English

Prepare Yourself for Nearly Any Career by Exploring the World of Language

Princeton Review’s list of the top ten college majors includes English, and for good reason. English is one of the most versatile majors you can choose, and will prepare you for hundreds of future career paths.

Through our English program, you'll learn about the power of storytelling. The stories we tell, how we tell them, and why we tell them says much about a society and a culture. Develop a deep understanding of the importance of storytelling through a Keuka College English major, and graduate with a door-opening degree.

An English degree student helps on social media.

Customize Your English Degree

Real-world, hands-on experience is an important part of your English degree. 

The Keuka College Field Period® gives you the chance to have four separate English internships, starting your freshman year.

Learn More

Program Overview

English Major

The focus of the English degree at Keuka College is the value of English within the wider world. You will read the greatest authors in the world, but also think critically about how this can be applied outside the classroom.

You will study the power of language and literature as a means of understanding our world and making things happen. Stories shape our understanding of ourselves and the world in which we live. The English program emphasizes literature and writing in order to cultivate an appreciation for and capacity in both verbal and written expression. The study of English exposes us to a wide range of human experiences and allows students to express their own stories with clarity and creativity. You’ll also have the opportunity to study the intersection of literature with other mediums, such as film.

With a strong foundation in language and literature, you’ll be well prepared for a broad range of careers. Your B.A. in English will be valued in any position in which writing skills, clear communication, creative thinking, interpretation, and adaptation are essential to performing well in a rapidly-changing workforce.

The English major offers additional opportunities in creative writing, writing and communication, business, marketing, management, digital liberal arts, literature and design, American studies, literature and the arts, trans-American studies, and much more.

English Minor

In today's world, we are reading and analyzing text constantly throughout the day. The English minor pairs well with any major, preparing you with extraordinary verbal and written, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Learn More About the English Program

The English faculty consists of some of the most passionate professors you will ever meet. Their deep love for writing and literature can be felt in every class, and you’ll leave classes feeling energized and inspired. They are supremely well-qualified, and have a high output of research and other published work.

Catherine Agar

Writing Center Director

Academic Credentials

University of Rochester
M.A. in English
St John Fisher College
B.A. in English

Biography

Catherine Agar has been at Keuka College since 2012, when she worked as a writing specialist in the Adult and Online Education program. She has a BA in English with a minor in religious studies from St. John Fisher College and a MA in English from the University of Rochester, where her master’s thesis was about auditory reception in English poet John Milton’s Paradise Lost. She was a nontraditional, first generation student who earned her BA and MA as an adult with three children, so she has a special place in her heart for students who come to college and find themselves confused by the expectations and/or overwhelmed by the responsibilities. Catherine’s passion is to help students over the bumps in their road to success.

Dr. Marla Broetz

Assistant Professor of ASL - English Interpreting

Academic Credentials

Capella University
Ed.D. in Educational Leadership & Management
Lewis & Clark College
M.A. in Education
Gallaudet University
B.A. in Social Work

Biography

Dr. Marla Broetz is Assistant Professor of American Sign Language-English Interpreting and American Sign Language. Marla has been teaching interpreting for 25+ years and started in 2015 at Keuka College.

Her teaching philosophy guides students to succeed while inspiring an insatiable passion for learning. Marla teaches students to become bilingual and bicultural interpreters in the American Sign Language-English Interpreting program, consisting of teaching between ASL and English, cross-cultures, cross-communication, community, and interpreting cognition processes. She motivates students to lead and manage their learning experiences through self-reflection and self-directed learning. It helps students pass the threshold of not knowing, reaching their optimum potential, and becoming educated and empowered learners.

Professional Interests

Her professional interest is in teaching and learning practices, and her research interests are second language acquisition, foreign language education, and experiential learning. Marla enjoys outdoor activities, reading, and traveling.

Joey Brognano

Writing Specialist

Academic Credentials

University of Rochester
M.A. in English
State University of New York College at Geneseo
B.A. in Theatre/English

Biography

Joey Brognano has been teaching at the secondary and post-secondary level since 2008. After completing his master’s thesis on the spiritual life as a pilgrimage in William Langland’s Vision of Piers Plowman and John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, he taught introductory composition and information literacy courses at Monroe Community College and Bryant and Stratton College. Most recently, he taught English, theatre, and journalism courses at a boarding school for students with dyslexia and other language-based learning differences. In the summer of 2021, he joined Keuka College as a Writing Specialist.  

Dr. Bradley Fuster

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Music

Academic Credentials

University of Southern California
D.M.A.
Yale University
M.M.
SUNY Geneseo
B.A.

Biography

Dr. Bradley Fuster joined Keuka College as Provost and Vice President in Fall of 2018. Fuster's career in higher education began in 1999 when he served as Assistant Professor of Music and eventually interim Department Chair at Montana State University. 

