated by Joyce Thompson, Ph.D.

1988

The golden anniversary of the Writers' Conference marks its last conference at TWU. The department publishes its first departmental newsletter.

1989

The name of the Department changes to the Department of English, Speech and Foreign Languages to reflect more specifically than before its three components.

1992

The Reading Room, the literary journal of the TWU chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, is first published. After the department's Reading Room closed in 1998-99, Sigma Tau Delta renamed their journal A Room of our Own.

1998

Frank Longoria, Ph.D., retires, and Hugh Burns, Ph.D., becomes the new chair of the department. Omega Rho Alpha celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. Curriculum changes to the Ph.D. program in rhetoric are approved.

1999

The Distinguished Rhetoricians Seminar brings to campus nine outstanding rhetoricians throughout the spring semester. TWUMOO hosts the Second Biennial Feminism(s) and Rhetoric(s) Conference.

2000

TWU hosts the Sixteenth National Computers and Writing Conference in Fort Worth.