In 2005, Fuster was appointed Founding Department Chair of Music at SUNY Buffalo State. As Chair, Fuster fundraised $1,425,000 in endowed scholarships by naming six renovated performance spaces. The Music Department grew from 40 undergraduate majors to 125 undergraduate and 35 graduate majors. Fuster added new performance ensembles, degrees in digital music production, and one of the first 100% online Masters in Music Education in the world, as well as authoring the self-studies to attain initial accreditation and continuing accreditation from the National Associations of Schools of Music (NASM).

Subsequently, Fuster was promoted through a series of senior leadership roles from 2013-2018. These roles included Interim Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management, Special Assistant to the Provost for Innovative Learning, Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, and Interim Vice President/Chief Information Officer. In 2016-2017, Fuster completed an ACE Fellowship at Vassar College. 

At Keuka College, Fuster has worked with the faculty to expand the program array, adding many new degrees in the areas of Allied Health and eSports Management, as well as several certificate offerings. 

Professional Interests

As a thought leader in higher education, Fuster serves as a peer reviewer and visiting reaccreditation team member for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and has authored numerous articles published in US News & World Report, eCampus News, and Inside Higher Ed.

Dr. Jennie Joiner

Division Chair
Professor of English

Academic Credentials

University of Kansas
Ph.D.
University of Oregon
M.A.
Georgia State University
B.A.

Biography

Having spent time in every state except Hawaii, Dr. Joiner’s approach to literature is naturally grounded in understandings of place and geography. In order to illustrate the rich tapestry of American literature and culture, her courses are often structured around topographical and regional locations allowing an examination of how writers define themselves and their literature in response to specific geography as well as the larger American literary tradition.  Introductory courses such as Literature in the Wider World, focusing on the power of storytelling, and Literature, Nature, Place, which focuses on the literary traditions of New York State, highlight the ways in which the human experience is grounded in understandings of specific locations.     

In keeping with this focus, Dr. Joiner is a Senior Collaborating Editor of the Digital Yoknapatawpha project, a National Endowment of the Humanities-funded collaborative project of Faulkner scholars and the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH), the Digital Media Lab at the University of Virginia. This project translates the characters, locations, and events of William Faulkner’s short stories and novels into interactive online maps that help bring Faulkner’s literary settings alive to modern readers. 

Dr. Joiner’s publications include articles on William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, and Toni Morrison in the Mississippi Quarterly, Flannery O’Connor Review, Faulkner Journal, and in the forthcoming publication From Yoknapatawpha to the Virtual World: The Shape of Faulkner’s Digital County from the University of Virginia Press (scheduled publication date of 2021).  

When not out and about exploring in the Finger Lakes, Dr. Joiner is planning her trip to Hawaii, hopefully in the midst of a New York winter!
 

Dr. Steven Kapica

Assistant Professor of English

Academic Credentials

Northeastern University
Ph.D.
Appalachian State University
M.A.
Appalachian State University
B.A.

Biography

Dr. Kapica has been a teacher of composition and humanities courses at the college level for more than twenty years. After completing his doctorate in rhetoric and composition, he served as Director of Writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Metropolitan Campus before joining the Humanities and Fine Arts faculty at Keuka College in 2018.

His research focuses on the relationships between composition, rhetoric, and popular culture. He is particularly interested in the rhetorical interrogation of cultural performance, how spaces and places are defined and negotiated. He has published on sexual iconography and third-wave feminism, law and science fiction television, and rhetoric and stand-up comedy. His work has appeared in Jump Cut, Law, Culture, and the HumanitiesStudies in American Humor, and the Griffith Law Review. He is currently working on an academic monograph about stand-up comedy legend George Carlin.

Sharon Kocher

Associate Professor of American Sign Language

Academic Credentials

Rochester Institute of Technology
M.S.
Gallaudet University
B.A.

Biography

Sharon Kocher is currently an Associate professor for the ASL and ASL-English Interpreting Programs at Keuka College; where she teaches language development, Deaf Studies courses, and DeafBlind Translation.

Sharon received her BA in Communication Arts from Gallaudet University and an MS in Secondary Education with a specialization in ASL from National Technical Institute of the Deaf (NTID) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) where her master’s project thesis was entitled “A Professional Development Curriculum for Educators of Deaf Students: Comparative Linguistics”.

As a lifetime educator, Sharon has taught ASL and Deaf Cultural Studies to various kinds of audiences such as: adults, college Deaf and hearing students and Deaf and hearing school children (PreK-12) in community/school programs throughout western New York. She also has been actively involved with professional organizations in the local and national levels. Additionally, for more than 25 years, Sharon has been working as a DeafBlind interpreter.

Sharon’s passions are reading and crafts such as quilting, variety of stitching, woodworking, and painting. She loves being with and spending quality time with her three adult children.

Dr. Mike McKenzie

Associate Professor of Philosophy & Religion

Academic Credentials

University of Southern California
Ph.D.
Westminster Theological Seminary
M.A.R.
University of Southern California
M.A.
Trinity International University
M.A.
Central Washington University
B.A.

Biography

After obtaining a B.A. in criminal justice, Dr. McKenzie’s educational path turned toward comparative religion, and after graduating from Westminster Theological Seminary he obtained an M.A. and Ph.D. in religious studies and social ethics from the University of Southern California. At USC, he was selected to be a teaching assistant in the prestigious honors program, where he was said to be the only doctoral student to complete his Ph.D. in four years.

His academic interests remain centered around ethics, philosophy, and religion, the three subject areas he covers at Keuka College. Besides authoring more than 30 articles and book chapters, Dr. McKenzie’s third book will be published by the University of Nebraska Press in January of 2022. A Country Strange and Far breaks new ground and explains how the Northwest’s unique geography helped stymie the Methodist denomination, then the largest and most powerful religion in the country.  

Dr. McKenzie is one of the most popular professors at Keuka College, a fact he attributes to his empathy for students. “I well remember the challenges I faced in college,” he says, “so I understand some of what they’re going through.”  

Although Mike is from the Pacific Northwest, he finds a lot of similarities between Yates County and where he grew up. “There were orchards and vineyards everywhere in the Yakima Valley,” he says, “and it’s nice to see so many of those around here.” Mike has taught at Keuka College since 1999.  

Professional Interests

Ethics (theoretical and applied), comparative religions, North American religions, growth of modern religions.

Melissa Newcomb

Associate Professor of Art

Academic Credentials

Rochester Institute of Technology
M.F.A.
SUNY Oswego
M.A.
SUNY Oswego
B.F.A.

Biography

Melissa Newcomb is a professor and leader of the Art and Design program at Keuka College, where she teaches painting, drawing, mixed media, photography, and design. Also at the college, she coordinates exhibits in the Lightner Art Gallery and leads an advisory board composed of local professionals and artists in support of the program, student growth, and experiential learning.

Melissa received her Master of Fine Arts Degree in painting from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2007; a Master of Arts Degree in photography and a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the State University of Oswego. Melissa also attended Finger Lakes Community College where she graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Fine Art. Melissa currently lives in Farmington, NY. She is highly involved with the arts and the community and was one of five artists that participated with a Mural on Coach Street (located on the side of Crown jewelers) in downtown Canandaigua. She also has worked displayed at the UR Medicine Breast Imaging and Birthing Center at F.F Thompson Hospital.

Melissa is very passionate about the arts and enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with others. She also finds pleasure in traveling, baking, learning new things, spending time with family, shopping, coffee, and the change of seasons. Much of her inspiration comes from her students or when she is exploring new places with her camera or sketchbook.

Catherine Reed

Writing Specialist
Adjunct Instructor of English

Academic Credentials

SUNY Geneseo
M.S. in Education (Literacy)
SUNY Fredonia
B.A. in English
SUNY Fredonia
B.A. in Music Performance

Biography

I’m Cathy Reed, Writing Specialist and instructor for the HFA department at Keuka College. I enjoy teaching and learning from KCSI students, international students, and graduate students in addition to traditional students. I am proud to have been a part of this beautiful place on the lake since 2014. Please visit me in the Writing Center! 

Dr. Malia Spofford Xavier

Associate Professor of Spanish

Academic Credentials

Cornell University
Ph.D.
Cornell University
M.A.
Cornell University
B.A.

Biography

Dr. Malia Spofford Xavier teaches Spanish language, Latin American literature, and intercultural communication courses at Keuka College. Born in New York and educated at Cornell University, Malia has since traveled to dozens of countries and six of seven continents. After living and teaching in Brazil for six years, she returned to the United States in 2015 to join the faculty of Keuka College. She enjoys working with students of all backgrounds to expand their understanding and experiences of our globalized world and its cultures and languages. 

Malia’s scholarship grew out of a deep interest in the colonial period of Spain in the Americas, exploring how concepts of human rights, capitalism, and sovereignty developed in tension with plural identities during that violent, unstable time. Her publications and presentations include articles on teacher education, social justice, and community-engaged pedagogy. Her classes encourage students to explore diversity and critical perspectives on culture and literature.

The Spanish program incorporates community-engaged and experiential learning through Field Periods, short-term travel abroad, local projects, and co-curricular activities. Recent trips abroad have included Nicaragua with the Four Walls Project, Spain, and Costa Rica. Malia is also a member of the Board of Directors of Literacy Volunteers of Ontario-Yates Counties, which has an English Language learner program. Many Keuka College students have worked with local Spanish-speaking community members who are seeking to apply for US citizenship or improve their English language skills.

Prior to her career in higher education, Malia was an officer in the US Navy during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She has two children, Nicholas and Olivia. In their free time, you can find them camping, swimming, hiking, and skiing.

Dr. Anne Weed

Interim Associate Provost
Professor Emerita of English

Academic Credentials

University of Rochester
Ph.D.
University of Rochester
M.A.
Goucher College
B.A.

Contact Information

Dr. Jennie Joiner

Division Chair

Professor of English

(315) 279-5259
[email protected]